Tamworth Gate Gallop – 24.6.18

Race Report by Helen Rowe

Cal Oddy was the first of the Golden Girls to sign up, and she threw down the challenge to me and Brenda.  I can’t resist a challenge, so I signed up immediately.  However, Brenda declined as she had other commitments that weekend, so it was 2 Golden Girls doing the Gate Gallop (GGGG) at Tamworth (or Amington to be precise).

Cal had offered to drive, and the initial plan was that I would drive to hers, and then we would set off from there.  However, on the morning of the race Cal rang me to say that the best route was up the A45, so she may as well pick me up from mine.  She said she would be leaving shortly, so I got my bags back out of the car, and had them ready in the hall.  It should be about 10-15 mins to get to me from Cal’s.

It took her a little longer than that though, as she had a wardrobe malfunction – on route to me she decided that her running bra was too tight, and so she turned around and went back home to change it.

She was soon at mine, and we were off.  We decided to take the A45, A446 and then the M42 for one junction.  On arrival at Amington the names of the roads were very interesting, such as Angelica and Whiting.  There were lots of bridges over the canals to cross, but we soon found our way to Anker Valley Football Pitches.  The Air Cadets were directing traffic, and we were told there were just 10 car parking spaces left!

We spotted a number of Massey runners as soon as we arrived.  We used the facilities (some of them had been re-designated for ‘Females’).   Then we lined up for the customary group photo.

There was one missing – there always is!


Everyone was plagued by a swarm of small flies/beetles, who were attracted to the colour yellow.  Nathan was wearing yellow socks – and Darren and Nicky were wearing yellow hats, so they were attracting more than most.

It was soon time to line up.  Cal had already told me she was going to take it easy, and run with me.  We made our way through the “really fast runners” on the front rows, and through the “fast runners” just behind them, then through the “quite fast runners” behind them, to join “the penguins” at the back (as described by John “the penguin” Bingham).  It was going to be a hot one with the sun beating down on us, especially as us penguins were going to be out in the midday sun.  We did a warm up, and then the gun went off, and we were off.  We had to run one and a half laps around the football pitch, and then out across another pitch and then into the countryside.

We went along tracks, through cropfields, through a farm, through a wooded area (we were grateful for the shade), through gates and over stiles, uphill, downhill, over furrowed fields, and eventually we made our way back across the football pitches, and across the finish line.  It had been a lot like cross country, but without the mud!

We had cake and a drink and sat on a bench in the shade.  Then the cake stall announced they were selling off the last of the cakes, and everyone went to stock up before setting off for home.

Two of the runners had said they were going to Dosthill Quarry, to maybe swim, and Cal and I said we would see if we could find it, and maybe have a paddle.

On leaving Amington, we headed towards Dosthill, and passed a pink pig on a traffic island.  We decided to go around the island one more time, and Cal pulled over so I could take a photo. 


The road we needed to take to Dostill was closed for roadworks, so we were directed through an industrial estate, and round in a big square.  We followed some diversion signs, and got to Dosthill, but we never did find the quarry (sorry Cathy).  However, we did pass Cliff Lakes on the way home, and so we stopped off there, and had a little walk around before continuing our journey home.

We both agreed that the run had been challenging (i.e. tough) at times, but we had both enjoyed it, and we would do it again.