Holmfirth Harriers Athletics Club
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2010 Fell Championship

Club fell champs results table 2009
updated 01/12/09


Holmfirth 'team' at Coniston, latest race in the fell championship.
 Harriers results: 8 Tom Brunt (1.17.19), 17 Julian Rank (1.21.56), 28 Gavin Baxter (1.24.00), 197 Jason Kaushal (1.52.29), 210 Karen Sinkinson (1.55.29), 222 Robert Halstead (1.59.57), 236 Bill Hunter (2.04.17), 237 Jim Sommerville (2.04.21), 262 Sophie Barraclough (2.12.13).

 

News:
E-mail me with any results you want to go up on this page, or reports from races, or anything else which could be of interest…Tom (tom.brunt1@btinternet.com)

Soreen Stanbury Splash, 24th January 2010
Ian Hodgson mountain relay, Sunday 4 October

Whernside, Saturday 26 September 2009
Lantern Pike, Saturday 19 September 2009
La Marmotte – An Alpine Cycling Adventure
Cross Keys Road/Fell relay
Skipper John joins Bob Graham Club
Duddon Valley Fell Race- Sat 30th May 2009
Long
Mynd Valleys, 8 February 2009
Mickleden Straddle, 1 February 2009
Stanbury Splash 25 Jan09

Gravy Pud 5 – Sun 7 December 2008
Full Tour of Pendle 15th Nov 2008 – 17m 4,000 ft
Cop Hill, 2 November 2008
FRA British Fell and Hill Relay champ, 19 Oct 08
Langdale Horseshoe – 11th Oct 08
Autumn Leaves fell race, Sat 4 Oct 08
Three Shires, Sat 20 Sept 08
Borrowdale 2 nd August 2008
Kentmere Horseshoe, Sunday 20 July

Links:
E-mail Tom
Club fell champs results table 2008

Club events:
Ian Roberts
Harden Moss
Holme Moss
Dennis Stitt
Tinker Cup

 

 

Saunders 07

Welcome to Holmfirth Harriers

FELL page

Welcome to the fell running section. If you’re pining after bogs and wet Walshes this is the next best thing. Holmfirth Harriers has a long and glorious history or running on the fells. Recent achievements include three consecutive wins in the Old County Tops for Tom Brunt and a bronze medal in the Yorkshire championships for Lisa Lacon. On the team front we have had a series of solid performances in the FRA relays and the Ian Hodgson. In the Calderdale Way Relay the women were 4th and the men equalled their best ever performance with a magnificent 3rd place.

If you’ve anything of interest for this section of the site e-mail it in to Tom Brunt tom.brunt1@btinternet.com or directly to Jacqueline.

 

 

 

Fell Championships – 2010 – Provisional Races

  • More details will be added to this list when the FRA calendar comes out in early January.
  • Same format and scoring system as in recent years – best 6 races to count which must include one of each length.
  • As last year there will also be separate “All-to-Count” and “Local” championships. The “Local” races (for “Local” people?) are Ina Roberts, Holme Moss and Dennis Stitt.

January 23 – Stanbury Splash BM ( Haworth – an excellent first fell race for any roadies who feel tempted to come over to the dark side)

March 14 – Ian Roberts BS (Marsden)

April – Herod Farm AS (Glossop)

April 24 – Three Peaks AL (Horton-in-Ribblesdale, N.B. ONLINE ENTRIES FROM Jan 11 – KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON www.threepeaksrace.org.uk)

May – Buttermere-Sailbeck AM (north-west Lake District)

June – Buckden Pike AS (upper Wharfedale)

July 18 – Holme Moss AL ( Holme Valley, N.B. English Championship race so there may be pre-entry requirements)

August – Cracken Edge BM (Hayfield)

August - Dennis Stitt AS ( Holme Valley)

September – Good Shepherd BL (Mytholmroyd, Calderdale)

October – Langdale AL ( Lake District)

December - Cardington Cracker AM ( Shropshire)

 

Soreen Stanbury Splash, 24th January 2010


Photo by Paul Wood

An impressive 16 hardy Harriers turned up at Penistone Country Park, near Haworth, for Sunday’s Stanbury Splash fell race. Perhaps it was the lure of free malt loaf from the race sponsors, or the totally exciting chance to gain some early points in the Harriers fell championship (okay, not that exciting, but it got me out of bed). Or the prospect of seven muddy miles, 1200 ft of ups and downs, and four stream crossings.

Conditions were cold and wet – as is usual for all races organised from Penistone Country Park. So cold that Karen didn’t even realise she was wearing an extra fleece under her waterproof jacket until minutes before the start. Luckily a handy spectator was persuaded to take the extra layer and stow it safely in the registration hut, so she didn’t have to leave it in the muddy quarry or carry it around the course.

The usual charge out of the quagmire was led by Holmfirth’s own Bill Stewart, who clearly fancied his chances on the podium. Alas, it wasn’t to be and the legendary Ian Holmes from Bingley made sure that the winner’s trophy went home with him – just as it has done since 1996.

Bingley also took the men’s team prize, but only just. The speedy threesome of Tom, Bill and Gavin were a whisker away from winning the Toblerone and beer (and kudos) for Holmfirth, finishing fourth, seventh and 20th (out of 300). But as with Bill’s early charge, it wasn’t to be. Rumour has it that next year’s team will be bolstered by a new recruit…

We ladies were never really in the running, so to speak, given that the club’s faster females had opted to do the Northern cross-country championships the day before. But I think I’m right in saying that we all had a jolly good time. All four of us certainly made it to the pub afterwards. Oh yes, and I won a big box of chocolates for coming 12th lady (with a PB). A bit of a surprise that, having just had a six-week break from running, and given how much my legs ached the day afterwards, this is definitely NOT a recommended training regime!

