Review of the year 2023

A look back at the year that was 2023.

With 2022's list of achievements being quite extensive, it was almost inevitable that plans would be a little muted for 2023.  It's been a challenging year in many respects with some members recovering from illness or injury or focussing on the needs of their families - partners, children and grandchildren.

The beginning of the year witnessed the usual round of events and races in the name of "getting fit" throughout winter.  Old favourites such as The Hebden, Wadsworth Trog, Anglezarke Amble and Parbold Hill races all kicked off the year with testy runs, while most lacked their usual levels of bogginess.

March and April saw an increase in trips to the hills.   The Howarth Hobble was fun in the snow.  Gary Chapman's videos on Facebook before the event showing snowdrifts while still assuring runners that the event would go ahead, was a real testament to the tenacity of race organisers as well as runners to keep going in the face of adversity.  In April, on a flying visit from Germany, Mark Culshaw joined a gang of us in the Lake District to test legs on Old County Tops terrain.  All involved were thoroughly soaked during the 6 hour deluge of April showers, conditions were tough going but would prove to be nothing like the event in May.  The Calderdale Hike, by comparison, on a most delightful day with blue skies made for a great day of running.  Fitness levels were returning for some, while Dave Ralphs' epic day of cramps culminated in a most awkward journey home splayed out on the back seat of Kathy's car!

Fred's and Jim's determination to get fit enough for one last round of the Old County Tops needed absolute commitment.  Between them they clocked up the requisite miles and the 10,000's of feet of ascent of training needed to take on this iconic pairs race in May.  By contrast, Peter's training for his first OCT involved some unusual training - he took on the Jersey Marathon where he was never out of sight of the sea.  Finally, on a hot day in May, the Old County Tops gained two new legends.  Jim Maxfield at the age of 74 became the oldest finisher, beating Yiannis Tridimas's previous record.  With their combined age, Fred and Jim set a new V140 category record too!  It was an emotional day to say the very least, with Jim giving up every last bit of energy to cross the line in 11hrs 51mins.  Kathy, Dave, Peter, Chris and Jamie (with partner Kelly) also notched up completions for Newburgh Nomads.

Our own Harrock Hill race series was again well attended during 2023 with fresh veg boxes enjoyed by all the category winners over the four races in the series.

The summertime Fell Challenge organised by Matt was a roaring success again.  Nineteen members took part with 94 eligible race counters.  At the wonderful short Brown Wardle race on one of the hottest summer days, Newburgh Nomads represented as much as 1/7th of the field!  As has become a tradition, the evergreen Jim Maxfield topped the table for a sixth consecutive time with performances on par with elite level runners for his age.

We lost our dear friend in Harry Johnson in September, which rocked us all. Harry's vibrant spirit sustained him to the grand age of 88 and he was still running until his last day.

Langdale Horseshoe fell race proved interesting with low cloud and some wayward lines around Bowfell and Crinkle Crags, but it's always a good race that is well represented by the club.  The Tour of Pendle, one of the club's favourite fell races, was well also well attended.  Boggy conditions weren't great for times, but a couple of real highlights stood out.  The first was seeing Mike Hitchmough back to his best again after missing the first half of the year through illness.  An amazing comeback!  Also a great result for Ollie Hulbert on his first outing to join the ToP family.

A handful of keen new members have joined us in 2023: welcome Kathy, Jamie, David, Rowan and Jordan!

The year wouldn't be complete without a quick dash up to Ashurst Beacon on a dark night in December.  The Newburgh Christmas Handicap was an absolute blast with friends from neighbouring clubs!

The Big Ones

In the Newburgh Nomads tradition of "going big", these achievements are a celebration of what can be done when all the training and preparation comes together.

Sticking with it

Sometimes it takes persistence.