Run and football 7 Warrington 22nd April 2023

Apologies to any Warrington Town or Hyde United fans reading this post but the title is misleading. Run and football 7 Jon’s Paddy Buckley would be a more effective heading for this one. Jon is aiming to complete the four big UK 24 mountain rounds which would drop him into a pretty select group. The rounds are England: Bob Graham, Scotland: Charlie Ramsey, Northern Ireland: Dennis Rankin and Wales: Paddy Buckley all named after their creators. Jon has a North East support crew who are all giving up their time to help him complete the achievement. An exciting day ahead with a football visit on the way home.

Canny view from the bus stop

About the teams

Warrington Town were founded in 1949 as Stockton Heath Albion and initially played local football. From 1953 they played in the Mid-Cheshire leagues winning many trophies and included a few players who went on to the Football League including World Cup Winner Roger Hunt. The club changed their name to Warrington Town in 1961. In 1987 they reached the final of the FA Vase and began to climb the leagues for a few years. Relegation due to ground requirements saw the club plummet but they began to rise again around the turn of the century. After reaching the highest point in their history in 2016 the yellows have been a force to be reckoned with in the Northern Premier League over the last few seasons and have been in or around the playoffs for the last 5 years.

In the current season Warrington are in second place after an excellent season. Last weeks 2-1 defeat to South Shields was towns first since early November as they have tried in vain to catch the league champions. A win today would give the club home games throughout the upcoming playoffs in which they are aiming for a first promotion to National League North.

Hyde United have also had an excellent season. After just escaping relegation last year in a tight finish the tigers have improved greatly this season and are a win away from the playoffs. A tight three horse race for the 6th position between Hyde, Radcliffe and Matlock Town will be decided today with only a point separating the three teams. The fans have a last away of the season fancy dress ritual. Last year was Mario and Luigi for this game the theme is cowboys.

Hyde were founded in 1885 and a decade later faced Newton Heath (Manchester United) in an unofficial championship of Manchester. There have been several iterations of the club who have been as high in the pyramid as the National League as recently as 2012. After 3 consecutive relegations Hyde became a fan owned club in 2016 and have seen steady improvement since.

Entrance to Cantilever Park

Going for a run

It is an early start so I need to drive to Llanberis straight after work on Friday. After about five and a half hours driving I find the car park where the round is starting. Llanberis is in a mountain town and not the easiest to get to, although the setting sun across the North Wales coastline has been a great accompaniment on the A55. It is 9.30pm and I’m sick of driving and too tired to look for the bunkhouse so decide to sleep in the car. I have the bedding and pillow for the bunkhouse in the car so it shouldn’t be a problem. Apart from some loud raindrops and a couple of vehicles using the car park as a race track for a few minutes I’m able to get a decent amount of sleep and feel reasonably fresh at 4.15 when my alarm goes off. Andy and Jon arrive at 4.45 and we are ready to go.

Paddy Buckley Leg 1

Paddy Buckley designed the round in North Wales taking in 47 peaks and 9,000 metres of climb over a distance of 104km. It does not need to be done in under 24 hours for a successful completion. Wendy Dodds was the first to complete the feat in 1982. Andy Berry has one of the fastest times. He’s originally from Durham and now based in Ambleside…. and he’s on this leg. I’ve been a bit worried about Andy for a few weeks. I don’t mean he’s someone to worry about but his idea of an easy paced hill run and what my legs and lungs can cope with are unlikely to match. It is a bit of a mismatch but Jon has assured me it will all be OK. “Having someone to keep Andy sensible on leg 1 and or 2 would be great. He could blow my legs if he goes at his pace, but he knows the round v well.” I get the card to fill in at the top of each top and realise I’ve made a big mistake. On the original schedule leg 1 was broken in two and I thought it was one and two so instead of four hours I’ve got seven chasing Jon and Andy. At least its going to be a slow 23 hour schedule.

