Whether it be witnessing Pikachu try to break up a fight between the Mario Brothers outside Original Oak, or drunkenly running around The Library in a pink Power Ranger costume frantically searching which of the 30 Minions is your best mate – on an Otley Run is where many of our wackiest university tales take place. It is now the source of inspiration for a new book by award-winning Leeds writer, Joe Williams.
As a rite of passage for the students of Leeds, the infamous 15 gaff long ‘Otley Run’ pub-crawl is the source of many fond – and some not so fond – memories for those of us who have managed to see one through to the bitter end.
A verse novella, ‘An Otley Run’ is based on the many colourful characters Williams has encountered along the route, which starts at Woodies in Far Headingley and continues all the way to The Dry Dock outside Leeds Beckett University.
Williams moved to Leeds in the 1990s and notes on how the Otley Run has evolved over the years from a solely student-based event to becoming a typically Leeds tradition for those celebrating on hen parties and stag dos, or for anyone looking for a boozy adventure through the northern part of the city.
“If you go to the shops in Headingley on a Saturday afternoon, there’s a good chance you’ll bump into the Spice Girls or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” said Williams, “That’s what made me want to write the book. I wondered what stories these people had to tell, and decided to create one.”
The book is bound to resonate with anyone who has ever attempted the Otley Run, and the locals who are all too familiar with it.
In capturing the pub-crawl’s madness, Williams’ book will hopefully help our non-Leeds friends and family truly understand what makes the Otley Run so special, while still being sober.
To mark the book’s release, which is published by Half Moon Books, an independent poetry publisher based in Otley, Williams has created a new website at https://anotleyrun.com/. On the site you can read extracts from the book, find out more about the pub crawl, and take a photographic tour around the route, so you can relive all the fun of an Otley Run without having to pay the price of waking up with a dreadful hangover the morning after.
Images: Joe Williams