Weekly Update: Mittens, Mobs & Murdoch

(TLDR. For those short of time…. Tuesday’s club run is round Hookstone Woods and Crimple Beck, and Thursday’s is Valley Gardens and Pine Woods. There are a couple of fell races on Thursday night and Sunday, if you want a bit more. Other than that, it’s the usual baloney about up and coming races, parkrun takeovers, and our very own leader’s Churchillian ambitions).


The world is a difficult place at the moment, my friends. Not only are we facing geopolitical uncertainty and bloodshed in the Ukraine, but we now have the new running club Harrogate Town Runners throwing their weight around, not to mention Knaresborough Striders making bellicose and belligerent threats prior to the Mob Match. Therefore, the committee has decided to abandon our policy of neutrality and to follow in the footsteps of Finland and Sweden by applying for membership of NATO. His Lordship despatched Secretary Plippy to Brussels to submit our application to Secretary General Stoltenberg last week, and we expect ratification within the coming days. We have much to offer, namely a full stack of marshal bibs, an abundance of buffs (at a competitive £4 each or two for £8), and a social media policy. No one will mess with us now, that’s for sure. And with that show of strength, let’s have a look at the week ahead.


The Week Ahead

Our guest run chooser for Tuesday’s club run is none other than Chris Nelson. Chris has asked if we would visit Crimple Valley, and his wish is our collective command. Be at the club and good to run for 7pm, and head out over the Stray, through the Saints, and down through Hookstone Woods. Go on past the back of St John Fisher School and hang a left so you could back towards the Travellers Rest. Keep going until you hit Wetherby Road, then come in via Morrisons or up Wetherby Road. Feel free to cut short or amend as you please. The choice – as ever – is yours. 


On Thursday, the guest run chooser is our very own Sam Heathcoate, who wants to go down into Valley Gardens. Again, be at the club and good to bounce for 7pm. Head down Claro Road, over the Stray, cutting down into town and to the bottom of Valley Gardens. Have a civilised jaunt up through the gardens, and from there you can turn and head back down Otley Road or through the Duchy if you want to keep things steady, or can push on further through the Pine Woods to Harlow Carr, before coming back down through Birk Crag or round Beckwith Road. Again, far be it from us to dictate what you do, so go as far as you please, but please don’t leave anyone behind. It’s only a club run, at the end of the day.


If the idea of a club run doesn’t do it for you this week, then on Thursday there is also the That’s So Hebden Bridge Fell Race. It’s a 10k run up and down Stoodley Pike (no, me neither), and the 1,150ft of climb will set you back only £6 EOTD. I also note that the race director is one Nick Barber (that your brother, Babs?). Anyway, the race starts at 6.30pm so you’ll need to knock off work a bit early, and you can find all the other information here: https://tinyurl.com/ydt3c5hc


There isn’t any racing on Saturday, but I’ll just give a quick plug to the 5k Your Way initiative which will be at Harrogate parkrun. The 5k Your Way is an initiative to – and I quote – “encourage those living with and beyond cancer, families, friends, and those working in cancer services to walk, jog, run, cheer or volunteer at a local 5k Your Way parkrun event on the last Saturday of every month.” Our local ambassador and evangelist is Reb Ventress, so feel free to ask her more or have a nosey on the website: https://tinyurl.com/43utkkra


Sarah C would like me to tell you about another fell race on Sunday, and this is the Thornton in Craven Fell Race at 11am. You’ve got the choice of a 5k route and a 15k route, with the latter being predictably tougher and with more climb. Entry is only a fiver, so you’re getting a good value run out with some cracking scenery round the Pennine Way and Lothersdale. Like all fell races, be prepared to carry full kit, although requirements can be varied on the day. More details here: https://tinyurl.com/tnaaj83m



Team Nidd kicked off the Evening League Season on Tuesday and so it’s only right that we kick off this results write up with the lucky Nidds who were able to run rather than marshal. Matt Wilkinson (33.16) was the first of these, along with Fingers Harris (35.19), Martin Lofthouse (35.54) and Paul Kent (38.34). Nigel Scaife (39.50) was just speedy enough to keep Marcus Shaw (40.06) at bay, while Kev Nicholas (40.38) had his work cut out retaining the advantage over Richard Evans (40.57). Kevin Clark (41.09) was next in for the team, then it was all the Js with Jose Jimenez (42.34), Jess Harby (44.23) and John Mallet (46.26). Roger Duckworth (47.28), Katherine Dolman (48.04), Martin Luxton (49.20), Chatty McChatface – also known as Debbie Gibson – (51.01), Emily Wighton (51.12) and Chris Nelson (52.26) rounded off our teams performance. It’s well done to them, a special thanks to Mike D and Babs for being the organisational driving force behind the event, and a big thanks to all of you who marshalled. 

