Weekly Update: Strictly Come Nidd Valley, a roller-coaster, and all manner of indiscretions in a rural carpark

Now then, chaps.


Are we all well? I Hope you’ve all had a good week and that you’re still adjusting to the normality of life after the Christmas break.


Before we get cracking, I just want to mention the coached intervals session last week. I know that sharing the night with the Harriers wasn’t ideal, was crowded, and that you maybe didn’t get the level of input you ordinarily might receive from the coaches. This couldn’t have been helped, folks, and by 7.15pm there was little either we or the Harriers could have done to make alternative plans. The best thing we could have done was to share Montpellier Hill with the good grace and inter-club generosity that we did. Thanks for your patience and understanding. Normal service will be resumed this week, as ever led by our coaches. See more below. And keep an eye out for Sarah H, Dan E and Jon E who we are training up to join our coaching team. You’ll be seeing a lot more of them (and hearing a lot more from them!) in the coming months. To the results…


And what better place to start than the results from yesterdays Yorkshire Cross Country Championships, held up at Lightwater Valley? Given that this is the event where the big boys of off-road running come out to play within the confines of a roller-coaster, it was all the more devastating that Fell Running Phil was prevented by injury for taking his place at the start line. That said, we had some amazing results, and they are worth publishing in full. From the ladies, Moira McTague (48:28) led Sarah Hughan (50:29) and Hannah Peagram (54:38) home, followed by Sarah Chalmers (55:10). Martin Lofthouse (46:28) was first over the line for the boys, chased down by Andy Todd (47:24), Edoardo Piano (51:27) and Fingers Harris (52:50). Alan Davidson (55:15) made a welcome return to running (haven’t seen you for ages, Alan, how are you?), followed by Maurice Kelly (56:11), Steve Newton (56:51) and Jim Cook (1:01:38). Congratulations to all of you who turned out to race. The course was tough and the competition fierce, but you did Team Nidd proud. Well done.


Last night, I headed up to the North York Moors to complete the Three Sisters night-time fell race with Matt Wilkinson and Brian Sherwood. It didn’t look to bad on paper, but, well, bugger me: that was possibly the windiest, coldest and wettest race I have ever ran, the pain only punctuated by the by the occasional, and more competent, fell runners who overtook me with a cheery “a bit blowy isn’t it?” before they disappeared into the darkness. I have seldom been so sure that I was going to die, nor have I been so pleased to see Matt and Brian waiting in a warm car (and although I still had to briefly get naked in the car park to get into some warm clothes, I’m happy to admit that it was so cold that no one was going to be unduly alarmed). After that, once the traumatic memories had faded, with a conversation reassuring each other that it wasn’t really that bad and that we must do it again some time.  I’m not even sure if they publish results for this kind of thing, but Matt was first (obviously), followed by Brian, then me some ten minutes after.


Staying up on t’moors and suitably off-road, it’s a quick congratulations to Simon Franklin and Carol Morgan who yesterday completed the Filey Flyer, a 23m (that’s miles, not minutes) off-road course organised by the LDWA bunch. As ever, you never fail to impress. Congratulations.


Let’s have a quick spin round the Parkrun results. At Harrogate, Matt Wilkinson (19:24) blamed the weather and muddy course for a slower time than usual, although Ben Baird (22:31) and Dave Rushton (28:38) resorted to no such excuses. Tony LC (30:03), Natalia Lancosova (31:24) and Mandy Smith (39:33) rounded up the show on the Stray. A few miles North, Sue Reast (29:54), Fiona Robinson (31:08) and Michelle Dinsdale (31:37) flew the club colours up at Fountains, whereas over the Irish Sea, Paul Eagling (22:56) made quick work of the Tramore Parkrun in Waterford. Well done to all of you Parkrunners. Excellent work.


Apologies of the week goes to Sarah Chalmers who’s fell running exploits last week were lost amidst the deluge of the festive Parkrun results. Sarah completed the Auld Lang Syne (1:28:55) on New Year’s Eve in good time, putting all the rest of us champagne-guzzlers to shame. Congratulations, Sarah.


