Weekly Update: The challenge of getting to first base…



Those of you who spend too long idly browsing t’interweb will have noticed that Rebecca Ventress’ holiday to the Adriatic was put in jeopardy when hubby Phil smashed his leg up in a game of football last week. If the injury didn’t damage him permanently, I’m sure Rebecca would have finished the job. Well, I’m not only happy to report that the family made it, but thought that I should tell you that on their first night there – their first night, people – the local constabulary paid them a visit to investigate what all the noise was all about. Utter savages, that family. You can take the Nidds out of Harrogate… And on that note, let’s go straight to the results.



We start this week with a midweek race for which we haven’t yet got results: the Carlton Canter, held near Otley. Fell Running Phil tells me that 3½ Nidds took part, the half being a reference to Simon Franklin who also races with Horsforth Fellndale (but he loves us more, I’m sure). Simon completed the summer evening run with Carol Morgan, Rachael Prince and with Phil. I’ll get you the results as soon as I have them.


They took a bit of finding, but I’ve managed to lay my hands on the results for today’s 10k race at Melmerby. Give a big shout out to Andy Todd (39:35), Sue Simpson (47:02), Moira McTague (50:12) – Moira describes it as “a PB for me in my old age”… surely not, Moira? – and Andrea Bowen (57:50). The hugest of congratulations to you all.


Last week, Neil Wright (he’s a bit new so you might not have got to know him just yet, but you should do. A thoroughly lovely chap.) took part in the Gothenburg Half Marathon. Neil (2:01:26) had a good old moan about the price of Swedish Lager, and he himself admits that if he had  a few pints less then he might have nailed the sub two hour time he was aiming for. Well done, Neil, and don’t stress the time. It’ll be all the sweeter when you bag it the next time. Alternatively, you could just take a leaf out of my book and never race after a night on the razz. I’d never do that.


This week, Carol and Simon were back up in the hills for a little more fell running (quelle suprise, I hear you cry). They were up on the Inner Hebrides on the Isle of Jura, where they took part in the Jura Fell Race, a 28km tour over 7 island peaks – called the Paps of Jura, apparently – with nearly 8,000ft of climb. Carol (4:56:00, 5th V40) showed Simon (5:26:00) who wears the fell running trousers in their marriage, but both times are incredibly impressive. Well done to you both!


Jane Hill was on fire (not literally, obviously) down in Liverpool when she took part in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. Serenaded by bands lined up along the Scouser route, Jane (2:17: 42) rocked and rolled her way to an accomplished time as she gets more race experience under her belt in readiness for the big marathon in the autumn. Well done, Jane.


The story gets even better when we look at the results from up in wee bonny Scotland where Martin Lofthouse lined up for the full marathon. He cleared the halfway point over 5 minutes faster than I can run a half marathon at full pelt, before lining up for home and rolling up proceedings in an incredible 3:04:37. Sickening, isn’t it? It isn’t often you’d describe Steve Newton and Fingers Harris as sensible, I’ll admit, but they took the far more considered decision to tackle the half rather than full marathon, with the busy race denying Steve (1:43:56) a PB in an otherwise excellent performance, while Fingers (2:26:07) demonstrated that recovery from injury is a long and frustrating process. It’s also three cheers for Carolyn Easton (1:55:50) who brought her PB crashing to the ground. I know pedants will have a field day, as Fingers’ mum Sue isn’t a member of the club, but I couldn’t pass by the opportunity to congratulate Mrs Harris (3:19:10) on her half marathon debut. A profound achievement, I am sure you’ll agree.


If you get the sense that I’m building up to something here, you’d be right. Matt Wilkinson’s journey to Nepal and trek to Everest Base Camp reached its climax today when he took part in the Everest Marathon. Starting at Gorak Shep (17,000ft above sea level, for the statistically minded among you), close to Everest Base Camp, finishing an exhaustingly 26.2 miles later at Namche Bazaar (11,300ft, and no, I hadn’t heard of it either but it sounds kind of exotic). I’m running out to superlatives to try and capture the extent of his achievement, but just completing a course on that kind of terrain and at that altitude is achievement enough, I’m sure (and you can shut up if you think you have to trek too far to your marshal post on the GF10!). Anyway Matt (7:50:25) got himself round the course safely, is back in his hotel drinking beer and basking in the glory of his success. I don’t make a habit of sharing sponsorship links, but I’m sure both you and Yorkshire Cancer Research wouldn’t mind if I broke the rules just this once: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/MattWilkinsonEverest.

Getting high in a Nidd Valley vest...

Getting high in a Nidd Valley vest…

Martin Lofthouse (19:46) had his foot slightly off the gas this week at Harrogate Parkrun as he readied himself for Edinburgh. Dan Eagling (20:01) managed to get round without requiring emergency medical attention, much to his relief and that of Mrs Dan I imagine, while Fiona Deacon (22:44) was in fine form as she led the rest of the team home. She may not be the tallest, but there was noting diminutive about Sue Simpson’s (23:19) performance on the Stray, while Mrs Parkrun herself, Sarah Hughan (24:07) joined Christine Jones (24:55) and Hannah Peagram (25:44) in nailing some fantastic times. Dave Prince (26:08), Debbie Dilasser (27:35), Moira McTague (30:12) and Mandy Smith (37:57) tidied things up beautifully at the end.


