Thursday, 19 August 2010


  My earliest memory of visiting the picturesque Yorkshire Dales village of Burnsall goes back nearly forty years.  Pat and I went up on Sunday August 16th.  Shame really because Burnsall Feast which incorporates the 10 mile road race and the "Classic" fell race is always,  as we learnt in the bar of the Red Lion.....on a Saturday!!   I wondered why the village was so quiet; with a kind of "after the party's over" feel about the place.  
  In those days there wasn't a plethora of races to choose from each weekend.  So unlike today the quality wasn't spread over all the north. August saw an offering of the  3 Bs"...Barnsley ...Barnoldswick.....Burnsall.....where several would do both road and fell as several did at Arncliffe last week.  
 But it wasn't until 1977 that I returned to run the 10.  In the '70s the 10 mile was invariably won by an international.   1977 saw Graham Ellis (Holmfirth) win,running 49.19, 1978 John Calvert (Blackburn) 51.39 and 1979 saw no less than future Olympic medallist Charlie Spedding make the journey from Gateshead to win in 50.05.  My times of 53.40, 56.45 and 54.34  were only good enough for 13th,12th and 9th place. Well outside the prizes in those days.
 That's Mr. Spedding  taking my elbow (runner 10) in his face in the photo above,just after the start.  Fellow Bingley runner (no.8) is Bill Padgett who is now the Fastrax print room manager (3rd in 51.31).  Fourth in the race was Peter Rawnsley (Sheffield but now with Skyrac).  Pete ran 53.29 and to his credit is still racing and like me striving to get back under 42 for a 10K at the age of 61.  No.16 is Chris Leggatt who ran for Sale with me then Bingley and Valley Striders,when he moved to Yorkshire.
 Everything was fairly minimal in those days.  No 9" baggy shorts!  Mesh vests with brief shorts and the very lightest of shoes.  Even the numbers were minimal as you can see.  Bit bigger for Saturday, I'm afraid.
 So if you are looking for a race this weekend in Yorkshire and fancy a very challenging but very scenic 10 miler my contact confirms tonight that they will still be taking entries on the day,on the green in the village centre. 
  But don't forget when you've battled up all those hills and then spy a sign saying "BURNSALL" 3 miles a nasty official will point you left up to Thorpe village for just one last bit of torment.  Then it's all downhill;  with a tremendous welcome for you as you sprint past the Red Lion to the finish! 

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this post Terry, especially as the photo had 3 Strider members in the front group. I enjoy the whoe blog though, a nice mix of realism about current running capabilities mixed with good stories from the past.