 

Harriers results:

4 Tom Brunt (46:08), 7 Bill Stewart (47:03), 20 Gavin Baxter (49:51), 35 Andy Shaw (51:58), 56 John Ewart (54:06), 83 Wayne Byram (57:00), 93 Simon Rawnsley (57:47), 98 Rob Kersey (58:04), 155 Phil Hobbs (63:13), 170 Paula Gould (64:08), 207 Karen Sinkinson (67:53), 231 Bill Hunter (70:20), 240 Rebecca Halstead (71:17), 250 Rob Halstead (72:25), 268 Richard Whale (76:26), 280 Sophie Barraclough (79:04).

 

Ian Hodgson mountain relay, Sunday 4 October

Fabulous weather for the Ian Hodgson mountain relay this year. Calm, clear, sunny, couldn’t have been a better year to debut at this event. Conditions were so good that the “past it” Borrowdale team not only won (again) but they smashed the course record.

Holmfirth Harriers fielded two teams – one ladies, one gentlemen. This meant getting 16 people to Sykeside Camping Park, Brotherswater on Sunday morning, many of whom were coming from different directions, with as much car-sharing as possible to avoid the £10 penalty for lone drivers. We didn’t quite manage, but Andy sneaked through unnoticed and Helen dodged the fee by picking up a hitchhiker on the Kirkstone Pass (aka Lucy).

We ladies got of to a flying start, thanks to Katie and Lisa, who completed the first leg ahead of any other ladies pair (winning a £10 Pete Bland voucher each). The pressure was on… We didn’t retain that position, unfortunately, but given the calibre of the competition that was always unlikely. We eventually finished fourth (out of nine ladies teams) behind Dark Peak, Ilkley and Ambleside, and ahead of Keswick, Wharfedale, Horwich and Todmorden.

A good day for the men too. They finished 18th out of 68 teams, which I’ve been told is the first time in ages that Holmfirth has secured a top twenty placing in this event.

Run of the day came from Tom and Bill, both who had come armed with a list of pre-race illnesses and injuries. As it happens, there was no need to wheel out the excuses and they were 7th fastest on their leg - despite taking advice from Ashley on a descent route. I’ve heard that even Helen was swearing when she and Barbara tried to find the same racing line.

Catering was provided by the parents and friends of Patterdale School. Awesome bacon butties and an amazing array of cakes. Hope to be back next year…

 

Leg-by-leg results (men): Julian Rank/Andy Shaw ( 1:09:28; 22nd on leg), John Ewart/Nigel Moran ( 1:14:19; 29th on leg), Chris Beadle/John Adair (45:54; 34th on leg), Tom Brunt/Bill Stewart ( 1:14:19; 7th on leg).

Leg-by-leg results (women): Lisa Lacon/Katie Walshaw (1.13:29; 29th on leg), Lucy Griffiths/Jacqueline France ( 1:23:42; 50th on leg), Paula Gould/Karen Sinkinson (50:34; 49th on leg), Helen Berry/Barbara Hinchliffe ( 1:47:06; 60th on leg).

 

 

Whernside, Saturday 26 September 2009

 

It took just over two hours to get from Holmfirth to the village of Dent in the Yorkshire Dales (the start of the Whernside fell race) on Saturday morning. And it was worth every single tedious, slightly nervous, minute of the journey. The race is brilliant. The weather was fantastic. There was even a handy river on-site for post-race trainer washing and leg-cooling (à la Paula Radcliffe).

A bit more background for anyone tempted to have a go next year (as you can probably guess, I’ve booked my place already). The Whernside fell race is 12.1 miles long and takes in 2972 feet of ascent. The route looks a bit like a parallelogram on the map (which you get free – A5 size - as part of your £5 entry) though the third side has a bite taken out and the fourth side has a large bulge in it. Check out http://www.dentdale.com/Dent_Whernside_Race/whernsidefellrace.htm if that description made absolutely no sense whatsoever. There is a short section of road at the start (1-1.5 miles), which turns into track, which turns into fell for most of the rest of the route. The finish is fast, downhill through fields. No uphill sting in the tail.

The course is well marshalled - you have to give your number at several checkpoints - and this year there was a very welcome water station close to the halfway point, just before you start the second (shorter) climb.

Why so good? Difficult to say, really. A well-organised event, great running (it really is a very run-able course), and Dent is just a lovely place to hang out in afterwards, especially if you like tea shops.

Oh yes, Holmfirth results: Tom came third (out of 161) in 1:35:15, beating off a close contender from Calder Valley with a truly storming finish. I trotted in a while later in 104th place. Unfortunately a slight mishap with the fancy race timing system meant that I am in a small cluster of runners that don’t actually have an official time. Oh well, these things happen. Judging from the times of runners who finished nearby, I’m settling on 2:13:10, or thereabouts. Must remember next year to stop my watch when I cross the line, just in case…

 

 

Lantern Pike, Saturday 19 September 2009

 

The vacuum cleaner tumbled downstairs and hit me on the head on Saturday. Not the best pre-race preparation, but luckily the wall bore the brunt of the damage. So we headed off to Hayfield for the Lantern Pike fell race anyway.

It is possible that the bang on the head did have some effect on my judgement. After a good start, I found myself holding the position of 3rd lady for the first mile or so – and this wasn’t one of those evening races where only three ladies run. Bizarrely, and this may be where the vacuum cleaner injury comes in, I actually thought that I might be able to hold that position for the next four miles. Ha, ha, ha. I’d slipped to eighth (out of ~68) by the finish.

There are three good things about the Lantern Pike fell race. First: it is held in conjunction with Hayfield show, which has loads and loads of things going on (jousters, climbing wall, sheepdog trials, bird of prey display, hog roast...) Second: Very little of the route is repeated, and there are no tedious laps. Third: It has a sneaky uphill finish (which often means I can get revenge on runners who stormed past me on the downhills). The downside is the high proportion of tarmac. This includes a steep downhill section which is just a darn nuisance in studs.

It is possible that the race officials were also hit on the head with a flying household appliance earlier in the day. If not, then I can’t quite understand how I managed to end up as first lady in the results – about 30 seconds ahead of the genuine first lady home (Sandra Lewis of Altrincham). Luckily Tom noticed this error before the prize-giving, wisely observing: “You definitely weren’t only seven minutes after me. I had to wait longer than that!!” Officials were informed and results re-jigged whilst we disappeared off to the Farmers’ Market tent for a home-made lemon ice-cream (me) and a grouse, bacon, portobello mushroom and whisky pie (Tom). Prizes for genuinely speedy runners (Tom, again) and veterans included bottles of beer and boxes of locally-grown vegetables.

