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Kirkwood Hospice 10K 2017

KIRKWOOD HOSPICE 10K,

Leeds Road Sports Complex, Sunday, 3 September, 2017.

The latest event in the Northowram Pumas’ club championship calendar was held at Leeds Road Sports Complex, Huddersfield, the annual Kirkwood Hospice 10k, now in its tenth year. Last year, only four Pumas took part; this year the number had increased to ten, with Matt Newton being the only survivor. The Pumas’ team was split fifty-fifty, though not by design, with Tim Brook, Peter Reason, Simon Wilkinson and Johnny Meynell joining Matt making up the men’s team, while the women were represented by Helen Jackson, Shana Emmerson, Jodie Knowles, Charlotte Reason and Tracey March.

They all gathered in the car park a good hour before set-off time; with race numbers being collected by those who had pre-booked their places on-line in the club HQ, the others registered themselves, whilst Shana Emmerson went to swap the name of the unfortunate Jane Cole (injured) to her own, and almost completely managed it (they spelt it wrong).

Smiling Pumas pre-race – before the realisation that they weren’t there for fun.

By 10.10am, all the runners were out on the field trying to look as if they were actually enjoying a mass-group warm-up routine. Then they were directed to the starting line, all 269 runners, and at half past ten they were on their merry way.

The course, as in previous years, began with two laps of the playing fields (taking in about half a mile) before venturing out onto the A62 Leeds Road and after several hundred yards being directed left onto the canal. Heading back down from the direction in which they’d just come, with the playing fields on the left, the route carried for around a quarter of a mile before turning right, crossing the canal bridge then heading under the railway and veering left to take up the tarmacked path, the only ‘serious’ bit of climbing the route asked of the runners. The path continued for half a mile or so before (sub)merging into Aquamarine Drive. A left turn onto the more earthily named Red Doles Road, back under the railway line, the runners then swung a left to take up the return journey back towards the playing fields along the canal.

With the industrial estate on the runners’ right, and just prior to reaching the fields, the runners took a ninety-degree turn onto a tarmacked road that brought them back onto Leeds Road – the first lap completed. Required to negotiate the course twice, upon reaching this point the second time around, the runners then headed back into the sports complex, finishing by running three-quarters of the adjacent athletics track. Simple.

The Pumas’ start-line selfies are proving so popular, everyone else seemingly wants to be on one.

Right from the off, Tim Brook made a bolt for it, and was among the leaders throughout the race. By the time he’d done the two laps of the field he was lying sixth; passed by two, he overtook one and eventually finished seventh, a position which, in anyone’s book, was brilliant. Not only that, he went sub forty minutes for the first time over this distance; make no wonder this Puma was grinning for the rest of the day.

Keeping her eye on her Strava, that’s Charlotte Reason.

The positions of the Puma men went, in fact, to form, with Matt Newton, fuelled by Kopparberg and Sambuca shots from Demelza Bottomley’s fortieth party the night before, clocked an incredible 42:43 to finish nineteenth. His reaction of “I don’t know where that came from,” wasn’t entirely original, as he was saying the exact same thing just over twenty-four hours earlier when he ran a personal best 20:59 at Brighouse parkrun. Peter Reason was third home with a time which showed steadying improvement, whilst Simon Wilkinson, who overtook Johnny Meynell just around halfway, ran a consistent race to grab his own personal best over 10k.

Tim Brook charges to the line, seventh, sub forty minutes, #FPH and all that.

The Puma ladies were led home by Tracey March, and how good it was to see her back on the circuit. Jodie Knowles showed how far she’s come; her time of 57:13 was a marked improvement on her last 10k at the Helen Windsor event in July. In fact, she was nearly a minute and a half faster. Helen Jackson was relieved to keep her glute in one piece whilst Shana Emmerson managed to keep smiling all the way around, as she always does. Last for the Pumas, but certainly not least, was Charlotte Reason, who ensured all ten runners managed to finish inside the hour. She reckoned to have set her own personal best by one second, then bemoaned that her Strava – a gadget that is considered by those who use it to be as reliable as night follows day – had clocked the course longer than it should have been! A shout out, too, for the Hopkinsons, once again wearing the colours of Halifax Harriers. Paul Hopkinson finished 33rd in 45:18, while wife Jenny was just one place behind in 45:42.

