PBGP: Mid-way Fathers Day Report
The Buoyant rocking chair filled nearly the whole living room floor space but it was kept, because my dad, Roger Hargreaves (Clayton) had earned it, either by finishing first vet in the Grand Prix or 3rd overall in the 1991 series - ten years before he tragically died at 54 in a motorcycle accident.
Thanks to the PBGP, this summer is swift becoming an odyssey evoking memories, pride, amazement, enjoyment and inspiration in equal measure.
I grew up watching my dad race, calling: ‘Come on Clayton, go dad go!’, as he hurtled past. Now it’s my kids who are yelling to me, although Clayton has been substituted for Trawden.
Issy joining the excellent Trawden Juniors being the catalyst to move me from recreational runner to club runner.
My first Grand Prix race was Hameldon Fell Race where new friends such as Paula Walsh, Dawn Tibbs and Julie Townson, from TAC supported or ran too. Here I saw friendly and familiar faces from the past, like Martin Brady and Linda Bostock. It being equally great to see them and to admire their commitment to the sport.
The Hameldon race was spot on, I set off a bit on the fast side and descended like a bambi in my moon boot Hokas Speedgoats, but I’m not complaining.The weather was cooperating and the views from the top... well, everytime I run to the top of anywhere local, I relish seeing the area from such a perspective. We really do live in a beautiful place.
Next came Wholan Nook, as I’d missed Pinhaw. A trail race was new terrain to me, again I belted off struggling to maintain the pace. The air was clammy and close, I found the race a tough one. Just about clinging on to my place until the finish. Here the experience of stopping on and cheering on the rest of the finishers was really worthwhile. Here I spotted other 1980-90’s heritage heroes: Jack Maguire and Christine Leathley; stylishly still running competitively in her age cat.
The applauding all finisher brings me to share an observation: when my dad was running there were far fewer people, women in particular, in the races. When you compare results for races in the 80’s this is clear. Kelbrook Fell Race had 14 ladies competing in 1987. Just compare that figure to this years! Think how many kids are being inspired by their parents and grandparents now?
Race three was on home turf :Colne, Burnley Lions 10k. Here I was pleased to see and chat with legendary Clayton man: Dave Scott or ‘Scotty’ as my dad would call him to wish him a “Good run” Still running in his 70’s warming up by the Cricket Field.
The Colne 10k was on a humid evening making me very grateful for the water en route and at the end. I’m not sure the pint of bitter I downed shortly after aided my hydration but that was enjoyed too! Here my cheerleading children spurred me on, bringing back memories of me doing the same as my dad ran- in the archives I spotted that in 1991 he finished 11th in the similar race.
Swiftly the next race popped into view the Kelbrook Fell Race, I loved this short and sweet run especially the river crossing. I didn’t set off like the clappers and my footwork was much more surefooted. Here I saw Jean Rawlinson and Dave Scott again, and John Calvert spectating. I really do feel inspired and emotional when I think of my dad running with and against these people who are still on the scene. I can’t help but wonder if he’d have been giving folk a run for their money if he was around now!
Writing of which Pete Lyons (Rossendale) who is speedy in his seventies, was next to me awaiting the start at the next race: Weets.
I stood patiently waiting on the start line, appreciative of the jacket that I’d chosen to wear, after way too much deliberation. Serious overthinking had taken place owing to the howling winds, squally rain and squelchy ground! I set off ‘jacket on’ but I had wrestled it off by the trig , tying it around my waist being akin to putting a tent up in a gale, with the whipping wind and my fumbling fingers. Anyways I relished the Weets run. I loved the mud, the bogs, the liberation and the cathartic careering down the fell side.
I’m still figuring out which discipline of running I like the most - it’s feeling like fell for the freedom. I know it’s not the track or any other flat repeating run...which brings me to the next race....
The Podium 5K - the Stephen Burke track is such a great resource for the area - and the use of it for road racing too is genius. Here the terrific local juniors from every club started the action with teeny U7 up against U9. Part of the cheer squad for these runners were a wonderful couple Barry and Barbara Mitchell who were supporting their son and grandson: Jack, who is proving to be a super runner! Barry and my dad were good friends and often ran together in relays and against each other. It was lovely to see them both!
The narrow track was packed with runners, and the grassy verges with their supporters. I almost missed the start of my B race, thanks to Chris Singleton for the heads up! Issy has fallen and made a mess of her knee in the U11/U13s Race. So I’d been consoling her and patching her up.
On the start line it was crammed, pheromones were high and there was a distinct scent of testosterone in the air. The atmosphere charged with folk’s pursuit of a PB. I caught up with Caroline and Vic both Trawden club mates as we debated the best place to be. The unnatural quiet descended as the start was anticipated, I didn’t even hear the start suddenly I was running. I’d decided not to look at the pace, I didn’t want to draw conclusions as to too fast or too slow so I looked straight forward and ran, well tried to, the first 400m I spent trying to pick a way through the crowd.
Soon enough there was space to stride and I settled into a rhythm...round and round and round. I had to glance at my watch to see how far to go, as I had no concept of which lap I was on. It was an odd trance like state that was only disturbed by me thinking I was hearing ‘Big Love - Looking out for Love’ by Fleetwood Mac. The two runners behind me had managed to sync their breathing in such a way it sounded exactly like the song. I chuckled to myself and was tempted to start singing but regained focus and paced on.
I should’ve been looking out for John Mac from Trawden as it was in the finish strip both he and Alan Boult sprinted past. Although I was so grateful for the finish I couldn’t help but smile! Which is something that running is becoming increasingly associated with.
Many heartfelt thanks to all the race organisers, marshals, and statisticians from now and in the past. Those behind the BPGP and any other races. You maybe won’t realise it but you’re making history. You’re perpetuating traditions, innovating competitions and creating memories.
Thank you x