 

Holmfirth results: 2 Tom Brunt (35:27), 97 Paula Gould (46:12), 120 Rob Halstead (48:28), 171 Rebecca Halstead (53:24), 210 Jim Sommerville (57:03).

La Marmotte – An Alpine Cycling Adventure

 

A marmotte is a small furry mammal the size of a small badger which is common in the high mountains of the Alps. It is delicious lightly sautéed with garlic and mushrooms. Actually that last bit might not be true. It also lends its name to a legendary bike rude which includes some of the Tour de France’s most iconic climbs.

 

It was one of the original “cyclosportives” (long hilly one day challenge rides) and is still considered by many to be “the daddy”. The vital statistics are a rather daunting 180km (112 miles in English money) with 5000m (16400 feet) of ascent. Since these figures were clearly too large a new more manageable measurement unit was needed. I proudly introduce the “Holme Moss” – a unit of vertical elevation gain. The height difference between Holmbridge and Holme Moss summit is 350m – or more simply one Holme Moss. So the 5000m of the Marmotte becomes a much more manageable 14.3 Holme Mosses. That’s more like it.

 

I was setting off on this ride because of a mid-life crisis. Not my mid-life crisis you understand but Al’s. (Al aka Alistair Rees, former member of HHAC) decided to celebrate turning 40 not by buying a fast motorbike or chasing even faster women, but instead by riding up (and down) some very big hills. This challenge also provided him with the perfect excuse to buy a shiny new full-carbon full-bling bike.

 

My role in this venture was that of domestique. Behind every great Tour de France winner there is a great domestique, as someone famous may once have said. For those not familiar with the Tour a domestique is a rider who sacrifices his own chances of glory for the success of his team leader. Typical domestique duties might include pacing the team leader up a climb, fetching water bottles from the team support car or keeping a close eye on any attacks from rival teams. I was proud to be Al’s domestique. Another vital member of the team was John who was providing road support.

 

So it was that on a cloudy overcast morning the two of us set off from Bourg d’Oisans. The roads were deserted on the first climb – the Col de la Croix de Fer (4.4 Holme Mosses). We tried to ride steadily conscious of not over-doing it too early on. A couple of steep sections felt, err, steep. This was worrying as this was meant to be the easiest climb. On a more positive note the weather was perfect – cool and cloudy – and we saw three marmottes (although for some reason John steadfastly refuse the believe this).

 

After a couple of hours the col was within our grasp. There was an iron cross (the clue is in the name), a restaurant (closed) and another lone cyclist. That was it. Alarmingly, there was no John. It was also starting to drizzle. It turned out John had been delayed setting off from Bourg d’Oisans. This presented Al with a problem – his windproof top was in the car with John and he was clearly going to freeze on the long descent. The drizzle was rapidly turning into rain and the temperature had dropped a few degrees. As a domestique I should have selflessly offered Al my windproof. But I didn’t. The directeur sportif (team manager) would have very unimpressed with this display of selfishness, but fortunately we didn’t have a directeur sportif. Come to think of it he would also have been pretty unhappy with the team support car’s non-appearance at the summit…

 

But then a gift from the gods appeared before our very eyes. Fastened to the door of a small hut were two items of clothing – a pale blue cardigan and a rather fetching salmon pink fleecy number. Al had a moral dilemma. We resolved the dilemma by asking “What would Griff do in this situation?” * Within seconds Al’s rather snazzy cycling gear was supplemented with the pink fleece and we started the descent. Bizarrely in this hastily improvised kit he even looked like Griff. As we reached the main valley below the weather improved markedly. Reluctantly the Al abandoned the pink fleecy number leaving it draped over a road sign. Apologies if you are reading this account work at the Col de la Croix de Fer and have lost a salmon pink fleece. We are truly sorry, but it was invaluable.

 

We reached the village of St. Jean de Maurienne, at 500m the low point of the ride. Still there had been no sighting of John. The next ten miles or so were flattish along the valley bottom, and one of the few sections of the ride with busy roads. It was along here that we finally saw John for the first time, much to everyone’s relief.

 

After re-fuelling and filling our water bottles we were off – our next objective the Col du Telegrpahe (2.3 Holme Mosses). I’d expected this to be hot and rather tedious climbing up through the forested lower slopes, but the consistent gradient and excellent road surface meant we found a steady rhythm and made good progress. The col, presumably named after the nearby aerial rather than the British newspaper made an excellent place for a longer stop and a well-earned lunch.

 

John had excelled himself with the catering so we feasted on baguette, cheese, cooked meats, flapjack, malt loaf and bananas. All of those calories would be needed on the next climb – the infamous Col du Galibier (4.7 Holme Mosses). A short descent from the Telegraphe brought us to the village of Valloire where the Galibier climb begins. The road led up into higher and higher mountains. Once again we were striving for that good steady rhythm that we had found on the Telegraphe, but this was harder work, with slight but cruel increases in the gradient.

 

A strange apparition came into view on the roadside verge. Half man, half beast with a red horned head and a trident. The stuff of nightmares. Were we hallucinating? “Allez! Allez! Allez!” it screamed dementedly. Suddenly it all became clear – it was John or “El Diablo” as he should now be called. The “real” El Diablo is an infamous German cycling fan who is a regular presence on the mountain stages of the Tour. The appearance of our very own El Diablo was exactly what was needed to restore flagging morale.

 

I am rather ashamed to report that once again I failed in my duties as domestique on this climb by gradually pulling away from my team leader. For both of us the climb of the Galibier became a solitary battle. I passed some chalets selling “Fromage de Montagne”- no, not Wensleydale, Gromit – and looked up to the left. High, high above on the skyline was the summit. Relentless climbingwith some steep bends right at the top brought me to the top at 2642m and a stunning view southwards to the glaciers of La Meije.