Don’t you just love these before and after shots?

Pumas’ finishing positions and chip times;

7 Tim Brook 39:52
19 Matt Newton 42:43
42 Peter Reason 46:56
71 Simon Wilkinson 50:21
85 Johnny Meynell 51:36
132 Tracey March 56:41
139 Jodie Knowles 57:13
146 Helen Jackson 57:30
166 Shana Emmerson 58:49
172 Charlotte Reason 59:26

269 runners.

Littleborough 5k Road Race

LITTLEBOROUGH 5K ROAD RACE,

Tuesday, 29 August 2017.

As a promise to myself to cover any event that a Northowram Puma may take part in, and for consistency purposes, you understand, do I run the risk of appearing self-indulgent. Not that I’ve much to be self-indulgent about, although I did happen to be the only Puma who took part in Tuesday evening’s Littleborough 5k Road Race, organised by the Littleborough Lions.

Back in June, I ran a similar course over the same distance with Alan Sykes, finishing in 24:14 in what was the last of the Littleborough 5k Road Race Series. This time the route differed somewhat as we headed down Peel Street (instead of up it), turned right at the bottom into Winton Street, then picked up the main road A58 Church Street up to the junction with Smithy Bridge Road. There was then the arduous climb up through Smithy Bridge itself, crossing the railway line and pulling ourselves up to Hollingworth Lake. We then had something of decent flattish – even downhill – run over the last mile or so, finishing by passing under the subway near the railway station.

The starter set us all off at 7pm prompt, a relatively small number of 66 runners which included a couple of Sowerby Bridge Snails in Jonathan Moon and Kieran Heaton. The field had thinned out by the time we reached Church Street, but this busy main road proved deceptive, a gentle climb of nearly a mile up to the traffic lights. By the time we’d reached this point we’d covered about a third of the race, but my legs were already feeling tired. We got brief respite on a nice downhill stretch towards the railway line, only to find the level crossing gates closed and a marshal directing us down the steps under the subway, and therefore the climb of the steps up the other side. This was a first, and though it was the same for everyone, for me it did break my stride somewhat. Then there was the climb up Smithy Bridge Road, never too steep but enough to sap even more energy from your legs. With the junction reached and the left turn along Lake Bank, there was just a mile to go. Hollingworth Lake cut a scenic picture on my right but I had too many other things on my mind to enjoy it.

I drove myself along Lake Bank with the sound of footsteps behind me; someone was closing me down. We veered off left down Hollingworth Road, a pleasant descent, the footsteps behind me still a bit too close for comfort. I pushed on, got into my stride and soon enough I could see the entrance to the subway by the station ahead. A quick glance over my shoulder reassured me that I’d pulled away from the runner chasing me, and having turned under the subway, the finish line was but yards ahead, but only reached after we’d had to negotiate a cycle barrier. A quick body swerve and I was through, and in the blinking of an eye, I was careering across the finish line, almost in a state of near exhaustion, but home all the same.

The only pictorial evidence showing that I competed in the race.

My finishing time was 24:22, eight seconds slower than my previous outing to Littleborough, but as I said, on a slightly harder course. The next runner home (Andy O’Sullivan of Rochdale Harriers) was eleven seconds behind and I finished 24th, no great achievement there, but happy to have taken part. The Snails’ Jonathan Moon came an impressive fourth, but later, over a drink back at HQ, the Littleborough Conservative Club, he was rewarded with a bottle of lambrini for his efforts! The race winner was Darren Shackleton of Todmorden Harriers and he received a cup on which the European Champions’ League Trophy looks to have been modelled.

All the runners were presented with participation certificates (another first) and I clutched mine with pride. Something to show the grandchildren in future years, eh? “Have I told you about the time I ran in the Littleborough 5k Road Race….?”