And, like Gulliver, to the world of the small folk… Joe Sutcliffe (8:37) and Jake Stalker (8:39) battled for position round the 2k Junior Parkrun course this morning. They may be fun-sized, but they remain as inspirational as ever, especially as they’d nailed the course before I’d swung my feet out of bed. Good work, kids.


What is it? You’ve got some results? Go on, I know you’re dying to tell me your good news. Whisper it in my ear, I promise not to print it next week: chair@niddvalleyroadrunners.co.uk.


The Week Ahead

  • Tuesday: this week’s interval session is going to be down at Knox. Meet at the Hockey Club for 7pm or down at Knox Sawmill for 7.10pm. Love the hill, feel the burn, you get the idea. Looking forward to seeing you there.
  • Thursday: now this is interesting. A run to Pannal, and one of my favourites (I wonder who chose this?). Meet at the Hockey Club for 7pm and then off we go round the Stray, past St Aidan’s, to the Leeds Road crossroads, down to Pannal, back up Main Street and Church Lane (feel the hill, baby, fell the hill), onto Leadhall Lane, and home. Again, plenty of options to extend, and you can cut short and avoid Pannal if you want something more sedate. Go on, have a sneak peak, just because it’s you: http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/928016399.
  • Sunday: although not in the race calendar for 2016, the Stanbury Splash is a classic fell race which always attracts an annual contingent from Team Nidd. Plenty of hills (well, this is a fell race after all), not to mention lot’s of mud, more mud, a few river crossings, and even more mud. It’s only £4, too, and conveniently local in Keighley. No excuses, really. More details from Fell Running Phil or, if you want the abbreviated version and don’t have three hours to spare, here: http://www.fellrunner.org.uk/races.php?id=4464.
  • Sunday: if you fancy something a little different and cheaper (this one is £3 – fell runners really are the last of the big spenders, I tell you), there’s a cheeky CS race – C means not too high, S means not too far – at Giggleswick School in the Dales. I’ve never done it. Don’t know anyone who has. You could be the first. Have a look: http://fellrunner.org.uk/races.php?id=4663.


Emma’s Stretch of the Week
Lie on your back with your arms out to your sides at right angles. Bend your knees and drop them over to one side of your body. Great stretch for your mid / upper back and especially good after a day sat at a computer or driving……..Hope you like the 80’s style picture!



Awards Night: Saturday 30 January 2016
I’ve had the committee in dance classes for the past two months now and the results are beginning to show at last. Martin and Jon have perfected the Argentine tango, Dave and Judy have a lovely waltz for you, and Sarah is coming on leaps and bounds with her pasodoble. #strictlycomeniddvalley. You won’t want to miss it, especially when it’s only £20 a pop. To book yourself a ticket or to find out more, please speak to Judy Greenwood at club or email her here: jugreenwood@hotmail.com.


Help your Chairman
Look, people, I’ve got a speech to write for this frickin’ awards night, and am low on inspiration. If you have a good story from the past year, an achievement, a PB, something you’re proud of, something you’re not, or just some deliciously filthy goss on a fellow runner, then I’d love to hear from you. No, really, I would: chair@niddvalleyroadrunners.co.uk.


AGM: Thursday 18 February 2016
I’ll be sending out all the bumph AGM-wise in the next couple of days (agenda, constitution, previous minutes and other such riveting page turners), but this is just a heartfelt plea for all of you to make the effort to be there. We’ll meet after the club run in the upstairs bar in the Hockey Club. This club isn’t just the committee – actually, thank God it’s not just the committee – and it’s as much about you as it is about me. If you’re a member, you can stand for ANY post and we’d welcome any interest or nominations. If you don’t want to stand, that’s cool, but please do turn up, ask awkward questions, vote, and enjoy some free pizza. I have to be there. I’d appreciate the company.


A Word to the Wise
Brian Sherwood makes his WTTW debut this week with a comment about overlap between fell running and sexual indiscretions in public places:

“That’s the thing with these night races starting in a remote carpark on the moors. I always feel sorry for the people who go out dogging, because they find that their perfectly good night out has been ruined” – Brian Sherwood, in compassionate mood.


