Soreen Stanbury Splash, Sunday 25 January 2009
Oddly enough, it was not blowing a gale when we arrived at Penistone Hill Country Park for the start of the Stanbury Splash on Sunday. It wasn’t raining, foggy or cold enough to freeze your fingers off either. And the ladies toilet wasn’t blocked. Most peculiar.
Just a small but select posse of Holmfirth runners turned out to experience these almost spring-like conditions. Okay, so spring-like is pushing it a bit, but it was surprisingly un-grim.
The start in the quarry was like a quagmire. That’s not abnormal, but it was worse than usual. I kept my feet moving whilst Dave Woodhead did the obligatory shouting bit at the start, since there was a real danger of getting stuck in the gloop.
The route of the Stanbury Splash is very similar to that of the Auld Lang Syne fell race (apparently). Track to start, down through fields across a sizeable stream, up through fields onto another track, then around a good sized moorland loop taking in two smaller streams. Once you get back onto the track, you just reverse the beginning bit (so one more ‘splash’ or ‘sploosh’ or whatever before the finish, and one more down-and-up). Seven miles, 1200 feet ascent.
A record entry this year – 305 starters (303 finishers). Maybe it was the thought of that free malt loaf for all finishers that boosted numbers? Or maybe it was the thought of getting crushed to pieces in an over-crowded pub for the post-race prize-giving and being fed savagely hot chilli, before being bombarded with yet more malt loaf. Who knows.
Back to the race, and some really good results to report. Tom was fifth overall, and Lisa was second lady. This meant that both of the ‘official’ photos of winners included Holmfirth runners. Nice one.
Had we managed to get a third female runner out we might have been in with a chance of ladies team prize too given that I managed to knock five minutes off my previous year’s time and finish as 10th lady (which was a bit unexpected). But hey, there’s only so much malt loaf you can eat.
Holmfirth results: 5 Tom Brunt (48:21), 48 Lisa Lacon (55:52), 91 Jonathan Sykes (60:02), 145 Paula Gould (64:51), 228 Jim Somerville (72:31).