Autumn Handicap 2020 – Report

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Autumn Handicap 24/10/2020 – A Different kind of Race Report

It was the best of times.

It was the worst of times.

It was the age of wisdom.

It was the age of foolishness.

It was the epoch of belief.

It was the epoch of incredulity.

It was the season of light.

It was the season of darkness.

It was the spring of hope.

It was the winter of despair.

I thought of those word many times last week as I prepared e mail after e mail, with rules and lists of do’s and don’ts for face cover this and sanitise that.
As a wrote out my risk assessment with all the potential hazards over every furlong of the route, and what measures we were putting place to ensure everyone’s safety and remain compliant with UK Athletics guide lines, I thought of Tom Smith and what he would have made of it all.

For those who don’t know, Tom Smith, and his band of pioneering friends formed the club in 1893 with the first runs setting off from the stables behind the Queens pub in Bingley. I have no doubt that If our worlds could have collided for a few hours through some time warp or worm hole yesterday morning He would have wondered what all the fuss was about. I have no doubt that Tom and the lads would have been off, done their run, be washed, changed and back in the bar before I had finished my runners briefing. My kind of runners. No Elf’s. No Safe T’s, Just get your kit on and get on with it.

From my point of view the day brought perfect running conditions.
It was not raining it was cool the underfoot conditions in the final field were reasonably dry but the dull sky kept the public in bed so you were all able to get a parking space and run round incident free.

There were some notable performances notably from Team Flaherty, with John, Sarah and Alex absolutely storming round.

John was First home and well done to him for fooling the handicapper.
Alistair Young 2nd
Bruce Duncan 3rd Clearly Benefiting from John Smithirst’s coaching.
Sarah Flaherty 4th
Harry Atkinson 5th

Placings with the Allowance deducted were
1st John Flaherty
2nd Alistair Young
3rd Catherine Holmes
4th Sarah Flaherty
5th Bruce Duncan
6th Theo Clay
7th Rosie Jeeps
8th Dave Jefferson
9th Harry Atkinson
10th Emyr Rees

Fastest times were:
Tom Adams 17.49
Ian Holmes 19.15
Alex Flaherty 19.32

Fastest Ladies were:
Sarah Flaherty. 23:32
Nicola Jones. 25:01
Sue Cordingley 25:32

Full results can be found on the club face book site.

As a coach it is fantastic to see runners improve. Especially when they join the club at a young age and grow into fine athletes. Tony Kingham, Dave Potter, Graham Smith, and Martin Peace should be very proud of the young talent they have nurtured over the years and take pride in the performances of Alex, Theo, Josh Spencer, Grace and Owen Pacey who all turned in good performances.

It was with a great sense of anticipation that I paired young Alex with our club stalwart and 4 times British Fell Running Champion, Ian Holmes. It would have been easy for Alex to be overawed on the day but he didn’t shy away from the challenge and gave the old legend a run for his money finishing only 15 seconds behind.

Theo Clay too had an outstanding run, out sprinting England International Fell runner and county cross country senior medalist, Tom Adams to gain a notable scalp.

Emyr Rees took family honour from son Ben by 1 second in another hotly contested finish and Grace took the honours in the Dawson household by overhauling the 4 minute start given to dad Richard to beat him by 34 seconds.

Dave Stephenson too showed excellent form to get round in a creditable 23:13 only 2 seconds behind former president and member of our 12 stage winning road relay team Martin Peace, and Dave has clearly benefited from the hard work he has been putting in at the Tuesday Interval sessions.

In the end I was a bit disappointed with my own performance as Handicapper. I underestimated many people’s predicted time by around 90 seconds but I will do better next time….and now that we have set the Covid Compliant ball rolling there will be a next time very soon.

Thanks to all who helped make the day such a success. My wife and Daughter, all the Marshall’s. Mr Starter John Capenerhurst for his time keeping duties and encouragement in all these events, to Dave and Eileen Woodhead for some excellent photographs and to you the runners for turning out. Club events have not always been so well supported so let’s hope these strange times have given you a change of perspective about your running and you recognise true camaraderie and spirit you derive from events like this rather than running an egg and spoon race or similar, put on by a business that’s charging a kings ransom for the privilege.

As a member of this club we are now custodians of a great legacy and together we have a responsibility to continue the good work of Tom Smith to make the club prosper and all the the current circumstances make it more difficult we can find a way around these problems with a bit of thought and team work.

To paraphrase Mr Dickens:
In the worst of times…..it was the best of times.
In an age of foolishness….it is an age of wisdom to have a go.
In an epoch of incredulity ….it can be an epoch of belief
In an season of darkness…..we can see some light if we look for it.
In a winter of despair….let’s share a spring of hope….
We do have everything before us so, let’s make it happen.