Tour of Norland Trail, 2017

TOUR OF NORLAND TRAIL

Copley, Sunday, 27 August 2017.

The club championship races come thick and fast. Only seven days on from the Fleetwood Half Marathon, the next event was the Tour of Norland Trail Race, hosted by Halifax Harriers, an event in stark contrast to the flat roads that were pounded on the Lancashire coast. However, despite the talk of panoramic views over Sowerby Bridge, many Pumas were doubtless put off by the thought of raking it over the 7.4-mile route, though as at Fleetwood, a handful showed up to claim their appearance points, although here it was a different cast. This time around, four were enticed by the mouth-watering thought of ascending the 800-feet climb up onto the Norland Moors; Kirsty Edwards, Matt Newton and myself had already verbally committed (to each other) to tackling it; Andrew Tudor arrived after an eleventh hour fitness test to which he gave himself a big thumbs up.

Underneath the arches…are the Pumas who took part. From the left; Johnny Meynell, Kirsty Edwards, Matt Newton and Andrew Tudor.

Part of the appeal of the race was that you could enrol on the day of the event, therefore no need to commit in advance. The £5 entry fee was also pleasing on the purse strings, and in total, there was a field of 140 runners taking advantage of this cut-price deal. Registration was at Copley Cricket Club, as was the finish to the race itself, on the far side of the cricket pitch. To get there, the runners had to negotiate whatever the Norland Moors threw at them, and the competitors gathered just below the canal at the entrance of Hollas Lane for the 10.30am start.

The route took the runners along Hollas Lane, under the railway arch and up the fields, familiar to those who ran the final West Yorkshire Winter League race, hosted by Stainland Lions, back in February. Once North Dean Road had been reached, the runners were directed up the hill (obviously), then they veered a sharp left to continue the climb up Pickwood Lane before taking a bridle path, a gentle incline which ran for about half a mile and eventually came out at Turbury Lane. The route turned right along here until a marshal directed the runners left to begin the 2.9-mile clockwise loop of Norland Moor. Having circumnavigated this section, the runners exited Norland Moor at the same point as they’d entered it, and after a short run back up Turbury Lane, entered the fields and the welcome descent back to base. The route continued through the woods, eventually picking up Pickwood Lane and North Dean Road and returning along the route we’d started out on, continuing past the start, along the path through the woods before entering the final straight which was Copley Cricket Club and the finish line ahead. It was never intended to be easy, and the Tour of Norland Trail didn’t disappoint.

We were set on our merry way to the instruction of “On your marks,” and then there was no turning back. We followed Hollas Lane then began climbing the fields, the pack becoming bunched in the early stages as it negotiated the stiles. The last of these took us onto North Dean Road and there was the arduous pull up for what seemed an eternity. Needless to say, I soon found myself having to walk; it looked so disheartening, even at this early stage. Matt and Kirsty had started to pull away, and Andrew, taking his time, passed me shortly before we turned up the bridle path. He had once advised me to concentrate on my effort, and I chose to do this once I’d taken a quick glance up ahead as the track stretched way into the distance. It turned at right angles at one point; Matt, who had made an early bid to become #FPH had slowed down somewhat and Kirsty had soon caught him up; in turn, Andrew then took the pair of them and I wouldn’t see him again until I finished. The tour of the moor still maintained an incline for quite a way, and I found it really tough on my legs, particularly having sampled the Lancaster parkrun the day before (I dare you – have a go).

The starter’s counting down the seconds, but there’s still time for a quick selfie. It’s tradition, you know.

