Weekly Update: Scousers, speeches and swingometers…


What an amazing time last night! I had a brilliant time at the Awards Night, and hope you did too. Nidd Valley House looked resplendent, and everyone looked fab (you’re actually quite a sexy bunch when you’re not lycra clad and half way through an intervals session). Congratulations to all of you who took awards home (especially Carol, who seemed to take most of the silverware going), but it’s a well done to all of you, whether or not you got an award. You’re all part of the team and help make it the friendly, encouraging and frankly eccentric club which it is. Thanks very much to Judy for all her work in making the evening happen. I may be in charge, but she was definitely wearing the trousers. Cheers Judy.


As per Dave’s request, the speech is reprinted below for those that have the appetite for several pages of poetic twaddle. But, before that, the results…


It’s a gold star for Hannah Peagram who this week completed her 50th Parkrun at Harrogate this weekend. In the absence of any Storm Troopers and gorillas, Hannah (28:09) was joined in this remarkable feat by Alex Patrickson (19:39) who led the team round the muddy course. Andy Harris (21:21), Maurice Kelly (22:23) and Mike Deacon (22:47) soon stormed over the finishing line. Moira McTague was first home for the ladies, leading Sarah Hughan (25:55) and Rebecca Ventress (27:46) in her wake, with Richard Kavanagh (27:52), Carolyn Easton (28:17) and Parkrun Dave (28:30) never far behind.


Up at Fountains, Martin Lofthouse (18:48) snatched the senior habit from Andy Todd (20:39), and we had some exciting performances from Dan Eagling (20:52) and Michelle Dinsdale (32:15). Down in the Black Country, Matt Rickard (23:04) took a spin round the scenic course at the Wyre Forest Parkrun, and Jane Hill (28:13) made easy work of the South Darlington course. Last (but by no means least, obvs.), Steve Newton (21:45) joined his 211 of his Scouse brethren on the start line of the Ormskirk Parkrun. Well done peeps.

We’ve finally got our hands on the PECO results from Leeds last week, and I’m pleased to report that Matt Wilkinson (29:52) was first through the finishing funnel for the club, chased by Edoardo Piano (32:26), and Andy Harris (34:10) held fellow runner Steve Newton (37:23) at bay (sorry Steve – it’s always those you love that hurt you most). In the ladies race, Sarah Hughan (41:57) sobered up sufficiently to secure a good time, followed by Rachel Prince (45:23), Hannah Peagram (45:34) and Sarah Chalmers (47:10). Michelle Smith (50:01) and Fiona Robinson (53:50) gave us a pair of thrilling finishes to round things up for us. Well done team.

The Nidd Valley puppy almost wets itself with excitement when he sees the postman bring your results down the garden path, before he grabs them from the door mat and runs with them through the corridors of Nidd Valley House, never to be seen again. You’re probably better emailing me: chair@niddvalleyroadrunners.co.uk.


The Week Ahead
• Tuesday: you know you’ve been in Team Nidd for too long when you actually have a favourite intervals session, but this is it. It’s down to Knox for the fifth of the hill sessions (yeah, I know, the fifth one already). Meet at the Hockey Club for 7pm, or we’ll see you down by the sawmill for about 7.10pm. It’ll be a great session, and you wouldn’t want to miss it.
• Thursday: I tell you what, let’s run the Duchy route. Out from the club onto Skipton Road, down to Kings Road, up to Ripon Road, through the Duchy and over Harlow Moor to Otley Road. From there, you can head for home or can extend round Green Lane and Leadhall Lane. The choice is yours, and the basic route is here: http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/928018513. See you at the Hockey Club for 7pm. Afterwards, it’s a few sneaky pints in the club house bar where we all sit, stare at our feet and pretend we’re enjoying ourselves.
• Sunday: they’re still accepting online entries for the Muddy Boots 10k up in Ripon, and you can do all the business entry-wise here: https://bookitzone.com/muddyboots/aj2FFX. There’s no entries on the day. Good luck to you if you’re racing.


Emma’s Stretch of the Week
Here’s one we often neglect as runners. Tight chest muscles can contribute to upper back pain so give this one a go. Stand with your arm extended and your forearm at right angles to the ground. Rest your forearm against a wall and turn your shoulders and body away from the extended arm. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 3 times on each arm.



Committee Meeting: Wednesday 10 February 2016
I wake up screaming and in a cold sweat when I think about these things, but it has to be done I suppose. If there’s anything you want us to discuss then please let me know. We live to serve: chair@niddvalleyroadrunners.co.uk.


AGM: Thursday 18 February 2016
This is your annual chance to vote out the committee. Mark has been doing an interesting analysis of the likely winners and losers, some committee members are anxious about whether they’ll hold onto safe seats, and Dave has a brand new swingometer. There’s certainly all to play for. If you can be there, I’d very much appreciate it. If you can get to the Hockey Club bar for 8.30pm, then we’ll even buy you some pizza for your tea.

