Cop Hill – 6th November 2016 – 6 miles / 899 feet
Like many, I started running much later in life. As a youngster in school, I absolutely bloody hated the yearly cross country race, as did most fellow students bar the few athletically gifted who took it as their chance to stand out as ‘the thing they were weirdly good at’. Running though muddy fields and woods, eh? Who’d do such a thing for fun?!
Anyway, I grew up in Huddersfield so I always enjoy the opportunity to race around there. Cop Hill is in Meltham, near a place on the Hudds’ outskirts called Slaithwaite – which you only know how to pronounce correctly if you’re from round there (sounds like ‘Slowwitt’).
It was a pretty grey morning and the rain was acting up a bit as we gathered on the stony track at the start. As soon as we were off, I realised I’d not started far enough forward as it’s not long before a stile provides a bottleneck. Running alongside Holmfirth’s Andy Hauser (used to run for us) I just knew I’d get a friendly telling off from him afterwards for starting too far back (which he duly provided).
It’s a two lap course however, so I was taking it fairly easy during the first and it soon spaced out. I’m normally not a fan of laps but on this occasion, having not done the race before, the first lap actually made for a good recce so I knew where to push the second time round.
For those who’ve not done it before, it’s pretty fast, runnable course. The uphill is steady, there’s a brief, rooty technical section through some woodland, and a nice long, fast stretch through some fields at the end of the lap.
Due to the congested start, I’d lost track of roughly what position I was in the race. I’ve lost of bit of fitness due to time off so I wasn’t stressing about it. As we started descending through the fields on the 2nd lap, I decided I felt comfortable finishing wherever I currently was, however a my competitive spirit was roused upon seeing a Penistone runner not far ahead – “Hang on! I’m not getting beaten by someone from Penistone”, I thought. Must have been some sort of Huddersfield pride kicking in.
Is waiting for the guy in front to open the stiles before you overtake bad racing etiquette or good tactics? Either way, painlessly passed and onto the finish where handshakes with other runners were exchanged over orange squash.
I’d travelled to the race with a friend of mine who’s just getting into fell running. He seemed to really enjoy the race, so we stuck around for coffee and cake. It was a pleasure introducing him to the quaint, unassuming, yet positive atmosphere of after-race hanging about.
Jean Shotter grabbed me and told me to make sure to let the organisers know I was in the M35 category for the Yorkshire Vets League. I knew it was the ‘Fell Championship’ race for YVAA but wasn’t sure how it worked, so I went and told the man with the clipboard.
“Ah well done!” he said as he found me on the results, “You were just ahead of the person we did have down as 1st M35, so you’ve knocked him down to 2nd.”
That runner was of course the Penistone chap I’d overtaken, so I was quietly pleased with that. I was awarded a little trophy. Not usually bothered about shiny trinkets but it’s a nice reminder to myself not to slack off in races.
Mystery Man Steve Woods also ran and picked up a trophy for 3rd M55. Every P&B runner gets a prize! Great stuff.
I like exploring new races and enjoyed this one, so will no doubt be back again at some point. Thanks Meltham AC for organising.
Graham Pilling 18th (1st M35) 45:39. Steve Woods (3rd M55) 36th 50:25.