Disaster has struck here at Nidd Valley House. In the early hours of the morning, a small electrical fire started in the kitchen – someone left the toaster plugged in apparently – and this small fire ripped through the Grand Ball Room, State Rooms and Executive Function Suites. The Chairman’s Luxury Penthouse Apartment is totally gutted. It was all hands on deck as we dashed to the West Wing, which obviously holds the Fell Running Department and Central Intelligence Unit, but we were too late to save very much at all and only a few sparking computer monitors and Fell Running Phil’s third best pair of off-road shoes survived. He’s totally distraught, the poor thing, and is sat there covered from head to foot in ashes and sobbing over some lost spreadsheets and his prized laminated OS Maps. Treasurer Dave isn’t coping much better, if we’re being honest, having lost all of the accounts that he has meticulously kept for decades. He always did accuse me of frivolous and unnecessary spending, and now it really has all gone up in smoke. He’s devastated. And what can I tell you about the ladies in the Central Administration Department? Bless them, they tried their best, passing buckets of water up and down the corridors and trying to hold back the fire, but in the end their efforts came to nothing and the fire got the better of them, leaving them not even the time to grab their personal belongings before they had to flee from the flames.
Despite the horrors, we were able to salvage the oil paintings from the Chairman’s Gallery and rescue most of the Burgundy and prize Claret from the cellars but I can’t begin to tell you what other carnage we’ve had to deal with, it’s all gutted: from the gift shop to the tea rooms. Even Bed Race HQ has gone up in flames, taking years of extravagant decorations and cross-dressing costumes with it. Obviously, all flights with Nidd Valley Airlines are suspended until the ash cloud clears, but that really is the last of our worries. We’ve lost the cargo manifest for the HMS Nidd Valley, the sheet music for the Nidd Valley Choral Society and the Nidd Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, not to mention all of Mark’s paperwork for the championships.
Alan H and Tony LC actually think it is quite good fun, saying it reminds them of the good old days in the blitz, but I don’t think they’ve grasped the seriousness of the situation. Thank heavens we had Fingers staying with relatives at Knaresborough Striders this weekend. I’ve been speaking to Catherine and we really don’t know how we will break it to him when he comes back. He loved this place, you know, he really did.
I’m too sad to tell you any more, you’ll have to come and have a look for yourself. So, from the Emergency Crisis HQ Tent which has been hastily assembled on the parched ornamental lawns in the shadow of a burnt-out stately home, I suppose we better have a look at the results.
Bloody hell! Adam Kirk has done it again. Quite the scandal, I know, but Adam (1:26:37) took more time from his already impressive PB when he competed at the Liversedge Half Marathon in atrocious conditions yesterday. He finished 33rd out of 485 runners on what was a decidedly difficult course. Congratulate him when you see him or, if you’re anything like Matt Wilkinson, just start banding around allegations of doping and start demanding urine samples. Well done, Adam.
Oh, this is very interesting indeed. ‘Muddy’ might have been a little bit of an understatement for the Muddy Boots 10k in Ripon yesterday. Makes the Doomsday Book look like a raffle ticket. Anyway, regardless of the mud clinging to their shoes, four intrepid Nidds made fantastic work of the course. Martin Lofthouse (40:09.1) was the first Nidd to finish. Sue Simpson (52:13.7) will chin me if I make any further comments about her height (and anyway, I can’t find any diminutive rhymes for ‘boots’, ‘Ripon’ or ‘muddy’) so I’ll just leave you with her time. Christine Holleran (55:8.2) and Debbie Dilasser (1:01:06.4) put in fantastic efforts, too, so well done to you all for getting up and showing the best of Team Nidd.
And so the status returns to the quo with the parkrun results for the week. Matt Wilkinson (18:56) and Martin Lofthouse (19:12) both made the cut for the top five finishers, while Ben Baird (22:05) gives us our first result of the Twenties Brigade. David Shores (22:42) and Andrew Aird (22:49) were the two newbie roses surrounding old-hander Mark Armstrong (23:55), with Sarah Hughan (24:50) leading Team Peagram to the finish (Andrew finishing in 26:02 and Hannah finishing in 26:03). Fingers Harris (26:46) sent me a good old moaning message about his time, lamenting the work still to be done to get back to optimal form but frankly, it was a five minute improvement on last week and so he should stop moaning and be pleased with his progress. This must be two parkruns in a row for Steve Newton (28:38) – just what is going on, I hear you cry – with Rebecca Ventress (28:45) and parkrun veteran David Rushton (31:22) putting in strong performances out on the mud. Jane Hill (50:11) and Jeff Walker (50:12) complete the line-up for us. Well done to you all.
