Angus Tait 28th Memorial Hexhamshire Hobble: A Race Report
It was a damp and dingy Sunday morning. Most are still tucked up in their warm beds, but for Tom and Gerry, they were off out to brave the miserable weather and conquer the steep hills that lead up to the Hexhamshire Common. A ten mile fell race that begins and ends in Allendale.
With Tom’s class one driving and Gerry’s quality patter, the journey was brisk and smooth. Arriving for a 09:30 registration meant there was plenty of time for snacks, last minute kit checks, photo shoots and toilet trips.
The race briefing was short and sweet with the race organiser gently reinforcing race rules that maintained the spirit of fell running. Finally, the back door of the community hall was opened for participants to exit and make their way to the start line. An unwelcoming cold wind and rain greeted the runners as they stepped outside. Tom and Gerry strolled over to the start flag as fellow runners engaged in intense high knee warm ups and stripped down to running vests to expose their skin to the nonexistent sun.
The clock struck 11:00 and they were off! As the runners pulled away from the start line, a late horn was sound which was followed by a synchronised chuckle from the group. The smiles soon faded as the runners were immediately met with a long sharp climb. Tom was off like a rocket despite leaving his Nike Vaporfly at home.
After completing this unpleasant part of the course, the track eased off into a more undulating route. The sun came out as the runners headed out over the common.
Tom ensures me that he hit the deck on two occasions during the race which reflects his whippet like running ability. Tom finished in a very impressive 01:22:09 which put him in 18th place. Gerry came in with a PB of 01:47:11 which put her in 59th place out of a field of 71 runners. She was reassured that Tom had made a token gesture to see her in at the finish line, but indulgent cakes and warm drinks were calling him so he quickly abandoned that idea.
It is important to note that Megan Holmes was briefly sighted on this day as she glided past Gerry and came in with a great time of 01:45:09 putting her in 53rd place.
A course record was set that day with a time of 01:02:07. After what seemed like a never ending stream of prize giving, Tom and Gerry hobbled over to the pub where they warmed their gammy toes in front of a log burning fire and enjoyed an alcoholic beverage.