Posts Tagged ‘line’


Last Saturday I ran my usual parkrun at Horton Park. I’m really getting to like this course as it is a challenge and a great wakeup call on a Saturday morning whether you have been out or not! It was a pleasant, sunny morning and I ambled round at my usual pace enjoying my running. At the end I did my now customary sprint for the line and went to talk to one of the other QRC runners Neil.

Neil has only just started running again but he is fast around 211/2 minutes for a 5k. He asked me if I was doing the Bolton Brow Burner and I asked him what it was! It turned out it was a challenging 10k race the next day, one where you could turn up and just run it. I’ve got the Pudsey 10k in just under 2 weeks as I write this but I thought what the hell, no time to think about it, go for it!

I had a couple of pints at the club that afternoon but was in bed early as I am not very good at getting up on a morning after a session on the beer. Sunday morning came and I was up bright and early, feeling good and ready to race!

I set off early as I am well known for getting lost and today was no exception. I drove past the venue at least once and ended up miles out of my way. A journey that should have taken me 15 minutes ended up taken me 1 hour 15 minutes. The lesson here is to never let me give directions in any form of transport.

But I finally arrived at the registration point and within minutes I had entered my fist 10k race not knowing where I was, where the race was or what the course was like. All I could see around me were hills, steep hills so I guessed I would be running up at least one of them at some point.

Off to the start we all went a car park at the side of the canal but as good as anywhere. After hanging around for around ½ hour during which most of the men were running off to have a pee, we were told to line up and then we were off!

The race started on the canal for a mile or so, just nice and steady and I settled in looking for a suitable candidate to follow and pace myself against. Unfortunately for me they all took one look at me and increased their pace as soon as we turned off from the canal and headed for the hills.

Before I knew it I was at the bottom of Bolton Brow and it was scary! Very steep and covered in gravel, it was not an easy hill to climb especially if you had never been near it before. I got talking to a lass of a similar age to myself and we walked up it together discussing running. The thing I really like about running and runners is they’re always happy to talk to you about running and relieve past glories.

At the top of Bolton Brow the lass left me for dead but I had never run 10k before so remembering what my fellow club runners had told me went at my own pace. This proved to be a good strategy because once I started to head back down I was keeping the lass in my sights and not letting her get away.

This proved to be going well until I had to stop and pull my shorts up. I’ve lost a lot of weight recently and I’ve dropped several sizes in shorts and jeans. However this was quite embarrassing as my shorts were falling down and my boxers were on display for everyone to see. After managing to give some people an eyeful I was back on the trail safe in the knowledge that my shorts weren’t halfway round my bum.

But now I had some catching up to do on unfamiliar trails. The lass had gotten quite far in front, but there was a young lad not too far up ahead so I targeted him and used him as bait to drag me round. And it worked. I had a couple of runners in front of me due to my shorts adjustments, but I soon passed them and set about catching the young lad. And then the lass appeared in the distance too and I decided to do my best to keep them both in sight because you never know what might happen.

Through Copley Woods we went up and down, sloshing through mud, diving down wet rocks and stone steps and generally just enjoying it all whilst trying not to fall and damage myself. I would certainly run it again as I enjoy off road running but for today I concentrated on just getting round and completing the course and avoiding injury.

And then I was through the woods and running back down Bolton Brow towards the canal. For some strange reason my downhill running has got slower recently and I am going faster uphill and on the flat than I am downhill. I’ve no idea why or how this has happened but it had and today was no exception. I sort of lumbered down Bolton Brow and only felt like I was picking up speed when I reached the flat at the bottom.

Up until this point I had no idea where the lass and the lad where. For all I knew they may have pulled a mile on me and be out of sight. But as I turned onto the canal I saw them both up ahead and I thought ‘they’re not too far I front’; ‘I can catch them’. And with that thought in the back of my mind I set about maintaining my pace and seeing if I could catch them.

The only problem with the canal is that it is quite boring by its nature being flat and beside a still water, but encouraged by walkers and homeowners who obviously revelled in the sight of a middle aged man trying to kill himself through running I carried on until I reached the end of the canal and began the home straight back to the registration point at the school.