In time we descended towards Butterworth End Lane but just before reaching it, the trail took a swift right turn, and guess what? We were climbing once more. Though by this time I had the fillip of seeing Matt and Kirsty almost within reach, so clearly I had made up some ground. As the trail flattened out across the moor we were about to experience the domino effect, and I’m not talking about pizzas. I was perhaps fifteen yards adrift when I saw Matt suddenly take a tumble. Kirsty stopped to help him back on his feet, and suddenly the three of us were all together, and may I say, it was nice to be among friends! Less than two minutes later, Kirsty was the next casualty, missing her footing (it seemed) and like Matt, taking what seemed a nasty fall. But she saw the funny side, regained her composure, and we were on our way again. Until that is, I took my turn. My mother always went on about me dragging my feet, and I should have heeded her advice. Down I went, banging my left ankle in the process. Matt and Kirsty stopped while I recovered, got to my feet, then we carried along. But soon enough the pair of them were striding away, and I lost more ground whilst I had to retie one of my laces.

The tour of the moor seemed to take an age, but eventually we came out in the same place as we went in, joining Norland Road and turning immediately into Turbury Lane, then crossing the fields that took us into the woods. As we entered this part of the course, I was at the back of a four-man convoy, but feeling happier, safe in the knowledge that all the climbing had now been done. Of course, we ran down through the woods quicker than we’d come up them, and as we came out of the other side, there was a marshal directing us back down Pickwood Lane and North Dean Road. I made good my run for home, passing the other three runners, and as I entered the stile which took us into the fields we’d climbed at the start, I noticed Matt and Kirsty leaving it at the other end. I charged down the field with a Stainland Lion for company, and as we crossed the bottom veering left, we were closing with every step. Suddenly I had visions of the three of us – myself, Matt and Kirsty – finishing together, but there was a twist in the tale, or should I say, my ankle. The field took us down what we called as kids the ‘catsteps’, here muddied and uneven. Travelling at speed, tucked in behind the Stainland runner, my left foot hit the ditch and for a second time I was lying on my back. I suffered no life-threatening injuries, but the fall did knock the stuffing out of me, and any chance I had of catching up my fellow team mates all but disappeared. I rejoined the tarmacked road which led us back under the railway arch and the flat run over the last half mile or so. But by now I was gone; the runners who I’d overtaken coming out of the woods now passed me with ease, though as I reached the part where we started the race over an hour earlier, a quick glance over my shoulder told me there was no more imminent threat. Tired, battered and bruised, I pulled myself along through the woods with the River Calder to my right and the rugby pitches on my left and entered the cricket field with the fantastic sight that was the finish line. Andrew, Matt and Kirsty cheered me in, and the ordeal was over.

Andrew Tudor enters Copley Cricket Club on his way to being #FPH.

From being less than thirty seconds behind Matt and Kirsty with half a mile to go, they’d managed to put nearly two minutes between me; they ran in together and were given the same times. Andrew took the honour of being #FPH, though having managed to run unscathed for most of the race, suffered a calf strain after pushing himself too fast down the final fields and he saw out the final stages in a slow canter. The race itself had been won by Jonathan Melia of Rossendale Harriers in 51:11.

Kirsty and Matt cross the line together.
Giving it my all for the camera. I drag myself over the line.

The race recovery included free tea and biscuits, and Kirsty, Matt and myself sat and watched other runners finish across the field. I admired how the Halifax Harriers had organised the event, and from where I was, there hadn’t appeared to have been any glitches. But that wasn’t necessarily the case. Stories unfolded of one lady who’d taken exception to part of the course going over ‘her’ dog-walking patch; she’d taken it upon herself to remove or change the direction of some of the flags on the moor, with some of these later found in a bin. It seems it was the leading runners who suffered; quick thinking by some of the marshals up there soon put most of the runners on the right track, but it does make you wonder what goes through people’s minds at times. The experience at Oakwell Hall in the West Yorkshire Winter League was obviously not a one-off incident.

Every picture tells a story.

Northowram Pumas’ positions and times;

71 Andrew Tudor 69:36

85 Kirsty Edwards 72:44

86 Matt Newton 72:44

93 Johnny Meynell 74:39

Farsley Flyer 2017

FARSLEY FLYER

Wednesday 9 August, 2017.

