That past two weeks have gone quickly, haven’t they? It seems like only yesterday that I was signing off the last email, finishing off the eggnog and sending festive platitudes to one and all. And here we are, peering cautiously into the work diary, not quite able to believe that it has come to this. But we’re not downhearted here at Nidd Valley House. Oh no! Bolstered by a brilliant set of results over the Christmas break, and looking forward to intervals starting again (we are good to you) and the imminent publication of the 2016 championships, there’s plenty to be excited about.
In the weekend before Christmas, when you were frantically doing last minute Christmas shopping Carol Morgan took part in the Tour de Helvellyn in the Lake District. Nonchalantly described as a “around 38 miles with several thousand feet of ascent” (it might just be me, but if we’re talking in thousands, then quite what you mean by the term ‘several’ is important), this wasn’t an event for the faint-hearted. Always tireless, Carol finished the event in 8:29:46, so the organisers are obviously better at measuring times than they are distances. Nice work, Carol.
While I was up at Fugill Towers in Northumberland, Harrogate enjoyed a moving performance of the Nidd Valley Nativity at Christmas Day Parkrun. First over the line were those three wise men of Nidd Valley: Edoardo Piano (20:59), Jon Easton (21:35) and Damien Handslip. Taking a break from watching their flocks by night, shepherds Paul Manning (23:51), Jim Cook (24:36), Moira McTague (24:52) and Nick Smith (25:06) were the next to enter the finishing funnel via the stable door. King Herod himself Dave Seaman (25:09) was next in, with some talk of slaughtering the innocent children, so it’s a good job that Sarah Lofthouse (25:43) had dad Martin (25:44) watching her back. But what is this? Hark! The herald angels sing of some equally impressive results: Sarah Hughan (26:16), Dave Rushton (27:58) and Tony LC (28:11). And lighting up the skies above the stray, the angelic throngs of Rebecca Ventress (29:40), Debbie Dilasser (30:05), Philippa Moorse (30:06), Jane Hill (37:59) and Michelle Dinsdale (45:44).
And, with the Nidd Valley Nativity finished for another year, we turn ourselves to the Boxing Day results at Harrogate. Clearly not weighed down by his Christmas day feed, Martin Lofthouse (19:51) was first home for the team, followed by Edoardo Piano (21:24), Christine “I swap clothes in pubs” Jones (26:49), Sarah “they were my clothes” Hughan (27:56), Tony LC (31:46), Jane Hill (31:51) and Michelle Dinsdale (39:27). Well done to you all – an amazing effort.
With frankly apocalyptic rainfall on Boxing Day, it was only a few hardy Nidds that ventured out to compete in the Chevin Chase. Described as a “challenging course”, with most of the seven miles under water, it’s special congratulations to our very own Six Athletes of the Apocalypse: Andy Todd (50:08), Carol Morgan (54:03), Simon Franklin (58:14), Dave Prince (1:06:16), Rachael Prince (1:14:04) and Sarah Chalmers (1:21:53)
Whether or not she stayed up late to celebrate the New Year, I can’t say, but Carol Morgan (4:28:49) still made impressive work of the Hardmoors 30 Race on New Year’s Day. Leaving most of her competitors in the dust (or should that be mud?) round the course around Whitby, Ravenscar and Robin Hood’s Bay, Carol was second female over the finish line. As ever, Carol, amazing stuff. Well done.
Don’t worry, you’re not seeing double (though you should probably lay off the port and stilton now) but some Nidds headed to do the Parkrun double in Leeds on New Year’s Day. At Woodhouse Moor, Martin Lofthouse (19:12) led the troops home, followed by Christine Jones (25:19), Jane Hill (30:00) and Fiona Robinson (31:53). Jumping in the car, they shot over to Temple Newsam, where Martin Lofthouse (19:52) did his second race of the day faster than I can do one on fresh legs. Moira McTague (25:00) soon joined Martin on the finish line, and I’m unable to clarify whether Christine Jones (27:09) finished in her own kit or somebody else’s. Rebecca Ventress (29:22) soon came steaming over the line, followed by Jane Hill (31:37) and Fiona Robinson (34:27). Again, that’s a brilliant set of results, and particular congratulations to all who took on the challenge of the double.
