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Mud glorious mud

Who else is sat there thinking where has this year gone? It seems barely two minutes that many of us were taking part in the Brass Monkey and here we are, it's PECO time again. The chance to run in the rain and mud used to be a concept that appealed to very few amongst our ranks. That is the case no more with around 25 of us entered for the 5 race series.

18 of us made it to the start line in the beautiful surroundings of Middleton Park. My ancestors do hail from the area so maybe a blade or two of grass belongs to me. I'd love to say it was a delightful rural idyll. It's not.

The one aspect that was delightful was the weather. Climate change, global warming, call it what you will. November has been mild and that was the case as we assembled amongst the throng of gazebos on a dry Sunday morning.

Something's never change. Partridge was there early to get everything set up, moaning and cursing at anyone who'd listen to him. It's almost time for him to go and sit in his pear tree so we might not hear much from him during December.

Billy was there as always, clutching a massive wad of running numbers and ready to lend his voice to the ranks of supporters.

The blokes were there to run and nothing else. Well done to our ladies who at least remembered to bring cake with them. Mental note to make sure the blokes must do better next time and at least make an effort on the post race treat front.

Due to the popularity of these races we had a staggered start so we did just that. Staggered to the start. Ladies set off at 11 with the chaps 20 minutes behind them. A rather well thought out start I thought with a full lap of the aforementioned Middleton Park to thin the massed ranks out before we disappeared off into the woods where narrow trails, undulations and mud abounded.

I love the challenge of a bit of downhill in the mud. It's the landscape throwing the gauntlet down at you. How fast dare you go down my mud riddled bank you mad runner. The narrow track chucked another dimension in as it was single file and it's always harder on trails when you can't see a few yards in front. I like to see those tree roots and other trip hazards sufficiently in advance so that my ageing brain has time to compute the necessary leg movements and foot placements required in order to avoid embarrassment.

The race was 7.5K in total and I felt great throughout the first 5K. I knew from the pitter patter of the world record holder for most steps in an hour that Jim was never far behind with Carter Jnr long since departed the scene up front some where. I knew Messrs Pearson, Davis & Partridge wouldn't be too far behind either.

With about 2K to go I heard that phrase last heard somewhere in the Murton area on York Marathon Day. Come on Middo bellowed Jim as he skipped past. He looked in good shape and soon disappeared in the distance with minimal effort from me to keep on his shoulder. I was blowing like a ragged bagpiper, ready for the finish line.

It was great to see the ladies cheering us home where Jess had lead the way for them followed by Amy and Di. Stand out performers for us on the day were Dom and Jess, finishing 40th and 42nd in their respective races. Other notable performances came from Di, finishing 12th in her age category. As a 1973 baby just like me we stand on the brink of moving into our next age category and the possibility of better placed finishes to come. The best thing about being 50 is that we get a new age category! Another bairn from 1973 is Jim who finished 17th in his age group. Makes me wonder if we're getting better as we get older. Like a fine wine.

Well done to all the YPH crew for taking part, Middleton Park was a lovely place to be on Sunday morning. Which reminds me, my mud riddled shoes are still in the boot of my car. Festering.

Next up is Temple Newsam on 18th December. You can still enter through this link,

There's also the Jolly Holly Jog in Ripon on 27th December that still has places available. That's a multi terrain (posh phrase meaning allsorts going on under your feet) 10K race.

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