Ben Baird (21:02) was all on his lonesome at Temple Newsam Parkrun, but consoled himself with a cracking time, while Andy Todd (20:47) led the troops home at Fountains. Fell Running Phil must have felt like a fish out of water running round the manicured landscape of an English Heritage attraction, but he (23:41), his missus Fiona (30:52) and son Alex (24:47) all managed to clock impressive times. Nick Smith (24:18) and Tony LC (29:49) conclude this week’s parkrun results, so it’s a big congratulations to them too.


I’ve just had a look at the results for the Junior Parkrun but – and I know this is hard to believe – there was not even one Niddette there. I wonder where they have all been. Still, I tried my best.


There is an exciting opening for an internship here at Nidd Valley House on our Fast Track Graduate Scheme. If you have the drive, passion and commitment to rise to the very top and seize this once in a lifetime opportunity, then please forward your CV, a sample of your results and a covering letter to the Director of Running: chair@niddvalleyroadrunners.co.uk.


The Week Ahead

Don’t forget there is still time to enter the Ilkley Trail Race on Monday. Held, surprisingly, in Ilkley and well within the grasp of everyone in the club (even you!), it is something you might want to have a look at. Go on, get your trail shoes and get logged on here: http://fellrunner.org.uk/races.php?id=4681.


We’ve now had the rallying call to arms from Battalion Commander Lofthouse in readiness for the third of the Evening League races at Swaledale on Tuesday. It’s a bit of a fanny to get to distance-wise, so you will want to leave plenty of time to get up the A19 to East Harlsey, but it is a really lovely run and the post race spread is always really good (but not as good as Debbie’s, obviously). It’s been said before but bears repeating: it doesn’t matter whether you finish at the front or at the back, everyone who finishes the race and crosses the line gets some points for the team, and we’ll need all the points we can get if we are going to remind those new upstarts at Knaresborough Striders who is boss. Get yourselves in the zone: http://www.harrogate-league.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Swaledale-HDSRL-2016-info.pdf.


For those of you that aren’t running in the league or are unable to get up to Northallerton on Tuesday , there is always a gentle run with Alan Harby and the chance to find out about his RAF days and encounters with Burmese Generals, Zulus and Kenyan Railway Inspectors. Meet at the Hockey Club for 7pm.


On Thursday, the bed race teams will be back down in Knaresborough, perfecting their river crossing and bashing out a few more laps of that killer hill. It would be lovely to see you there – although if we want any helpful advice from onlookers while we try and push a bed across a river and swim at the same time, then we shall ask for it – so here’s your plan for Thursday night: set off from the Hockey Club at 7pm, over the sports field and the railway bridge before hanging left and picking up the cycle track. From there, it’s down Beryl Burton to Knaresborough, taking in horseshoe fields if you are feeling a bit more fruity, and into Knaresborough. You’ve got options from there, but I suggest a jog along waterside, back over the bridge and over the fields to the railway cross. Pass round the golf course into Starbeck before heading back via the cycletrack to the Hockey Club. Pints in the bar afterwards.


Fell Running Phil almost wet himself with excitement when we told him that it is the Pen Y Ghent Fell Race on Saturday (and the next in the fell champs for those of you with a competitive streak). It’s a 3pm start, so this gives people like me time to get out of bed and have some breakfast, and it promises to be a gruelling challenge, but well worth it for the views. It’s rated as an AS race, meaning the climb is going to be an absolute bitch, but short enough to be over soon enough. If you can’t calm Phil down sufficiently to get any sense out of him, then you get all the relevant information here: http://www.settleharriers.org/PenyghentFellRace.


Thank You!

Thank you so much to all of you who helped out for our Evening League race on Tuesday. We really couldn’t have done it without you. Particular thanks to Michelle who cajoled all the marshals into position (and you don’t argue with a woman when she has a colour coded spreadsheet in her hand, I’ll tell you that much), to Martin for helping me get the course set out and putting up with my incessant moaning, to Debbie and her army of volunteers who got the most amazing spread of food out for the runners, and to Ian for finding me some late night wine. The Event Adjudicator from England Athletics was keeping a close eye on proceedings and gave us top marks for the event, not to mention all the runners who gave us loads of positive feedback. Thank you all very much indeed. #TeamNiddRocks


Mob Match at the Burton Leonard 10k: Sunday 17 July 2016

Dave will be loitering around the finish line with a pocket stuffed full of tenners. Don’t worry, he’s not drug dealing (as far as I know), but will be refunding anyone who races for Team Nidd in our annual Mob Match against Knaresborough Striders. I’m sorry, people, but it was a hard enough to hand the trophy over last year with all those kind words, platitudes and smiles. Don’t make me do it again. I want my trophy back: http://www.burtonleonard10k.co.uk/.


Barbados Baby!

Sue Threadgold is secretary of the British Association of Road Races – yeah, I know, their AGM must be laugh-a-minute – and they are able to get discounted places for the Barbados Half Marathon and Marathon, depending if they can get enough interest. If you too would like to get some winter sun (it is the first weekend in December, so you might be glad of it), then why not get in touch with Sue? She’s got all the info you could ever need: sue.threadgold@googlemail.com.


Word to the Wise

Some of you may remember one of Matt Wilkinson’s previous, more risqué, wise words in which he spoke about not really liking dogs until he moved in with Philippa. Well, he’s taken his life in his hands again from the foothills of Mount Everest with the following reflection on his marathon success:

That was by far the hardest thing I have ever done, except for dating Philippa


It might be some time before he gets anywhere near first base camp again, if you know what I’m saying.



And on that daring note, I’ll leave it there. See you on Tuesday.


Sam x


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