Monday, 5 November 2012

Guy Fawkes 10 - 4th November 2012

If the fog would have lifted on this unseasonably and surprisingly cold November Sunday morning then this would probably have qualified as one of the most scenic of road 10 milers in the Northern Calendar. Last year, we had clear blue skies as a perfect backcloth to all the reds, yellows and golds of the autumnal deciduous woodlands all along the route … that was then. Sadly this was now.

The route starts and finishes at Ripley Castle, which today looked like this …

Ripley is a small and beautiful village about three miles from Harrogate and has been in the ownership of the Ingilby family for centuries, Sir Thomas still occupying the Castle. Dr Richard Muir described the Hotel de Ville as "a sort of village town hall, eccentrically continental - the style is Gothic revival and within the energetically soaring lines of the exterior was a worthy interior which contained a lecture hall, baronial in style." – It also made for a great Race HQ for the Guy Fawkes 10. ... All very eerie and indeed Gothic on such a morning!

The start line seemed deserted until about two minutes from the off, runners obviously trying to keep warm so not appearing until the last moment. I looked round from the front and caught the crowd just before the 10.30am start.

The aim of today was a further attempt at a PB for Michelle. Last year saw a 1.39 effort and so todays target had been reduced to1.35 but by the time we’d climbed to Burnt Yates and the left turn back towards the Nidd Valley we were behind schedule and just couldn’t get going. Breath rasped the cold foggy air in and it was just so cold, this coupled with the uphill start through Park Lodge was just too much to place us in the box seat. After half an hour however, the mood slowly changed as we levelled off and then sped downhill into Birstwith, regaining lost time, back now with an even chance of success.

Four miles gone and we were back on time, notwithstanding the climb up the Birstwith Brute which led to speedwalking at best …

Then the second of the three road climbs – the Swincliffe Swine – was beaten and behind us and loping through Hampsthwaite, back over the Nidd, I knew we’d be in with a shout.

We ran most of the final road climb – aptly named “For Fawkes Sake” – back to the village of Clint and then following a sharp right downhill track back to the start of Hollybank Wood, there remained just 1 mile to go... and we upped the pace.

I suppose spending most time off road means that a muddy leaf strewn rocky inclined path feels like home and so we passed several more probable road runners before the madcap dash back into the castle grounds – stopping the clock at 1.32 and a job very well done. … 7 minutes better than last year for Madame. Where will it all end I wonder? …

Milling around post race wasn’t much of an option as the fog was still wrapped around us and so a welcome mug of tea in the Castle Tea Room, a quick picture of Guido himself ...

...and we were back into the car to get warm.

Another great race was terrifically well marshalled and organised by the Nidd mob and so once again a big thank you for a fine mornings outing.

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