Race Report 23/02/21

Over the last 30 years or so, Thirsk and Sowerby Harriers have held a monthly, mostly 2 mile, time trial, with a view to measuring progress, and more latterly, also to hold a Handicap at the end of each term.  The winner receives a shield, to be held for one year, and all participants and helpers receive a prize – probably chocolates.  Needless to say, this is a very popular evening in normal times,  with a pooled supper and a very social evening.  This last year, it has all been done “virtually”, with members submitting a time and Duncan Fothergill (who’s good at sums) calculating a handicap.  No social get together, unfortunately, but fingers crossed ………..!
  In the early days of the club, there was a large number of youngsters and a small number of, mainly men, faster runners.  They decided to do a time trial each month, and the competition was strong.  Over the years, the fastest times have been under 10 minutes and on a fast course, on a good night, this is still being achieved.  Gary Dunn is one of the more recent runners who spring to mind.  These days, you do 2 miles from near your home and send in your time, timing yourself, on the last Wednesday of the month.  The wonderful  Sowerby Gateway track is ideal for this, 3.2 km, if you can manage to dodge children on bikes and scooters, sauntering pedestrians, dog walkers, wheelchairs and zimmers – and going on a dull rainy day is best!  Normally, between 30 and 40 people take part, after a warm up session in Thirsk School sports hall, but in these “virtual” days, the numbers can be between 50 and 60 at any time you like on the appropriate Wednesday.
  In normal times in winter, the time trial has been run along Station Road, with street lighting to help along the way, but in summer, Sutton Bank is a favourite and also Wass and Kilburn Woods.  For a few years, the Handicap took place round a farmer’s field, and that farmer happened to have a swimming pool – which certainly added to the social and fun quality of the evening!  Handicaps in Wass Woods very often ended with sociables at Merv Burn’s place, but wherever the venue, the prizes, supper and get together at the end have been a fixture, even if supper was pooled on the back of Rob’s pick-up.
   Do we begin to see light at the end of the tunnel?  It sounds as if it may not be too long before we can all meet up again for club sessions, and we just can’t wait!

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