 

A few minutes Al arrived forcing his legs to complete those last few painful pedal strokes. He was suffering. More food and another proper rest seemed to have the desired effect, particularly as we had a 47 km descent ahead. 47km downhill all the way. What’s not to like?

 

Down hairpin bends, through tunnels (tip – take your sunglasses off before entering the tunnel) and with magnificent views those 47km flew by, and before we knoew it we were back in Bourg d’Oisans. Journey’s end you might think, but no. In a sadistic gesture, totally in keeping with the traditions of the Tour, La Marmotte finishes at Alpe d’Huez, a ski resort 1100m (or should I say 3.1 Holme Mosses) above Bourg d’Oisans. The road up to Alpe d’Huez has acquired legendary or perhaps even mythical status among cyclists, and each of its 21 hairpin bends or “lacets” is numbered and named after a rider who won a stage victory at Alpe d’Huez.

 

We discarded excess kit, filled our water bottles for the last time and set off expecting a desperate struggle. For whatever reason though we rediscovered that elusive climbing rhythm, and one by one those 21 hairpins were ticked off. In another heroic piece of support work El Diablo had written out names on the road on the final section. (This is in accordance with Tour tradition, not mindless graffiti.) We entered the village, rode under the finish banner, and went straight to the nearest bar.

 

 

 

Technical stuff for cycling geeks (Bill mainly)

 

Bike: Specialised Roubaix S-Works (carbon, light and really comfortable for long days in the saddle)

 

Gearing: Compact chainset 50/34 giving a lowest gear of 34/25 (absolutely perfect since the hills are long rather than viciously steep)

 

Wheels: Mavic Ksyrium Elite (robust for the potholes of Kirklees, but for added bling and posing value in Bourg d’Oisans deep section carbon rims would be preferable)

 

Tyres: Lots of people get really “techy” about tyres. I don’t. Mine are red and black and match my frame. Nice.

 

Brakes: Yes, definitely, especially for the descents

 

Food: Lots of it

 

Drink: Lots of it too. I like PSP22 carbohydrate supplement too. Beers afterwards.

* This could be a useful strategy to adopt when making other important decisions

 

Cross Keys Fell/Road relay

 

 


Andrei Vais on the 1 st Fell leg for the ‘C’ team, his first club race.

On a grey Saturday morning 5 teams from Holmfirth made their way over the border to Uppermill for the Cross Keys Road –Fell Relay. This is the best turnout for some years and but for a late withdrawal of a member in the ladies 1 st team for whom Kath couldn’t find a replacement we would have had 6 teams running. This was a pity as the ladies team would have certainly have been in the frame for the top position.

As we climbed up Greenfield Road past Snoopy’s the clag was down and the flags were straight out in the strong wind although by the time we had dropped down to Dovestones conditions were much better.

By 12.30 all the teams were registered and there was a real buzz about the place as the 40 teams got their first leg runners ready for the two lap road leg. This is a tough course with a fast down hill start a long climb back up and a descent back to the start before repeating the whole thing again for lap two. First home for Holmfirth ‘A team’ and in second position overall was Dave Watson in 17:05 followed by Ricky South ‘B’, 18:13; Jared Croft ‘C’, 19:34; Kevin Yewlett MV50, 21:07 and Lesley Ewart FV, 22:35. These 1 st leg runners then handed over to their 2 nd team member who ran the 1 st fell leg. This consisted of a steady climb up onto Saddleworth Moor before dropping down to Greenfield Road above Dovestones Res. Followed by another climb back up onto the moor before a fast final descent, mainly on good grassy fields, back to the road and the start. The whole process is then repeated with leg 3 on the road and leg 4 on the fell. As you might imagine by the time leg 3 and 4 runners are running the start finish area is pretty hectic with runners going through for their second lap on the road, runners handing over to their next team member, finished runners talking through their race with team members, spectators everywhere and the constant shout of “make way for runners” (or something a little less polite!) from the marshals.

This is a great way to enjoy an afternoon running with and supporting your club members with a friendly pub at the end in which to chat (and have a drink) while waiting for the results. Besides having a very enjoyable time Holmfirth teams posted some excellent runs details below. Why not have ago next year we can put in as many teams as we like, male, female, vets, mixed and junior (I’m not sure when we last took a junior team), not far to go only £2.50 / person to enter.

Holmfirth Results:

‘A’ Team: 2 nd overall, Dave Watson 17:05; Tom Brunt 19:46; Alistair Langron 17:38; Bill Stewart 19:58

‘B’ Team: 4 th overall, Ricky South 18:13; Gavin Baxter 21:21; Dave Watson 17:26; Nigel Moran; 22:55 (Dave ran twice to fill in a vacant place).

‘C’ Team: 11 th overall, Jared Croft19:34; Andrei Vais 24:25; Geoff Hall 19:09; Gavin Baxter 23:02 (Gavin ran twice to fill a vacant place).

Men’s Over 50 Team: 12 th overall, 2 nd Vet team and 1 st Vet 50 team, Kevin Yewlett 21:07; John Ewart 23:02; Ian Moore 20:50; Rob Kersey 24:33.

Ladies Vet Team: 2 nd ladies and 1 st lady vets, Lesley Ewart 22:35; Yvette Arthur 28:33; Helen Pettit 23:58; Karen Sinkinson 28:52.

 


Yvette at the start of the long first climb up onto the moor.

 

 

Skipper John joins Bob Graham Club

Club captain John Ewart has joined the select group of Holmfirth Harriers to have completed the legendary Bob Graham Round.

 

The Bob Graham Round is the most famous test of long distance fellrunning. It is 72 miles long, involves 27,000 feet of climbing (and descending) and takes in 42 Lake District peaks.

 

The rules are simple – the round has to start and finish at the Moot Hall in Keswick, and the runner has to finish in under 24 hours. The round is named after its originator, Bob Graham, a Keswick hotelier, who simply set off on a “long walk” supported by some of his friends in 1932.

 

For many years no-one attempted to repeat this feat of endurance – indeed many considered it impossible. Eventually other runners rose to challenge and the round has become a popular (but no less arduous) challenge. About 1500 people have gained membership of the Bob Graham Round Club, including 12 Holmfirth Harriers.

