New-look race hailed a success

Hot Toddy Fun Run at West Vale Park, Todmorden
Hot Toddy Fun Run at West Vale Park, Todmorden

It was worth the wait! That was Todmorden Harriers’ message after their Hot Toddy race returned from a 25-month break last Sunday.

Following a cancellation in 2014 and a postponement due to flooding on December 27 last year, a new-look race attracted a 200-strong field for arguably Todmorden’s flagship sporting event.

It was won by Salford Harriers’ Tom Cornthwaite with Calder Valley’s Alex Whittem best of the locals in fourth.

Rare fine weather was also appreciated by those who took part in the one-mile fun run.

Chairman Simon Anderton said the event had gone better than expected.

“It was very, very satisfactory,” he said.

Anderton said it had taken a tremendous team effort to make sure the event had gone ahead at the second time of asking this winter.

“People who helped organise the race were themselves affected by the floods,” he said.

Kath Bridger had done the organisation for the race at Christmas but had been unable to remain in charge for the re-arranged event due to family commitments.

So club member Emma Osenton, used to organising cycling events, had taken over and John Lloyd from Cannonball Events had helped with the marshals.

The race had been rechristened “Red-Hot Toddy 10k Road Race” following a change of route after safety issues in 2014 and a switch in distance from just under six miles.

“We have had lots and lots of good feedback about the new event,” said Anderton.

“For the first running it was a brilliant field so I am very hopeful for the future.”

Anderton said the race would be discussed at a meeting in March but there were unlikely to be major changes for the next event, apart from a switch back to its regular slot between Christmas and New Year.

“The race has been a fixture in Todmorden since Todmorden Harriers started and we are determined not to let it go,” he said.

Organisers hope to haveraiseed £800 or £900 for the Calderdale Flood Relief Fund.

Cornthwaite stopped the clock at 33 minutes and 33 seconds. Whittem’s time was 35:44 and Andrew Worster (38:35) was first for hosts Todmorden Harriers in seventh.

Following two laps of the park, which included some unexpectedly deep puddles and mud, competitors were taken up the lung-busting steep climb of Ewood Lane to Sourhall before looping back toward the Bacup Road.

After the long descent, the runners were guided through Todmorden past the bustling Sunday market before entering the park for a final sprint to the finishing line.

It was the first road race in Todmorden Harriers’ Grand Prix and 38 club members raced. Ivan Gee (12th, MV45) andJon Mitcham (13th, MV55) won age group prizes while Pauline May was second women home, in 26th overall.