Bollington Brewing 3 Peaks 2017
(Slightly written in the style of Dame Barbra Cartland (deceased). Late in delivery, as I was busy fluffing up my cushions.)
Set over 5.7 miles of challenging terrain, runners faced a 1,200 feett ascent traversing Kerridge Hill, White Nancy, and Nab Hill.
Peter was a fine young strapping lad in a welter of emotion one jolly morning in the quaint village of Bollington. He was faced with choices that broke his heart, should he run with his beloved? The "Hamilton Haircut", accompany the "Flying Frenchie", or chase the fine gentlemen, "Big Daddy" and "Grease Lightning"? Decisions, decisions - his cross to bear in this tale of hardship, soul searching, and challenge.
It all began one plain Saturday on arrival at Bollington, a picturesque village in a Cheshire with people, and houses, and shops, and horses, and dogs, and cars, and parks, and streets, and roads, and oh... so many things. Peter was pleased at the lack of riff raff and did not spot anyone with webbed feet or hands as he gulped on leaving his carriage. The Hamilton Haircut was in battle mode, strode onwards, ablutions first, then stopped in shock at a rather large queue of gentlefolk, clad in an attire of colourful Lycra waiting to sign themselves in at the local brewing company. Peter was brewing himself due to nerves, but this is not a discussion for polite company. We were then greeted and accosted by the French person, and we indulged her in her usage of God's language, i.e. English. I laughed politely. Then joining us were the two fine fellows, Big Daddy and Grease Lightning. Getting one's number was medieval with one person handling all the runners, until others joined in helping and the process was speeded up. We all knew the race would start late, but we were happy, this merry band of runners, all delighting in running the across the green and pleasant grass.
Peter and his Homies (as the youngster of today would say) made their way to the viaduct running through the village centre; the Middlewood way and the site of the old Macclesfield to Marple branch line. The views abounded as the melee of over three hundred runners assembled. It was rather chilly and one could see goose pimples galore on the sea of flesh. My man from the Wilmslow Striders took me aside (old boys network) and explained there were two gates to navigate at the start. Armed with this information myself, Big Daddy, and Grease Lightening politely made our way to the front as though royalty. The delayed start happened and we set off like the proverbial bat out of hell. It was clear this was going to be fast. The weather at the start was chilly and people had arms crossed and were close to each other in a brotherly and sisterly way. One ruffian was heard to say he was freezing his knackers off. But the weather changed to become humid with the sun peaking through. The Sadds were glad to have donned vest only.
Fast, fast, fast up the Middlewood way, then off onto the Macclesfield canal, after the gates, up a bottleneck of canal bridge stairs onto a road, field, then track - long track and footpath up to Kerridge Hill. All was enclosed by ancient trees, with the heat clasping us to its bosom; my bosom as heaving... I'd lost the other Sadds in my mad rush at the start and had to make do with other runners. We crested Kerridge Hill and then a brutal descent to the valley below. At this point I'd wished I'd had Mudclaws and not Rocklites, but overall the Rocklites came into their own. It was now all field as we rose contouring up to White Nancy (a local landmark that overlooks Bollington and resembles a little hat on a hill). It was tough. At this point Grease Lightening past by, said a polite "good running" and I thanked him whilst thinking, "oh, the jolly f*****r". I was on tired legs from a busy weekend and had to think fast. Thinking fast involved keeping him in sight.
It is worth noting the views over the Cheshire Plain and Manchester were breathtaking when not examining one's footwear - not a day for high heels at a ball.
A fast and speedy, hard and tough descent down White Nancy took us into Bollington from Kerridge. Local householders were out and smiling and cheering us on. A great atmosphere that I relished. A section of Tarmac at speed took us past the Poachers Pub (As a Macclesfield chap I may have been totaled once or twice in there over the years) and into a field for the climb up Nabb Hill. At this point legs were tired and I was now running with a Chorlton Runner called Alice who ended up being the first lady back. Grease Lightening was still in sight...
The climb up Nabb Hill was hard and hot, with the weather close, to be quickly followed by a excellent and fast downhill over grass and path onto a half kilometre of Tarmac to join the canal. Alice at this point went off like a whippet after struggling up Nabb Hill. Grease Lightening was getting closer... People had pushed hard by this point. It was then fast along the canal to the Adelphi Mill, off the canal to then descend rapidly to the village green when the cricket team in full whites were playing; maybe cucumber sandwiches?
Plenty of people clapping, cheering! Grease Lightening came in around 20 second ahead of me and we celebrated with water, cooling down waiting for the others. Next was Big Daddy, Hamilton Haircut, and Flying Frenchie.
As mentioned the green was fully alive with cheering and clapping and we joined in as well.
The merry group headed back to the brewery for food (chilli and rice), a free pint, and a goodie bag with beer and soft drink to die for. We grinned with glee at all the fun and laughs.
The race? Do it. Atmosphere excellent.
However, there was not enough pink, black mascara, or green eye shadow...