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Thread: Cod Beck Canter

  1. #1

    Cod Beck Canter

    Cod Beck Canter Fell Race

    A former work colleague of mine was the quintessential penny-pincher. Year after year he displayed unparalleled levels of frugalness. He tightened his purse strings to such an extent that he point-blank refused to ever purchase a calendar at the start of a new year. He always waited until at least March, safe in the knowledge that calendars would be available at vastly reduced prices. Such behaviour was influenced by his insistence that nothing of any significance ever happened in January or February - he obviously wasn’t a fell runner!

    If ‘penny-pincher’ had been a fell runner, he would’ve known that insignificant months don’t exist within the fell calendar. For instance, in January this year I raced four times. And on Sunday 4th February, I was spoilt for choice with no less than three events pencilled in: Runners and Riders, Loughrigg Silverhow and Cod Beck Canter. My obsession with fell race bagging made Cod Beck Canter the favourite as it was the only race I hadn’t previously done. And furthermore I don’t need much encouragement to visit North Yorkshire. Earlier in the week whilst I was studying the fixtures calendar, my wife drew back the curtains and commented that if I paid less attention to fell races and more attention to bin day collection, I probably wouldn’t have put the wrong bin out on the wrong day again. I was initially puzzled by her picky comment, until I peered outside and noticed to my embarrassment, ours was the only blue bin in the street. In future I think I’ll just watch my neighbours and follow their lead. Once bitten, twice shy - I planned on following the leaders at Cod Beck Canter.

    Due to road closures we had a longer than anticipated drive up to North Yorkshire. Although a service station pit stop did help to brake up the journey. My wife headed straight to Starbucks and I mentioned something about remortgaging the house to cover the extortionate costs she’d encounter. Undeterred she carried on walking and mentioned something about me being a total dickhead at times. Alison soon returned with a spring in her step, a caffe latte in one hand and a butter croissant in the other. I patiently waited whilst she placed a napkin across her lap, stuck out her pinkie finger and slowly raised the cup towards her mouth. Seeking a comment in regards to her show of elegance she enquired, “do I look posh?”. To which I replied, “posh as f**k my love”. Alison laughed and almost choked on her croissant. I guess poshness remains a work in progress.

    Race registration was outside The Blue Bell Inn at Ingleby Cross. On arrival bittersweet memories came flooding back, for the last time we briefly visited the village we were walking the Coast to Coast with Nellie our beloved border terrier. Back then she was full of boisterous youthfulness and made light work of Wainwright’s classic long distance walk. Alison’s reminiscent smile and teary-eyes spoke a thousand words. I too felt awash with mixed emotions and wanted to turn the clock back. Nellie had a wonderful life and lived to the grand old age of 16. She passed away two years ago, but sometimes it feels like it was yesterday.

    Cod Beck Canter was predominantly runnable, especially with the benign underfoot conditions. There was nothing too technical from a mixture of woodland tracks, Cleveland Way slabs and well defined paths across open moorland - even the weather was kind. Then after the race my wife and I took advantage of the homely atmosphere inside The Blue Bell Inn. Once settled I was flabbergasted to learn a tidbit of interesting trivia about crisps. My wife informed me that all crisps packets in England expire on a Saturday. At first I was sceptical, but then after checking the ‘best before date’ of my Salt & Vinegar snack, I became willing to accept the probability. And in the name of further research I purchased another packet, this time choosing Ready Salted to widen the odds, and once again it was Saturday. I was tempted to check a packet of Cheese & Onion but I resisted the urge as I didn’t want to be too full and spoil my dinner.

    Many thanks to race organiser David Bannister and all helpers. Congratulations to race winners Chris Albrough and Emily Cowper-Coles.

    Following the race presentation we headed to Whitby for a few days break. I’d booked us a holiday cottage, as I was tempted by its very reasonable rates - my former work colleague would’ve approved. The phone and internet signals were weak, but I considered this a bonus for a nice quiet getaway. Late on Monday afternoon I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from Richard Askwith, the author of Feet in the Clouds. I’m an admirer of Richard’s work and was intrigued by his correspondence. I managed to enhance my phone signal strength by cautiously positioning myself on the windowsill of an upstairs bedroom. My efforts were rewarded and thankfully I was able to speak to him, and just as I expected he was extremely pleasant. He was in the midst of writing a short piece for a magazine about the future of fell running and he was curious to hear my thoughts on the subject. I was pleased to tell him that I think the future looks great, especially with the abundance of younger athletes currently on the scene. Obviously I also rambled on and went off topic, but why break the habit of a lifetime. When I returned downstairs from my precarious windowsill perch, my wife was interested to know if Richard had ever read any of my race reports? I was pleased to say “yes”. And apparently I have a unique perspective on a unique sport. Alison replied, “that’s one way of putting it”.

    Right!...time to inspect more crisps packets, they can’t all be Saturday?
    Darren Fishwick, Chorley.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    New career as the public face of fell running - our own Bernie Ecclestone, paid entirely in crisps.

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