Go, Emily, go!


I know it’s rather unusual to say you have the mittens out at the end of May, but we John and Mollie Mitton raced in the Great Manchester Half Marathon yesterday. And yes, I know that the spellings of Mitton and mitten are different, but I can’t resist a buttock-clenchingly cheesy pun, so how about we just move on and celebrate their results, which were: John (1:56.52) and, claiming a PB by some 15 minutes, Mollie (2:01:02).


Also yesterday, we had one of the highlights in the fell running calendar: The Charlesworth Chase. Yes, that’s the one when you run up and down a bloody big hill but are not allowed the finish until you smash a pint of bitter. Now, I’m deciphering these from handwritten results taken on the day, so there’s a fair chance I’ll have got these wrong. The only way to read this guy’s handwriting is to pin it up on a board and run past it (appropriately enough). Luke Wakelin (46:05) was the first out of the Nidd Valley traps, with Matt Wilkinson (47:17) always ominously close behind. Nigel Scaife (50:43) snaffled the third Nidd place with a cracking little run – well, he is our Warrior of the Fells after all – while, although we don’t see him racing much, Jamie Dilasser  (51:52) made an impressive going of the tough course.


I wouldn’t normally condone competitive drinking (mainly as I fall asleep in public), but you’ve got to hand it to Brian Hainsworth (55:15) who came from behind to overtake Andy Iddon (55:38) and Cath Barber (56:05) on the pint downing for the points. Phil Ventress (56:31) was little more than a minute behind his lover – they don’t like to let one another out of their sights, really) – and was soon to be joined by Kev Nicholas (56:31) and Russel Geraghty (1:02.13). Matt Rickard (1:04.47) took a tumble on the descent, breaking his foot with a crack that turned the heads of his fellow competitors, but bravely/foolishly (*del as appropriate) soldiered on to the end. Now that is commitment. 

I like this photo…

Fell Running Phil (1:07.07) continued along his journey towards recovery and fell running excellence, and was joined with his adoring roadies: Plippy Wilkinson (1:08.07), Christine Holleran (1:10.06), Jane Evans (1:11.25), Rachael Prince (1:17.02), Graham Hyde (1:22.26), Sarah Chalmers (1:24.26) and Ewa Scott (1:27.14). It looks like Dave Prince also ran but I can’t find his time anywhere. Sorry about that, Dave, and I’m happy to rectify this omission next week. Again, very well done to you all and apologies if I have your times incorrect or, like Dave, don’t have them at all. Please don’t shout at me.


While we’re talking about Fell Running Phil – and yes, I agree, we should be talking about little else – we should mention that Fiona Robinson (Fell Running Fiona, to you and I) completed her Wainwright Challenge last week, completing the last of the 214 Wainwright peaks. Yes, maybe it’s taken a touch longer than Carol Morgan’s six day effort, but we’re not keeping scores and we know an achievement when we see it here at Nidd Valley House. So, well done Fiona! An incredible effort!

Fiona on top of some hill or other in the Lake District.


There hasn’t been as much parkrun tourism this week so, if nothing else, it makes for a shorter write up. And that write up begins with Alan Ward (27.18) at Workington – and yes, I know that he is there most weeks, so is much tourism for him as a trip to Sainsburys is for you and I, but let’s not split hairs – and Adam Kirk (21.14) and Lisa Gibson (29.11) were out doing the thing on Woodhouse Moor.


Down in Conyngham, Moira McTague has dobbed in Kev Nicolas (21.29) as scoring the highest age-graded result at the event. She likes a tabloid journalist, she really is. Kev was just beaten by the first Nidder, Steve Newbould (20.46) and ahead of Kev Dalton (26.29). Mrs Murdoch (29.08) herself was next round on the prowl for juicy news and exclusives, with husband Guy Parker (29.09) just behind. Our athletic showing by the Nidd was concluded in marvellous form by Jessica Webster (31.51) and Michalle Smith (33.56).