It was only last April that relatively new Puma Cathy Heptinstall ran her first 10k race. To prove she’s making great strides, last Wednesday, she decided to do another, solo, in the Farsley Flyer Trail Race. And all hats off to her for giving it a go. But for those of you who know her well, they weren’t seriously worried whether Cathy would manage the multi-terrain six-and-a-half mile route, but more concerned as to whether she’d actually manage to find the venue. She seriously was concerned about that.

The Farsley Flyer Trail Race is a little known event that’s worked its way onto the running circuit for the first time; the organisers are trying to seek more publicity so that it gains popularity. Most of this is being done by word of mouth but on the evidence of the number of local clubs who were represented, the word is certainly getting out there.

The Farsley Flyers who organise this race have introduced a concept previously unknown to this scribe; no mass start meaning those who may be ‘running late’ can turn up anytime between 6.30pm and 7.30pm. As everyone is ‘chipped’ times and positions will later be ironed out. A further incentive to enter this race are the cakes and biscuits awaiting the finishers, as well as £2 off a drink in the local hostelry The Fleece, on Town Street.

Some of the runners pre-race looking relaxed. What’s the rush, anyway?

The route consists of mainly country lanes, trails and fields. A few of the trail sections were slightly overgrown, and just for good measure, there was a section that was muddy due to the recent rain. Though on the evening, the weather was kind and the sun stayed out.

Having navigated her way to Farsley, Cathy found herself near the front at the start, crossing the start line at 18:30.15 once the runners had been given the green light to go. I hasten to add at this point that Cathy wasn’t being stalked; these ‘out’ and ‘in’ times are recorded on the results sheet.

Cathy in recent action at Brighouse.

The route, hitherto kept a secret from all competitors except those who had reccied the course during the week, had a climb of 200 metres, but Cathy negotiated it well and finished just after five past eight, 107th out of 153 runners in a time of 1hr 35:20. The winner of the event was Ben Coldwell in 53:36, whilst the honour of the first Farsley Flyer home fell to James Crabtree, who finished sixteenth.

Evidently, from the feedback from runners who took part, there is a good chance that we’ll see more competitors next year. “A great event – well organised, great route and delicious cakes. Would definitely run future races,” was one typical glowing review. Oliver Gregory of the Flyers responded by saying, “Farsley Flyers loved every minute of hosting their first race, hope you all enjoyed the challenging route.” Their first race, maybe, but I’d say definitely not their last. Next year, I expect Cathy to be accompanied by several of her Puma friends.

Isle of Skye Highland Games Hill Race

ISLE OF SKYE HIGHLAND GAMES HILL RACE

Wednesday 9 August, 2017.

What to do when you’re far away from home on your holidays. Why not sign up for the local hill race at the Isle of Skye Highland Games? “Don’t mind if I do,” reckoned Tim McBrook, holidaying with the lovely Lisa and Mei-Lyn, and just short of donning a kilt, he lined up for the race which has been a feature of the Games since, well, forever.

Tim McBrook, braced and ready to tackle that Hill.

The Games were inaugurated in 1877 by the Skye Gathering Committee, and except during the World Wars, have taken place annually in the natural amphitheatre at Portree, known locally as The Meall (translated as ‘the lump’). However, the tradition which they represent goes back hundreds of years before that, with clan celebrations that included fiercely-contested feats of strength and endurance, together with piping and other forms of entertainment similar to those that can be enjoyed at the games today.

Tim, therefore, had a nice array of events from which to choose in a programme which included piping, dancing, sailing and tossing the caber. Tempted or not by the thought of humping a nineteen-feet tapered pole, Tim decided to play safe and pitched himself – Pumas top and all – into the Hill Race, though by all accounts, this 2.7 mile event isn’t for the faint-hearted.

