A two hour round trip to the beautiful Cathedral City of Ripon for four Eccleshill Road Runners and their support crew today was more than worthwhile for the reward of a fabulous, well organised race with second to none facilities thrown in (aka bacon & sausage sandwiches, sweet potato soup etc). Ripon is situated in the Borough of Harrogate, North Yorkshire. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is located at the confluence of two tributaries of the River Ure, the Laver and Skell. This is the 32nd edition of the race and is race six in our winter championships calendar. Hosted by Ripon Runners, founded in 1985 as road running began its extraordinary ascendancy from the sport of eccentrics to probably Britain’s most participated in athletic activity. Starting and finishing on Hell Wath Nature Reserve, the course follows a scenic, multi-terrain course of approximately 10k. An undulating route mainly on footpaths through parkland, conditions today were a little tricky underfoot in places. After the start the course takes runners past Hell Wath Cottage, then left on a private lane, left again up Plumpton Lane and down through Studley Deer Park, over the seven most beautiful bridges, out of the main gate at Fountains Abbey, right, up Plumpton Lane for a second time, and return via a short steep climb in Mackershaw Woods, across to Whitcliffe Lane and back to Hell Wath Nature Reserve. Several bottlenecks mean this race is definitely not a PB course but one to be enjoyed for the beautiful surroundings and general feel good factor that comes with such a popular, well organised race to ease yourself back into running and burn of some of the excesses of the festive season and the reward of a technical tee shirt.
Well earned points on the table go to Dan Jenkins (photographer extraordinaire), Julie Steele, Annie Kisluk & David Goodyear.
Fantastic running and well done team!
Also a big shout out to our support crew Garry, Maxine & Martin.