Christmas can be a rather quiet time on the running scene, so here is a tale from the dark satanic mills of Lancashire to keep you amused. The Whinberry Naze is a well established boxing day fell race, and is usually run in fancy dress by the true devotee of exhibitionism. Well, never the one to miss an opportunity, I decided that the Harriers needed to be represented in this historical event.
The little blue chiffon number bought from the charity shop in Padiham the previous day was ever so tight and really didn’t go with my Walsh PB’s so a hasty rethink on the day saw me borrowing a dragon head set and wings from my niece which incidentally happened to match the Eryri colours admirably. Result!
The day itself was cold but mercifully dry, as I, alongside 175 other similar minded souls lined up for this 6.2km mudfest. With just a little over 229m of ascent it is a short and aggressive race, ideally suited to those of a short and aggressive nature. However, as I lacked both of those necessary requirements, I had to come up with an alternative and so plan B was quickly put into effect. This plan was simple. To attack it with all the exuberance of a misspent youth (which, bearing in mind I had well and truly misspent quite some considerable time before, didn’t really help matters much either). Despite this there was some light at the end of the tunnel. If all else failed, it was comforting to know that Santa himself was going to be at the summit trig point handing out tubes of smarties to each and every idiot stupid enough to undertake this perilous journey and that better still, navigation wasn’t going to be an issue on the way down at least as there would be hundreds of spilt smarties to follow).
True to form, it didn’t take long before the Christmas dinner excess soon kicked in. I’m ashamed to admit that the dragon mask was almost immediately ditched as I couldn’t breathe and the usual sweat induced grimace took it’s rightful place just as the photo opportunity presented itself a little more than a few hundred meters into the race. Ah well c’est la vie!
It turned out to be the usual tale of pain and hard work that we have all come to love. The grind of the uphill followed by the summit plateau romp that didn’t provide the respite that was sorely needed, followed by the downhill in which you’ll be pleased to hear that I was overtaken by a bottle of beer, numerous fairies, half a dozen Santas as well as the odd “where’s wally” thrown in to boot. All was not lost however as I did beat a lass dressed as a whoopie cushion and the Jedward twins. As for the results, the official times have not yet been released, but it was a memorable event for my family as it was the first time we had all competed in the same fell race. My older brother Paul did well, representing the fell ponies and finishing close to the front in a time of 27 minutes or so. I was next in just a shade under 34 minutes. Little brother Steve soon followed a couple of minutes later wearing his customary tutu and glitter wig and my dad brought up the rear in good style around the 46 minute mark.
Not bad for a 68 yr old with over 1500 fell races under his belt!