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  • Jo Houghton

Everyone’s a winner

By Jacinta Yates

It was the evening of the Whoolan Nook 5 mile trail race at Clowbridge Sailing Club. It was time for the inaugural ladies’ pre - race loo queue only 2 people waiting today. Yippee! Hayley had already decided to skip the queue and use the alfresco facilities which she graded 2 star on Tripadvisor due to the nettle stings !

The sun was still out but there was a cool breeze across the reservoir and what a stunning setting for an evening tootle.

I got chatting to a woman who looked like a regular and as my pre trail nerves set in I asked her what to expect. She reassured me that apart from a bit of a hill at the beginning it was pretty flat and then all downhill. Phew !

Things looked hopeful as we were herded down the hill to the start. They were used to this around here being surrounded by sheep. A marshal then looked concerned as she started pointing her finger at my number ‘Ah 146 what is your name?’ Wow, these country folk sure are friendly I thought to myself ‘we couldn’t read your race form’ oh sorry, I said and apologised for my scribble. Jo said I had been working with GP’s for too long.

It then dawned on me that we had to turn around and head back up the hill. Rob T was obviously a dab hand at Frogger in his younger years as he had hopped up to top of the hill before we could say game over. The best tactic was to avoid rocks, grassy edges and fellow runners. In the words of 80’s one hit wonder Yaz ‘The only way was up!’

The relentless incline was hard going, and I tried to use my arms to power me up yonder hills. After a while my lungs were stinging, I can’t ever remember them feeling this bad. I still had the nuttiest PAC lady in sight and tried to keep up as my competitive spirit kicked in.

En route the marshals were very friendly and I welcomed all the ‘Come on Prestwich!’ encouragement.

I was soon regretting leaving my trail shoes behind as I battled to avoid the precarious trails underfoot. What was the woman who had said it was mainly flat on about? Was she half woman half goat?

Eventually I reached the summit and it felt euphoric, as well as the steep hills the glorious moorland view took my breath away. I remembered why I was a trail running convert. The joy of being up in the hills felt exhilarating but at the same time so tranquil.

Then it was all downhill, it felt good dashing through the forest like terrain. The more trail I do the less of a scaredy cat, more of a cautious goat I become whilst running downhill.

Seeing the reservoir again and crowds of supporters I knew it was nearly done, and I was nearly done. In the dusk light the water looked so beautiful as the sun slowly descended.

Soon all our pack were back and we headed into the sailing club for refreshments.

We were all rewarded with a cup at the end but only in the form of a 50p brew courtesy of Jo H. Duncan looked so happy with his bone china cup, I suppose it makes a change from his paper one at parkrun.

The man doing the prize giving was the happiest man alive and so enthusiastic. He told us excitedly about all the other races on the Burnley & Pendle grand prix race list

He deserved a prize for the most entertaining post raceprize giving. If any prize winners had left after the race the prizes were no longer theirs ‘If you snooze you lose’ was his motto, then the next person on the list bagged the prize. The 7th person in the under 20 category was elated to win as all the others had gone to bed early due to their GCSE chemistry next morning.

It came to the V65 ladies and our very own Super Steph won ! Then to our surprise he decided that the other 2 remaining Prestwich AC members would be prizewinners too! Myself and Jo H. He was very pleased that we had come to support the race and encouraged us to do more in the series. I am hoping this is going to become a new category at races, (all Prestwich AC members who run get wine category).

It was time to head home but as we held our wine and looked out to the hillside lake  view we tried to hatch a plan to camp out and enjoy a few drinks in the evening sun. In our PAC vests and shorts we decided it was time for PAC to go back. We plan to take our sleeping bags next year and win more wine.


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