Jon at the start in Llanberis

The start is pretty familiar as I’ve done it before in the Peris Horseshoe race. Up through the disused mines and into the mountains, Jon and Andy are chatting away above various coaches and running experiences while I’m concentrating on moving steadily up the incline. It is an enjoyable experience although I’m already worried the pace is a bit fast. Andy certainly knows the route well and skips over the rocks and industrial debris with Jon close behind. Suddenly it gets light, no sunrise today. It’s like someone just turned on an energy saving light bulb. We round a mound and the cairn is directly ahead on the hill. I innocently ask if its the first top and it is. Pulling out my schedule my heart sinks 46 minutes instead of the target time of 63. What have I got myself into?

Elidir Fach

Thankfully the pace slows and we only make up a few minutes on each climb. I’m realising what my mates from the running club felt like on my Bob Graham when I left them for dust on leg 1. Now, this sweaty, relatively unfit lad at the back keeps catching up on the bits I find easier and losing time on the more technical rocky stuff where a fall could derail Jon’s attempt. For the next two hours the elastic stretches and contracts a few times before it finally snaps. I’ve kept it going until the climb of Tryfan. It isn’t the highest today or the most technical but it is in the clag. I’m pulling out the sultana brioche bun for Jon’s next mini feed and for the first time lose sight of the leaders. I know the end of the leg is down to the left having looked at the map and the peak is ahead but I don’t know how to get to the top. I’m listening for Andy and Jon talking while I climb but can’t hear anything.

Oops its a bit steep

When I eventually top out I’m on the right shoulder of the mountain and can see the highest point is about 100m away to the left. Bollocks I’m on my own now. I’m pretty safe from getting really lost as the end of the leg is only a kilometer and a seven hundred metre descent below. After going down to come up I reach the top and need to work out how to get down. It isn’t obvious how to do this safely so I have a look about the deserted peak and start to make my own way down. Just after dropping out of the clag I can see my fellow runners near the end of the path reaching the car park. It gives me a lift to see they are finished and Jon can continue.

Mountain goats on the slopes of Tryfan

Finding my own way

I climb down slowly and hit the path I saw Jon and Andy on about half an hour earlier. On the descent I realise I’ve got no idea what Jon’s wife Helen looks like or what their vehicle is. Rookie mistake which is compounded by no phone signal to ask. I have a walk through the four car parks looking for someone who is in turn looking for a bedraggled runner in the middle of the morning wearing a head torch. I can’t see anyone matching the description so over to plan B. I ask about the first bus out of Ogden to Llanberis. There isn’t one but in 90 minutes there is a bus to Capel Curig where I could change for Llanberis. I have a walk part way up a nearby hill to get a nice view of Ogden and check to see if there is a phone signal higher up. There isn’t a signal so I’m still missing in action. I buy a drink and a gluten free cake to waste time and sit by the lake.

The bus is a few minutes late and I estimate I’m the youngest passenger by at least twenty five years. As you would expect the ten minute journey is full of scenery and Tracy would love it apart from the windy, narrow roads. We reach Capel Curig where leg 2 is to finish and I stand next to the bus stop for Llanberis. I’m totally confused that there is a large camping shop in the village with a couple of dozen houses. Are they looking for passing trade? The most important thing they have in the village is wifi. I report in to the Paddy Buckley crew and my wife that I’m still alive. Helen is only 100m further down the road so we are able to meet after all and the bus ride back to the car isn’t needed.

Return to Llanberis

Jon and Andy arrive about half an hour later still 20 minutes up on schedule. Jon looks good after six and a half hours on the fells and Andy looks like he hasn’t run at all yet. After a quick, standing not sitting, stop Jon is off again on leg 3 and we are taken back to our vehicles by Helen. An eventful start to the day and it was only lunchtime.


As expected Jon completed the round. He finished in 23.19. A fantastic achievement completing the UK 24 hour rounds. What’s next? I don’t know but it is likely the answer will be supporting others to do the same. It’s the way fell running works.