If you want to stand for any position on the committee, or if there is anything you would like to put on the agenda for the AGM, then you need to let me know by Thursday 4 February 2016. You know where to find me: chair@niddvalleyroadrunners.co.uk.

All the relevant details re the AGM can be found here: http://niddvalleyroadrunners.co.uk/2016/01/16/agm-2016/. If you can’t sleep, then you might want to have a little look.


A Speech to the Wise
By popular demand…

I had no idea, and I did not know,
When you made me Chairman a year ago,
That it was part of my duties to construe,
A speech to give in front of you,
To be witty and outline,
All those things that make Nidd fine.
For looking back, it would appear,
That we’ve had a somewhat busy year,
And that there’s more to us (tho’ we shouldn’t brag),
Than our yearly run up Almscliffe Crag.
So I hope that you’re sitting comfortably,
For this: our annual summary,
As I our athletic year rehearse,
In some poorly constructed verse.

So to Parkrun, then: that weekend 5k,
About which I should like to say,
That (should I have to make a list),
I’d live in fear of having missed,
Those of you who at break of dawn,
Turn up every Sat’day morn,
To run round three laps of the Stray,
And other courses some miles away,
From Fountains, York, Aukland and Tramore,
To Keswick, Durham and I’m sure many more.
Your targets reached and PBs smashed,
And all of this before breakfast!
But I want to mention, flying high,
The brightest stars in the Parkrun sky.
First of all, there’s Rebecca V,
Who, with Steve and Hannah, hit the big fifty,
And hundreds for Sarah and for Parkrun Dave,
(so we’ll assume that 5ks are their fave),
Congrats to them and all who each week,
Turn out to run but do not seek,
The glory of the bigger race,
But weekly strive for faster pace.

But if there’s other races we should mention,
Then we should turn our full attention,
To the marathon, and those of you,
Who decided that you would do,
The race that turned me to a cripple,
With one working leg and a bleeding nipple.
And if, like Martin, ‘twas your virgin time,
You get special mention in this rhyme.
Well done for going the full distance:
A tribute, I think, to your persistence.
But if you think those miles of pain,
Are a runners limit, think again.
Look to Simon – an inspiration,
And think, in deepest admiration,
That he ran up mountain and back down dale,
Along rugged track and hilly trail,
Over sixty miles of Lakeland ground,
As he completed the Bob Graham Round.
And I ought to incorporate into this rhyme,
Emma and Carol and their Tour Alpine,
And record here in the Chairman’s tale,
Their success in Chamonix and the Mt. Blanc Trail.

And we can’t forget Knaresborough Bed Race:
The most gruelling challenge you’ll ever face.
Surely there are no more dreadful things,
Than to lug a child up the Castle Ings,
In sweaty anguish and painful heat,
Before chasing down the packed High St,
And past the crowd who whoop and cheer,
Having spent all morning on the beer,
And then – O God – what a thrill,
The fastest race down Bond End Hill
To finish with an icy shiver,
As you battle your way across the river.
So well done Girls Team, and well done Men,
And well done me: I got top ten!
Your achievements are most impressing,
As was, of course, Matt’s cross-dressing.

But now to the Fell Champs we must turn,
To the hills, the mud, and mountain fern,
And, of course, Fell Running Phil,
Always glad when on a hill.
First the Ian Robinson, then the Blakey Blitz,
Then up into the swirling mists,
And a climb that just went on and on (and on… and on…),
‘Til we reached the top of Old Man Coniston.
Then sprinting down, fell runner pace,
To a pint at the finish line of the Charlesworth Chase.
Though here’s a question on which to ponder,
As runners tumbled daleside yonder,
Why instead of running, best effort, flat out,
Did Ian McLeod get a camcorder out?
Let’s leave this question philosophic,
And get back to this: our topic,
For onto Ingleborough, but only after one steep hike,
To the lofty summit of Buckden Pike.
Followed by a running tribute to the county vet,
In the race we know as the James Herriot.
“Onwards!” cried Phil, “Fell runners follow me,
To the last but one, the Pendle Three”,
And finally ‘twas such athletic crop,
That gained the summit of Guisborough Top.

