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Thread: Moors The Merrier 21

  1. #1

    Moors The Merrier 21

    Moors The Merrier 21 Fell Race

    I had unfinished business with this event after setting off nice and early for last year’s race, only to find myself back home within the hour. Treacherous localised driving conditions had well and truly defeated me. My wife was curious about my swift return home, so I bored her with a long, tedious monologue describing the trepidation I’d experienced on the ungritted roads in our neighbourhood. Such was my frustration regarding the lack of winter road safety measures adopted by Chorley Borough Council, I told my better half I was debating sending a strongly worded email to the powers that be. Then following a brief silence my wife nonchalantly said, “please don’t send a strongly worded email to the powers that be, they’ll think you’re a dick”. She then said, “how do road gritters get to work?”. Whilst I pondered Alison’s thought provoking question, she suggested I get back in bed to catch up on my beauty sleep. I acted surprised and said, “surely extra sleep isn’t necessary with my dashing good looks?”. Without hesitation my wife smirked, raised her eyebrows and replied, “perhaps just forty winks”. And as for the road’s probably in my best interests not to lose any sleep thinking about them.

    On the eve of this year’s race I took an unorthodox approach to carb-loading by gorging on chocolate. Some suggest that chocolate is vital towards our survival. It’s a valid point, as there’s no evidence that dinosaurs had the luxury of chocolate and look what happened to them. Fearing the risk of extinction I had my first piece of chocolate early in the evening after sampling the goods from a Cadbury advent calendar. My wife and I then reminisced about all the differing advent calendars we’d purchased over the years. She was shocked when I told her that during my childhood, my parents would use the same advent calendar every year. And whilst now looking back, I wholeheartedly applaud this waste not, want not approach. My parents were obviously recycling innovators; polar opposites to the masses in today’s throw-away society. My wife on the other hand disagrees with my theory and is adamant that my parents thrifty behaviour was their way of telling me that they didn’t love me. I seriously wish we hadn’t started reminiscing, for it had left a bad taste in my mouth.

    On the morning of the race, I glanced outside and practically felt myself shudder upon seeing the wet and windy scene before me. It was exactly as the weather man on the news had predicted. I was surprised by the forecasters accuracy, because on first impressions I’d doubted his meteorological credentials; based entirely on the fact that he was too old to be wearing skinny jeans and thus looked ridiculous. I just can’t take any man serious who wears such attire beyond the age of forty. My wife laughed at my disdain, then mischievously muttered “note to self, get Darren skinny jeans for Christmas”. The thought leaves me feeling cold. At least the temperature outside was above freezing and the roads were fine for my journey over to Yorkshire. When driving alone I always listen to music and have a good sing-along. I love how music takes me away to another place. For example: If Adele suddenly started playing in a pub I was frequenting, I’d up and leave to another pub. Thankfully there’s no such problem in the car, with my listening pleasure wonderfully fulfilled by arguably the greatest band on earth, Half Man Half Biscuit. I find it fascinating how people’s taste in music can differ. I’ve tried countless times to get my wife into Half Man Half Biscuit and countless times I’ve been told, “Darren, which part of they’re shit do you not understand?”. I once asked for a more detailed appraisal because simply saying “they’re shit” leaves so much room for interpretation. To then be told “they’re proper shit” left me none the wiser. However, I remain undeterred and will persevere despite so much resistance. Basically I’m a fell runner, therefore giving up without a fight isn’t an option.

    I arrived at Hebden Bridge Golf Club just as the walkers and early runners had set off on their merry way. Moors The Merrier is a particularly welcoming event. It gives an opportunity to those who wish to participate in a 21 mile circular fell race, without necessarily having to worry too much about cut-off times. There’s also a second-wave of runners an hour later. When considering the time of year and distance covered over the exposed moors of Midgley, Wadsworth, Heptonstall and Erringdon, this is certainly a challenging route. Even so, all participants are encouraged to get festive and wear a Santa hat as an ‘essential’ kit requirement. I’d planned on being extra festive by attaching an ‘Elf on the Shelf’ onto my running vest. My plan was unfortunately scuppered after a warm-up revealed that the weather would be a massive problem for my inanimate friend, as he continuously flapped about and became an annoyance. Truth be told, he looked shellshocked following his brief outing. I could only sympathise with the worry in his eyes and returned him to the comfort of my kitbag.

    When I started in the second-wave it appeared that almost everyone had made use of their waterproofs. And with torrential rain and high winds persisting for most of the day, the extra layers were certainly justified. At times during the race I could hardly feel my fingers and toes, but reminded myself I do this under no duress - it’s fun. At check point two we were even treated to roadside ‘gourmet dining’ in the form of hummus wraps. They were delicious; the taste lingered on the ‘palate’ like a lazy forklift truck driver. Then at check point four we were briefly sheltered from the elements. I was really tempted to sit down and go heavy on the biscuits, but I resisted as I didn’t want to get too settled and seize up. Given the conditions I wasn’t surprised that hardly anyone was out and about on the moors. I did see a gentleman wearing a high-visibility jacket and camouflage pants. His contrasting choice of clothing intrigued me and I couldn’t decide whether he wanted to be seen or not. I didn’t ask for clarification as he looked like the type who drinks milk straight from the carton… unapproachable! And as for the race? Totally approachable; run it or walk it, but don’t underestimate it!

    Many thanks to race organiser Darren Graham and all his amazing helpers. Congratulations to race winners Ed Hyland and my Chorley teammate Katherine Klunder.

    Hebden Bridge Golf Club was above par as a registration venue. Especially after the race when everyone was rewarded for their efforts with pie and peas and copious amounts of tea and coffee. Another nice touch that’s become synonymous with Moors The Merrier is the Bran Tub lucky dip. It’s a heartwarming idea whereby all the participants drop a present into a large tub and then take their chances when picking out a present for themselves. I’d inadvertently swapped chocolates for biscuits. I’ll probably eat them on Christmas Day…in my new skinny jeans.

    Moors The Merrier - see you next year!
    Darren Fishwick, Chorley.

  2. #2
    Moderator noel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Western Peak District
    Great write up as always, Darren. Have a good Christmas.

  3. #3
    Thank you Noel. Hopefully see you back racing in the near future. All the best pal.

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