Sunday 18th February
A surprisingly pleasant February morning saw me rock up in Ilkley for the race.
My race diary (yes, sad I know!) tells me this is the 13th time since 1998 I have entered it. Nothing much changes, an absolute mud-bath of a course. The first mile up to the Cow and Calf rocks is the usual bottleneck with gnarly runners with their sharpened elbows trying to manoeuvre past slower runners (like me, I guess).
Despite running the course many times, the steep, rocky descent down to the bridge at Backstone Beck fills me with dread, one slip or trip either here or in Rocky Valley which is a bit further on and you will undoubtedly end up a bruised and bloodied mess. We received a buff with the race map printed on it for our efforts and it told me that the Crocodile Rock is situated in the aforementioned Rocky Valley, can’t say I had ever noticed it before but I have heard Elton John singing about it many times.
The section from Keighley gate back to the finish was a struggle to stay on your feet with the muddy, steep descent and those pesky bramble bushes conveniently placed just for you to fall into. For comedy value I lost my shoe in the mud 100 metres from the finish line and finished carrying it over the line!
As is tradition on Ilkley race day we enjoyed an afternoon pub crawl and I am pleased to report, many fine pubs now exist in the town, where as in days gone by the place was a bit of a desert for decent boozers.
John F had a good run, whilst we can gloss over what kind of run I had.
Lots of pics on the Woodentops site.
— Dave Beston