Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Auld Lang Syne

On the 31st December 2012, four Old Girls and four Old Boys from Durham University Cross Country Club travelled to Penistone Hill Country Park (near Haworth in West Yorkshire) for the Auld Lang Syne Fell Race.

The race has become a bit of a tradition for some of the DUCCC Old Boys and Girls and even as one of the ‘younger’ ones I’ve now done Auld Lang Syne five times. The general protocol is: do the fell race in terrible weather conditions; go to the pub where Olivia (superstar fell runner) wins lots of prizes; go back to house/hostel for New Year’s Eve party and eat/drink all the prizes. It works quite well.

The race itself is a pretty straight forward up the hill and back down again affair. According to the race website it covers 9.6km with 300m of climbing. This year the weather didn’t disappoint and it was cold (though not as cold as previous years), wet (the wettest one I’ve done) and windy. In spite of the weather, most of us had a good run. Olivia was, as usual, the star performer coming in 2nd woman only 10 seconds behind the 1st woman and 13th in the race overall! Another great result was team gold for Durham University Old Girls for which we won lots of chocolate and the unusual prize of a set of flashing teeth each?! 
Tom and Niall were also fairly high up the field and the descents suited Adam the mountain goat. Jamie was still recovering from multiple injuries (most recently an elephant ankle) and Aiveen and Claire were recovering/still suffering from the winter lurgy. My aims had been to improve on previous year’s positions and to not get injured. I was successful on both counts improving from my previous best of 172nd to 54th and reaching the finish line with all limbs and joints in tact.

The race was particularly popular this year and sold out in less than 24 hours, probably due to the presence of one of those famous triathlon brothers!
A few of our group didn’t get a place, but despite this loyal Old Boy Phillip Charles Sanger travelled up from ‘daan saath’ to come to watch and even wore his Durham vest in support. Conversely, living in nearby Leeds, Marcus McSmithicus stayed in bed. Nevertheless, even with our reduced turnout we brought home an impressive haul of edible and drinkable prizes from the pub to supplement our New Year’s Eve party nicely. Happy New Year!

Olivia showing the boys how it's done

 Tom chasing his wife

Niall, a Dosser in disguise

Stirky in his element on the moors

Me trying to make up a few places on the road

The Fox nearing the finish line

Thumbs up if you like running Jamie

Claire enjoying splashing around in the mud

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