The official, complete, honest, unexaggerated and totally truthful report of the Club Championship. With added photographs.
The start time had been brought forward to 2 o’clock for our annual Championship from the Boars Head at Higher Poynton. So we turned up in good time with the exception of a couple who had missed the change of time.
The cloud was low and the temperature hovered above freezing making conditions underfoot far from ideal. It was a very good turnout, some 23 people of whom 20 competed.
We assembled at the start awaiting the starter, but were held back for a short while to accommodate the latecomers.
(Photo by D. Winterbone)
A photo was taken and then Ridings got us under orders and set us off. The reaction from the runners was almost instantaneous, but the front runners were off at a canter and the rest followed up the hill over the canal bridge and up into Lyme Park.
Doggie Burston and Old Markham had set off earlier to scatter sawdust to indicate the direction we should go in, but for most it was a familiar route, albeit with a couple of new wrinkles.
As we entered the Park, past a recently opened shop, we headed off across the fields but bypassed the usual run through the sharp gully, presumably due to the trees that had been planted in the way. At this point I could see the frontrunners silhouetted against the skyline and making fast progress. A line of lesser lights stretched back, and there were a few behind me.
Approaching the Trail-layers
Now it was down to a few groups competing against each other. In twos or threes we struggled to get the upper hand as we progressed round the course. A brief handshake as we passed the trail layers before entering the woods with the warning of ice at the exit ringing in our ears. It was slippy, but nearly all of us negotiated it safely.
We were headed home, each of us trying to pull on the runner ahead and afraid to look over our shoulder in case we saw someone catching up. The park was relatively quiet but occasionally we got encouragement from walkers as were struggled on. At last the top of the final track and the run down to the finish. The lucky ones had won, or lost, their individual battles but some had to fight to the end.
There was a small group still at the finish when I arrived, and we quickly set off for the shower. This was done in batches, with the water getting cooler with each batch. Some of us went back to the finish to welcome back the final competitors whilst others took shelter in the warmth of the pub. Eventually all got back, including the trail layers and we headed for the pub.
Of course the early start meant we were in the pub pretty early. The beer was good and we could relax and recover and tell each other why it all went right/wrong. And compare moustaches.
The food arrived in good time. Turkey, stuffing and trimmings followed by Christmas pud. But then it was time for the awards.
Silence fell and Whitworth announced the winner. Colin Goulder had raced round and pipped Shotgun for the title of Champion. President Park handed over the trophy and glassware.
The handicap was won by Wells, thanks to the generosity of the handicapping committee. President Park again did the duty.
Finally Biker Eastwood was declared to have produced the best moustache, with Old Markham runner up. They both received a bottle of something they kept to themselves. A goodly sum was raised for the charity.
A cheery group left in ones and twos, some headed home to shave and others to celebrate/commiserate with their mates.
More photographs of this momentous day: