Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Laid Back Fell Runner

This has taken some writing. Like everyone else who knew Daz,  I struggle to find the words...

This weekend was the Ian Hodgson Mountain Relays and at a little after 10am myself and Claire Aspinall were heading up to the Knott from Hartsop. It was a beautiful day, crisp with blue skies, fantastic racing conditions. We shared the odd word with the other teams in passing and even got into a proper tussle with the Ilkley ladies heading down to the hand over. I found myself tearing down the hill from the final control, Claire in hot persuit, elated to be feeling (after so many months of being the injured spectator) the thrill of going full tilt over the rough ground, almost taking off a few times.

A couple of hours later and we were waiting in the finish field, elation gone, for what turned out to be the worst possible news. Darren Holloway had collapsed and died whilst running leg 4. That last sentence still doesn't really compute. Thanks have to go to all those who stopped to help, everything that could be done was done and it meant Daz had as much support as he could have got anywhere!

I was about 18 when I first met Daz, around the time he first donned a pennine vest. My initial memory being that of the vest I would tear off after at the start of a race, normally only for him to disappear a few minutes later, but always there at the finish with a grin on his face. I couldn't have been finishing too far behind could I? The plan was to inch closer each race....well that wasn't going to happen as Daz transformed over the last few years, setting a pace I could only dream of! And maybe I was finishing just behind.... but maybe this was just part of who Daz was, as interested in everybody elses races as he was his own, always encouraging and supportive, still always there on the finish line.

Much as I'm stealing this description from others, it sums Daz up: 'Hard as nails but with a heart of gold'.

We'll all miss you Daz, my thoughts are with Amanda and Josh, I don't really know what to say, I've tried to see it as you were doing what you loved at the time, but the time was just too soon. So I'll leave you with Daz's words after the Scafell race, this is why I run:

'Someone is telling me about the Wasdale Head show in a couple of weeks and I wonder if I can do that as well. So many events and so little time.
We are so fortunate to have this wonderful sport.
Only 99 runners today but I did not see one unhappy person and as I drive away I wonder where next. Where will this sport take me.
After hundreds of fell races the sport still has that magnetic pull that it had the first day that I wore a set of fell shoes.'

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