WARTS REVENGE RECORD SMASHED
For those of you who are becoming increasingly concerned about the very large numbers taking to the fells for some races, don't fret, all is not lost. There are still plenty of excellent races with small fields. The Warts Revenge is a good example, with just five fine souls taking up the challenge at 10.30 a.m. on 27 November 1988 (the second race over the full route, once again scheduled for the day following the Cuthroat Relay).
A sparkling, clear, crisp and frosty morning at the corner of Lady Cannings Plantation below Ox Stones. One of those rare mornings when you can see at least five power station together with innumerable other blots on the landscape to the east over the city of Sheffield. To the west hidden by the ridge of Brown Edge Quarries and the formidable flanks of Rud Hill, lies the vast and forbidding expanse of bleak moorland known affectionately as Hallam Bog. Steeped in myth and legend, this ancient and terrible terrain provides the venue for the Warts Revenge .
For those of you unfamiliar with the route, from the start ( and finish) at the style on Ringinglow Road beneath Brown Edge Quarries, the first target is the small ruin close to the summit of Rud Hill, followed by Burbage Bridge North where the route goes under the road and down Burbage Brook to the break in the plantation below Higger Tor. After the steep climb onto Higger Plateau, the race continues down to Mitchell Field then up to the summit of Callow Bank where runners make directly for Stanage Pole (it is forbidden to take the route along Stanage Edge). From the Pole the home straight is direct to the Rud Hill ruin again and down to the finish.
Sadly, that retired Wart, Pete Collingwood (you remember him, to quote our Secretary "the one who got fat and had dogs"), who is a fellow founder of the race was unable even to help marshall this year (rumour has it that he's getting real slippers for Christmas - his old P.B.'s have finally worn out after two years as slipper surrogates! - sorry Pete!).
Overall the race was a success, although there were complaints from some competitors on the course. Alan Yates and Mark Harvey were not impressed with unmanned, unmarked controls or the lack of drink stops and feeding stations.
Andy Harmer led the race from the start, taking it steady to begin with, even having time to kiss Polly and Jenny at Burbage North. The next I saw of Andy was his revolting fluorescent green silhouette bounding down Mitchell Field before a steady run up Callow bank which he found "bloody warm". Next to come striding up Callow at a leisurely (even conversational!) pace came Alan and Mark deep in debate about antidisestablishmentarianism and its effect on life in Crookes and Broomhall, or was it the influence of the Spanish Civil War on the evolution of portrait photography? Mike Hayes was the only one to climb the south flank of Callow and was pipped at the summit by Jim Fulton. Jim was going very well at this stage driven by his own continuous string of coarse expletives which certainly gave him the edge on Mike. The field opened up quite a bit between Callow and the finish. Andy came in to knock over three and a half minutes off Bob Berzins record. Next came Alan, a strong second, another good run in an excellent season for the only sparrow legged yeti to wear canary yellow tight! in public! Then a real bolt of a performance as the electric stallion (snip.) Jim Fulton "charged" in to beat Mike and Mark by minutes. Jim has certainly put some metal in his flex during the past year, rarely missing a Wednesday night on the hills. Mark and Mike are the kind of runners who wax and wane throughout the season and the Warts Revenge caught them both during a low (slow) phase between leg waxings.
Anyone wishing to recce the route is welcome to bring their head torch along any winter Wednesday evening and join Dark Peak FELL runners. If you thought the Warts Revenge was a bastard wait till you try the WART'S WRATH. Watch this space for news of a new race to sap your strength and ruin your rythmn. The WARTS WRATH will cover Ox Stones, Houndkirk Hill, Totley Tops and Burbage Edge and slime!
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