And the congratulations just keep coming, this time for Paul (22:29) and Rachel Geary (29:39) who took a break from visiting family to fit in a quick spin round the Leamington Park Run on Saturday, and to Andy Todd (18:55) and Maurice Kelly (21:40) who headed up to Fountains. But the biggest cheer at Nidd Valley House was for Rebecca Ventress who completed her 50th Parkrun at Harrogate in a cracking 28:57. Keen to cheer Rebecca home (especially as she was making everyone bacon sandwiches – does anyone else detect a theme here?), here’s the line up in the most athletic of identity parades: Martin Lofthouse (19:38), Matt Wilkinson (21:41), Ben Baird (23:21), Christine Holleran (24:07), Moira McTague (25:06), Nick Smith (26:42), Tony LC (27:38), Rachael Prince (27:59), Philippa Moorse (30:09), Jane Hill (30:16), Hannah Peagram (31:46), Fiona Robinson (33:21), Michelle Dinsdale (34:14) and Amanda Smith (39:27). Well done, peeps.
You know what the PECOs are like. We’ll never get the results. So for now, you’ll just have to make do with a list of timeless congratulations to all of you who negotiated the Middleton course: Matt Wilkinson, Andy Todd, Debbie Gibson, Sarah Chalmers and Michelle Smith. A certain Nidd dropped out this race as, in her words, she “couldn’t be arsed”. Obviously, all of us here at Nidd Valley House wouldn’t stoop so low as to name and shame our brethren, so instead we’ll just identify her by her initials: PM.
That is probably the longest results write-up in history. You know how it is, people, you take a week off and just have to do double when you get back. Still, has to be done and, as Her Maj says: duty first and self second. Keep the results coming: email@example.com.
The Week Ahead
• Tuesday: Intervals! Yeah baby, yeah! If you want to feel the burn, get to the Hockey Club for 7pm, or Montpellier Hill for 7.10pm. You’ve got to love intervals, and they’re the best way to get you match fit for the summer race season (and, for the avoidance of doubt, we’re taking the mob match trophy back).
• Thursday: This week it’s Knaresborough. So it’s out down Kingsley, down the big hill to Knaresborough, along Waterside (Bed Race Hill challenge, anyone?), then back along Forest Moor, Morrisons and home. As ever, plenty of options to cut back or extend, plus the chance to sneak preview the route: http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/926360373. Meet at the Hockey Club at 7pm.
• Saturday: there’s a night race organised by the Hardmoors lot up on the North York Moors. For those who find fell running in the daylight just a little bit tame, then you’ll find this is right up your alley (so to speak). Frome experience, they’re usually only about 5-6 miles, but you do need your wits about you, know what you’re doing, and be a few sandwiches short of a picnic. Let me know if you want to come, and I’ll get some more details and we’ll get a car together.
Emma’s Stretch of the Week
SPECIAL OFFER: Just for you, for one week only, at an exclusive price of nothing, Emma will demonstrate this week’s stretch for you, in person. You’ll just have to go to the intervals to hear about it.
Alternatively, you might choose to think that Emma forgot to send me a stretch. Which is more likely. And more believable. And true.
Awards Night: Saturday 30 January 2016
Tickets are now on sale for this most exciting of nights. The butlers at Nidd Valley HQ are trimming the candle wicks, polishing the silverware and rolling out the red carpet. It’d be great if you could make it. The tickets are a steal at only £20, and includes posh meal, disco, and the chance to see the chairman dance. If you want a ticket or to find out more, please speak to Judy: firstname.lastname@example.org.
AGM: Thursday 18 February 2016
Will you come if we buy you some pizza?
Thought you would.
Though, as an aside, if you did want to stand for a position or to ask any questions, then you know where to find me: email@example.com.
A Word to the Wise
This week’s final blessing will be given by Dave and Rachael Prince, as they reflect upon the Chevin Chase and the place of digital media in married life:
Dave: “Odd day. You wait the whole of your married life to see your wife on video and there she is being chased by a Christmas pudding.”
Rachael: “It bloody beat me.”
For those of you returning to work tomorrow, do try and have a good week. It won’t be as bad as you imagine. I promise.