by Chris Bowen
2020 got off to a good start with three races taking place. We did the Meltham Tough 10k, the Marple Park Run, and the Haworth Hobble, and we had no idea that this would be the last of the championship races for the year. The committee started putting on a few challenges, suggested by various members, and asked people to record when they had taken part, the time taken not being important. The idea was to keep people running even when we couldn’t have club runs.
It gradually became apparent that races were not going to be held for the rest of 2020 and so we finished the year with 20 of our own challenges in all. These included some relay events, some local race routes, and some navigation challenges. Some of these challenges were charity events, with members being very generous in their donations – thank you everyone! A lot of people enjoyed searching the Goyt Valley for Joe Brown’s Numbers, and testing themselves on the 5 Trigs route – thanks to Pete Ambrose for suggesting these. Also thanks to Chris Tetley for designing the August navigation event, where we had to find the green ‘Peak and Northern’ footpath signs; and to Brian Holland for encouraging us to run Every Day in May (and November!), and for planning various relays.
We are delighted with the number of members who took part in the challenges, some of whom do not like the pressure of normal championship races, but they have enjoyed taking part in these challenges. A number of children and young people took part in the challenges as well.
(Click on the picture to see some of the prize winners with their prizes)
7 members completed all 20 challenges, with 10 people completing over 15 but less than 20, and 10 more completing over 10. All these people were presented with a T-shirt this morning, thanks to another piece of relay planning mastery by Brian. These T-shirts have “Lockdown Championship” on the back and are gold – yellow actually – for 20 challenges, silver – grey – for 15 and bronze – orange – for 10. They also say “Tier 20”, “Tier 15” and “Tier 10” depending on the number of challenges achieved. (You may wonder where this came from – originally when we planned these prizes we were going to have Tiers 3, 2 and 1, but then Tier 4 was introduced so we had to change our plan! The three juniors who did lots of these challenges also received prizes today. Well done Magnus, Efan and Wilf.
So, on to 2021. We hope that racing will start again later this year, and we have decided to try to have a more traditional championship, with different gender and age categories as normal. The three races from last year have been carried forward, and we hope that some of the rest of the races that were planned for 2020 will take place this year, and these will be included – especially as some of us have deferred entries for some these. Other races maybe added if things get back to normal.
In the meantime, while there is no racing, there is a new series of homegrown challenges for members to take part in, for which championship points will be awarded. We’ve already had the Fastest Mile, and for February we have the Fastest 5k. Eventually, we plan that there will be 18 races/challenges as in a normal year with a variety of terrains and distances as in a normal year. A tentative plan is on the website but this will change as things become clearer.
We very much hope that those members who don’t normally take part in championship races will continue to take part this year, as this increased participation has been an unexpected benefit of the Covid restrictions. If you do a challenge but you don’t want to post a time, you will still get recognition for having taken part. Once racing does start, there will be an option to do the race route on a different day to the race proper, and again get recognition (but not championship points). You could still get a T shirt at the next AGM if you do a set of qualifying events without having taken part in a proper race at all!