 

Ewart, 53, from Honley, has been known primarily for his roadrunning exploits for many years. However, recently he has seen the light and turned to fellrunning. This year fellow Harriers have watched in amazement as he has spent weekends training hard in the Lake District, often in miserable weather conditions, learned the intricacies of the route, and gradually developed the characteristic whippet-like physique of a true fellrunner.

 

After months of preparation the attempt itself started at 7pm on Friday night when three runners lined up outside the Moot Hall along side the usual hordes of Friday night revellers. It was a perfect evening – calm and warm – and Ewart set off up Skiddaw wearing his amber Holmfirth vest, with Julian Rank and Gavin Baxter in support. Club President, Ashley Smith, reported that at the start Ewart was “a bag of nerves”

 

After an uneventful first leg the runners reached the first road crossing at Threlkeld in the twilight. The road support team provided refreshments and then the three runners set off into the night. In misty conditions, and with occasional showers, navigation became difficult but club stalwart Julian Rank kept John on course, and they reached the next road crossing point, Dunmail Raise, just about on schedule. Julian and Gavin’s work was done, and they handed over support duties to Tom Brunt and Nigel Moran. Nigel had endured a miserable couple of hours in a wet bivvy bag and needed a crafty 3am cigar to get himself going.

 

John forced down a much-needed bowl of porridge. Dawn broke to reveal a misty morning, but steady progress meant that a few precious minutes were gained here and there. A Dark Peak team who had started at the same time were caught and passed near Scafell Pike.

 

One of the major obstacles on the round is the mighty barrier of crags between Scafell Pike and Scafell. It is traditionally tackled via a short rock climb, Broad Stand. Despite having a rope in place (courtesy of a heroic piece of cragsmanship by Richard Griffiths) the rocks were desperately greasy and it proved a real struggle. The scrambling section higher up was no walk in the park and demanded a cautious approach. Back on more amenable terrain the summit of Scafell was soon ticked off before a long descent to Wasdale Head and another re-fuelling stop.

 

John was looking a little weary as he slumped in a deck-chair, but appearances proved to be deceptive as he stormed up the brutal ascents of Yewbarrow and Red Pike gaining more precious minutes. Rosie Taylor, Andy Shaw and Andy Hauser provided valuable support on this leg. More summits came and went, and about halfway along the leg the clouds finally broke and the sun came out revealing the Lakeland fells in all their splendour. At the Honister Pass road crossing John had more than an hour in hand – things were looking good.

 

Bill Stewart, Helen Berry and Andy Taylor took over support for the glory leg, joined by club president Ashley Smith and Barbara Hinchliffe on Dale Head. The last few miles are along lanes and John’s wife Lesley also joined the team for the final run-in. John showed signs of his old road-running pedigree, and it is reported that some of his supporters were unable to match John’s pace. In Keswick the market was still in full swing and stall-holder and customers were scattered in all directions as the runners sprinted the last few yards. At 4.50pm, 21 hours and 50 minutes after setting off John banged on the door of the Moot Hall – journey’s end.

 

Ashley Smith commented that John was “going like a train” on the last leg. He even had the energy for a pint (or two) afterwards.

 

Duddon Valley Fell Race- Saturday 30 th May 2009

A view from the back (very back!) of the field – 18 (ish) miles / 7000 (ish) ft

 

Well, we were going to be up in the Lakes camping anyway….. and it was one of the club fell championships…..and I had said I was going to try and complete as many of them as I could this year………….

So I found myself there on the morning of the race feeling very unprepared and fairly convinced that I wasn’t going to get round (I’m not fit enough – no where near enough training, and it’s a really long 18 miles - never run that far before –, and there’s 7000(!) feet of ascent and decent – never done that before, and I haven’t reccied the route – the weather was too bad the day I was going to do it, and it’s hot, and I didn’t sleep very well, and I’ve got really bad hay fever and I forgot my asthma inhaler etc. etc.) in fact, why on earth was I there?

The day was glorious, clear blue skies but with a strong fresh breeze that stopped it from feeling hot. 6 Harriers came up to do the race.

We set off straight into the first long climb up to Harter Fell. I wasn’t feeling too good and quickly found myself at the back. We came off Harter Fell and down to Hardknott Pass where Adrian (my husband), my kids and various other supporters we had roped in from the campsite the day before, were waiting with refreshments. I didn’t say much apart from words to the effect that ‘there was no way I was going to complete this damn thing and that I was going to give up at Three Shires Stone, if not before!’

The next climb up to Hard Knott is quite short and I got up quite quickly and started to feel better. Followed the footprints off the top and found a reasonable line down to Moseldale – where I could see a few people moving very slowly up the side of Little Stand. The climb up to Little Stand is very steep and unrelenting and seems to go on for ever.

Headed north east off Little Stand and across the top of Gaitscale Gill and managed to find a runners trod that takes you all the way down to Three Shires Stone (didn’t have any one to follow by this point).

I got down to Three Shires 15 mins before the cut off time and met my supporters again, who were getting ready to stretcher me back in the car - only to announce that I was feeling fine and was carrying on!

Once you get up Swirl How you have done most of the climbing, although there are still a long way and three smaller peaks to go.

The last bit of the race is a bit of a killer and whilst it doesn’t look much on the map, the trek across the Pikes and the last climb up Caw are something you could really do without. At this point I saw the first runners I had seen in hours and caught up with a two who were struggling (one with really bad cramp). Encouraged one of them who was ready to give up, to keep going (I have been there and I know what it feels like!).

Got to the top of Caw to be told that we were officially too late – but was beyond caring at that point and carried on down to finish the race – joint last!

The weather stayed fantastic all day and the views form the tops were stunning. The views from the pub were even better afterwards! It was a great race and an amazing feeling to complete something that I really thought I couldn’t do!!

Sophie Barraclough

 

Results: 8 Julian Rank ( 3:18:12); 18 (1st V50) John Ewart ( 3:30:45); 36 Gavin Baxter ( 3:44:05); 101 Ian Shuttleworth ( 4:17:31) 202 Jim Somerville ( 5:38:09) 207 Sophie Barraclough ( 6:01:11).

