Harriers enjoy the mud and a little bit of Sunshine

The West Yorkshire Winter League February fixtures came thick and fast.  Given the recent weather it was no surprise that the going was very much on the heavy side, with thick glutinous mud being a staple diet.  Surprisingly though rays of sunshine greeted the Toddies at the end of each race, timed to perfection.

The first fixture was hosted by Queensbury Running Club starting from Littlemoor Park.  This was definitely the muddiest race, starting with 2 laps of a saturated park.  A big loop followed taking in fields, farmyards, streams and woodland paths.  Although the ploughed field that was encountered on both the outward and return journey deserves special mention.  Runners tried lots of methods to avoid slowing to a shuffle at best, but all failed.  Then finally into the park and more mud.  Then hurrah a bit of sunshine to aid the recovery, I believe this is an extremely rare occurrence in Queensbury on a February day.

For the Harriers, Andy Ford had a good run, he tried to latch on to the leading pack and finished a creditable 12th.  Andy was followed in by Richard Smith and Robin Tuddenham.  Tracey Kerridge and Jodie Smith both ran well, with Jodie being well supported by Peter Kerridge who ran “injured”.    

The following week, 18th February, the hosts were Pudsey Pacers and the event centre was just outside Tong village.  Not quite as muddy as Queensbury it was still a mudfest.  Starting in fields and passing a lake before coming across a herd of Alpaca which, fortunately, were fenced in.  Then it was into Park Wood with trails down to Holme Beck.  A long climb out of the wood before a downhill finish.  Yes and now the sun makes an appearance.

There were 10 harriers at this one.  Katie Samuelson and Tracey Kerridge had a good battle for first Toddie women with Katie just edging out Tracey.  The men also packed well with Andy Ford, Richard Smith and Aaron Hargreaves all competing well.  Bob Halstead had an excellent run having just returned from holiday late the previous night.

Finally, nearly a home fixture for the Toddies, when Stainland Lions hosted the event starting close to the impressive Jacobean mansion at Clay House, West Vale.  Another very well organised and interesting course.  A quick loop above Clay House before entering the lovely North Dean Woods to Copley.  A flattish section close to the river before 3 big climbs.  Although not as muddy as the previous 2 races the “star” feature was a swift flowing stream masquerading as a path on the start of the long uphill trail towards Pickwood Scar.  A fast downhill track led to a plunge in Maple Dean Clough just in case the runners had started to dry out.  A second and third climb swiftly followed before a woodland path to the finish at Clay House, a bit longer than the previous two races, at around 6 miles.  If anything the sun came out a bit earlier, before we had finished, for most of us.

Aaron Hargreaves was the first harrier to finish in 33rd  an impressive performance, his highest placing and the only harrier to complete all of the races so far.  Richard Smith followed and then Mark Anderton who had an excellent run.  Mark had a battle in the early stages with Stuart Wolstenholme but Stuart’s “marathon training miles” from the day before finally took its toll. Neil Bailey also ran well, he only made it after being woken by his cats after a late night out!  Tracey Kerridge, Katie Samuelson and Jodie Smith ran well to achieve 13th position in the female teams.

by Dave Collins

Helen TippingHarriers enjoy the mud and a little bit of Sunshine