A vintage series
Nowadays you usually get to register online for races.
Yes, you pay extra for the payment technology, their marketing campaigns and another T-shirt you’ll hardly wear, but it’s simple and convenient and that’s the modern way to do things.
On the other hand, these twelve events are so old fashioned. They’re barely advertised and there’s no clothes giveaway. You have to fill in a piece of paper then hand over cash in a pub function room.
There’s certainly no chip timing. At this one they get the local farmer, decked in his best tweed to set runners off with a shotgun.
Last year’s Braithwell race was my first KMR experience. Naturally I ended up running most of this year’s series.
The events are informal yet traditional – organised by runners for runners. It’s a great buzz to come together as clubs to run with and against each other over varied routes and terrain. And there’s usually a buffet afterwards.
2019: Danum’s vintage year
The Harriers are developing a strong reputation in this tournament – Simon Raynor won his age category trophy in 2018 and this year Mick Plant had already won his before this final race had begun.
Series prizes are awarded by category for runners attending eight races or more. Dave Langford just had to turn up and clock eight to leapfrog the competition to win his, which he duly did.
I was on course to effectively come third in my category. There’d be no confirmation, no announcement and no trophy, but the chance to imagine stepping onto a podium was enough to spur me on to put in a strong effort.
Me, the indomitable Langford, series stalwart Plant and the indefatigable Raynor, recovering from cold, met at the Butcher’s Arms and soon found ourselves at the front of the huddle at the start line. A blast of the shooter and down the road we went, then over the trail section. Langford led, with Plant in pursuit, and Raynor following me.
After the off-road section it was a descent on tarmac into Stainton then an uphill slog for the rest of it. A few people passed me, but I saved enough energy for a burst at the end to retake a handful and knock nearly two minutes off my last year’s time.
Then it was back to the Butcher’s for drinks and trophies. Hope to see even more Harriers at next year’s series!