Monday, April 02, 2018

Pike Race 2018

Where to start? - Same as every year, at the bus turnround on Lever Park Avenue! Well that's not quite what I meant, so let's go back a bit further.

I knew this year was going to be harder than last - one year older (no escaping  that) - a few pounds heavier (mea culpa, although the OSP is trying to put weight back on by increasing portion sizes - for both of us! So not all my fault) - and averaging only 24 miles a week compared with 31 last year. So, as ever; hoping for a good run, expecting a bad one - blessed is he who expecteth nothing, for he shall not be disappointed.

The Pike Race has always been special to me, it was my first fell race, and I was then running in Notts AC colours. It was 1979 and Pete Ravald won, just 3 seconds in front of (ever the bridesmaid) Shorty. A quick scan down the (now yellowing) results for that day suggests that only Albert, George Arnold and I are still racing on the local scene. The numbers have increased since then, 220 in '79, 354 last Saturday.

Anyway, as they say, nostalgia ain't what it used to be so let's move on half a lifetime.

Fewer old faces on the start line, a lot of new ones in Horwich vests. Mostly unknown to me; for many years we got to know all the recent additions over a beer or two in the RMI after Tuesday training, but no more - stoppit, I said no more nostalgia!

Particular targets for me were to beat my older brother John, and Ray, a friend of one of my daughters who I had said should give it a go. Cut to the chase, or rather to the end of the chase; John beat me by over 5 minutes, Ray by almost 5. We were all beaten by Tony Hesketh,Tony Varley, John Parker and many, many more, whilst t'Y managed to finish behind Ray, but in front of me.

But Horwich as a club had a good race - first open men's team, first vets men's team and fifth ladies' team. Incidentally and unusually, TF's club - Salford - had two finishers (wow!) and although placing 5th and 6th had insufficient runners to complete a team.

Good to see the ever cheerful, six times Pike Race winner Paul Dugdale in the Crown later, but sad to hear the he is awaiting joint surgery for osteoarthritis.  Hope they sort you out soon, Paul, guys like you always make me feel guilty, you wear yourselves out with superb results, whilst I have never gone fast enough to do myself any damage, but just keep crawling along  - oh for that 16 minutes of glory (that's about how long it would take to pull off a win).

I will leave you with this picture of Ray approaching the finish, of special note because he had both feet off the ground, something neither of the bros has aspired to in recent years:-

Hope to see you all next year.

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