Well it's now 12 months since I changed from the marmalade hoop to the black and white stripes. My first race with my new club Trawden AC was Pendelton 2013, so this Saturday was the first anniversary of me being part of Team Trawden.
Pendleton fell race (AS) is a local classic, 5 miles long with a1499ft of climb, that nearly went by the wayside had it not been for Mike Eddelston of Clayton le Moors Harriers taking on the role of race organiser. As with most small scale fell races the start and finish are near a pub, what adds another dimension to this one is the cake and jam stall that's well stocked by the villagers of Pendleton. Is this starting to sound more appealing to some of you?
Basically the route is out and back with two good climbs and two good descents. The start line is in a field behind the village hall that acts both as a venue for registration and the prize giving.
So here we are, stood in the same field as last year running under the banner of Trawden AC but with a slight difference: I was in the company of Dale Grimshaw, Nick "Fellrunning Nigel" Gaskell and Wayne McIntosh, making a nice little quartet of Humbugs. The weather a little cooler and damper but this went unnoticed with the craic and camaraderie before the race.
Almost 100 runners huddled up to the start line waiting for the countdown to the start "3, 2, 1, Go!" Off we went on a single lap of the field and out onto the road up through the village. Past the ever inviting Swan with Two Necks pub and out into the fields snaking and climbing our way to Pendle via crossing of the Wellsprings road up to Apronfull.
Support was never far away as Aleshea, Sophie and the girls were on camera duty as was Dave "Glass Ankles" Potter shouting out encouragement before the onset of the frustratingly runnable climb. Once atop Apronfull there was a welcome decent into Ashendean Clough before the steady climb to "Judith's Cairn" at the summit of Ashendean.
On the way up it was good to see Bev and Pete Thompson with their dog Brock just on the turning point before the longest decent of the day, back down Ashendean to the clough at a much lower point to make our return to the village back the way we came.
On the return around 3/4 of a mile from the end I was reeled in by Dale, who I'd managed to pass on the climbs due to the toll of his many races and runs of the week - good effort Mr Grimshaw.
Coming through the final fields and down the main street I was trying to pull back a couple of places and just managed to get past Rachael Lowther of Barlick after my line was cut short by an oncoming car. Making the final push past a now busy pub towards the end to see and hear "Fellrunning Nigel" who had managed a ninth position finish. There also wasn't long to wait as Wayne made his entrance closing in on a runner in front of him to steal the ribbon.
A reflection on the last 12 months and one thing is a constant: how running with people who love running at whatever level, on whatever surface and whatever distance makes your enjoy your sport so much that every time you put your running shoes and vest on you still get that tingle of excitement, something that was truly missing prior to me joining Team TAC.