RETRO: Great Grenochase is still setting pace

The contestants in the boys race of the "Greno Chase" around 1971'Submitted by Jean Smith, 15A Greno Gate, Sheffield S35 8NY'Telephone 2454068'e-mail smith-jean@sky.com
The contestants in the boys race of the "Greno Chase" around 1971'Submitted by Jean Smith, 15A Greno Gate, Sheffield S35 8NY'Telephone 2454068'e-mail smith-jean@sky.com
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It is one of Sheffield’s oldest and best loved fun runs - although participants negotiating the notorious Jawbone Hill would possibly take exception at the word ‘fun’.

The Grenochase might not quite have the same sporting kudos as a Steel City derby, the Sheffield Half Marathon or the Snooker World Championship.

The Grenoside Chase runners - 16th August 1985

The Grenoside Chase runners - 16th August 1985

But, for more than 60 years, this three-mile charge through the streets and slopes of Grenoside has been uniting villagers and visitors alike in the spirit of community, friendly(ish) competition and a few beers on the green afterwards.

This year’s race - a hurtle from Grenoside Park, through the village, up Stephen Lane, down Skew Hill and back to the park’s finishing line - took place on Friday. It was won by James Waite, of Fox Hill, while some £2,000 was raised for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Now, to toast the event, which has run since 1951, Midweek Retro brings you these pictures from The Star archive. They show the sweat, blood and occasional string vest which have become race staples.

“It’s just a fabulous event,” says Dave Robinson, a 52-year-old coach driver of Leedham Close, Shiregreen. “I was born and raised in Grenoside and I’ve run it every year it’s been held since I was a child.

“My times aren’t always as quick as they once were these days

but it’s about the social occasion, seeing old faces, going back to my home village and still feeling part of the community. I’ll keep running it until I’m physically unable.”

The race was started in 1951 and at its height in the 1970s attracted up to 300 people.

It was disbanded in 1992 before being resurrected in 2002 by villagers Matthew Platts and Peter Hughes.

The latter holds a special place in the race’s history, having won it in 1963, aged just 12.

“Why did we decide to restart it?” ponders the 62-year-old of Cross House Road. “We just thought people were missing it and it would be good for the village.

“And I think it has been. People tell us it’s the one thing they look forward to every year. Obviously we’re a bit dependent on the weather but on a nice evening the streets will be lined and the village pubs will be at their busiest.

“The race itself? People definitely want to win but it’s always run in the right spirit. It is a fun run at the end of the day.”

The winner, incidentally, has their name engraved on a silver trophy which dates back to 1870 and is kept at The Old Harrow pub in Main Street.

It was originally awarded for the Great Grenoside Steeplechase which was run through the 19th century.

“It’s about the social side as much as anything, too,” says Peter, a father-of-three and grandfather-of-five.

“We have a disco on the green afterwards. This year they were still dancing in the streets at midnight.”