Race Report: Norton 9
8 August 2021
WET DRY WET
Monty Python once asked “what is thin at one end, fat in the middle and thin at the other end?” Well, there were no dinosaurs at the 2021, Norton 9, just 8 Holmfirth Harriers who could be described as “wet waiting to start, dry in the middle and wet at the finish!”
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All eight harriers lined up together at the start of the 2021 Norton 9, as the rain abated and as the whistle blew to set all 210 runners off; I soon waved farewell to my fellows as we turned the corner straight into fairly steep little hill. The weather was perfect now, dry, a slight breeze and definitely a lot cooler than my previous ‘hot, hot, hot’ outing at the Vale of York 10, last month.
The route is a rural undulating course through the South Yorkshire countryside, winding its way through scenic villages on quiet country roads. After the first hill (20 yards long), the first mile is mostly a downward incline which was perfect to get comfortable and into a rhythm, once comfortable it was an easy run on wet but well drained country lanes; the marshals were all very enthusiastic and a great boost, water at mile 4 was very welcome as we saw quite a long incline to go up. I got talking to a chap from Barnsley who said that this is the only hill on this course, but I expect you are used to hills at Holmfirth. I told him, I was used to hills but it doesn’t make them any easier! I have to say at this point that going up that ‘hill’, I overtook 3 runners who were moaning about it, but really it was just a fairly long ‘incline’ not a proper hill! At mile 6, the ‘incline’ got steeper, I thought to myself “you little tinker, this one just gets steeper”. I overtook another two people going up and over this one. Then when I saw the mile 8 marker, time to up the pace for a fast finish, it was a downhill finish and despite there being no one in sight to catch, I gave it my all; I could see the start point, I sprinted, but only to find that someone had moved the timing mats! Oh bother, I thought, I was directed left up to the first hill we went up, a very welcome sight of all fellow Harriers in great voice cheering me on, I have made it hurray; NO! I hadn’t, straight on someone said, by this time I was not amused as I couldn’t see the finish, turn right down a lane, but then I saw the finish in a field, hurray, I can now tick the Norton 9 off as well and truly done. Michael welcomed me at the finish line and as we walked back to meet the others the heavens opened it was torrential rain, and everyone had already headed back.
I was not parked at the designated car park in a field with quite a steep entrance / exit and wondered if anyone would have difficulty getting out, I had another mission a drive to Blackpool to meet my wife and family for fish and chips and maybe dip a toe in the sea, I didn’t manage a dip in the sea but the fish and chips were wonderful; what a great day.