Bronte Way Fell Race – 29th October 2017

Andy Hill


Bronte Trail Race – 29th October 2017

The day started at 8am, with my passengers, Colm, Karen G & John, on board, we set off for the hour’s drive to Haworth.  Once parked up, we had a “controlled frantic” 10 minutes trying to locate the meeting point where mini-buses were laid on to transport us to the race HQ & starting line at Wycoller Country Park, near Colne – for those not savvy about the 8 mile Bronte trail race,  the route is “point to point” – Wycoller to Haworth, rather than the usual circular or out & back.  We arrived at Wycoller in good time & rendezvoused with Alison & Kate. We had a comfortable 35-40 mins to collect our numbers, go to the loo, warm up, go to the loo, however, due to a record number of entrants on the day, the start was delayed…..time for the loo again!

Eventually we were off, the first mile was a steady incline on stone paths wide enough for three side by side, the path soon narrowed as the incline increased, well churned mud replaced stone underfoot. Respite from the first climb was soon to be had, a steady descent followed by a flat stretch along the edge of Sheddies reservoir – at this stage I became frustrated, running in single file, I was unable to pass a fellow runner, who, I assume, was auditioning for the lead role as Bambi in the local village panto due to him slipping & sliding in all directions! The mud, hills & occasional rock continued to play a big part for the next 5 miles together with the many stiles, gates, wall ladders which all required to be climbed or passed – I’m not a fan of the stop / start that these obstacles create whilst running, however, the let up in pace was at times most welcome.

With 7 miles under my belt, the increase in frequency of tourists to Haworth on the moor suggested I was now on the home straight,

The final half mile was brilliant, as my feet hit the Haworth tarmac, I was greeted by Richard & Eleanor, “only 500 yards to go” shouted Richard, the final bend offered one last cobbled hill which had to be conquered to reach the finish line, I soaked up the encouragement from the supporters to get me over the line, the line being conveniently opposite the door to the Fleece pub. I hardly had time to stop my watch when a beer token was thrust in to my hand by the time keeper, a refreshing change from the usual tech t shirt.

I was soon joined by Colm who was pushing hard up the hill to make for a fantastic finish passing several runners to reach the line,  Karen followed with an equally impressive strong finish, John, Alison & Kate soon joined us. Once again, our small KH group were reunited, we reflected on the race, compared muddy shoes, cursed whoever suggested the race in the first instance & downed our well deserved beers.

Yes the Bronte was tough, challenging & technical, trail races are, after all, a different beast to the usual tarmac plod. 48 hours later, mud remains ingrained in my feet and my trail shoes still haven’t dried out, but it was worth it.