Whatever you do, have a beautiful week.

Sam x

Weekly Update: The Nidd Valley Nativity

Evening all!

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).


Just before they all broke into a beautiful rendition of Away in a Manger at the Nidd Valley Nativity

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: chair@niddvalleyroadrunners.co.uk.


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: jugreenwood@hotmail.com.


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: chair@niddvalleyroadrunners.co.uk.


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.

Sam x

Weekly Update: Christmas, cross-country, and a comeback Chairman

Afternoon troops,

I must say that this is very awkward. We had our Committee Christmas drinks last night and it all got a little out of hand. Martin and Matt were mixing cocktails, and Jon brought some of his homebrew. I’ve only just regained my sight but we haven’t seen Dave since shortly after 10pm. If anyone finds him, can they pop him in a taxi back to Nidd Valley House? Either way, it’s the last time I challenge Michelle and Judy to a Nidd Valley drink-off, that’s for sure. Still, with that water under the bridge, let’s get straight to the results.


And I must say: they do make very interesting reading. Let’s start with the PECO results from last week’s race at West Park in Leeds, which have finally found their way across the ether. From the boys: Matt ‘he tells me he isn’t bitter about not always being first last week by I feel he doth protest too much’ Wilkinson (32:45), Fingers Harris (33:40), Martin Lofthouse (33:43), Andy Todd (34:05) Edoardo Piano (36:54) and Steve Newton (42:57). And from the ladies: Sarah Chalmers (52:52), potty-mouth Philippa “I am f***ing running” Moorse (54:25), and Michelle Smith (55:36). Jolly good work, chaps.

From the Juniors competing at the PECO, Harrison Iles (7:25) was up at the front in the Years 4 – 6 category, chased by Jake Stalker (7:39) and Evie Iles (8:50) around the one mile course. And it’s a special congratulations again to Harrison (8:14) whose super-dooper effort at Junior Parkrun this morning helped him walk away with first place! Well done, Harrison, and well done to all of you small people. Excellent efforts!

Given that most of the ladies were being ladies that brunched yesterday morning, it was a quiet affair at Harrogate Parkrun, although the results are as impressive as ever: Moira McTague (25:56), Tony LC (28:55) and Mandy Smith (39:12). Maurice Kelly (22:39) got himself a new PB when he stopped off at Durham Parkrun on his way up to Newcastle, and Amanda Metcalfe (27:23) popped over to compete at the Roundhay Parkrun. Finding that the Keswick Parkrun was unavailable due to a few absent bridges, Fiona Robinson (she’s still a Robinson, so presumably she hasn’t told Tyson Fury it’s all over yet) made fast work of the Workington course, finishing in 29:53. Well done to you all.

The biggest showing for the club this week was at Fountains, where Andy Todd (18:54) held Fingers Harris (19:31) at bay, followed by Matt Rickard (20:51), junior Jake Stalker (22:13) and Steve Newton (22:59). Making an eventual return to racing, this comeback Chairman hauled himself round the course in an exhausted 23:40 (and this will be first and last time you beat me, Ginger. Understood?). Father and son team Tim and James Harvey each completed the race in 25:40 and were later joined by John Reast (28:37) and Jane Hill (30:34). The increasingly frequently-spotted Sue Reast (30:47) completed the line up.

Well done to the 16 Nidd Valley ladies who took part in the Secret Santa run from Hampsthwaite yesterday. I’m told that a pot of Vaseline was among the presents shared, but other than that I have no further details I’m afraid. Sounds intriguing, if nothing else.

We’ve come a long long way together, through the hard times and the good, I have to celebrate you baby, I have to praise you like I should: chair@niddvalleyroadrunners.co.uk.


