On 1 January 2014, despite freezing temperatures, increasingly heavy rain and near gale-force winds, (remember the Hangover 5 was cancelled) around 200 plucky runners including our own Andy Massingale raised themselves from their beds while the rest of the slovenly world was sleeping to attempt Britain’s top-rated trail race, the Knacker Cracker. Following a rousing rendition of the National Anthem, the ‘hardest of the hard core’ set off up the first of the Knacker Cracker ascents of the famous Box Hill Massif. Alas, almost the entire field ran a shortened version of the full course, following a wrong turn after the first road crossing (many finishers were happy that they hadn’t been out in the terrible conditions for longer). All the same, runners were almost universally jubilant to have completed even the shorter course – and oddly enough, no-one elected to go back and run the full course, which was still fully marked out with tape, signs and expectantly waiting marshals. The really atrocious weather conditions, which steadily deteriorated yet further, meant that runners had experienced the full face-tingling, lung-bursting, hand-freezing giggle-fest of the Knacker Cracker. Three nippers even turned up and ran the inaugural Nipper Knacker – Sally Russell (10) and Jaymes Russell (11) were first and second: well done all these future Olympians!
It was a marginal call to run the race at all, but if the race medical providers (St John Ambulance – hooray!) turn up, and the runners turn up, and the marshals turn up, then the race is on! Sadly a particular sign was blown down at a crucial junction – tape was still in place to lead the runners along, but even runners who knew the course followed the man in front and went wrong. However, three runners completed the course correctly: Richard Goulder (in 1:18:38) for the men, and Pauline Mackey and Nicky Donbavand (somewhat later) for the ladies – well done!
WELL DONE TO EVERYONE WHO TURNED OUT – A FIRST CLASS EFFORT!
MEGA-THANKS to the brilliant marshals – and sorry for the hypothermia!
HUUUGE RESPECT to all the fancy dressers!
And ENORMOUS respect to Andy Massingale, who finished 7th in 32:45 just 40 seconds behind the winner. And thanks to Tammy for this wonderful photograph of Andy in full running gear!