Phil Robinson – 29 years with Nidd Valley

Good Day to the Nidd Valley Road Runners Members 🏃‍♂️,

Hoping this finds you, your families, friends and colleagues safe healthy and having a good start to 2022.
As we come to the end of another NVRR’s  year I hope you have all managed to enjoy at some point the positivity, camaraderie, and inclusiveness that has been generated over many years by people that  some,  are sadly no longer with us,  and people who today contribute and only work hard to see the good in others. One such person is Phil Robinson.  Phil joined Nidd Valley Road Runners 29 years ago in 1993. Indeed Phil, Fiona, and their son Alex have a total of 64 years membership between them.
Following my interview with the legend Alan Harby, which can be found on our website for newcomers,  or anyone that missed it.  The feedback  was so good I decided that it was time to Innerview another of our Legends Phil Robinson. For anyone not familiar with Innerviews, it is a conversation whereby the interviewer spends most time questioning and listening to the answers.  Last Saturday evening I had the pleasure of understanding the man and what lies behind his motivation.
I hope you enjoy reading the interview,  as I did listening. As those of you who know him, you would know Phil can talk for a long time.  Apparently, he once won the club’s long distance talking award and is not aware of it ever being allocated to anyone else since !
Rob. Phil,  thank you for agreeing do do this with me, so many will look forward to it.  May I start by asking how old you are and where you were born ?
Phil  My pleasure Rob.  I was born in Holmfirth,  on  in July 1962, which makes me 59, big 60 this year.  I moved to a place called Denby Dale when I was aged 6 and stayed there until my early 20’s when I went off to University in Leeds. In my early years I played a lot of Cricket and Table Tennis. I loved Cricket as it was a team sport with not as much laddish behaviour as other male dominated sports.  Laddish behaviour is something I have never been comfortable with,  and is one of the reasons I’ve  always felt at ease within the running community and Nidd Valley in particular, together with the great camaraderie and very friendly folk.
Rob What did you study,  and  did you enjoy your time at Leeds University ?
Phil  I studied Maths.   Leeds was great for me because we only normally meet people who live within our vicinity, however when you go to a local University it gets filled with people that travel from all over the country and sometimes Worldwide, which gives us a great opportunity to understand others and their cultures.
Rob When you left University did your studies in Maths take you into a numbers career ?
Phil  Oh yes !  I ended up a Chartered Accountant but left the profession almost 25 years ago. Really couldn’t stand the politics. I decided to take a route working with smaller diverse companies in industries such as hot drink vending machines, light fittings, and tool reclamation where I still work  close to where I now live in Walton near Wetherby.
Rob What does your immediate family consist of Phil for those that do not know ?
Phil  Well as many would know Rob, Fiona is my wife who has also completed over 26 years with Nidd Valley.   We moved to Ossett after getting  married in 1989 at Ripley Church.
Our  son Alex was born in 2000 and was a Nidd Junior, and now a Nidd Senior.   He is currently at St Andrews University where he has served 2 years as President of the University Cross Country & Athletics club.
Rob  So Phil, how and when did you join Nidd Valley Road Runners.
Phil  Well it was 29 years ago now Rob in 1993. I’d always done a little running.   I used to get hand me down running kit from my sisters boyfriend. As I got older I started to enter some running events as an individual,  and at one event I came across some very friendly  people from Nidd Valley.  One of them I remember as Alan Harby.  The following week there was an advert in the Harrogate Advertiser whereby Nidd Valley were looking for people to join and I responded with a phone call. The rest is history.
Rob  Can you remember some of the early characters in those years Phil ?
Phil  You are testing my memory now Rob, however certainly Alan Harby, also I remember Jean Blakey who I introduced you to at this years Guy Fawkes, who is also a Life Member, Terry Massey, and Phil Bowden who sadly passed away recently at the tender age of 63.
Rob  What positions have you held in the club since you joined Phil ?
Phil  Well,  certainly Treasurer during the mid 90’s.   I was Race Director for Guy Fawkes 10 covering the years 1998-2002.  Fiona has also held a few committee roles too. In 2009 Nidd Valley had it’s 25th Anniversary and I organised the Snowball. A run from the source of the Nidd High on Great Whernside to Knaresborough. 36 miles in total, but we picked up people in Pateley, Birstwith, Hampsthwaite and Knox “snowballing’ from the 8 who started to over 50 by the end.
Rob  Let’s get on to why we are all here Phil.  Tell me about you memorable moments,  and things you are proud of over those 29 years ?
Phil  Being a figures man Rob since joining  Nidd Valley I have completed over  850 races, covering 1,226 hours, and over 6700 miles in those races.  That is not including the club runs, individual runs etc.
My real passion is Fell Running and I currently am  the Nidd Valley Fell Running Ambassador on the Fell Running Association.
In 2009 I  was instrumental in starting the Fell Champs and have organised it  since. Thank you to Sarah Chalmers for kick-starting the 2022 campaign whilst Ive been unwell recently. In 2011 we entered 2 teams for the very 1st time in the British Fell Relays which is the most prestigious event in the fell running calendar.  A wonderful milestone for the club only surpassed in 2021 when we had 3 teams including a ladies team for the 1st time.
Achievements that I am proud of are – completing the  White Rose 100 from Ripon in 2003, covering  100 miles with no sleep in 30 hours.
Completed The Fellsman twice in 2004 and 2005,  which is 60 miles, climbing in total over 11,000 feet.
In 2006 with the great Mike Deacon, completed the 2 day Saunders Mountain Marathon in the Lake District.
The Manx Mountain Marathon is my favourite race though. This traverses from the  North to the South of the Isle of Man, which is 32 miles.  Did that 3 times !
A memorable moment for the wrong reasons was flipping over a car bonnet at Bond End in Knaresborough on a club run, fortunately not hurt, but had to endure a few hours in A & E.  I was given the then Chairmans hand -carved Green Cross Award.
Rob  Anything else you are proud of Phil ?
Phil I have always had an  interest inNavigation and  Orienteering, and using that knowledge to find new and hopefully interesting routes.  In October 2021 I achieved an NNAS Gold Navigator Award. I would encourage anyone to learn some basic navigation skills as it opens a wealth of possibilities in the great outdoors.
Rob If you were to give advice to a newcomer to Nidd Valley Road Runners today Phil based on your experience, what would it be ?
Phil  Please be patient with Nidd. We are a large  organisation now,  and it’s not always immediately obvious what we can offer as a club. Somewhere in those nooks and crannies you’ll find someone with the same running related interests as you. In time you will get to know everyone. Absorb what the club has to offer, involve yourself and do not be afraid of joining in, feeding off other runners with great energy.
Rob Phil it has been an absolute pleasure, understanding you as a person, and also the journey you have taken not only with Nidd Valley Road Runners, however also from your early days in Holmfirth.
Thank You !
Posted in General News.