Here’s a course description just to set the scene: “Once you leave the games field you must choose which route to take to the foot of the hill. Longer and safer via the road, or an obstacle course via the foreshore. Most people take the shorter route. This goes over a low wall with an 8 foot drop into a cemetery, through a graveyard, over barbed wire fence, down grassy bank avoiding the nets drying, over a gate and onto the beach, then across seaweed, mud, stones, a couple of paddles through burn outlets, then back up to the road beside the petrol station. There are several ways up the hill, either following a narrow winding path or by cutting through the grounds of the Viewfield Hotel. Both end up on a narrow path to the right of a fence heading up to Suidh Fhinn. You do not go to the top of this hill. At about 170m you turn right and contour a couple of hundred metres to a prominent white flag, where the marshal hands you a token. At the road you again have the choice, longer and drier or shorter and wet.”

The size of the task. Tim’s probably about seventh here.

Fortunately, the event was held in warm sunshine, and Tim, being the natural athlete that he is and never one to shirk a challenge, chose….the longer and drier. Bearing in mind, if you hadn’t heard, he had sustained a nasty ankle injury the day before clambering over rocks and stones, so fair’s fair.

With cash prizes on offer to the first three competitors home (£100 for the winner is something not to be sniffed at) Tim had every incentive, particularly as, word has it, it was his round next. The runners began with a lap and a half of the field before making their way out through the town and towards the hill, with Tim at this early stage lying third and giving hope to his family that he really could bring home the readies. Out of sight they went and just went on out there is anyone’s guess. But Tim gave it his all, climbed the hill via the road, collected said token and made his descent. Alas, he found himself out of the money-placings as the runners re-entered the field, but over the final lap and a half, Tim showed a clean pair of heels to his nearest rival and made a dart for the line. Cheered on by literally thousands of spectators, Tim finished a more than creditable sixth out of a field of thirty-three runners, beating many of the locals, and he must have been happy with his time of 21:18, though having never run this race before, to what could he compare it?

Tim makes a dart for line in front of literally thousands of spectators.

The event itself was won by Chris Edis of Keswick, whilst the Ladies’ section was won, for the eleventh time, by Christina Rankin of Uig. And while Tim isn’t the first Yorkshireman to have run this race – indeed, last year, the event was won by Leeds’ Noah Hurton – I’m pretty confident in saying that he is the first Puma to have entered it, so how lucky was he that he happened to be on the Scottish island when he was, with the Games nicely coinciding with his holiday. It’s not as if he actually planned it.

Is it?

Todmorden Park Summer 5k Series, Race 4

TODMORDEN PARK SUMMER 5K SERIES, RACE 4,

Thursday 3 August, 2017.

Just twenty-four hours after the Dewsbury Flat Cap 5, Neil Coupe found himself on the starting line at Centre Vale Park, Todmorden, for the last in the four-race series. This was something of a minor miracle, really, for he was nursing a nasty ankle injury sustained at Dewsbury, but not something many of you might have known about. Joining him on the starting line was Johnny Meynell, ready to complete a full-set of the four races, though sadly, watching from the sidelines, was Alan Sykes, who, having run the first three, now forced to rule himself out having pulled a leg muscle at Dewsbury the night before. The curse of Flat Cap, eh? Also adding support to the two-man team was Matt Newton, and it’ll be a pleasure to see him up and racing in the not too distant future.

Neil Coupe chasing down the familiar Paul Hopkinson, running for his ‘other’ team

The bigger than average field was swelled to 103 competitors, helped in no small by way by the large contingent of Halifax Harriers who were using the event as part of their own club championship, and as such there were a few familiar faces on show. Neither Neil or Johnny troubled the leaders, it has to be said, and the event was won by Michael Gaughan, who many will recognise at our local parkruns The course takes in five laps of the park, and with it being as flat as anywhere you’re likely to come across (perhaps only Wellholme Park at Brighouse beats it around here) it can be tough going at times, with no chance of a downhill stretch for a breather.

Those are the excuses out of the way. And while winner Gaughan floated around in 16 mins 41secs, Neil Coupe finished 37th in 21:27, way down on his previous time of 20:53 set in his first race (the second of the series). Johnny was hoping to crack 24 minutes, but having run the first three races in times of 24:09, 24:03 and 24:06, agonisingly just failed, coming home in 64th place in 24:01, still his fastest time over the series event and certainly showing consistency.

