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Thread: SOB Fell Race

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    SOB Fell Race

    SOB Fell Race

    SOB is the abbreviation for: Stile End, Outerside and Barrow. This year’s race coincides with a couple of running milestones I’d reached in just less than ten years of racing throughout my forties. Not only was SOB my 1000th race, it was also my 500th DIFFERENT fell race and surprisingly through luck, determination and at times sheer stubbornness - I’ve never yet not finished a race. When also taking into account my Bob Graham and Paddy Buckley completions, I’m left with feelings of contentment for what’s been an extremely enjoyable decade of running on the fells. I believe my fondness for breakfast, the most important meal of the day, has played a large part in keeping me up and running. Worryingly, on the morning of my 1000th race I was faced with a breakfast dilemma.

    Porridge mixed with chopped up banana then drizzled with thin strands of intertwined honey is my long-established energy inducing breakfast of choice...especially on race days. Occasionally the honey will crystallise within its squeezable bottle, defining it no longer manageable. I’ve heard this natural occurrence to be called granulation: whereby the honey turns from liquid to a semi-solid state of small particles. On the morning of SOB fell race this transformation had made an unwelcome appearance and I really wasn’t favouring the texture of gritted honey. That was the least of my breakfast woes; I’d also forgotten to replace the last of the porridge from the previous day...oh blimey, I was encountering a break from tradition. Time was of the essence, so naturally I panicked.

    Once I’d finally stopped stropping about the kitchen, I rummaged through the cupboards and was drawn towards a solitary tin of Ambrosia Creamed Rice Pudding - it had previously been hidden from view behind an array of assorted soups and tins of beans. The delicious pudding discovery had left me feeling re-energised after the honey and porridge debacle, but my jubilation was short lived when I noticed the tin was out of date. Feeling deflated I went to my wife for inspiration and guidance, as she’s generally a fount of knowledge. Quite often I’ll lead her edging towards the end of her tether, such can be the stupidity of my questioning. A recent survey has found that one in three men are as stupid as the other two...oh well, here goes.

    I asked Alison for her opinion regarding the consumption of rice pudding that’s expired its ‘best before date’ a measly eighteen months. She told me that last year a tinned cake was salvaged from a bygone Antarctic expedition and was still considered edible decades later. I was sceptical but Alison insisted it must be true because Brenda her yoga teacher mentioned it once during a class and she’s a spiritual person who cares about people, animals and the planet. There’s no denying it, Brenda sounds trustworthy and I’d gone from sceptic to believer after hearing my wife’s appraisal. Furthermore, I was also told that Brenda definitely wouldn’t lie as that would contribute to bad karma which in turn would have an adverse effect on her soothing personality as a yoga instructor. I couldn’t agree more and with renewed vigour I hastily poked my finger through the ring pull and prised open the tin. Thankfully there’s no untoward aroma, the colour and texture also looked good. However, erring on the side of caution I adopted a ‘belt-and-braces approach’ by seeking the approval of Stanley (previously mentioned in my Ras y Moelwyn race report back in May).

    Stanley is a neighbours cat, he resides at number eight. The old tomcat is a prowler and our neighbourhood is his patch; he’s the top cat around these parts - cock of the close. I noticed him nonchalantly strolling along our garden fence whilst I hummed and hawed about my rice pudding predicament. Stanley was undoubtedly weighing up which of our evergreens to shit under, he has previous form. There’s a tenfold increase in the typical finicky behaviour of a cat where Stanley is concerned. He’s especially fussy about his food intake but can often be seen taking great delight in licking his own arsehole - thereby contradicting himself regarding his sensitive palate, but in equal measures displaying excellent flexibility. Maybe he’s been spying on Brenda’s yoga classes, picking up tips for perfecting the synonymously named cat pose? Mindful of Stanley’s faddy eating habits I’d hatched a plan.