A Nidd Valley Christmas
Things are a little different here at Nidd Valley HQ over the festive season, so here’s the heads up with all of our Christmas running plans.
• Tuesday 22/12/2015: take a break from your Christmas panic shopping and join us as we tackle the ever popular and undulating Knox run. It’s over the iron bridge, round Bilton as far as the Little Wonder Roundabout, before lining up for town and home. There are so many options to extend or cut short that you’re spoilt for choice, to be honest with you. Route here: http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/928005285.
• Christmas Eve: there’ll be no run from the club. Have the night off and hit the eggnog. It is Christmas, after all.
• Christmas Day: pop your santa hats back on and get yourself onto the Stray for a festive Parkrun – meeting at the usual time of 9am. The perfect chance to work off the hangover and work up an appetite.
• Tuesday 29/12/2015: and we’re off to run the little-known Mallison route. This time we’re out down Claro Road, round the Stray, down Leeds Road, round Firs Crescent, over Leadhall Lane, onto Pannal Ash Road, down Otley Road and in. It’d be lovely to see you there. Route here: http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/928026333.
• New Years Eve: again, there’ll be no run from the club given that most people will be putting on their best party frock in readiness for the celebrations (I certainly will!).

We’ll get things back on track when we meet again on 5th January to kick start the interval training. I can hardly wait.


Emma’s Stretch of the Week
It seems that are a few people out there with tight IT bands at the moment which can lead to the dreaded ‘runners knee’…..must be all this running every day in December thing! So the easiest stretch for IT bands (in my opinion) is this one: sit with your back against a wall and your legs out straight. Cross one leg over the other and pull the leg towards your chest. You should feel a stretch at the top of the outer thigh.



Steady Runners
Our email group for the steady runners is now up and running (see what I did there? Up and running? Yeah? Oh never mind…). If you feel this is the group for you and want to be part of it, then please let me know: chair@niddvalleyroadrunners.co.uk.


Save the Dates
Please keep these dates in your diary, folks:
• Saturday 30 January 2016: Awards Night. Dancing the night away. Only I like dance like John Sergeant on Strictly.
• Thursday 18 February 2016: AGM. James Bovard once said that democracy must be more than two wolves and a lamb voting what to have for lunch. Come and tuck in at this feast of democracy in action.


A Word to the Wise
I know that, after last week, anything I post is going to seem pathetically lame and tame. Still, this week’s word to the wise highlights the risks associated with running in fancy dress during an unseasonably warm December.
“My chestnuts are totally roasted” – Jane Hill


And on that festive note, it’s a very, very happy Christmas from me and everyone here at Nidd Valley House.



See you in the New Year.

Chairman Sam x


Weekly Update: Three muddy Nidds and the most nuclear Word to the Wise in history

Well hello there!

It was great to see those of you who made it to the Christmas drinks in town at the weekend. I’ve no idea what on earth possessed Christine J and Sarah H to head into the toilets and change outfits (but I do wish I’d taken a photo), although I suspect the final bottle/s of wine had something to do with it. And with that traumatic image etched firmly into your impressionable mind, we’ll turn our attention to the results.


Starting with a bit of a catch up this week, with a result from early December. Carol Morgan (clearly keeping her light under the bushel) completed in the Frostbite 30 – an ultra-marathon up and hill and down dale beyond Pateley Bridge. Carol secured second lady overall, in an alarmingly satanic-sounding time of 6:06:06. As she crossed the finished line, lightning flashed down from the darkening skies and her victory cry of MWA-HA-HA-HA-HAAA echoed down Nidderdale. Well done, Carol!

I’ve got no results for you from the PECO race yet (I was going to send this email to you yesterday but thought I’d hang fire until today in the hope that they’d be available today – alas not). I’ll have them to you next week. But in the meantime, it’s congratulations to Andy Todd, Fingers Harris, Edoardo Piano, Matt “I’m not at all bitter about being beaten” Wilkinson, Steve Newton, Martin Lofthouse, Sarah Chalmers, Philippa Moorse and Michelle Smith. Excellent work from all of you. Except those of you who had hangovers, obviously (you know who you are).