 

 

 

 

Long Mynd Valleys, 8 February 2009

First race in the 2009 fell championships. Just four Harriers made the trip down to Shropshire for this one. The course is an absolute beast at the best of times by the sound of things – 11.5 miles with 4500 feet of climbing, with most of the up and down saved for the last four miles. The weather forecast (of snow on snow) didn’t add much to the appeal, so I decided to leave this one to the genuinely hardy points-hunters.

I’ve been told (and photos back this up) that the conditions were good to start with – cold and snowy underfoot, clear and sunny – but then a blizzard kicked in for the latter part of the race. Race organisers actually asked runners who expected to take longer than 3.5 hours not to start out, but the results show that some chose to ignore this advice.

Andrew Davies ( Mercia) led the 185-strong field home in 1:52:38. Tom and Bill trotted in shortly afterwards, both gaining top ten places (Tom – 6th in 1:57:07, Bill 9th in 2:00:40), both looking like snowmen. My spies say they scuttled off to a very pleasant café in Church Stretton to recover.

Helen Berry, who very bravely chose to run in shorts, was fourth female finisher (42nd) in 2:19:40. Rather you than me, Helen. Think I’d have been in sallopettes. Jason Kaushal completed the tally for Holmfirth, recording a time of 2:51:54 (131st).

Many thanks to Alastair Tye for pictures.

 

Mickleden Straddle, 1 February 2009

A bitterly cold day for Mickleden Straddle. The forecast was for Siberian-esque weather in the High Peak bringing windchills of -10°C and snow showers. It wouldn’t have seemed so bad for a short race, but given the official race stats of 13.8 miles (1980 feet ascent), I knew I was going to be out for well over two hours. Brrrrrr.

Having packed the kitchen sink in my bum-bag and dithered endlessly over how many tops to wear, I managed to leave my Harriers vest at home. Not a good start. It just doesn’t seem like racing if I’ve not got my amber vest on, even if it is buried under three other layers and no-one can see it. I almost went back home to get the vest, in case this was a bad omen!

In the event, forgetting the vest didn’t seem to matter. I got round the course in under two and a half hours (my goal), without falling over (my other goal), and without over-heating beneath the mass of clothing I’d decided to wear (just). We had a short snow shower near Cut Gate on the way back, at which point I was very glad of the extra layers.

Fastest Harrier of the day was Bill, who came in sixth. Rumour has it that some of the runners he was close to took a sneaky short cut at the end through the wood, which must have been very annoying.

Fastest female Harrier was Lisa (not surprisingly) who also took the title of first lady for the race.

Lisa, Barbara and myself scooped the ladies team prize, but only after I’d persuaded the organisers that I was, indeed, female. Bizarrely, I appeared as ‘Paul Gould’ on the results board and was listed as a male runner. This was despite having used pink ink to fill out my entry form, donned pigtails and a snowflake-decorated buff for the race, and run like a complete girl whenever the terrain got a bit gnarly.

Prize for the hardiest Harrier should go to Jim, who ran wearing short running shorts (double brrrr). Chris Beadle most definitely had the most exciting post-race outfit!

Official Holmfirth results: 6 Bill Stewart (1.47.45), 17 Nigel Moran (1.56.42), 23 Chris Beadle (2.00.00), 28 Lisa Lacon (2.01.35), 41 John Adair (2.07.25), 91 Barbara Hinchliffe (2.26.10), 92 Paula Gould (2.26.12), 122 Jim Sommerville (2.35.15), 131 Robert Halstead (2.40.43), 134 Dayn Wilkins (2.41.50).

Soreen Stanbury Splash, Sunday 25 January 2009

Oddly enough, it was not blowing a gale when we arrived at Penistone Hill Country Park for the start of the Stanbury Splash on Sunday. It wasn’t raining, foggy or cold enough to freeze your fingers off either. And the ladies toilet wasn’t blocked. Most peculiar.

Just a small but select posse of Holmfirth runners turned out to experience these almost spring-like conditions. Okay, so spring-like is pushing it a bit, but it was surprisingly un-grim.

The start in the quarry was like a quagmire. That’s not abnormal, but it was worse than usual. I kept my feet moving whilst Dave Woodhead did the obligatory shouting bit at the start, since there was a real danger of getting stuck in the gloop.

The route of the Stanbury Splash is very similar to that of the Auld Lang Syne fell race (apparently). Track to start, down through fields across a sizeable stream, up through fields onto another track, then around a good sized moorland loop taking in two smaller streams. Once you get back onto the track, you just reverse the beginning bit (so one more ‘splash’ or ‘sploosh’ or whatever before the finish, and one more down-and-up). Seven miles, 1200 feet ascent.

A record entry this year – 305 starters (303 finishers). Maybe it was the thought of that free malt loaf for all finishers that boosted numbers? Or maybe it was the thought of getting crushed to pieces in an over-crowded pub for the post-race prize-giving and being fed savagely hot chilli, before being bombarded with yet more malt loaf. Who knows.

Back to the race, and some really good results to report. Tom was fifth overall, and Lisa was second lady. This meant that both of the ‘official’ photos of winners included Holmfirth runners. Nice one.

Had we managed to get a third female runner out we might have been in with a chance of ladies team prize too given that I managed to knock five minutes off my previous year’s time and finish as 10th lady (which was a bit unexpected). But hey, there’s only so much malt loaf you can eat.

Holmfirth results: 5 Tom Brunt (48:21), 48 Lisa Lacon (55:52), 91 Jonathan Sykes (60:02), 145 Paula Gould (64:51), 228 Jim Somerville (72:31).

