The last mid-week of May was the big daddy of them all – Harrock Hill Race. This race has more hills, sometimes more mud and always more cows than any other mid-week race and is a particular favourite of a few of the Harriers.
Last year this race was bathed in sunshine on all four occasions but this time the forecast had indicated we were likely to get wet and only get to bathe in mud. Thankfully the rain eased off and a great turnout of ten Harriers toed the uphill start line.
Andy Kaufman had suffered plenty of earache from Becki for his shoddy performances throughout May and was looking to make an improvement in his finish, even making an effort to turn up early.
Amongst the ten were three first timers – Mark Rogers, Daniel Richardson and the Harriers Athlete of the year Gary Wane. I’m sure they were bored of hearing all the Harrock tales by the time the race started but I’m sure by the end of it they had a few of their own.
In an attempt to save us from the marauding cows the organisers had arranged for us to divert and run around the edge of a couple of fields. It was an interesting sight to see two marshals attempting to hold back 30 cattle, bravo to them!
The course itself was muddy but runnable, nature and farmers had decided that we needed a few extra obstacles – we were given more stiles and a tree that was probably around during the Civil War before it fell across our course. Most runners struggled to climb over it but Andy Eccles used his Korean War training to crawl underneath.
Harrock is a favourite of Coach Waddy and so in the later stages Mike Harris was glancing nervously over his shoulder expecting a late charge from either of the two Daves.
Finishing in pole position for Harriers was the developing legend that is Andy Kaufman in a spectacular first place. Such was Andy’s margin of victory he had time to stop and pick up his daughter Erica and carry her for the last 300 metres of victory. Andy was later to admit that it is unlikely to be his usual finishing routine.
Tales were then exchanged over a cool pint whilst we waited for the results. Mark was worried he might have missed out on a box of veg but Becki Kaufman reassured him that nobody looked older than him in the first five home – almost comforting!
It was a brilliant showing from the team.
1. Andrew Kaufman 34.08
6. Mark Rogers 36.25 1st M45
26.Mike Harris 39.33
28.Dave Waddington 39.41
33.David Collins 40.02
47.Andy Eccles 42.01
48.Jayne Taylor 42.11 1st L50
62.Gary Wane. 43.50
84.Dan Atkinson 45.55
127.Shona Taylor 52.13
You had to be present to collect your prize, a few of the guys had to go early otherwise Harriers would have collected four boxes – enough to open up a soup kitchen. Here is Andy and Mark proudly displaying their prize veg.