The John Schofield New Year’s Day Awakener 2019 – 5 km Trail Race

Race Date: Tuesday 1st January 2019

at Whitworth, Lancs

There was a dash on New Year’s Day to ‘complete the double’, two Parkruns on the one morning with a very safe drive in-between. Club members have been posting before and since on their travels.

In an effort to emulate the icon that is Paul Stuart (who once ran the Snowdonia Marathon on a Saturday and Worksop Half the very next morning), I joined, unknowingly, four other runners (three from Rochdale Harriers, and one from Littleborough Runners) in a treble, all on New Year’s Day.

I knocked out my second-ever visit to Watergrove Parkrun, Rochdale at 08:30. (Splendid event, and very much not a ‘Park’.) I ran conservatively, knowing what else I was going to do, and finished about 45 seconds slower than on my previous visit.

That gave plenty of time to make it from Watergrove to Alexandra Park in Oldham for Parkrun number 2, as 38 other runners did. I got beaten here by the same people, and plenty more, in a record attendance of 427. A beautiful park that appears to have more downhill than uphill on the route. One Andrew Davies, aka ‘Goldstar’, happens to hold the course record.

That led to a dash back to the outskirts of Rochdale and a little village called Whitworth. They hold a series of races in memory of a former race organiser – isn’t that a nice circuit? – and this is, obviously, the first of the year. £4.00 entry with an EA number. The start was delayed to allow Sue Page to arrive from her Parkrun double. She made it the five of us on our specific travels. Others had been to Burnley or Huddersfield as well.

Exactly 5 kilometres, it belts up the side of the valley at an average gradient of 11% and off down a rough track on the other side. Then it was two laps of a disused reservoir with good need for the trail shoes I was advised to wear; I got lapped while on my first! Then it was back up the track and hell-for-leather down the hill again to finish outside the Church with its original stocks on proud display in the graveyard.

The promised ‘prize to all finishers’ was a cup of tea and a four finger Kit-Kat. Who could possibly complain at that?

Proceeds support a local cancer care charity, and a local young Olympic hopeful.

The winner, from Bacup, was Stephen Corbishley of Tipton Harriers in 18:20.

First female, local lass, was Stephanie Harrison of Rochdale Harriers in 22:42 (15th place overall).

Sole Steel City Strider was Stuart Jones, in 25.33 and 33rd place. (Faster than my first Parkrun of the day, but slower than my second.)

There were just 70 finishers, plus one DQ for only running one lap of the Brownhouse Wham reservoir.

Results at: https://northernrunningguide.com/race/the-billy-knox-new-years-day-awakener-multi-terrain-race