In other parkrun news, Debbie Dilasser (28:25) was back up in the motherland and took time out from meeting her rellies to take park in the Redcar course, and Adam Kirk (20:52) was back down in Dewsbury to take ninth place overall. If you’d had asked me, I’d have said Alice Holt is the name of a person (probably a librarian with that kind of name, I imagine) but apparently it is the name of a parkrun, and I can share this titbit of exciting trivia with you because Chris Beattie (24:56) raced the parkrun there in a cracking little time. Fiona Robinson (32:13) really was scraping the barrel of exciting parkrun venues when she headed down to Goole, but there we are, it takes all sorts. Up at Fountains, we had a Holy Trinity of beautiful performances from Robert Hill (28:11), Michelle Dinsdale (30:49) and Michelle Smith (30:50). Amen to that, that’s what I say!
The Week Ahead
On Tuesday, there’ll be lots of love in the air here at Nidd Valley House for Valentines Day. Our very own cupid Sarah H will have her wings on and her bow and arrow in hand, and will be sure to get your heart racing with some speed-building intervals down on Derwent Road. See you at the Hockey Club for 7pm (I’ll be wearing a pink carnation!) or down at Derwent Road for about 7.10pm. Unless you’ve got other plans, that is, in which case enjoy your night in eating a special meal from M&S, drinking some midweek wine and having a good old bonk.
On Thursday, we’ve got the AGM so we’re going to be keeping it short enough with our run. Let’s meet at the Hockey Club at 7pm, run down Skipton Road as far as Kings Road, cut through Coppice and onto Ripon Road. Pick up Duchy Road and then hang left on Harlow Moor Road to Otley Road. This sets you up nicely to get back to the club, although you can do a little extra if you can still be back, showered and with a pint in your hand by 8.30pm, ready for the changing of the guard. More on the AGM below.
On Sunday, we’ve got the fourth of the PECO XC series, so no doubt you’ll be getting pestered by our club captains to find your off-road shoes and that kind of thing. This time, the racing is down near Crossgates (a place called Pendas Fields, apparently) and starts at 11am. I might even show up, you never know. If I did, it would be nice if you would make the effort too. More details here: http://www.pecoxc.co.uk/pages/race4.html.
AGM: 16 February 2017
I have two rules when chairing meetings at work: (1) nothing meaningful or relevant is ever said after 30 minutes, and (2) there is never any need for ‘any other business’. I intend these two rules to be meticulously upheld at our AGM on Thursday night. I need you there to pass a few bits of procedural jargon and to vote in your new committee (or vote people out, if you’re so inclined). If I don’t have enough of you, then it will have to be rescheduled and that would be a right ball ache. There’s free pizza for those of you that turn up. Go on, please, do the decent thing. Bums on seats for 8.30pm in the Hockey Club Bar, please: http://niddvalleyroadrunners.co.uk/2017/02/06/agm-2017-update.
Run Nidderdale: 7 May 2017
Ever fancied paying £12 to run 20 miles around Nidderdale? Yeah, me too! To think that a lovely chap called Patrick Doherty from the Rotary Club is on hand to help you do such a thing and will give you a goodie bag for your troubles is almost too good to be true. Get informed: http://www.runnidderdale.com/.
Knaresborough Bed Race: 10 June 2017
Dan and I have managed to hash a few teams together (1x female, 2x male) based on the interest. I think most of you who would want to express interest will have done so by now but if there are any last-minute requests, then please let me know ASAP: email@example.com.
Word to the Wise
Over the past two years I have acquired a stack of wise words that were too explosive to print. Bigger than Rebecca ‘potty mouth’ Ventress’ finest offerings and even more nuclear than FRP’s outrageous and provocative sexism. Not even I would have gone that far. But then I thought what better way to go out with a bang than by going absolutely postal and causing mass offence. Philippa thought it was a great idea. I mentioned the idea to Sarah H, but she gave me the look that she normally reserves for those moments when I am at risk of a severe bollocking. Better not, then. So you’ll never hear Martin’s wise words about a certain Nidder’s love life, and I can’t regale you about Alan’s encounter with a particularly dashing bartender in Bangkok in his RAF days. My apologies.
Excuse the sentiment, but it’s easy to forget, folks, that we have something really special with Nidd Valley. Really, we do. Crazy as a bag of frogs, of course, but special. Despite the occasional argument and an inexplicable adherence to tradition, Team Nidd remains one of the friendliest and most encouraging groups of people I have ever met. On paper, it isn’t terribly appealing: turn up on a cold, dark and wet night, run for an hour or thereabouts in lycra, and then go home and have some reheated leftovers for tea. That’s it? Really? I’ll go and do something else, then. But you and I know it is more than that. Whether you can run a sub-three hour marathon or barely run for the bus, you’re at home in Team Nidd. Whether you are into road running, trail running, bed racing, fell running, park running, night running, social running, only-turn-up-if-the-sun-is-shining running, push-it-so-hard-until-you-are-sick running, or just sacking-off-the-running-and-coming-for-a-pint-afterwards running, you’re at home in Team Nidd. Your ability or commitment or confidence doesn’t matter. That is what makes our club special, that is what first drew me to Nidd Valley however many years ago, and that is what brings me back even now. We’ve got something special, people, and we should never forget that. Long may it continue.
Will Nidd Valley House rise from the ashes once again? It isn’t for me to say. It is, of course, a question for another day and for another chairman.
Love you all, peeps.