As the storm clouds gathered over the smallest school in the Kirklees catchment area, organisers and volunteers milled around two purple scout tents, on the small playing fields under the ever overbearing shadows of Holme Moss.
Holme Village Junior and Infant school was to be the base for this the first ever Summer Wine Trails race aptly titled ‘The School Run’, a 6 mileish trail race, one of a two part mini-series to be held in the Holme Valley in 2014.
So at 9:00 on the morning of Saturday 7th June, after months of planning and marketing the question on the lips of Jon Burdon, lead organiser (of Holme Village) and his ever enthusiastic team of volunteers, in the fog and muggy drizzle, would there be enough entrants to make this an event.
The overwhelming answer was yes.
Although only a small field of 7 entrants in the children’s trail race and 30 in the senior event, the atmosphere created by all involved meant that this felt like a much larger and exciting spectacle than these numbers would suggest. Even the lone challenge walker / jogger, Claire, set off to the air horn like she was in the race of her life. Claire tells us she will be returning in the next event (‘Highway to Heaven’, 6th Sept 2014) to take part in the main race as she has proven to herself that she can do it.
This and other inspiring stories of first time trail racers young and old, racers fighting back from poorer health, showing true bravery (although most would be too humble to admit it), local entrants and those new to the area and it’s wonders were the real talking point of the day.
Becky who had battled with debilitating ME crossed the line with a huge smile dragging her friend with her. Another inspiring lady who had overcome cancer was over the moon to complete the race. First time trail racers but true competitors crossed the line grinning from ear to ear in a torrential down pour. A group of 6-11 year olds ran in a 1200m ‘proper’ trail race with challenging terrain and steep inclines, giving it everything right to the finish. James, an ex-Holme J&I pupil, caught on the off chance by one of the organising team the evening before whilst walking his dog, ‘gave it a go’ as it was only around the corner and came in a close second.
The overall race winner Mike, recently moved to the area from Lakeland and still representing the famous Borrowdale Fell Runners, told emphatically of how he’d been running the trails around Digley and seen that there was to be a race held on the route he was using so decided to enter days before.
Mike Fanning set a winning time of 38:52, followed by James Nobles in 40:09 and in 3rd Matthew Kelly in 44:26. The 1st lady in 5th place overall was Jacqui Khoueiry of Holmfirth Harriers in a time of 45:01.
The race has received an overwhelmingly positive response from all involved due it’s friendly and supportive atmosphere offering all a chance to enjoy trail running on some wonderful trails never previously raced upon.
The organisers are grateful to all the volunteers and small business sponsors involved including The Holmbridge Scouts, The Fleece at Holme, The Wrinkled Stocking, Lilly Pickles, Purple Dog First Aid, Holme Valley Mountain Rescue for making this a most memorable first event for this team.
We now look forward to the second race in the series to be held from Holme Bridge Church, a 12km challenge on the opposite side of the valley where we hope Mike and Jacqui will return to attempt to take overall series crowns for 2014 and where we hope to see more new and enthusiastic runners of all shapes and sizes taking part in what may be the first of many trail racing adventures.
Race details are available at www.summerwinetrails.co.uk where links to Twitter and Facebook feeds can also be obtained.