It was a case of the Js again at Harrogate, as Jon Easton  (22.16), James Coulthard (22.52) and Jeremy Leggings (23.07) led the Nidds home victorious on the Stray, while Laura Francis got the first slam-dunk for the ladies. Phil Ventress (23.48) had clearly taken a break from his usual 25-minute pacing duties (either that or he cannot read a watch), while we enjoyed spectacular times from Rob Northfield (24.41), Rachel Mills (25.52), and Ewa Scott (26.24). Luke Scorer (27.17) smashed a pleasingly symmetrical time. Emily Wighton (27.38) was the next home in readiness for her 21st birthday the following day (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EMILY!), while Helen Cook (27.57), Nadene Wilkinson (28.17) and John Mallet (28.20) got the party started early for her. Kris Northfield (28.39) was just ahead of Yvonne Skelton (29.20) and her ridiculously high age-graded ranking, followed by Debbie Dilasser and Monty (both 29.59). As an aside, it’s a huge well done to Monty has he got his fastest time ever, and that included time for a poo stop (Monty, that is. We make Debs go before we leave the house). Well done, Monts! Tony LC (30.17), Lorna Eley (31.15) were the warm-up act for Janet Jarvis (36.07), also with her ridiculously high age-graded ranking, as she finished things off for the Nidders on the Stray.


The last visit on the parkrun bus this week is with a stop to Fountains Abbey, so we’ll steer you deftly past the cafeteria and the gift shop and instead to the finish line where Andy Todd (18.51), Pram Man Braddon (21.07), and Damien Handslip (23.09) got the engine started for Team Nidd. Andy Iddon (23.12) had forgotten everything he had ever been taught about chivalry as he drew an eleven second gap over the missus Babs (23.21). Roger Duckworth (25.11), Marcos Montana (27:27) and Sue Rogers (32:49) tidied things up for us spectacularly, so it’s well done to them and to all of you who ran.


Heard it through the grapevine / Not much longer would you be mine / Oh I heard it through the grapevine / Oh I’m just about to lose my mind: samfugill@gmail.com.  


Evening League

If you have not yet entered, and still want to play your part for the club even though the season is now underway, then get yourself entered for this. Remember that Nidds can claim a £3 discount by using the code NVRR22, but only if they get entered for the race. And you need to be here to do that: https://racebest.com/races/2zeu/. You know it makes sense, I mean, it just wouldn’t be the same without you.


Booking Now Open

For the fell champs, Pen-y-Ghent Fell Race is on 04 Jun 2022, and is a fab run up and down – in my unsolicited opinion – the nicer of the three peaks. Entry is only £7 and I think it’s part of some village gala, so you’ll probably find that performing dogs, a clog dance and a cake sale are all part of the deal. Find out more here: https://tinyurl.com/ycxf2ubc or badger Sarah Chalmers. She could talk about this nonsense for days on end, and indeed frequently does.


If sticking pins in your eyes just doesn’t cut it these days, then Otley 10 on 08 Jun 2022 might be just what you’re looking for. Ten miles, and one massive hill, and some hard earned points in the road championships, all for £15.50. This is where you need to be:  https://tinyurl.com/6b8nfvcm


Staveley Stampede is looking like another instalment in what has been a cracking road championships to date. I’ve never actually done this one, so have no idea what I’m talking about (no change there, then), but Captains Sarah and Dazzler want you to know that’ll enjoy the spin round this idyllic village and nature reserve, and that you have no excuse for parting with your £16 right here: https://tinyurl.com/337mwz25.


Parkrun Takeover: 09 Jul 2022

Please keep this date free, if you can. Nidd Valley are doing a parkrun takeover at Harrogate, and so we will need all hands on deck to do all the many things that make a parkrun a success (seriously, I had no idea until I got involved). Jeff is going to be pulling things together, so you’ll be in the safest of hands, and he’s going to need everything from scanners, timers, bakers, and a full contingent of pacers. We’ve persuaded His Lordship to run direct, and he has promised to be at least 50% more witty from the bench. You wouldn’t want to miss it.


Mob Match: 18 Sep 2022

Granted, this is not until September, but you need to get your entries in. If the Knaresborough Striders think for one second that they are claiming the Mob Match Trophy then they have another thing coming. His Lordship has booked his place, and expects that you do the same. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if Nidd Valley House and Dave’s Magnificent Erection last for a thousand years, runners will still say, “This was their finest hour.”: https://tinyurl.com/yckpbt2r


Word to the Wise

Now you don’t need to be a doctor to know that Matt Rickard is talking out of his backside when you hear his wise words about finishing a fell race with a broken foot, but there we are, and here they are:


“I probably shouldn’t have run the last two miles but I reeeally wanted my finishers pint and endorphins are ace…”


Obvs, innit.


Have a great week. His Lordship loves you.


Sam x


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