The rain was kind enough to leave a window of dryness for most of us, but the wind, oh the wind (no baked beans or sprouts involved). It was enough to knock us off our feet. The mud we expect in Calderdale in winter, but even that was as bad as it could possibly be. Put the two together and you get slip-sliding and no traction, which requires much pusseyfooting. The inevitable result is slower times.
I had decided to go all out for a fastest possible time, such that I sampled not one morsel or drop from any of the checkpoints (I know, this strategy is criminal on The Hebden). I kept myself lean and mean with energy gels and my own electrolyte and water, and devoted every second to getting myself around the route back to Mytholmroyd. The result was a decidedly average (for me) 4:30. As always, it was the best I could manage. I have always run at my limit on this one.
Then followed nearly 3 hours of chatting with folk and refuelling on the wonderful comestibles (which always include mulled wine as an aperitif, would you believe). The post-race 'do' is half the reason why I come back year after year. I know of no event with such attention to detail that goes to such lengths to delight us. I'm not surprised it now sells out, even without promotion or issue of entry forms now.
Homemade crumble with proper custard. They spoil us.
SportSunday took an excellent crop of pictures, shown here (this link won't last long I'll bet). Below is a tightly focussed example of their handiwork (fully paid for).