Hodgson Brothers’ Mountain Relay
2nd October 2022
As the Macclesfield Harriers team assembled at the start of the HBMR on Sunday, they each were preoccupied by quite particular concerns: Tom Whittington and Matt Lynas (Leg 1) eyed the queue for the portaloos; Nathanael Booker and Joe Pickard (Leg 2) quietly contemplated the possible value of an extra hour in bed; Jon Hopper mentally rehearsed the route over Leg 3, while his relay partner, Jake Dickinson, negotiated the loan of a Macc vest from Tom or Matt; Mark Burley focussed on how the wind direction would alter his compass bearings on Leg 4, and Allen Bunyan, as confident co-anchor, salivated over the post-finish cake stall.
Leg 1: Patterdale to Hartsop 6.7 km / 440 m (category AS / ER / LK / NS)
The strategy was to run the initial road section quickly enough to avoid having to queue on the first ascent. Delayed only a little by traffic, Tom dragged Matt up the hill rather faster than was comfortable. Matt’s revenge was to demonstrate that sliding down on one’s backside was the fastest method of descent. Much of the remainder of the field adopted this approach and the air rang out with shouts of “Left!!”, “Right!”, “Rock!”. Team “Veteran Backside Sliders” brought Macc in in 45 mins, good enough for 30th place.
Leg 2: Hartsop to Kirkstone 11 km / 890 m (category AM / ER / LK / NS)
Nat and Joe set off strongly up the hill following the changeover, ran what appears to be an unmemorable leg and, by their own admission, did nothing photogenic. Team “Stop Playing To The Gallery And Just Get On With It” moved us well up the field and brought us in in 23rd place, running for 1hr 20 mins.
Leg 3: Kirkstone to Hartsop Hall 7.5 km / 570 m (category AS / ER / LK / NS)
Jake gave Tom’s vest its second wearing of the day, providing Jon with an excuse to put a bit of distance between them. Having previously reccied the leg with champion orienteer Mark Burley, Jon stuck assuredly to what was believed to be the optimum lines. Neither Jon nor Jake had any recollection of even seeing, let alone being passed by, other competitors. Nevertheless, Team “Incredible But True” brought us in in 28th place, in a time of 1hr 7mins.
Leg 4: Hartsop Hall to Patterdale 11 km / 900 m (category AM / ER / LK / NS)
Great things were expected of Mark and Allen and they didn’t disappoint. They worked steadily through the field. According to Mark, Allen displayed just a tiny bit of reluctance to move from behind a group of Ambleside ladies, but the lure of the bacon butties proved too strong. Team “Immaculately Coiffured As Always” finished with Macc’s best performance of the day in 21st position in a time of 1hr 16mins, the only team to finish inside the female record for the leg – a benchmark set for the team by Mark.
Our time of 4:29:14, was an improvement of 34 minutes and 16 places over our 2021 performance.
This year’s weather – dry and mild – was also an improvement on last year’s constant rain and high winds. The post-event food remained as excellent as ever and raised valuable funds for the local Patterdale school.
Thanks to Mark for organising, and to Tom and Allen for driving. We’re already looking forward to next year and given our excellent performance this year might even be allowed a second team.
Full results are available on https://www.sportident.co.uk/results/HBMR/2022/HBMR/.