By Dawn Higgins

On a weekend where the Northowram Pumas were represented at many events throughout the North, this Puma chose to stay close to home and run the Sowerby Bridge Flat Caps 10k Race. Now in its second year, this race was described as ‘a charity 10k for any ability’, an ‘undulating 10k road race, chip timed, measured and fully marshalled course’ with all participants receiving a bespoke medal. With a 10.30start, the promise of a medal and some stunning views, I was in!

With hindsight, I don’t really think that this was as full and frank description of the route as I (and many fellow runners) would have liked. I’d driven a recce of the route and let’s just say that ‘undulating’ really doesn’t give this race justice. With over 1000 feet of climbing, all in the first half, it’s a bit like the Overgate route, but even more harsh!

Starting off from Snails HQ (Sowerby Bridge Cricket Club on Walton Street), it was a well organised and civilised start to proceedings. A quick lap around the field before we ascended up the paths through Dixie Woods, a right turn at the top started the further ascent up Sowerby New Road. After a mile of solid climbing, at the Church Stile Inn we turned right down Pinfold Lane to  enjoy some spectacular scenery, looking out towards Hebden and beyond. Heading out to Boulderclough, we turned up Shield Hall Lane, for an absolute ‘pig’ (insert swear word as you see fit) of a climb. You’d think that was it….but no. More climbing up Steep Lane, which, as names go is a fairly accurate description! To say it was hideous is an understatement; Think Howes Lane, but steeper. And longer. Ooh, throw in a head wind and you’re somewhere near!

Anyway…low point/high point? Who cares at this stage? Left onto Mirey Lane (more superb views), through Hubberton Green, right up Red Brink Lane and once at the top…..it’s all downhill! Views across to Norland, Huddersfield beyond and even Saddleworth! Down Toothill Lane,Thunderton Lane, left onto Plain Lane, down Upper Field House Lane, and back into Sowerby. Sometimes it has a bit ‘too’ downhill for us potential Fallers, but that just allows for Phoebe running. Past the school, round the corner and a sneaky last uphill section before crossing back over Sowerby New Road and back down through Dixie woods to where we started and the finish line! Phew!

My evaluation? This is not a 10k PB course. This is a harsh slog of steep, unrelenting uphill, with beautiful and stunning views to (hopefully) distract from what you’re doing! It was a well organised, well marshalled race with lots of support throughout and a lovely medal. All proceeds went to the Christie in Manchester. For many reasons, and not just because this year I was only there for the views, I will be back.

#FPH Dawn Higgins 58.19 (also #LPH and #OPH so there you go!)

Photo credits Jonathan Moon, Yorkshire Runner Photos and Sowerby Bridge Snails Flat Caps
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