Having only joined Settle Harriers last September, this year’s KWL was a new experience for me and so I thought I’d have a look back over the series. I can’t mention everyone who ran as it would take far too long and I would be bound to miss someone, so this is a very personal look back.
It started back on January 4th at Scout Scar which is a nice course and the weather was kind. But I had run the Club Christmas Handicap the day before and I did struggle a bit towards the end. Still one down, eight to go. At this point I should explain that I never had any intention of running at Whitestones, Fairmile or Barbon as I knew I had to be down south those weekends, so my aim was to race the other nine.
The following Sunday at Firbank, the weather was not kind. Gale force winds and pouring rain. But the race was short and the wind was behind us going up the hill on each lap. The way home saw the first of several trips to the Barbon Inn. As my late father used to say, dehydration is a serious problem.
Sunday January 18th was the home fixture at Giggleswick. It was also my 63rd birthday, and true to form there was lots of snow on the ground. I had one of my worst races, really struggling on the second lap, but I enjoyed my birthday pint in the Harts Head afterwards.
I missed Whitestones on the 25th, so my next race was at Birkrigg on February 1st. This was my favourite race of the series, and I had a great battle with Steve and Annie. Each time we went up a hill, I pulled away, and each time we went down the other side, they came past me. This happened three times and on the last descent Steve just pipped me to the line. A good day was rounded off by meeting up with an old friend for lunch in Brigsteer.
Two weekends down south meant my next race was at Sedbergh school. The weather if anything was even worse than at Firbank, and the three lap course was very heavy going. This was to cost me dearly as in our hurry to get warm and dry afterwards, I didn’t warm down or stretch and by the following Wednesday, my left hamstring was not happy. As a result I missed both Cunswick and Cautley, which meant I had to do both the last two races if I wanted to complete the series.
At Oxenholme the weather was kind and the course was testing but runnable. I took it fairly steadily on the first lap to test the hamstring but pushed it on the second lap. No ill effects, so on the 29th I turned up at Elterwater and duly managed to complete the series despite my dislike of rocky descents.
I have enjoyed the racing (mostly) but for anyone training for longer events, a series of short races on a Sunday lunchtime is not ideal. My highlight was Birkrigg and my low points were the second lap at Giggleswick and the descent at Elterwater. My thanks to all the Settle Harriers who have encouraged me during the series, despite the fact that I am old and slow, and my particular thanks goes to Brian and Steve, my travelling companions; your friendship and support are much appreciated.
The following Settle Harriers completed the series (minimum seven races)
Sally Handford 5th Lady
Sabrina Gilby 10th Lady
Jo Wulf 12th LV40
Jill Gates 3rd LV50
Brian Kennedy 3rd V50
Steve Moor 16th V50
Chris Beesley 7th V60