Steve Newton completed his 50th Parkrun on the Harrogate course, finishing in 23:40. It’s a wonder he got round, given how muddy it was. Fighting to keep their footing, Martin Lofthouse (19:41) and Matt Wilkinson (20:46) made the first deposits in the Bank of Nidd Valley. Despite slipping over and face planting on the far side of the course, Dan Eagling (21:51) still made fast work of the course, joined by Edoardo Piano (21:57), Maurice Kelly (22:49) and Fingers Harris (23:39). I’m delighted to see Ben Baird (23:39) back in the mix, but equally thrilled to see great results from Fiona Deacon (24:02), Kate Maybury (26:46), Christine Jones (27:20) and Sarah Hughan (27:33). Parkrun Dave (27:44) put in a fab performance, with Rebecca Ventress (28:24) and Tony LC (28:26) not far behind. With a hangover she could have sold to medical research, the dirty little stop out Debbie Dilasser (30:52) hauled herself round the course without chucking up, followed by a set of strong finishes from Jane Hill (30:52), Mandy Smith (37:59), (honorary Nidd) Mrs Harris (44:56) and Moira McTague (44:58).


Care in the Nidd Valley Community

Sue Reast (29:24) came out of hiding to compete in the Fountain’s Abbey Parkrun, joined by Juniors Jake Stalker (23:26) and Alex Robinson (23:49), and chased home by Fiona Robinson (30:22). As ever, Andy Todd (19:13) was the first Nidd round the monastic course, and so retains the Senior Habit for another week.

No word from the Junior Parkrun this week as the event was cancelled due to the ice in the Valley Gardens. No back bone, these young ‘uns, I tell you. Someone get me Head Coach Amanda on the phone.

And while all others were a-parkrunning, I was joined by Mike Deacon, Dave Prince, Fell Running Phil, Edoardo Piano, Dave Rushton and Brian Sherwood for a freezing Christmas run out over the fields to Plumpton and Little Ribston, before turning for home via Goldsborough. Clearly unlucky to have a first name beginning with D, both Daves continued the tradition established by Dan, took a tumble, and caked themselves attractively in mud. Throughout, we enjoyed a host of inspirational and insightful comments (keep reading, Word to the Wise has never been so good), before heading home for a hot shower and a few hours under the duvet in a vain attempt to warm up.

We get so many letters here in the post room at Nidd Valley House that the carrier pigeons can barely sit down, especially with the mail rush that is on at this time of year. Still, please do keep my posted with your news (it makes a change from Christmas cards from people I can’t quite recall): chair@niddvalleyroadrunners.co.uk.


The Week Ahead
If you can spare a thought for your Nidd Valley colleagues among all your Christmas shopping and drinks receptions, why not see what we have on offer?
• Tuesday: Don’t say we’re not treating you with this week’s club run: a tour of the Duchy Estate. Starting at the Hockey Club at 7pm, we’re then off down Skipton Road, Kings Road, cutting through to Ripon Road, down the Duchy Road, round the top at Harlow Moor Drive, Otley Road and home. There are options to extend round Beckwith Road if you’ve got plenty more in the tank, or possibilities to cut short if you’re taking it easy. Route here: http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/928018513.
• Thursday: You either love it or hate it: the annual Santa Run. More below.
• Saturday: Ladies’ Brunch. Again, see more below.


Santa Run: Thursday 17 December 2015
The formula for this run is both simple and alarming. We turn up at the Hockey Club for 7pm dressed, to a lesser or greater extent, around a Christmas theme. We’ve had shepherds, elves, santas, angels, and (yonder) stars in the past, although a simple santa hat will suffice. Well, I say that; please wear running kit as well. Under no circumstances just come in a santa hat. I mean it. If you do that, we’ll be all over the paper for the first time in years and it won’t in the results section that’s for sure. We then run round the town, up the escalators in certain supermarkets, stopping every so often so that you can traumatise late night shoppers with renditions of popular carols (“and that was the Nidd Valley Choral Society performing O Holy Night in six different keys…”). After that, it’s drinks in the bar. Believe me when I tell you that you’ll need something to blot the experience out.


Ladies’ Brunch & Secret Santa: Sunday 19 December 2015
As the title suggests, this is for the ladies only. Meet at Hampsthwaite Community Hall carpark for 9am and be prepared for a muddy, off-road, seven mile run. This will then be followed by a brunch at 11am at Sophie’s Cafe (please have clean shoes into which to change!). If you want in, you’ll need to a £10 gift for the secret santa. You need to order food in advance, so if you haven’t let Sarah C know you are coming then you need to do so ASAP. Her email: scpyman@hotmail.com.

