Monday, 3 October 2011

Ian Hodgson relays

Last year's Ian Hodgson relays were a highlight of our year. This year, the Pennine mixed team was even stronger, but we had some serious competition. Both Borrowdale and Bingley had put out strong teams. Presumably they'd seen our success last year and thought "we could have beaten that lot".

Last year I remember there had been some discussion about whether Daz Holloway or I should be in the mixed team. I got the nod that time, but Daz has since transformed himself beyond recognition, so I was happy that Daz was running our longest and hardest leg in the mixed team. He was partnered by Adam, who is also running fantastically well at the moment.

While the battle for mixed team success was going on, I was running as part of the open (mens') team along with Nic, who normally beats me but only just. Unfortunately, we made a navigational error on leg 2, so lost about 10 minutes for our leg 3 and 4 runners to try to make up. I could take 10 minutes off our time and say "we would have finished there", but navigation is all part of it. Plus that would assume all the other teams didn't make errors of their own. Luckily, the lads on legs 3 and 4 ran well and didn't repeat our navigational errors, so we finished in a respectable time.

Anyway, back to the mixed team. After two storming runs by the girls on leg 1 and the lads on leg 2, Mrs Noel and her partner ran the fastest female leg 3 of the day to hand over to our leg 4 runners well ahead of Borrowdale and about 50 seconds ahead of Bingley.

And who were running for Bingley on their anchor leg? Multiple fell running champion Ian Holmes, and three peaks fell race record holder Andy Peace. This pair are getting on a bit, but they're still winning good races. Although the Pennine boys ran a near-perfect race, they were pipped by 7 seconds. Apparently our lads had been closing the gap all the way down the final hill. It's amazing that after 4 hours and twenty minutes of running, only 7 seconds separated the two teams.

We'll definitely be back next year. It must be such a palava to organise this race, but it's definitely worth it.