A year in the Saddleworth Runners Social Calendar
Author: Howard Chambers

Saddleworth Runners are a “social” running Club, with a number of events over the year that bring out the real ethos of what we are all about.

New Years Day Hash – January
One of the newer traditions, though some form of New Years Day run has been organised for years. ‘The Hash’ is basically a trail of sawdust or paper that is followed via various false trails. The beauty of the hash is that the quicker runners go off finding all the false trails while the cries on ‘On, On’ encourage those behind to follow the true route. Re-grouping is a big part of any hash. The run is of course followed by food and drink, sometimes at a members house or in a local pub.

Castleshaw Canter – Mid January
This is traditional curtain raiser to the highlight of our social calendar the ‘Presentation Do’ The Canter was the brainchild of Gerry Royle and has been run for as long as I can remember and is a perfect way to start this special day…unless of course you don’t want to show off your blackened peaty toe-nails in the evening. The route leaves the bottom of Delph Lane before heading over Harrop Edge. Over the road and up through Bleak Hey Nook and onto the Trig above Standedge. The Pennine is followed before heading down to Broadhead Noddle. A final last climb up to Heights Church before a last dash through the fields to the Pub. Afterwards food is laid on in the White Lion with prizes a plenty for those having braved the usually strong winds on the edge.

Presentation Do – Mid January
The highlight of our social calendar, where the great and good of SRC step out of their lycra and into leather and lace. Although a formal night, we try and keep the talkie bits to a minimum to allow enough time or a relaxed meal and the presentation of awards. Probably the highlight of the evening is the presentation for the wooden spoon. A chance for the members to relive and laugh at those misfortunates who have made the most embarrassing cock-ups in the year. The evening comes to a close with the chance to show off your latest moves as our celebrity local DJ spins the tunes til around midnight. This is also the launch of our year long Club Charity.

New Chew – February
Our first organised race, a navigational event in February.

Cake Race – May
The judging of the Cake overshadows the race itself!

Saddleworth Fell Race – June
Short and sharp with a full set of junior races.

Summer Do – July
A fantastic weekend long event with a heady mixture of eating, drinking and the odd bit of running thrown in for good measure. Over the years the format has changed, usually some form of relay event with two teams doing battle for what inevitably turns out to be a draw! A great family occasion in stunning locations means this is a really popular event and the breeding-ground for many wooden-spoon nominations. An added event this year was mini-Olympic event, taking in running swimming and kayaking, very popular and great fun.

Cross Keys Road & Fell Relay – Early September
Teams of 4 on the fell and road.

Saddleworth Edges – October
A new race for 2012 replacing the old Ravenstones FR.

Santa Run – Last Tuesday before Christmas
A recent addition to our social calendar and one of the most popular. Everyone gets dressed up as Mr or Mrs Santa and we trawl the local pubs singing Christmas Carols in aid of our chosen charity. It’s never too clear whether we are paid to sing or to move on. Upwards of 30 Santa’s have been present in recent years creating a real stir in the villages, not to mention spreading a little Christmas cheer around.

Christmas Handicap – Sunday before Christmas
Yet another chance for members to get dressed up in a manic tromp across the moors in search of hidden treasures. Usually split into two teams and always wet and cold. Food and drink in the Cross Keys Inn supplemented by a secret Santa of dubious quality items.

Winter Night Runs – October to March around Full-Moon
Perhaps the most popular Tuesday Night events occur once a month through the winter tagging onto the full-moonlit evenings. Routes are varied and often new ground to members who travel by torchlight through paths and tracks of the local hills. Often goodies are stored on the moors, and it has even known to have new trig-points appear from nowhere. All night runs start and finish from a different pub with food laid on afterwards.