The clock’s ticking down, but will Johnny beat the magical 24-minute barrier? Maybe next year…

With Alan Sykes not running, there were no prize-winning Pumas in any age category, but there was some consolation as Neil treated us all to a round of chips, onion rings and cheesy garlic bread in the welcoming Hare and Hounds over the road. He certainly knows how to look after his Pumas.

Participants need to run a minimum three races of the four to qualify for the final standings league table (best three results counting), and here, Johnny Meynell finished 24th in a combined total of 1hr 12:21, with Alan Sykes 28th in 1hr 15:13 out of a total of forty-seven runners.

 

 

Dewsbury Flat Cap 5

DEWSBURY FLAT CAP 5,

Wednesday 2 August 2017.

On Wednesday, the Pumas On Tour Express was on hire once more, cram-packed with ready runners, Dewsbury-bound for the annual Flat Cap 5 trail run. Other Pumas made their own way there, and all-told, there were twenty-seven club members who helped swell the throng at the starting line to 256 runners.

As usual, it was all smiles before the event.

Hosted by Dewsbury Road Runners, their website described the course as “multi-terrain, slightly undulating, finishing at the picturesque Leggers Inn pub and canal boat yard close to Dewsbury town centre”, taking in “the Dewsbury-Ossett greenway, off road paths and the canal towpath.” Depending on who you spoke to after the event, the course was either “very hard” or “not too bad”, though nobody I conversed with described it as easy.

Perhaps the biggest problem facing the runners was that there were stretches where it became very difficult to overtake, and hence for long stages, runners were seen to be making their way in single file, almost like, back in the day, walking down the school corridor.

Adding some spice as far as Northowram Pumas were concerned was the fact that this event was the latest in the club championships. So,how relieved must Andy Haslam have been to be granted a last minute slot to further improve his standing in the league tables?

The race was won by Stadium Runners’ Simon Courtney in 27 mins 55 seconds, almost a full minute before second-placed Ed Hyland of Stainland Lions. But of more interest to Northowarm Pumas was the question of who would take the honour of being #FPH. It appeared to be an all-out dual between Luke Cranfield and Tim Brook, and in the end, it was Tim who edged out his rival, finishing an impressive sixth in 31 mins 12 secs, seven seconds faster than Luke who followed him in. Third home for the Pumas was the aforementioned Andy Haslam in twentieth position, Rick Ralph (30th) was fourth home, whilst the ever-improving Peter Reason was fifth Puma home, beating Chris Ellis by two places and three seconds.

Jane Cole trying to keep tabs on Simon Wilkinson.
Shana Emmerson felt the need to remove her cap for fear it might make a mess of her hair.

Elsewhere, Andrew Tudor seemingly summoned up all his energies to catch Kirsty Edwards – she was the first female Puma home in 83rd position – right on the line, Simon Wilkinson enjoyed a sub-forty-one-minute run, as did Jane Cole, who evidently had deliberated over taking part. Veteran Alan Sykes had taken the place of Liz McDonnell, but was hampered by a pulled leg muscle for the last mile or so. Further down the list, it was great to see Demelza Bottomley pushing herself all the way, here a runner who a year ago might have scoffed at the thought of running a competitive five-miler, whilst bringing up the rear for the Pumas was Sharon Reason, someone who, like Demelza, continues to impress with her endeavour.

#FPH Tim Brook, with Luke Cranfield not too far behind.

