On Saturday morning, March 3rd, it was confirmed that the Yorkshire Vets races at Spenborough would go ahead. This is after a week of Siberian gales and dry, drifting snow brought chaos to many parts of the country. After discovering Sunday’s forecast was for snow and rain early morning I muttered “I don’t belieeeve it” in true Victor Meldrew fashion. Snow and rain did arrive Sunday morning and I was convinced this would have left a layer of ice on the roads. I decided to set off cautiously and return home if there was ice.
Descending our road increased the concern, but it soon became clear the main roads were just wet and slushy and the snow was thawing. After an uneventful journey, the Spenborough car park was almost ice-free and just after 10am I walked the course, which had already been marked out by Spenborough AC and had a covering of soft snow. There was no wind – perfect running conditions!
Tony Kingham and David Potter arrived around 11:30am and said they would put up the Club tent. As Tony was due to race at 12 this seemed a tight schedule, but despite some of the pole joints being iced-up, they managed the job and Tony announced his warm-up was complete. The tent facility was greatly appreciated by our runners and supporters.
All women and M70+ men lined up at 12 noon to run 5K over three laps. I was thinking on the third lap how the course was starting to get churned up and the hill sections getting harder. We did well in the M75 category, with Les Haynes taking gold in 27th (26m-28) and Mike Smith Snr silver in 44th (29m-43). The M70+ top team award also went to Bingley, thanks to Les, Peter Ellerton (30th, 27m-49) and Tony Kingham (43rd, 29m-46). Such was the standard in the M70 category, the first three finished in front of Les Haynes – a rare event. Bingley ladies were represented by Caroline Francis, who put in a strong run to finish 31st, 6th F50 in 27m-52. Eighty-two finished this race, and I have rarely seen such clean legs and shoes after a cross-country race.
Next to go was the 10K for men 50 to 69. Five tough laps, sixty-five runners to mash up the ground a lot more. Bingley were led home by Stewart Mcdonald and our finishers were:
5th Stewart Mcdonald 4th M50 36m-23
16th Paul Lemmon 6th M55 38m-45
34th Bryan Parkinson 1st M65 43m-36 GOLD
51st Don Johnson 5th M65 47m-56
53rd Phil Hawkswell 11th M60 48m-33
We also won 2nd team in the 60 to 69 category, thanks to Bryan, Don and Phil.
Muddy shoes and splashes up to the knees, much more in keeping with a winter race.
Last to race at 1:45, another 10K for men 35 to 49. Another 5 laps and 51 men, struggling for grip as the mud got heavier and deeper. Our only runner was Ian Fisher, but he did the Club proud, chasing for the win in a thrilling battle with Wharfedale and Rotherham. The three were close together for most of the race, with the lead changing frequently. In the final sprint, Ian finished third place and second M45. Those finishing this race were propper muddy!
To have 198 runners compete was a good result on the day, as many decided not to attend in the wintry conditions. Spenborough AC did a superb job setting up the course and organising the races. It proved to be a sound decision to go ahead with these races.
Report by Peter Ellerton, Mens Vets Captain. 12 March 2018.