The best race (report) of the year?
And it has only just turned February. I travelled down to Yorkshire to take part in the Rombalds Stride, which is a grand tour of the Ilkley moor, plus surrounding hillocks. The race was marketed as a long distance walk organised by local scouts, but the majority of the folk lining up at the start were definitely planning on more than just a leisurely stroll. Without warning, the masses started galloping down the lane so I quickly got myself together and set off after them (do people not even bother with a 3-2-1 nowdays?). We headed towards the forest leading to the village where Emmerdale used to be filmed – apparently this is some sort of TV programme. The pace at the start was very leisurely, but seemed to get very slightly faster all the time. Soon enough, there was no longer any time to take in the sights, my focus solely on trying to stay on the heels of the local lads in front. This was crucial, since they were required to take care of the navigation for me around the various lanes, footpaths and whatever these ‘snickets’ are that my girlfriend kept on talking about. I was quickly questioned about who I was, and what was I doing in the front pack, before I was accepted as a part of the leading group, who were very friendly thereafter. The same was certainly true of the marshals, though I would have been slightly faster had it not been for one old lady who engulfed me in massive hug at the second checkpoint, asking “Are you o.k. lovey?”. The refreshments along the course deserve a mention too, which included the culinary delights of gingerbread men, parkin and swiss rolls on route as well as good helping of pies and peas in end. The only downside was that there were no prizes for 3rd place; only the top two got to take home crystal tumblers, but this is Yorkshire after all. Grand weather, nice day out, 23 miles / 1600 feet of climb, mud, sweat but no tears. (Thanks also to my ghost-writer for the help….).
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