Mention the “Stoop” and 2 things spring to mind, Santa Hats and Bogs.
Sunday’s Stoop Fell Race did not disappoint as a festive band of Calder Valley Fell Runners lined up with 450 cheery revellers, clad in fancy dress and fell shoes, in a windswept quarry above Haworth.
The 5 mile Stoop Fell Race route is what experts term a “lollipop”. From an aerial perspective, race begins by tracing its “stick” as runners speed along a straight track to the moor. The “lolly” of the course then traces a circle 750 feet up and down Stoop Hill, before returning the way it came, on a linear path, back to the start at Penistone Hill. The irrepressible race-organising double act of Dave and Eileen Woodhead (aka The Woodentops) have helped The Stoop evolve into fell-running’s answer to King’s College’s Festival of 9 Carols and Lessons.
For many in the sport this event, now in its 27th year, has become an important ritual, signalling the start of Christmas. However it would be a mistake to assume that this merry atmosphere might take the edge off some serious athletics. The Stoop also has reputation for bringing together the big guns of fell running for some ultra-competitive racing, in a temporary suspension of the season of good will.
The 2015 race was no exception, as Pudsey and Bramley’s Rob Hope tangled with the likes of Tom Adams of Ilkley, and Bingley’s Ian Holmes. Hope was first home in 31.08, just 4 seconds ahead of Tom Adams and Mercia’s Simon Bailey, who both crossed the line in 31.12. Preston Harrier’s Nichola Jackson was first lady in 38.08. Calder Valley’s elites had a day off, but a host of red-white hooped vests, survived the bogs to enjoy the post-race festivities back at the Sun Inn.
RESULTS: Mark Wharton 71st 40.08, Jo Buckley 90th 41.33, Ben Frechette 98th 41.55, Richard Ingram 137th 44.43, Tim Brooks 162nd 46.48, Anthony Costello 178th 47.17, Paul Haigh 187th 47.43, Toby Sybes 191th 47.52, Nathan Kennagh 210th 47.25, James Cooke 235th 50.40, John Nun 279th 53.04, Charlotte Whetton 330th 55.53, Lindsey Oldfield 342 56.24.