 

Fell Championships 2008

Fell Championships 2008
   
 
final positions
 
Tom Brunt (1st) 150
John Ewart (2nd) 138
Gavin Baxter (3rd) 131
Nigel Moran 126
Ian Shuttleworth 122
Andy Shaw 112
Ian Arnold 112
Paul Shaw 103
Andy Haigh 101
Rob Halstead 78
Jan Danilo-Garbacki 77
Chris Beadle 76
Bill Stewart 69
Julian Rank 69
Jim Sommerville 64
Dave Knight 62
Andrew Keast 56
Dave Watson 50
Bill Hunter 43
Chris Whitelegg 32
Malcolm Sizer 29
Phil Hobbs 28
Gavin Pilkington 21
Oliver Futrell 21
Tim Cock 21
Gary Graham 20
Steve Rimmer 19
Richard Wade 19
Bill Wade 19
Richard Whale 19
Edward Brown 18
Kenneth Valovin 18
Paul Coleman 18
Rob Kersey 15
Andy Smith 15
Rod Futrell 14
Matt Cromack 13
Dayn Wilkins 12
Alan Knox 11
Andrew Smithson 11
Steve Wight 9
Sean Doyle 8
Andrew Hambleton 7
John Philpott 6
Richard Smith (snr) 5
Richard Hoyle 4
Norman Berry 3
   
   
Helen Berry (1st) 60
Paula Gould (2nd) 43
Karen Sinkinson (3rd) 39
Sophie Barraclough 39
Christine Couch 25
Katie Walshaw 24
Catherine Litherland 10
Lesley Ewart 10
Rosie Taylor
8
Kath Farquhar 7
Lucy Griffiths 7
Barbara Hinchliffe 7
Rebecca Halstead 7
Joanna Seymour 6
Andrea Higgins 5
Debbie Hall 4
N.B. 1 runners highlighted in bold completed the championships
N.B. 2 Karen beat Sophie on a superior head to head record

 

Gravy Pud 5 – Sun 7 December 2008

Superb conditions for the Gravy Pud 5 this year. A bit icy in places, but otherwise the underfoot terrain was just helpfully firm and pleasantly runable. Both the men’s and women’s course records were broken, not surprisingly.

This is a great fell race for beginners and one that many road runners tend to take part in. Quite similar to Cop Hill in style but shorter (5.5 miles) and only one lap. The course is well marked and the prize-giving takes place in a very hospitable pub.

Slightly higher entry this year, perhaps due to the fab weather (113 runners in 2008, 100 in 2007). Significantly lower turn-out from Holmfirth Harriers (Karen and I were the only amber vest-wearing competitors). The lure of the last WYCCL race or the Percy Pud must have been too great.

Not sure if it was the pre-race training in the Picturedrome on Friday night, but we both had good runs, knocked several minutes off our 2007 times and finished (seconds apart) in the prizes as third lady (me) and first FV40 (fifth lady) (Karen). Looking at the times, I’ll definitely have to curb my enthusiasm on the dance floor next time we’re racing the same weekend. Legs definitely lacked their usual zing going uphill, and my shadow was a little too close for comfort…

Results: 57 Paula Gould (48:43); 60 Karen Sinkinson (48:46).

 

 

Full Tour of Pendle – 15th November 2008 – 17m 4,000 ft

That time of the year again  - horrid wet weather , mist , clag and wind – TofP is looming !

Well worth a trip out is this one – definitely “Good Value” - £5 inc T shirt just for running up and down the same hill from different angles but covering nearly 17 miles in the process.

 

Its such a popular run – one of our harriers had been training in Nepal for 5 weeks prior to the event , one had taken to dancing to improve running agility and the other had taken to red wine and garlic coz he knew he was running with the other two ! ( quiz time – look at the photos and guess which is which !) …. Oh ! nearly forgot … our Fell captain also came along to keep order but we only saw him at the start where he reassured our Red Wine drinking novice that this was an “easy race – in fact easier than Langdale” …..we just looked away  too embarrassed to catch the young boy’s eager gaze  who was clearly seeking reassurance.

Race underway – Captain disappeared into the distance – steady first climb then gentle run back down through a quagmire, onto a mincing track , proper track past a reservoir then … steep up hill - steady level run then vertical run down hill ( aptly called Geronimo!) ,steady climb back up hill over the top then down again , then up steeply  again , then steeply back down , then back up again along the top of the hill .. then back down again for  the final ascent – mostly on all fours up to the trig point then …. Back down again , off the fells and onto what feels like the  longest run in to the end of the race .

All in all – a good day out , weather was not so bad – not too cold , too wet or too windy  - will probably end up doing it again next year if any one fancies joining us ???

 

Well done to Tom – 3rd place behind the 2 dead heat winners 2 hr 33 . Ian Arnold strolled in after 3hr 27 followed closely by young and up coming  Knighty in 3 hr 38 . Ian Shuttleworth managed  3hr 22.

 

 

Cop Hill, 2 November 2008

It’s difficult to find an excuse for not doing Cop Hill when the race start is barely 10 minutes drive from home. “Just think of it as a training run”, my live-in coach advised me as I muttered about the uninspiring nature of the two-lap course and the even less inspiring weather forecast. An offer of a lift from Karen sealed it. I was going to be delivered to the start line whether I liked it or not.

As it happened, I enjoyed the race far more than expected (particularly in retrospect) and would recommend it to any Harrier with nothing better to do on a dank Sunday in November, who would probably be going out for an off-road run anyway. Good turnout from club members – so far more social than solitary training and more incentive to work hard. Hot showers available afterwards (well, hot-ish) to help with the process of mud removal. Very good cakes too.

The course was apparently altered this year, making the stated distance of 7 miles reasonably accurate (it has been shorter in previous years). Conditions underfoot ranged from very firm (the road sections) to very, very soft indeed. The mud was so deep and sticky in one part of the course that Rachael Mellor lost her shoe in the gloop. Bad luck for Rachael, but a lucky break for me and Lesley who were able to wade past and regain some ground.

Not the best of days for Holmfirth’s men – with the notable exception of John E. who took a couple of good scalps, as well as finishing first M50. Tim Cock was first V65. Highest place Holmfirth finisher was Dave Watson in 5th with Bill Stewart next in 10th, then John in 12th. Alas, not quite good enough for the team prize. That went to Wharfedale, whose leading runners came home 2nd, 7th and 11th.

