Digested read: finally made it to Longshaw for the Trust 10 this Sunday. First and last this year. Fabulous. What was I thinking in leaving it so long?
I really hate to concede this point, I really do, but you know what, time really does go faster as you get older. A whole year has elapsed since I last made it to Longshaw for the monthly Trust 10, and I blooming love it there. However, during most of 2018 I’ve meant to go, but been sucked into other things, be that a local lope at some running event or other, or volunteering at Graves Junior parkrun, which admittedly is pretty darned amazing attending there will always lead inevitably to intoxication with joy, hence it is so seductive an offering. Even so, shame to miss out on Longshaw Trust 10. and the unintended and undesirable consequence of all this, was that I was in dire danger of letting 2018 pass Longshaw Trust 10 free. Heaven portend! I could not allow it to be so. Therefore, I finally dragged my weary carcass down to Longshaw to join the festive Tinsel 10k on a morning of winterval wonderfulness. Yay, go me! I could have been part of this:
Which granted, is quite fabulous, but instead opted to be part of this:
I know, close call.
What was I thinking though in leaving it so long. There were actual reindeer en route to the start! Graves has llama it’s true, but reindeer! Really and truly, you can’t get more festive than that! Strictly speaking we’d celebrated the whole reindeer slash actual Christmas trees and fairy houses earlier in the week, but it was still Longshaw and still there. The original plan was to do the Trust 10 and then buy a Christmas Tree afterwards. Then it dawned on me that with me and three guests in the fiesta heading for the 10k that might not be an entirely practical idea. Hence tree purchasing went on earlier. That was a fun day out too! Below is a mini pictorial smorgasbord for your merriment and edification in case you don’t know what you missed out on in the immediate environs of the Trust 10 route. Oh, and the Reindeer we couldn’t find wasn’t called Graham, and the missing letter to our O I N B + 1 quiz was not G therefore. The last reindeer was Rudolf. ‘What a missed opportunity is that?’ we lamented, ‘if only it had been Graham then the quiz could have made the word Bingo! That would have been fabulous‘. Yes we did work out the anagram was for Robin eventually, but it took a while. Laugh if you must. I like to think I bring Christmas cheer.
So essentially, both Graves Junior parkrun and the Longshaw Trust 10k actively encouraged fancy dress and festive cheer. In an ideal world I’d be able to teleport and time travel between the two. Sadly, although time does travel faster as I age, I don’t. I am no fleeter of foot than a year ago, nor have I evolved the ability to travel through time despite warming increasingly to the new incarnation of Dr Who, and taking delight in therefore the TARDIS’s improved proximity to Sheffield. Personally, I would have hoped that as much of the series was filmed hereabouts, local residents would have absorbed the ability to time hop by osmosis, but it’s not worked for me. Maybe I should have opted to move into the Park Hill flats after all. I presume the guy in the blue hi-vis is an Run Director from whatever the nearest parkrun is just carrying out a risk assessment in advance of the next event. I don’t think any Sheffield runs were cancelled due to alien invasion, which is yet another testament to the dedication of parkrun teams in ensuring that events go ahead in all but the most exceptional circumstances.
Re my idea that by rights I should now be able to travel in time and space because of proximity to the TARDIS I suppose I do have to acknowledge begrudgingly that this isn’t the only instance of things not working out quite as I’d hoped for. I still clutch on to the belief in my heart of hearts, that reading about running and entering events months in advance should by default improve my fitness without me leaving my sofa. That’s not happened yet either. Life can be full of disappointments…
Oh well, this day was not disappointing. Not in any way. It was quite marvellous in fact. This is why!
First off, there was the frisson of excited anticipation in the build up. Then there was the joy of chugging off with a car full of companions who would all be experiencing the Longshaw Love for the first time. Three friends joining me for winterval fun and frolics. It was an easy drive, and by the time we arrived at the car park it was already filling up. Parked up we headed to the cafe to register.
It’s been so long since I’ve been it was amazing to see just how huge the event has become. Tables were set out for people to sign up, and a long queue was forming. I already had my coveted 999 number, but still had to fill in an emergency contact form, my two American friends had to register anew and pick up run numbers, and our support crew, in charge of PR, bag supervision and Elf watch rose the multitude of responsibilities of her role with considerable aplomb.
