OK, I’m just going to come straight out with it. I won a trophy. For running. Me. Plodfoot Anne. And not that namby-pamby road running, but proper fell running on hills, rocks, tree roots, mud and poo. I may have to buy a trophy cabinet.
I was a respectable 115th in the Cop Hill Fell Race, a two-lap 10km gallop up the aforementioned Pennine Way fell, with about 300m of ascent. Unfortunately with a field of just 115 that made me last, they didn’t count my new best mate Simon The Backmarker who’d kept me company and we chatted all the way round, well, that’s what you do in races, isn’t it?
With just over a week to go to the Gower Half Marathon and having entered Cop Hill on a whim because I fancied a change of running scenery, I wasn’t too downhearted at coming in last. It was a beautiful day, the November sun was warm and the scenery was stunning. The marshals were cheery, giving Simon a bit of Yorkshire lip as he passed. He deserves it, he’s a softie road runner and he’s from Lancashire.
There’s one thing you need to know about fell races, they are inexpensive community events which attract dozens, rather than hundreds and definitely not thousands. There’s no goodie bags, tee-shirts or medals-for-all. But there is tea and home-made cake for a pound a head, what a bargain! Yes there are prizes, but I never bother my pretty little head about those, except to congratulate the god-like running creatures who usually lap me.
I’d just said goodbye to clubmate Reena, who’d out-mudded me be going apex over base in the Meltham Swamp and as I closed the door I heard my name announced. I’d won a prize and a trophy, not for being the slowest, though if there was one I’d have aced that. No, it was for being the first female in my age group, the fact that I was the only female in my age group was neither here nor there. I was so delighted, I hugged the announcer, I don’t think there’s ever been any hugging of announcers at fell race presentations, he was rather shocked. Actually, I think I may have kissed him too.
Grinning from ear to ear, clutching my trophy, I did a little ‘I won a running prize’ dance in the car park, it felt good. We’d planned to head on to nearby Marsden to see and photograph our friends who were taking part in the 30-mile White Rose Ultra, so I made sure I stuck the trophy in the camera bag in case anyone stole the car. I mean, the car is insured, but the trophy is irreplaceable.
While waiting at the beautiful Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, we bumped into Robin, who’d been one of the marshals at Cop Hill. He confessed that my delight at carrying off the prize had made his day. It made mine too!