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    Teenager With Altitude

    Teenager With Altitude Fell Race

    A brief history - Wynn and Steve Cliff were married at Newlands Valley church on Saturday 20th April 1996. The following year they introduced Anniversary Waltz to the fell race calendar. For many runners this race soon became a firm favourite. In 2009 - the year of Wynn and Steve’s 13th wedding anniversary, they devised another race to coincide with the extremely popular Anniversary Waltz. With help from their good friend, fellrunning legend Yiannis Tridimas, the ingeniously named Teenager With Altitude was presented to The National Trust. Unfortunately permission for the race wasn’t granted. Undeterred Wynn and Steve stuck to their guns and in 2010 Teenager With Altitude was granted the permission they required.

    The stats don’t lie: Anniversary Waltz - 11.5 miles, 3600ft. Teenager With Altitude 15.3 miles’s fair to say the Teenager race can leave you feeling somewhat stroppy.

    Sadly, Steve passed away with motor neurone disease on the 11th January 2018. Understandably Wynn made the decision that 2018 would be the final running of the Anniversary Waltz and Teenager With Altitude races. However, if anybody was prepared to take on the massive task of organising the races in future years they’d receive Wynn’s full blessing. Step forward Les Barker and the good people of Cumberland Fell Runners. Out of respect and in tribute to the late great Steve Cliff - Anniversary Waltz is now called Newlands Memorial Race.

    I couldn’t decide which race to do this year, as I’ve participated in both a few times in the past and enjoyed them immensely in equal measures. Thinking clearly and logically the flipping of a coin would be a practical solution for my predicament, but who wants clarity and logic? I’m a fellrunner and part of the enjoyment is the unpredictable nature of the sport. With this in mind I opened the fixtures calendar, poised my index finger in anticipation and took a deep breath. It’s all or nothing, here goes - “Ip dip dog shit, you are not it”....ironically my filthy rhyme from childhood had chosen Teenager With Altitude.

    Now engulfed by feelings of nostalgia I find myself reminiscing over childhood rhymes. My personal favourite being - “My uncle Billy had a ten foot willy, he showed it to the girl next door. She thought it was a snake and hit it with a rake and now it’s only two foot four”.......ONLY two foot four, blimey what imagination we had as children. Fictitious or not, somewhere in that rhyme Roy Castle and Norris Mcwhirter should’ve presented uncle Billy with an award for his impressive member, even after his hapless reduction. Just to clarify - my actual uncles, to my knowledge, have never been on the receiving end of a rake or any other such long-handled implements for showing anything to the girl next door, or anybody else for that matter.

    Back in the carefree days of early adolescence my mate Jason was a teenager with altitude. He was by far the tallest amongst his peers, what you’d call ‘an early developer’. So much so, he was never refused Woodpecker cider from the off-license, even at the age of thirteen. He was also remarkably strong: possessing a strength beyond his years. I once saw Jason giving one of the younger lads on our street a ‘wedgie’ that beggared belief. The recipients underpants were almost above his head before they’d eventually disintegrated. Jason had taken full advantage of the undergarments quality fabric and build, registering his highest ever ‘wedgie’. It was a proud moment for Jason, the highlight being when his young victim had achieved levitation before his ‘gruds’ eventually buckled under the strain. The underpants were from Marks & Spencer, we’d noticed the label whilst later inspecting for skid marks. Whenever I’d been on the receiving end of a ‘wedgie’ my underpants would normally tear at approximately shoulder blade height. My mum bought my undies off Chorley market in packs of three. They were obviously of inferior quality when compared to the underpants purchased from the multinational retailer - M&S.

    In high school back in the 80’s this particular act of tomfoolery had reached unprecedented levels. It was considered bullying and ‘woe betide’ anyone who participated...announced our school headmaster. The instigators had been steadfastly warned. The banning of the playground ‘wedgie’ definitely had an adverse effect on the underwear stall on Chorley market. Which was humorously called Unmentionables. Apparently the stall owners had to raise their prices to offset lost revenue. My mum switched alliances to Littlewoods catalogue as her friend Irene was a representative. Even now years later, I can vividly remember a marked improvement with the quality of my underwear following my mums switch of supplier.

    NOTE - To avoid confusion I adopted the term ‘wedgie’ deeming it universally known as the act of forcibly pulling a persons underwear upwards from behind. Regional variations of which there’ll be many. We called it a ‘brownie’ - named after the discolouration left within the fabric of the underwear’s undercarriage. The unfortunate prey would often be pounced upon from the rear. The attackers would use this tactic for its element of surprise. Whilst the ‘brownie’ was performed, systematic chants of “skids, skids, skids” would drown out the victims cries. In parts of Yorkshire this uncouth act is considered to be a courtship ritual.

    Teenager With Altitude - I’m feeling the angst!

    Race day and it’s sweltering. I decide upon wearing a buff as a makeshift headband. I’m thinking it will keep sweat out of my eyes. My wife Alison is critical of my choice of headgear saying “you look like a shit Bjorn Borg, you look bloody ridiculous”. I’m confused by my wife’s bizarre description of my race day attire. I seek an explanation, Alison tells me to look in the mirror as a picture is worth a thousand words. She’s correct, I did look bloody ridiculous, as it turned out my running wasn’t much better. Certainly not one of my better days, recording a personal worst for the race by 25 minutes. I didn’t perform particularly well in the heat, it was the same for everyone, I’ll get over it...anyone for tennis?

    Many thanks to Les and all the many helpers for keeping the wonderful Wynn and Steve’s legacy in the fell calendar. It remains a great day out, still one of the best days of the year - regardless of whichever race you choose. Respect to each and everyone for making it happen. As ever the free post race food and drink was much appreciated, cheers.
    Well done race winners: Daniel Mills and Nicky Spinks.

    On the way home we called off at Forton’s the one that looks like an air traffic control tower. The tower is a grade 2 listed building - there you go, a noteworthy addition amongst my incessant ‘race-report’ twaddle. Still feeling nostalgic, we have a Burger King. I’m pondering between the Flame-Grilled or Crispy Chicken. With my index finger poised I point to wall mounted menu and take a deep breath “Ip dip dog.........” you know the rest. I was feeling slightly lethargic after my long day until the Flame-Grilled burger gave me a much needed boost. I asked Alison if she fancied a race back to the car? With a glint in her eyes she says - “Ooh ahh I’ve lost my bra, I left my knickers in my boyfriends car”.

    Blimey...some folk really do need to grow up!
    Last edited by Tindersticks; 24-04-2019 at 01:53 PM.
    Darren Fishwick, Chorley.

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