By this point the lad had pulled quite a distance on me so I resigned myself to not catching him, but the lass was slowing, and by quite a bit too! I had her in my sights and I could visibly see myself gaining on her until I was right behind her and then past her. I don’t think I said anything to her as I passed her as I needed every single breath I could muster at this point.

And then there was the finishing line at last. Or at least I thought it was until I realised I had to do one of those convoluted finishes that involve going in and out of fencing and rope until you see the sign that says finish.

But finish I did in a time according to my Garmin of 1:14:26. I was very happy with that. Under 1:15 for my first ever 10k and according to the runners around me if I could run this one I can run any. My official time was over 1:15 but this was due to my shorts stoppage so I’m going by my Garmin time which is a more accurate reflection of my performance on the day.

And I got a very nice metal medal too for all my efforts. At the end of the day I left Bolton Brow a very happy and satisfied man knowing I had accomplished something I never thought possible which is run 10k.

Now my next challenge is looming up quickly, the Pudsey 10k. I am prepared for this mentally although I haven’t been round the course, but I know I can run 10k on any day and I know I will give it my best. I would like to go under an hour but I am aiming to get as close to this as possible. All I can say is that I will give it my all and do my very best.


Recently I was asked to write and perform some poetry for an event in my home village to remember the closure of Queensbury Railway Station 60 years ago. These are the poems I wrote. I wanted to capture the life of the railway rather than go into historical details. I hope I did this.

A hill stands in the way

Tons of earth lain here for years

Nothing has moved it

Not wind, rain or snow

Until now

Until now with the overwhelming desire of men

To get through to the other side

Underneath the village of Queensbury

To the town of Halifax

And navvies come from all around

To move earth and dig the tunnel

And with pickaxes and spades

They move lumps of mud and clay

And slowly a tunnel begins to form

Deeper underneath Queensbury they go

Determined to reach Halifax

And lay the tracks of the railway

A rumble deep underground as the

Slaughter line comes crashing down

And a wife and child are fatherless

Penniless, homeless

The price for some was high

But the men must carry on

In order to achieve their goal

And then

A chink of blinding light

Penetrates the blackness

And there is Halifax

1 1/2 miles through earth and stone

The men have built the Queensbury tunnel

 —————————————– 

The tunnel is finished, complete

Tons of earth above will not fall in

The people of Queensbury can

Sleep peacefully

As the lines that will carry trains go down

Mile after mile of cold, hard steel

Sleeping on beams of wood

Forever trapped in the damp darkness

Waiting for the steam train

To wake them up as it takes

The workers and holiday makers

To their destinations

——————————- 

And through the train comes

Thundering through the tunnel

As the village of Queensbury

Silently shudders overhead

Residents deep in sleep

Unaware of the mechanical violence

Happening far below

 ——————————-

And the train clanks and clunks to a halt

At the Queensbury triangle

Hundreds of people get off

And rush up Station Rd

It is long and steep

But they have no choice

The train was late

But they cannot be

Wages will be docked if they are

And someone will go hungry

 ———————————–

The day has been long and hard

Stood at the end of a loom

In a room filled with smoke

Noise, blood, sweat and tears

A child lost an arm today

No-one will see him again

And now the journey home begins

Tired limbs hurry down Station Rd

The train waits for them

Covered in soot and grime

Ready to take the workers

Into the darkness of the tunnel

One last time

 ————————-

And so it goes on

Day after week after month after year

Passengers go to and fro

Carrying cargo and coal

From work to home

For business and pleasure

Every hour of every day

The trains never stop

Not even for snow

———————–

But then stop it does

Passengers in 55

Cargo in 56

The lines go in 63

The air is quiet and still

Without the noise of the

Trains to disturb it

Nature reclaims the tunnel

For its own

 ——————

Now 60 years has past

Since the last passenger

Train ran on the Queensbury line

But plans are afoot to

Reopen the tunnel

And once again

Allow people to

Travel underneath Queensbury

This time by

By foot and by bike

For business and pleasure

As their ancestors

Did all those years ago