Full list of Pumas’ finishing positions and times;

6 Tim Brook 31:12

7 Luke Cranfield 31:19

20 Andy Haslam 33:43

30 Rick Ralph 34:06

54 Peter Reason 36:59

56 Chris Ellis 37:02

64 Neil Coupe 37:33

71 Shaun Casey 37:53

83 Kirsty Edwards 39:07

84 Andrew Tudor 39:07

100 Simon Wilkinson 40:48

102 Jane Cole 40:56

106 Paul Bottomley 41:34

112 Vicky Owen 42:20

116 Alan Sykes 42:32

129 Debbie Fox 43:58

151 Andrew Mellor 45:59

162 Sharon Wilson 46:45

164 Helen Jackson 46:58

188 Anna Ralph 48:37

192 Jodie Knowles 49:05

198 Shana Emmerson 49:34

201 Charlotte Reason 50:15

204 Jo Allen 50:28

206 Carolyn Brearley 50:43

221 Demelza Bottomley 53:13

235 Sharon Reason 55:19

Bingley Show Trail Race

BINGLEY SHOW TRAIL RACE,

SATURDAY 22 JULY 2017.

The Bingley Show Trail Race isn’t for the faint-hearted. Predominately off-road, as the name suggests, it also takes in several steep climbs which ask much of the nimblest of runners. Northowram Pumas were represented by just two competitors; Tiffany Lewis and Karen Matos, and all credit must go to them for daring to give the 10k course a go. Not only was the route treacherous in places, the event got under way in torrential rain which made the going all the more heavier.

Karen and Tiffany brace themselves. Apparently, they were banned from using the umbrella whilst tackling the course on Heath & Safety grounds.

There were 132 runners who braved the elements and the event was won by  Michael Malyon of Baildon Runners in 42:33. Tiffany was #FPH in 123rd position in a time of 1hr 19:06, whilst Karen was just one place behind in a time of  1hr 21:26. Upon completion of the race both bemoaned the conditions, the course, their positions and their times, but when asked by an official later if they’d enjoyed themselves, both were heard to reply, “We loved it!”

Tiffany either waving or trying to keep her balance.

 

Karen had pre-supposed that the sun might come out, and when it did, her glasses stood her in good stead.

 

Todmorden Park 5K Summer Series

 

TODMORDEN PARK 5K SUMMER SERIES, RACE 3,

THURSDAY JULY 20, 2017.

The third round of the four-race series at Todmorden saw three Pumas take part. Alan Sykes and Johnny Meynell had taken part in the first two races, whilst Paula Snee was making her first appearance in the event which sees the competitors working their way through five laps of Centre Vale Park.

Paula, in fact, had an enjoyable evening, for not only was she #FPH, but she also set herself her fastest-ever time of 23:30 for the distance, bettering her Brighouse parkrun PB by twenty seconds. Johnny Meynell finished in 24:09, whilst Alan Sykes finished in 25:13, his slowest time at the event so far. Nevertheless, as he did in his last outing, the old stager cleaned up in his age category and helped himself to a fine selection of bottled beers.

In a field of 68 runners, the winner was Jason Parker of Preston Harriers, who completed the course in 16:40.

Runners must complete a minimum of three races to qualify for a final position in the league table, and with Johnny and Alan having run all three races, their current standings at present are 17th and 21st respectively from a listed field of thirty-four.

Alan Sykes once again drank the barrel dry, finishing top performer in his Over 65 age category.

Widdop Fell Race

WIDDOP FELL RACE,

WEDNESDAY 19 JULY 2017.

The latest event in the club championship was this daunting seven-miler up the fells around Widdop, near Hebden Bridge. Advertised as a “classic high moorland route…good and interesting paths with a few tussocks and chest high bracken thrown in!”, this enticed only four Pumas, Luke Cranfield, Tim Brook, Andrew Tudor and Peter Reason.

In total, there were 146 starters, two of whom failed to finish. First Puma home (#FPH), officially for the first time, was Tim Brook, whilst the event itself was won by Wharfedale Harriers’ Sam Watson in 52:13. Tim finished eighteenth in 1 hr 1:04. Full Pumas’ results here;

18 Tim Brook 1 hr 1:04

37 Luke Cranfield 1 hr 04:39

103 Peter Reason 1 hr 19:07

111 Andrew Tudor 1 hr 21:19.

Northowram Pumas were eligible for the team event, and with the first three runners home counting for points, the team totalled 158 and finished eighth from ten in the Men’s event.