The excitement built. It was so much fun to see friends old and new arrive. It’s been a while since I’ve seen some, others are parkrun regulars, but bringing particular joy was the sight of a few first timers. Hurrah! I’m with them, on the very day of their inaugural Longshaw 10 runs, what could be better. To be fair, not all first timers were completely persuaded of the joys of participation on conclusion of the event, but for now it was all eager anticipation, and excitement and being about to run out in a great gang of gregarious gamboling across the Longshaw trails. Hurrah! Time for a few group shots:
Oh my we are collectively and individually fabulous are we not? Some of us look happier to be present on such a day than others.
The route? You want to know the route? Erm, it’s basically two laps, my Strava says it’s 6.5 miles and 665 ft of elevation. The route is clearly marked, starting near to the cafe and finishing just at the back of it. You can bail at 5k if you want, or decide in advance to just run one lap and call it a day, but then you won’t get a time, though you will get a lot of fun and get to the cafe ahead of the queues. You’ll win either way.
Result. It’s on a mixture of compact paths, muddy tree roots, marshy hillsides and tarmac paths. Personally, I wouldn’t run it in road shoes, and usually go for trail. Today, because it had been raining I went for my V-rock super hard-core fell shoes which don’t offer much support, but are super grippy and make me feel really confident on rough terrain. My American friends took it on in walking boots – impressive. I’m sure many do run it in road shoes, but they are maybe either better at staying upright than me, or oblivious to the risk they are taking. The more technical sections aren’t that long, but enough to have me skidding and sliding around were it not for my choice of footwear. It is most satisfying – and unusual for me too – to be able to skip past other runners who are clinging to trees to stay upright whilst you dance from tree root to tree root or rock to rock gazelle like. Well, maybe not like an actual gazelle from to the casual outside observer of untrained eye, but in my head, definitely I’m sprite-like and gazelle like as I hop along fearlessly. No need to tell me otherwise. Not everyone seeks to know the truth of their situation. Some of us choose not to know. (‘I see no ships‘ anyone? Precisely, this demonstrates such a philosophy is enshrined in history. Well, granted he never actually said it I suppose, but sort of near enough surely… ‘I have a right to be blind sometimes..’ blah de blah.)
Sooooooooooooo many people, definitely a record turn out. People queuing round the cafe to register. That’s good though, captive audience for me to go and talk at.
Eventually, a little later than usual, we all gathered on the tarmac path in front of the cafe for the run briefing. It was going to be a crowded one so not really a pb course, never is for me anywhere these days to be fair, but with narrow gates in parts even more risk of bottle necks, or catch up and chat points as I prefer to call them.
Off we went, in a stream of colour. My lovely EWFM** and personal support crew was in situ to capture the moment of us passing. Hurrah! I am alarmed at how increasingly rotund I look in pictures these days, I either need to learn to photoshop or else I’ll have to actually do something more proactive about it in the new year. At the very least I’m going to ‘just say no!’ to wearing a santa had and tutu for a bit. Red does me no favours. Still, captures the sense of occasion.
My loyal EWFM** support crew would undoubtedly have happily stayed out there waiting loyally for the duration, but she had guardianship of the elf, who very much insisted on going back into the cafe to keep warm and drink coffee. What choice did she have but to join him. She looked gutted though, at being compelled to leave her post.
Whilst EWFM was martyring herself in the cafe in the shadow of the Longshaw Cafe Christmas Tree, Longshaw estate was giving we Trust Tenners the run around.
Longshaw is lovely. Absolutely delightful in fact. Even though it was a bit misty to start, you still get brilliant views, there were some bottle necks on the way round, particularly near the kissing gate, which you can only pass through one at a time, but that didn’t matter. Just en route photo ops really, thank you Smiley Selfie Queen, you never disappoint:
It was great to be out and enjoying the company and the scenery and after far too long to have that lovely muddy ground beneath my feet. I love this route because it takes you over a variety of terrain and reminds me how lucky we are to have this place practically on our doorstep. One day, I’d like to be fit enough to run out and do this event and run back. That day was not today, but I can dream can’t I?
It’s so long since I’d done the route, it had changed a little. Not the course, but there were some ‘improvements’ with the addition of a little stone bridge so you no longer have to jump over a stream going up hill, and some paths I thought had been made slightly more level with added grit, probably to protect the ground from erosion along the path rather than runners from falling! There was a fair amount of standing water, and the tree root section was muddy as always, but amazingly, the route was actually pretty good, firm under foot, and not as off-roady as I recalled – though I was still glad of my footwear choice if only to give those shoes a run outing, it’s been far too long.
