Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Haworth Hobble – 13 March

A cold but bright and sunny Saturday morning with an ‘improving forecast’ greeted us in Haworth as we sorted out kit ready for the 8 o’clock start. On the three previous occasions I have run the Hobble it has started on top of the hill outside Haworth so this is going to be a little further with a little more climbing.

Haworth Hobble - 001 Haworth Primary School – registration & the finish


As ever the start is fast, probably too fast and before long we are out into the clag and a chilling wind. By the time I reach the moors beyond the first check point, despite a waterproof top, I am still cold and can’t get going properly. Once on the road at Long Causeway, with the wind behind us, I begin to warm up and start to try to catch some runners in front. The clag has disappeared, in between the clouds some sunshine appears and everything begins to seem a little better. Mankinholes is usually considered the turning point but my own preference is to consider Stoodley Pike as the point at which the race ‘turns for home’. 

Haworth Hobble - 002 First view of Stoodley Pike – the ‘blip’ on the horizon

Reaching Mankinholes involves a bit of a climb out of Todmorden but Stoodley Pike involves another bit of climb out of Mankinholes. The climb to Mankinholes is about 350 feet after 18.5 miles and about a mile later, after almost 20 miles, the climb to Stoodley Pike is a further 500 feet and although these aren’t huge climbs you can’t not notice them.

Haworth Hobble - 003 Climbing towards Mankinholes

Haworth Hobble - 004 Climbing towards Stoodley Pike

The climbing doesn’t finish here but, somehow, it the remaining climbs don’t feel as bad as the last pull to Stoodley Pike. By now I am feeling much better and start to enjoy the race, picking up a few places and particularly enjoying the descents.

Haworth Hobble - 005 Beyond Hardcastle Crags approaching the final check point

The last mile or so – the part I hadn’t done previously – provided a couple of opportunities to go wrong and I took them both, losing a few minutes and perhaps half a dozen places (including one in my own age group) but that is what happens when you don’t know (or fail to learn) the route. I finished 3 of 9 in my age group and 90 of 273 (finishers) overall which I am pleased with, particularly given how bad I felt for the first sixteen miles. While I don’t think I have ever really enjoyed the “Hobble” it is a long  testing race early in the season and the organisation, support and food are all good and it is a good day out.

Haworth Hobble - 010This was Pauline’s first fell race and, I think it is fair to say, she was delighted to finish (as the stronger of a pair with John Swift) in a reasonable time – a proper family outing! (Results are here.)


  1. Brilliant photos as ever Ian, and a write up that'll get this race on my calendar for next year.