Saturday, 4 April 2015
From Strava Art to the Chocathlon, muddy hills and Chocolate of course.
A month or so back the guys at Team OA posted a photo on Facebook of someone's Strava Art (using the gps line of a run or bike ride to create a picture) of a Giraffe. Along with the picture they posted a challenge, if anyone could create a Strava Art bunny they would win entry to this years Chocathlon. They also challenged anyone to create the Team OA logo and if they could do that they would win lifetime entry to the Chocathlon. So what do you think I did a couple of days later......yep that's right...
And yes I won lifetime entry, LIFETIME, I can't help but keep saying it, LIFETIME, how cool is that? A big thank you to the guys at Team OA for such a cool prize, I hope that I'll be running/walking the Chocathlon for many years as it is such a cool idea and run. For those of you that are wondering what the hell is a Chocathlon it is a 9km run around the hills of Marsden with 2 chocolate stations along the way. Like your normal water stations but these have chocolate treats for you to eat, chocolate biscuits and water as well so that you can manage the hills and trails of Marsden. Well that was a month or so ago and this past Easter weekend I actually got to use my prize.
This Easter Saturday it was Huddersfield parkrun's 4th birthday and their carrot relay after the run, plus after that it was the Chocathlon. So right from the off I knew this day was going to be exhausting, even if I took it easy at parkrun. I was running with Dexter and Flynn this week, Flynn even got dressed up for the celebrations.
With the beautiful weather conditions we cruised to a 2015 PB for Dexter of 30.14mins then we hung around to take part in the carrot relay. The carrot relay is a race around the small loop (cafe part) of the parkrun course for teams of 3 people, which for #TeamPattison was SJ, Dexter and I. This year the was about 17 teams about double the number of teams from last year, which added a bit more competitiveness to the fun atmosphere. Everyone was eyeing up the competition but with great fun and friendliness that comes with any parkrun family. Dexter was running the first leg for #TeamPattison and on his own this year, followed by SJ and then myself on the final leg. Last year Dexter started crying because he was passed by too many people and thought he wouldn't win, but this year he understood that he would be passed and was determined to complete the lap without crying. This year unfortunately he cried again but this time it was because I distracted him cheering him on and he slipped in the mud and face planted on the floor, hurting his hand slightly in the process. I picked him up and carried him for a bit then he walked the final 100 metres until we handed the carrot off to SJ. She ran round with the possibility of a wardrobe malfunction, managing 3/4 of the way round before her trousers threatend to fall down, so she cut a corner and handed me the carrot before things got a bit x-rated! We were in second to last place and had no chance of gaining anything from this blantant bit of cheating and as I set off we had a huge gap to make up any way. I busted a gut to catch up but with no success as I finished just behind Team Brook still in second to last place. This wasn't a problem at all as like any parkrun event everyone was very supportive wherever you finished and we all clapped and cheered John Cottam as he crossed the line to finish the relay. Dexter was still a little upset at this point but a chocolate teacake from Simon Edwards at least silenced the cries and stopped the tears. Plus one of the guys from the winning team gave Dexter his Easter egg he got as part of his prize, which was really nice of him. So from here it was off to Grandmas for some breakfast and a rest before the Chocathlon and the Marsden hills.
As we arrived at the race HQ we were greeted by Simon Brass in his full bunny onesie and a big smile on his face, the boys really love Simon he makes them laugh so much, it's brilliant to see. Simon wasn't the only familiar face there, there was lots from parkrun or Stadium runners and other races too.
We were set off by Ally Young and a starting pistol, it always adds a little extra race feel when your set off by a proper starters pistol, maybe it's the hidden athlete in us or does it just scare the crap out of us. Either way we were heading down the canal and at a fairly quick pace, but it wasn't long before the earlier runs were taking their toll and my legs were already feeling a little heavy. By the time we arrived at chocolate station 1 I couldn't face any chocolate so I just took a drink of water especially as all I could see from there onwards was a huge hill. There was two stages to this hill which weaved it's way upwards like an S and as we were going at a full on pace I ended up walking about half way up. Not for long though as I dug deep and yelled at myself to get my arse moving, and I ran the rest of the hill that just got steeper as you went. Luckily there were some friends (Mr and Mrs Edwards) at the top cheering us on, taking photos and just keeping our spirits up even if it was early in the race.
It wasn't long before we realised we had finish in 3rd and 4th which was amazing but at the same time we started to wonder what had happend to Jonny Cartwright( last years reigning champion) who was leading the last time we saw him. He wasn't at the finish and no one knew where he was, it turned out that someone had turned round a sign on the course sending us in different directions. Jonny knew the route and went the right way, where as the rest of us went the the way the signs suggested which turned out to be a few hundred metres shorter. Still though Jonny didn't turn up until 8th place and about 10 mins behind us, so somewhere he had gone wrong too because of the signs. He ended up doing an extra mile and a bit on us some how, he seemed to be the only one that took that route. It was a shame as he would have won it again this year if everyone had all gone the right way, and someone hadn't messed with the signs on the course. We all had a great time anyway and there was lots of chocolate biscuits to eat at the finish too.
Here's a link to a short video of the start of the Chocathlon....
We hung around and cheered on a lot of the runners before we had to go and get ready for cousin Liam's 7th birthday party and probably more chocolate. All the chocolate did end up being a bit too much for Dexter and he threw up at Liam's party due to chocolate overload!!
It was a fantastic day and great fun and I can't wait to use my lifetime entry to the Chocathlon again next year. Thank you to Team OA for putting on another great event as always, the next one is the Huddersfield half/full marathon which is a beast and probably one of the toughest road marathons in the UK. You have to do it just to say you've done it, plus it is one of the most scenic runs around too.
Keep running everyone