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Denby Dale Hospitality
It's where I grew up is Yorkshire. I don't wave flags and the like, but I am proud of the White Rose. But it takes going away and living abroad to realise how lovely a place I grew up in. Or certainly to remind you thus. I have been living away from Yorkshire for over 20 years now, on and off, but more and more I am aware of how beautiful a place it is and how wonderful a set of folk Yorkshire people are. We are! It is further reinforced when my Catalan Spanish girlfriend spends a week there with my parents on her own, running with my Dad and spending time there with both Mum and Dad, then comes back glowing about how amazing the place and the people are. And we currently live in amazing Catalonia so it hits home just how special those green fields, dry stone walls and big hearts are. Then there is the mud. Over Christmas the two of us went to my folks in Skelmanthorpe. The floods around Yorkshire and the North were devastating and our hearts went out to all suffering. We had both lived in Brisbane when those floods hit about 5 or so years ago so we had some idea of the clean up and spirit needed. At least it was warm in Brisbane when it flooded. Less so up there in the North. But not one of those going through it seemed to grumble, just got on with helping each other. Brilliant. But, no, we were lucky and on safe high ground. But that didn't mean that we were spared getting wet. Not from rain, no, but from that glorious childlike fun inducing material mud. We went out on 3 or 4 runs over the holidays and got ankle to knee deep in the stuff, but under glaring sunshine. It was like being a 10 year old again. The runs with just my girlfriend, my Dad and I were great. Fresh clean air, chatting, in the mud. But we did a run at my Dad's local running club, the Denby Dale Travellers, or Denby Dale AC as it is now. I wouldn't call it a race, as that would imply that we felt there was a competition. It was organised and co-ordinated as a race, but it was so social and fun (at our end of the 30 strong field anyway) as to deem calling it a race somewhat unjust - to the event, not the term 'race'. It was just too much fun. It was, in theory a Run vs Bike race, but it was so muddy and so render the bikes mere weights to run with for large parts of the route. We ran. Dad was navigator in chief - I hadn't run or ridden these paths in years and though I recognised bits here and there, better to leave it to the breathing GPS of those snickets and ginnels he is - and 90 minutes or so later after leaping streams, sinking into mud, getting electrocuted (mildly and briefly), scaling styles and generally having the best 90 minutes in the crisp winter sun one could imagine we were back at the famous Denby Dale Pie Hall to receive our prizes. Prizes? Yep, everyone brings a Christmas present to this (free!) event. And everyone leaves with a different one. So everyone wins. And extra minced pies and cake and stuff are there as well. Mum came down, joined the post run social to complete one of the friendliest nicest mornings I have spent in a long while. In one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Thanks, on behalf of myself and Vinyet (the missus), to my Dad for taking us along (and Mum for the lift!) and to all the Denby Dale AC (Travellers) who welcomed us with open arms! Proud to be a Yorkshire lad.

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