Have a great day, ladies.


Emma’s Stretch of the Week
From standing position (feet hip width apart and a neutral spine) take a large step sideways so that your feet are wider than shoulder width apart. Bend one knee and point the toes out to about 45 degrees. Keep the other leg straight and the feet flat on the floor. A mild stretch should be felt on the inside of the straight leg. To feel more stretch lower your body to the floor by increasing the bend in the knee, all the time ensuring that your weight is equally distributed in the centre. Hold for 15 seconds each side.



Sam’s Stretch of the Week
From seated position (feet firmly on the floor), lift a large gin & tonic in your right hand. Drink. Repeat as often as stamina allows.


Steady Runners
I’ve finally pulled my finger out and organised the email group for slower and less confident runners. This group gives people a way to liaise with others and check that others are going to be there, and motivate those who’ve lost their mojo. Nidd Valley is as much a club for the steady and social runners as it is for the speedy, and I want to make sure that you feel able to turn up. I’ve emailed most of you all individually to invite you join, but if you identify yourself as one of these runners and want to be part of this group, please let me know: chair@niddvalleyroadrunners.co.uk.


Save the Dates
Please keep these dates in your diary, folks:
• Saturday 30 January 2016: Awards Night. In the words of the National Lottery: it could be you. You never know, kids, and you have to be in it to win it.
• Thursday 18 February 2016: AGM. Apparently I’ve got to wait until 7 May 2020 to try and vote out the government but you can exercise your democratic rights in a little over two months! How very exciting.


A Word to the Wise
I have three Words to the Wise for you this week. I want to make it clear that Team Nidd in no way endorses the content of these messages.

“My bollocks are soaking wet” – Mike Deacon, discovering that the rain falling on his fancy waterproof running jacket merely ran off onto his crotch.

“I wasn’t that bothered about dogs until I moved in with Philippa” – Matt Wilkinson, and we trust he was talking about Macy.

And, to finish, quite possibly the most nuclear Word to the Wise in NVRR history:
“That’s the thing with modern wives; they don’t know how to wash your fell shoes.” – Phil ‘Tyson Fury’ Robinson, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to the emancipation of women.

Sorry about that comment from Phil, Fiona. Just in case: http://www.divorce.co.uk/.


Have a great week, everyone.

Sam x


Weekly Update: Four men and a little lady


Sorry to moan, but this injury really is very frustrating. I’ve had to resort to swimming, for crying out loud. I haven’t got the body for swimming, put it that way, and having to try and do your lengths between irritating children, old ladies swimming like swans, and Olympic athletes in budgie smugglers is incredibly difficult. It’s all very unsatisfactory. Anyway, that’s enough from me. The results beckon.



On the Stray, Dan Eagling (21:41) led the troops home over the muddy course, followed by Maurice Kelly (23:54), Martin Lofthouse (25:36), Moira McTague (25:47), Dave Prince (26:08), Dave Rushton (28:13), Tony LC (28:19) and Sarah Hughan (28:20). You won’t be surprised to hear that Andy Todd (18:58) bossed it at Fountains Abbey, finishing fifth place overall.

I went over to York to watch Andy Harris (19:07), Matt Rickard (20:46), Steve Newton (23:20) and Andy’s mum, Susan (40:00), battle a very windy course round the Knavesmire. After that, we decamped to a local cafe for mugs of hot tea and bacon sandwiches while Mrs Harris expertly fielded questions about what she was doing out in town with four nice young men.

From the Juniors, Sarah Lofthouse (25:35) came home second female overall at the Harrogate Parkrun, followed by Ben Bradley (29:58) and Zoe Andrews (also 29:58 – what are the chances of that happening, hey?). At Junior Parkrun this morning, Harrison Iles (8:11) bagged himself a tasty new PB, opening the show for a string of excellent performances: Joe Sutcliffe (8:22), Jake Stalker (08:30 – PB!), James Harvey (9:02), the indefatigable Sarah Lofthouse (09:21), Aidan Ranns (09:45), Euan Madden (10:27) and the athletically named Spike Brownlees (11:02). Well done, peeps

It’s been a quiet week results-wise, so that’s your lot I’m afraid. Still, keep me updated with your news and make your Chairman proud:  chair@niddvalleyroadrunners.co.uk #doitforsam.


