This event is a competition between runners and cyclists with (usually) the first 10 in each category to score. The winning team holds the Fisherman Trophy for one year. The trophy is named after The Fisherman Inn from where the race starts and where the prize giving takes place afterwards. On the few occasions where a bucket of lukewarm water is not provided in the pub cellar to shift all that ground in dirt, ample washing facilities can be found in the nearby Leeds-Liverpool canal!BIngley Harriers
The race starts at 2pm, I have just arrived at about 20 minutes to 2pm and the woman who has just given me my race number has explained that I should always bring my own safety pins. I haven’t brought any safety pins, and neither has Ian, who gave me a lift. A comedy lengthy search of Mike’s car turns up one safety pin which I stick through my vest and number.
We change very quickly in Ian’s van and run to the start line, stopping to pee along the way. Across a bridge along a canal and across another bridge into a muddy field full of fell runners and cyclists. We arrive just in time and manage to each scrounge a couple of pins in time to get into the race pen.
Then we are off, up a steep grassy bank. The cyclists wheeling or carrying their bikes and everyone getting caught in a squeeze at the first gate. Off we go. This is my first race since the spring as I have had a prolonged bout of too much work and then injury, so I need to remember to go steady and not get too carried away.
The route is great, across boggy fields, through the woods, across streams and up to the top of the moor in the fog. By this time I have forgotten to take it easy and I am having way too much fun trying to chase down the people in front whilst also trying to avoid being destroyed by a cyclist firing down at full pelt.
Then on the final ascent up a steep and narrow ginnel I spot my friend Rob in his Ilkley vest and think it’s a great idea to try to beat him. I fire up the hill and catch up with Rob just before we cross the final boggy field home. I overtake him and victory is in sight but the bog and the sprinting down hill catch up with me and he gets back in front beating me to the finish.
It turns out I am still a bit out of practice. It’s a fantastic race with pie and peas in the clubhouse afterwards, and wonderfully organised by Andy Brown of Bingley Harriers. Was a runner or cyclist victorious this year? Results here.