Race report: Haworth Hobble 13/03/2010 (31miles/4500ft), 6:18

We hear from Ian Hodge who has done a race involving places called, ominously, “Top of Stairs”…

After a clear crisp night it looked like things were set for a fine day,
A last minute change in the registration venue was necessary following
the apparently unannounced closure of the community centre the Friday
before.

I’d done this event once before a few years ago and so had a vague
recollection of the route, being mainly on reasonable paths or tracks
and taking in Withins, Coal Clough, Mankinholes, Stoodley Pike and Top
of Stairs. Knowing that my fitness was still not what it used to be I
hang back at the start and so had a good line to follow. Some cloud was
hugging the heals put with the sun out it looked like it would soon burn
off. However, it went the other way and soon we were in a bit of low
mist and the decision to wear a long sleeve gave some protection from
the chill.

A couple of times in the first five or some miles there was a bit of
congestion, and unlike nearly every other event I’ve entered the normal
rules of queuing at stiles and pinch points seemed not to apply, waiting
your turn seemed a bit voluntary. No bother to me, but it kind of spoils
the ethos of the occasion.

My memory was doing well (unusually) and it made for a pleasant, if not
slightly longer than I hoped for, day. Even the climb up Stoodley Pike
seemed to be almost enjoyable, and the descent much better due to some
path improvements work. The last leg, north from Hebden Bridge to
Haworth along the Calder/Aire Link was only blighted by a bit of stomach
ache, most probably caused by a lack of fluid intake, I find I forget to
drink unless I’m sweating.

One of the odd highlight of this event is in the final half a mile, as
you return to Haworth and descend through the village along the cobbled
lane. Just after lunch on a Saturday it’s thronged my tourists and the
sight of a couple of hundred mud covered sweaty scantily clad runners
flying downhill to the finish seemed to cause much confusion.

Not a bad day in the end, and one I’m likely to repeat.

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