The Week Ahead

And what a busy week it is, too! It’s all hands on deck here on board HMS Nidd Valley as we try and get everything ship-shape for the week ahead.

  • Tuesday: Oh good. It’s Knaresborough. Thrilled. This one’s out round the back of club, round Bogs Lane, down the hill to Knaresborough, along the riverside, back over Forest Moor, past Morrisons and home. Route here: http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/926360373. Meet at the Hockey Club for 7pm
  • Thursday: It’s the Showground run. To spice things up (we live on the wild side here at Nidd Valley House, I tell you), we’ll be doing it in reverse. So it’s out from the club, along York Place, down Leeds Road, back down Hookstone Road, round the Showground, past Freeman’s Corner, past Morrisons and then back up the hill. Route here: http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/935943383. See you at the Hockey Club for 7pm.
  • Saturday: Ex-chairman Steve Newton will be running his 50th Parkrun at Harrogate. If you too would like to join the lycra-clad ginger complete his three laps of the Stray, then be on the start line for 9am.
  • Saturday: The Christmas run will now start at 10:30am to allow for people to get from the Parkrun down to Calcutt. This 8 mile run will be a social and relaxed affair, so don’t you go fretting about getting left behind. Have a look at the route here:  http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/926063497. I’m still hoping to be match fit so I can lead the run, although Dave will stand in if I’m still out of action.
  • Saturday: After the exertions of the previous week, you’ll be ready for a beer. So get your festive party swag on and come to Team Nidd’s Christmas Drinks. Meet at the Harrogate Tap from 8pm. More details on Facey B: https://www.facebook.com/events/1044567955561567/.
  • Sunday: It’s the next of the PECO cross country races. So if you’re not too wobbly after the night out, you need to get yourself to the STEP Community Centre, 244 Queenwood Drive, Leeds, LS6 3ND. Registration opens at 9am. Price-wise, it’s a steal at only £3 if you have a number from last time, and £6 if you want to enter as a guest. More details here: http://www.pecoxc.co.uk/pages/race2.html.


So are you one those impressionable and easily led Nidds that Philippa Moorse has cajoled into doing the Marcothon – the challenge where you run at least three miles every day in December? I’m told there’s a Facebook group to encourage each other and have a generally good old bitch about why you hate running, that kind of thing. If you are, the very best of luck to you.


Emma’s Stretch of the Week

From a normal standing position take a step forward. Keep both feet flat on the floor and your toes pointing forwards. Bend your back knee and lean forward from the hip keeping the front leg straight. When you feel a mild stretch in the back of the thigh hold for at least 10 seconds and then change legs. The stretch will also be felt in the calf if you lift the front foot up as in the picture.



Steady Runners

I’ve had an idea. Quite a good one, actually.  Many of our more social, less speedy runners are not coming to club runs for fear that there’ll be no one else wanting to run at a slower pace or a shorter distance. I’m wondering if we set up an email group uniquely for these people (just like the bit one for the full club), giving people a way to liaise with others and check that others are going to be there, and motivate those who’ve lost their mojo. Nidd Valley is as much a club for the steady and social runners as it is for the speedy, and I want to make sure that you feel able to turn up. If you identify yourself as one of these runners and want to be part of this group, please let me know: chair@niddvalleyroadrunners.co.uk.


Save the Date

Please keep these dates in your diary, folks:

  • Saturday 19 December 2015: Ladies Brunch and Secret Santa. As men aren’t allowed to this one, I’ll spend the day doing manly things like drinking beer and using power tools.
  • Saturday 30 January 2016: Awards Night. #onit
  • Thursday 18 February 2016: AGM. Wanna be chairman?


A Word to the Wise

“Don’t dream of winning. Train for it.” – Mo Farah.


And on that inspirational note, it’s goodbye from me. Sleep tight.

Sam x