This is the third year I have done the Rochdale Harriers Norden 6 race and this year I was really looking forward to it. I am not entirely sure why but I had definitely had a certain level of excitement whilst I stood in the queue for the ladies loo.
It is the second time the race has been a championship race and last year did not seem to have put people off as we had a turnout of 19 PAC runners (15% of the total for those who, like me, love the stats). Sadly the weather had changed significantly this year - glorious basking sunshine last year to being drenched this year although Pete Tasker had the perfect solution as he had come straight from Parklife still wearing his see-through pac-a-mac. There were even some PAC runners who had not done Norden last year including Liz, Linda and Jacinta, we decided the less we told them about the start the better.
So after the obligatory stand on the steps photo we shuffled into the road en masse to try and stop the traffic and then after a quick one, two, three...go, we were off up the best start in any race ie straight up. Well you may as well get the hill out of the way.
Dodging puddles, pot holes and a bus trying to take me on board as an unwilling passenger, I finally spotted Nutters restaurant and reminisced that I only come here twice a year - once for my wedding anniversary and then for this race. Usually I am a bit closer to Glyn, my husband, when we come for dinner but he had as usual scampered away from me up the hill - a distant Salford white striped vest. Anyway at least it signalled a left turn and a bit of flat. The clouds had at last lifted and having finally got to the top I could see great views (Teletubby land as Linzi calls it with rolling hills and wind turbines gently turning) - I then remembered why I love this race - from here on in it's a great long drop down.
Ok so there is another hill - I always forget this one which is what I told Liz as we were running up it - mainly because I always think it's the hill at Trawden not Norden. Finally I emerged onto the main road, gracefully took the applause from the 5 teenagers lolling outside the Co-op and managed a quick sprint to the finish. We were even rewarded with a coaster for our efforts to mark the 25th anniversary of the event.
Ok what's next - ah yes chip butties back at the pub for a bargain price of 50p although the butty round was generously paid for by Rob Tomlin for the whole club. PAC also bagged quite a few prizes with Paul Savage 3rd male, Hayley V45 winner, the first male team (Paul, Rob Mills and Dan) and also somehow me as V50 winner. Definitely a winning evening.