    Admittedly it’s a simple plan whereby if my faddy feline neighbour relishes a sample of outdated rice pudding then it’s undoubtedly edible - if it’s good enough for him, then it’s good enough for me...simples! Judging by the gluttonous manner in which he devoured a small portion I’d placed upon a saucer then all was good. Stanley had given his approval, therefore I’m dining on expired rice pudding safe in the knowledge it’s unlikely I’ll get the shits. In a show of gratitude for his assistance; I sat down beside him and gently stroked the underside of his chin, I’m fascinated by the silky smooth texture of his fluffy fur. (Only recently Alison told me that my hair often looks fluffy in appearance, like it’s been combed with a balloon - I’m inclined to agree). Stanley seemed to enjoy my company, the feeling was mutual as I found his rhythmic purring therapeutic; extremely relaxing - a stress suppressant. After awhile he jumped upon my lap and began kneading my jeans with razor sharp claws. Acupuncture is usually a costly procedure but Stanley gets to work for the price of a mere teaspoon of outdated creamy dessert - his posturing suggested he wanted more. I was about to top up his helpings when Alison made an appearance, I regaled her with my ingenious plan. She rolled her eyes, looked towards the heavens and muttered “god give me strength” then informed me that adult cats are generally lactose intolerant. I abruptly halted the serving of the second helping. Stanley didn’t seem to hold a grudge, he simply wandered off displaying his quintessential swagger. The licking of lips that followed, portrays the stereotypical cat that had literally got the cream and hopefully a lactose free stomach...otherwise Stanley was in for an unpleasant surprise later that day.

    I was in for a surprise myself - surprised by the large numbers partaking in SOB fell race. Relatively new to the fell calendar the Kong Winter Fell Series has certainly
    gained momentum over the past couple of years. The series consists of five category AS fell races all within close proximity of Keswick. SOB is race number two of the series, taking in the summits of Stile End, Outerside and Barrow...highly recommended. Many thanks to Paul and Lou and all helpers, especially the marshals on the summits. A couple of questions; did I really see a gorilla with an ironing board marshalling halfway up Stile End - Mr Mounsey by perchance? And does Stephen Wilson take incredible photographs at nearly every Lake District fell race?...I think he does! Congratulations to race winners Matthew Elkington and Scout Adkin.

    We drove passed Brenda’s yoga studio on our way home, I said to my wife “wouldn’t it be good if it was called Brenda’s Benders?”...apparently not, “it would be shit”. Undeterred I then asked Alison if they listened to “Lady-Yo-Gaga” whilst engaged in buttock clenching poses? I’m informed that “yoga isn’t about toning up your arse, it’s about getting your head out of it”. I laughed then congratulated my wife on her eloquent retort - she in turn applauded my Lady-Yo-Gaga witticism ...I could genuinely feel the positive energy between us.

    Once home I kept my eyes peeled for Stanley. I’d been thinking about him during the day, praying that he’d not experienced any nasty side effects resulting from his early morning treat. I didn’t have to wait long before he made an appearance, his cover of the night was blown by the illumination from the street lights. I spotted him lording it up as he walked along the pavement opposite our house - surveying his manor. Thankfully it looks like he’d come to no harm and I’m pleased to report that my good old mate Stanley is still -

    Top Cat!
    The most effectual Top Cat!
    Who’s intellectual close friends get to call him T.C.
    Providing it’s with dignity.
    Top Cat!
    The indisputable leader of the gang.
    He’s the boss, he’s the pip, he’s the championship.
    He’s the most tip top,
    Top Cat!
    Yes he’s a chief, he’s a king,
    But above everything,
    He’s the most tip top,
    Top Cat!

    Here’s to continued enjoyment on the fells and a better understanding of cats.....purrrrfect!

    I’ll list all the different fell races later in the week...we’re currently off shopping for honey and porridge.
    Last edited by Tindersticks; 16-12-2019 at 11:58 PM.

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