Warrington Town V Hyde United

This game wasn’t my first choice but turned out to be the only choice. I’d originally planned to visit Highbury the home of Fleetwood Town and even bought a ticket but I couldn’t get there in time. Roadworks leaving Llanberis and a reported thirty minute delay on the M6 made me change plans. I’d thought about Warrington before deciding on Fleetwood so reset the sat nav to their game with Hyde. Arriving at the ground about 45 minutes before kick off the first thing I see is two coaches outside the ground. I can’t find any obvious car parking spaces and turn around. There are now about 150 cowboy hat wearing Hyde fans on the pavement waiting to cross the road. I’d estimate there are at least 300 away fans boosting the attendance at the match. I opt for a spot on a quiet side road about a mile away. It might seem ridiculous after my early start and hilly run but I’m sure the walk did me good.

Inside the ground

The game

Warrington started well and had most possession in the opening few minutes. The areas behind the goals were full of Hyde fans who were making noise supporting their team and unusually at this level abusing the home team. The yellows captain, centre forward Josh Amis, looks a bit on the heavy side and I instantly expect him to be a target man. I’m totally wrong he links up play, has a decent first touch and closes down lost causes. After only 15 minutes he chases a erratic through ball which is rolling towards the box. Dan Atherton in the Hyde goal believes the ball will reach the edge of the 18 yard box so he can pick it up, Amis bets otherwise and just as the keepers hands touch the ball it is poked out of his grasp. The centre forward scores in the empty net delighted with the gift. Despite the away teams complaints the goal rightly stands as Atherton did not have the ball under control when taken away from him.

Warrington celebrate while Hyde complain about the award of the first goal

Less than ten minutes later the game looks over as Warrington score a goal of the season contender. A goal to grace any game. Hyde’s chances of the play offs are disappearing as fast as the pints of lager the supporters are drinking. At half time there are no further scores and it end 2-0.

Second Half

Hyde are now attacking the goal where I’m standing and the majority of their fans move round to this end and continue singing. Two half time substitutes for Hyde push the team forward but they still look second best to Warrington who have three good players up front and two outstanding central defenders. After Amis is withdrawn in the 65th minute the home team don’t have the same control of the game and Hyde throw everything at them. There might be a few scuffles involving rival fans in the stand along from me but I can’t see anything and I’m here for the football not boneheads fighting.

In the 82nd minute Warrington goalie Tony Thompson saves from substitute Adam Dawson but fellow sub AJ Leitch-Smith scores the rebound, game on. Thompson has had a constant barrage of “you fat bastard” during every goal kick in the second half, pulled up his shirt and wobbled his belly at one point with a big smile on his face. He isn’t enjoying this moment.

AJ Leitch-Smith scores to make it 2-1

Within minutes Warrington substitute subdues the away fans with the home teams third and Hyde and relying on the results of others to extend their season. Fans nervously refresh their phones and sing come on Marine in reference to the club that are playing rivals Matlock Town. A Marine goal would send Hyde into the playoffs but it isn’t to be. I turn to leave and am met will a wall of burly security guards with their SIA badges on bulging biceps. Hyde fans are staying behind while the home fans are dispersed after the trouble. I try to tell the only one of them who is my height I’m not a Hyde fan but its an obvious lie anyone could tell so he just laughs. It doesn’t help that I’m wearing a red jacket the same colour as the Hyde shirts. After about ten minutes the stewards try to push me onto the bus with the Hyde fans but I’m able to escape and after a quick walk back to the car start the three hour journey home.

Review of the day

What a day, best run and football so far. Morning in the mountains, first time on a service bus for thirty years then a fantastic goal at the football. To cap it all Jon was able to complete the Paddy Buckley Round and the set. Tremendous all round with a little character building mishap in between the running and the football.

Entry fee £12 adults

Programme £2 full colour 32 pages

Attendance 1,415

Run fun 10/10

Parking availability 2/10

Match entertainment 7/10

Adrian’s pastry index not in attendance

Warrington Town Club Website

Run on Strava

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