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