The Roadies were perplexed: “what is this off-road crack?
We prefer our feet, to be firmly on Tarmac.”
You started off with Guisley, then headed up to Reeth,
Tho’ the hills and mud beggared belief,
But was nowt compared to the problem engrossing,
Of the Bluebell Trail’s river crossing.
To Yeadon, Thirsk, and Otley too,
Where the steepest climbs awaited you,
And then the Harriers showed you your fate:
Two dullest laps of the Duchy Estate.
But then, so it was, we were sad to learn,
That our story takes a tragic turn,
At Burton Leonard, where our athletic dream,
Was handed to a rival team.
Although Striders, this year: watch out!
And – I mean it – be of no doubt,
Of this single fact alone:
The Mob Match Trophy is coming home!
So up we got, and dusted down,
And made a smile out of our frown,
Before heading up to Wensleydale,
To continue with our athletic tale,
For ‘twas James Herriot again, a nine mile trot,
With that funny fell running lot.
And so the road champs kept on humming,
With some Fountains-based Parkrunning,
Before headlong to some 10ks (three),
First at Escrick (near Selby),
Then to Tholthorpe, and onto Sutton,
But what is this? All of a sudden,
Another race! Nine miles of pain!
At the Grewelthorpe multi-terrain
And with that done, ‘twas little hassle,
To run a swift 10k at Richmond Castle.

While I still have your attention,
I should also like to mention,
The Evening League, and specifically,
The fact you all did terrifically,
As an amazing team and athletic hoard,
Whose numbers set a new record,
Of runners in these social races,
And, at the buffet, stuffing your faces.

And if these races you’ve not run,
Or if a marathon does not sound fun,
And if, in truth, you could not face,
The prospect of a tough fell race,
Don’t be sad, for it’s still true,
That this poem is also for you,
For you’ll always be a welcome sight,
When you turn up to each club night,
To run round Duchy and Bilton estates,
With your lycra-clad running mates,
Or to run to Knaresborough, or just round town,
Up Cornwall Road, and in the summer down,
Along the gorge, before heading back,
To the Club along the cycle track.
Then, as a treat for having ran so far:
A pint upstairs in the club house bar.

Now add our summer pub runs to the list,
So that our roll call does now consist,
Of Plumpton, Staveley and an evening bimble,
In the hills surrounding Timble,
And Spofforth where – O sad disaster! –
Dave (our much revered finance master),
Had decided on the route he’d take,
With a train of Nidders in his wake,
And thinking that he had all planned,
With his map (held unused) in his hand,
And thinking that ‘twas hours ‘til dark,
Led them into Stockeld Park.
But the daylight hours were receding,
Faster than Dave was map reading,
And the Nidders there began to pray,
That he had not led them the wrong way,
And Alan began to think of warmth and sleep,
Having espied a comfy sheep,
But Dave, alas, had got them lost,
And so it fell to him to pay the cost,
Of an expensive round of drinks that night,
In a generous attempt to put things right.
Fear not, Dave! You are forgiven.
But now your misdemeanours are written,
And exaggerated something rotten,
I’m not that sure they’ll be forgotten.

And there are parts of our yearly news,
That do not involve your running shoes,
For off the road and track and fell,
Other things have happened as well,
Like the two pairs of Nidds who tied the knot,
So you’re clearly a romantic lot:
Simon and Carol, Rachel and Paul,
A big congratulations to you all.

And then there is our grieving,
For other Nidders leaving,
Partings which we try to see,
As the club’s rich running tapestry,
But weekly we do really miss,
Our running friends as good as this:
AimiBlueman, Paul Eagling, and Bob and Annie Sweeting,
Who, soon again, we hope we’ll be meeting.

But let’s be not glum, and not be sad,
So let’s think on something that makes us glad,
Like the Guy Fawkes 10 – what a success!
I want to say, try to express,
That the great achievement that we’ve made,
Is down to all the parts you’ve played,
The numbers issued and bags you’ve packed,
The street corners on which you’ve stood and clapped,
Runners watered, and Transit Vans driven,
All a tribute to the help you’ve given,
And the money we’ve made (I hear Dave cheer!),
Will keep us solvent another year.
But most of all, I must doth my hat,
In thanks to Mike and, if he were here, Matt.

And thank you to our coaches three,
Their commitment we can weekly see,
On Oval, Stray, and hill and lane,
In the cold and dark and pissing rain.
For when you feel your energies sappin’
They shout: “don’t stop now, you can lap him!”
So charge your glass, and raise to them:
To Mike, Amanda, and to Em.

And thanks, of course, to the Committee,
Although for them, it’s been a pity,
To put up with my fractious mood,
And the times when I’m grumpy and rude.
I’m grateful for the things you’ve done,
For which your praise has been unsung:
The plans, the champs, accounts and summing,
And all those things that keep us running.
So I’m pleased to set the record straight:
The lot of you have been just great.

So that’s our year, when all is said and done,
I hope, like me, you’ve found it fun.
And at this point, you can stop your whining,
‘Cos the end is coming to my rhyming,
But I want to finish on this note,
And reflect that, if there were a vote,
That your achievements really show it,
The Harriers and Striders know it,
We’d win convincingly hands-down,
As the best running club in Harrogate town.


Over and out.

Sam x


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