Race date: Sunday 19th September 2021
On 8 March 2020, as I wheezed in, bathed in lactate as usual, to complete the Yorkshire Veteran’s Cross Country race at Longley Park in Sheffield, I had a bad feeling that it might be the last one for an indefinite amount of time. A coughing runner stumbled over the finish line to be greeted by scattering runners. It suddenly didn’t seem like a great idea to linger in the club tent.
Sure enough, fast forward 18 months and here we are at possibly the beginning of the end of the ensuing pandemic. Races like the Ian Roberts Memorial Fell Race have been re-scheduled over and again ever since. Usually run in predictably wintry conditions in March, this is a tough little race over 6 and a quarter miles of alternately peaty, stony, and tussocky Pennine moorland around Marsden, on the West Yorkshire/Greater Manchester border.
The pandemic has been a time of upheaval and true to the theme I’ve managed to move house (twice), move jobs and break a big toe, as well as age another 18 months (or is that years?) and gain a bit of extra Alasdair. Weird times do weird things. In March 2020 it would have been 6 years ago that I first ran the Ian Roberts fell race, my first one of many. Now 7 and a half years ago. And now I happen to live in Marsden. And even stranger still, in 2014 I completed the race in 68 minutes and 19 seconds; this year I lost all of 3 seconds to finish in 68:22. Times have changed and yet not at all.
This race marks what is most likely to be my last as a Steel City Strider. It has been a pleasure to have been a member for the last 7 years and I have made many lifelong friends in the club. Please keep in touch, and see you on the fells, trails and roads, I’ve not gone far. Holmfirth Harriers and Marsden Racers will have to share me now.
63 runners finished. The race was won by Rob James (MSEN, Royton Road Runners) in 53:45 and Helen Haigh (FV40, Holmfirth Harriers) in 62:47. One Steel City Strider, Alasdair Menmuir (MSEN) finished in 18th place in 68:22. Full results here
Table of Strider results: