Sheffield Castle Report
‘Totley on ice’ at the culmination of the challenge
The grand finale of the inaugural Totley parkrun challenge took place at the wonderful Sheffield Castle Park.
The race director for the event clearly stated during his briefing that a course inspection had been completed and that, although it was a little icy on one corner, we were a go.
For those of you familiar with the course, you will recall that there is very little flat, you always seem to be running down a significant decline or plodding up a never-ending incline. I don’t know which part of the course the director had checked, perhaps he had walked the first 20 metres and then decided it was a bit chilly to go any further, but I can assure you, it was slippery around most of the course, which made purchase on the rises and drops interesting.
Sarah Brooks (and Kiki) bravely marshalled one of the more treacherous turns on the course (thank you both for your service). I am unsure if they had deliberately chosen this exposed section just for the spectacle of seeing 100 runners cornering like Bambi on ice.
Unusually for running in the arctic-lite weather, with each passing lap, the under-foot conditions seemed to become more precarious, with the thin layer of ice compacting with every step trodden.
Perhaps Kunal and Hrishi Popat had it right, opting to volunteer as scanners meant they could at least have a few minutes in the warmth before the fine Totley athletes at the front of the ‘not race’ sprinted to the finish line.
With regards to the final standings, much of the podium excitement had already been resolved, any remaining interest focused on the third-place battles in both the ladies’ and men’s competitions.
Caz Kay and Yvonne Twelvetree shared top billing in the ladies’ event with Kylie McAteer pipping Penny Raybould to third (on age grade ranking count back)
The Totley parkrun fair play panel took great interest in the mother – daughter pre – race pairing of Yvonne Twelvetree and Helen Young. They were satisfied that there was no familial fixing as Helen’s desire to receive a post – run, complimentary and extremely limited mince pie was sufficient motivation for her to traverse the course in the quickest time possible.
Meanwhile, in the men’s rankings, Matt Burden and Richard Watts were secure in the gold and silver positions, with the third place shoot out involving three of Totley’s finest gentlemen; Ian Bates, John Gorman and Tom Hughes.
In the end, it all came down to whether an under the weather Ian could create a sufficient time gap between yours truly to secure the 2 points.
With true Totley grit, Ian glided past me on the final stretch of the course to claim a well-deserved victory, crossing the line first. It was then just a matter of waiting for the official results from the parkrun team to see if the age grade score was sufficient. It was close, but in the end, Ian was a few seconds short.
This enabled John Gorman to collect the bronze over Ian and Tom (again on age grade count back).
Excuse of the month for his absence goes to the lightweight Richard Bulmer, who, when confronted with the sheer terror associated with 3 ascents of ‘heartbreak hill’, chose instead to chicken out and enter the 114-mile spine challenger, preferring to run day and night for 52 hours and 54 minutes (well done mate).
Finally for this report, I would just like to thank every single one of the participants (112 in total) who have helped to make this get-together so successful. My main motivation has always been to organise a regular meeting for Totley runners to meet and show others in attendance what a great bunch we all are.
It has been truly amazing to see so many of you each month, your smiling faces and enthusiasm shone through at every event.
The Totley parkrun Challenge will return……