The first lap felt hard. Those hills! I’ve got horribly unfit. I wouldn’t mind quite so much but I got lapped by the front runner wearing a turkey on his head (a turkey hat, not an actual turkey as far as I could tell) at just the moment I’d given up and was walking up hill not even trying to run, and he breezed past, seemingly still chatting to his running buddy and barely breaking a sweat. Oh well, maybe the secret was in his choice of running gear. Perhaps I need to source a turkey to put on my head whilst running and it will pay dividends with both my speed and endurance? Well, it’s a thought.
At some point, Smiley Selfie Queen and I found ourselves running alongside one another – well, what better cause for a photo op than that?
The marshals were all unfailingly friendly and encouraging, though I’ve come to treat calls like ‘nearly there’ and ‘all downhill from here’ with caution, especially on lap one. They are great though, and many regulars, even though I’ve not been for a whole year, I still recognised familiar faces in familiar spots, it’s like coming home!
First lap done, as I headed out on lap two, my EWFM had ditched the elf and was back in situ to shout motivational phrases and cheer me round for the second coming:
The second lap things spaced out, and weirdly, I found it a lot easier, the route is now familiar, I got into a rhythm and was less influenced by what other runners were doing around me. Instead I could soak up the views and live in the moment. There were even moments when it seemed as if the sun might yet peep out through the clouds and all was right with the world.
After what seemed like days all too soon, I was on the final downhill sprint finish. It’s really fun as the timers come into view, plus one advantage I have in being slower, is that other runners who have finished ahead of me were there on hand to cheer me in. I felt quite the celebrity!
I was so excited at having finished, I managed to stop ahead of the timers, and had to be reminded to go on a bit to cross the line. Oh well, don’t suppose it made much difference. It was great to be reunited with my buddies after such an adventure. We shared stories and I got given some chocolate on a stick for no particular reason other than maybe being one of the final finishers. Still, you never question a gift of unsolicited chocolate, not in my world anyway. Anyway, no time for discussion, we had the important task of posing for photos of us by the Trust 10 flag in all possible character combinations thus:
Then, having established I wasn’t actually the last one in, we opted to stay to cheer in the final finishers which was a great deal of fun.
It was even more fun when they came into view and we realised that the trio coming in included a first timer who had been quite particular to state she only intended to run the one lap but had been
dragged round persuaded it was well worth doing the whole caboodle. Bravo! Much excitement and congratulations to all followed. So many post run feel good endorphins you had to be there to appreciate what it was like to swim amongst them. No really, we were actually swimming in them, that’s why we all look decidedly wet! Also, you will note, at least one of them had gone the memo about it being the Tinsel 10, and was suitably adorned as a consequence. Pleasing indeed.
As if we hadn’t already peaked for fun, there was still the lure of the warm cafe to embrace us, and hot drinks all round. Hurrah!
More catching up of running tales and festive introductions as a number of us had brought along extras, friends or family or previously uninitiated into the Trust10 running friends. It was all very jolly thank you for asking! I learned there were at least 100 first timers at the event (they know, because if it is your first time you have to put a star on the side at the top of your registration form, if it is Christmas, I advise you put a Christmas Tree under the star, just because really.) It was also an all time record turn out, with some 265 doing the whole 10k and you can add a few to that as many would have finished after the first five.
In terms of results, there isn’t a formal published list – this is a run not a race as such, and intended to be inclusive. There are pretty competitive runners out there, but it is very much a fun event. The list gives numbers not names and appeared on the Longshaw Estate Facebook page, together with a plea to remember to reuse numbers and bring your own pins if coming back in 2019. Which is fair enough. This event is free remember. How amazing is that!
Well done to all the Tinsel 10 runners today, and thanks for your support throughout the year! Paying for parking, buying a coffee or donating to the Peak District Appeal all helps to look after Longshaw for people and wildlife. We are asking runners to make a special effort to bring back your run numbers and pins in 2019, which will help us to reduce waste. It should also help you to find your timings more easily.
Thanks as well to all the volunteers; back markers, timing team, marshals, route-markers and a special thanks to the planning team and to Lorna, our volunteer coordinator. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from us all!
So there you go. Sated with coffee and in my case a cheese scone, though there was also the option to taste a mincemeat infused chocolate brownie thing which was, erm ‘novel’, and that was that. Tinsel Ten Totally Terminated. Hurrah!
See you the other side in the meantime:
Happy Christmas/ Bah Humbug/ yuletide felicitations/ Wondrous Winterval/ Season’s Greetings/ Wake me in 2019/ Enough now go away*
For all my Trust 10k posts, click here. Or don’t, it’s not compulsory. You’ll have to scroll down for older entries.
*Please delete as applicable
** Erstwhile Flat Mate. Obvs.