A better morning for the ladies. Helen Berry was first female runner (fields ahead of any competition), and Lesley first FV50. Karen and I got prizes for first FV45 and first FV35, though strictly speaking we weren’t actually the quickest in those categories. The “true” firsts had already won prizes for being second and third, so race organisers then went down the list to find the next-finishing vets. It just works like that, apparently, and I’m not complaining! Helen, Lesley and I also took the ladies team prize, which was an added bonus.

Cop Hill was also the YVAA fell championship this year so several trophies awarded to age category winners. Proceedings finished with a raffle. Official results don’t record who won this part of the event, but I’m fairly sure that several Harriers went home with some fine boxes of chocolates.

Results:

5 David Watson (50:08), 10 Bill Stewart (51.55), 12 John Ewart (52.35), 13 Andy Shaw (52.42), 17 Julian Rank (53.25), 18 Gavin Baxter (53.36), 28 Steve Rimmer (56.10), 30 Helen Berry (56.30), 36 Chris Beadle (57.43), 37 Rob Kersey (57.45), 40 Kevin Yewlett (58.17), 50 Edward Brown (60.41), 66 Pete Dolan (62.52), 76 Robert Ellis (65.46), 78 Rod Futrell (66.23), 80 Paula Gould (66.35), 81 Lesley Ewart (66.39), 83 Rachael Mellor (66.51), 92 Karen Sinkinson (68.43), 101 John Philpott (71.53), 103 Tim Cock (72.36), 105 Blandine Reney (72.52), 106 Dayn Wilkins (72.59), 107 Rebecca Halstead (73.47), 108 Robert Halstead (75.03), 123 Steve White (85.36), 127 Keith Bamforth (91.23).

 

 

 

FRA British Fell and Hill Relay championship, 19 October 2008

Two teams of Harriers at this year’s FRA relays – one gentlemen, one ladies. Weather much better than last year, when even the loitering field was swathed in clag all day. Despite a forecast of rain for the afternoon and very black clouds, it stayed dry all day.

Some awesome running from some of the field leaders on the fast descent to the finish. A good place to spectate from, though I still haven’t quite got the hang of photographing runners in full flight – plenty of blurry shots or pictures of people’s feet (sorry).

Great team atmosphere at the Harriers base camp – complete with tent this year. Thanks to John et al, who had got all that organised by the time we trundled up to the registration field (not much later, I’m sure). Thankfully our canvas structure was much sturdier than the nearby Clayton-le-Moors gazebo, which took off in a gust of wind and wrapped itself around a telegraph pole. Not sure how they went about disentangling it, though later in the day it had disappeared.

A bit of last-minute re-jigging of the order for the men’s team so that Gavin (suffering with cold) was spared the longest leg. No alterations to the ladies team, though Helen – who had been reading the newspaper for most of the day – almost missed her leg, discovering with just 10 minutes to spare that she was needed for a mass start. No bad thing to get the adrenalin pumping – she stormed around leg four, securing the second-fastest time on that leg for a female runner.

For the men’s team, Tom and Julian also fared well in the rankings, getting the 8th fastest time for the navigational leg – less than a minute behind Bingley’s fast boys, Ian Holmes and Rob Jebb.

Holmfirth’s men finished 23rd overall and the ladies team 96th (11th all-female team). Bingley took first men’s and ladies teams, and Dark Peak were first vets.

Great day out. Delicious organic lamb burgers. Hope to be running next year…

Leg-by-leg results (men): Gavin Baxter (51:07; 59th on leg), John Ewart/Andy Shaw ( 1:22:13; 33rd on leg), Tom Brunt/Julian Rank ( 1:01:41; 8th on leg), Bill Stewart (50:26; 24th on leg).

Leg-by-leg results (women): Karen Sinkinson (1.01:21; 111th on leg), Lisa Lacon/Katie Walshaw ( 1:38:48; 92nd on leg), Lucy Griffiths/Lesley Ewart (1.34:24; 102nd on leg), Helen Berry (54:05; 53rd on leg).

 

 

Langdale Horseshoe – 11th October 2008

14 miles 4,000 ft ascent (Garmin said 12.33 and 5100 ft !!)

 

A very pleasant day unfolded as we drove up through low viz cloud and rain on the M61 – no luxurious overnighters in Lakeside Lodges this time – oh no ! time to follow John Ewart’s stalwart Club Captain  example of early start and get up there - no leaky tents for us this weekend – will save that for next year !

The tops were clearing , sunshine and blue sky were appearing – not yet warm enough for me to take hat , gloves and coat off yet – best wait till just before the start – got called a ‘king reptile by one of our elite runners for some reason .

FirstLakesrace for Andy Keast  - hopefully not his last , we had tried to put him at ease en route but he still seemed a little nervous … or maybe he just has a thing for portaloos ! Anyway , about 400 started the race – usual tussle along the track before the ghyll then the steady climb up to Stickle tarn , round the side up and on to Thunacarr Knot – good fortune here – clear , no clag  - good running / bog hopping down and over to Angle tarn – steady climb to Esk Hawse . Slight amount of mincing involved traversing to Ore Gap then the little climb up to bowfell before mincing down then round the Crinkles ( I knew this dancing would come in useful !!) before attempting a graceful descent of the “Bad Step” . Steady run down then to Red Tarn before the last up hill obstacle  - the Pike of Blisco – followed by a the slippery run down the other side on the homeward leg . The air on this last section , as usual , was filled with expletives and much blue language – blame being passed on to shoes , parents , pets , credit crunch – anything really ! as one fellow  muttered after the third tumble – “I can cope with falling – it’s the ####ing cramp getting back up that hurts !” 

After the road crossing – the end is in sight – thru the woods , campsite onto the road and finish ! Hot meat pie and  chocolate muffin for all finishers – what a treat !

A great run – everyone should have a go at it at least once … honest !

 

Well done to John Ewart – 4th V50 2hrs.43mins  60th , also well done to Dave Knight 3hrs 38mins 283rd  and of course to Andy Keast 3hrs 46mins 311th whose nerves must have settled and is now looking forward to the next one …. Tour of Pendle in November I believe ? I managed 2 minutes faster than last year – 3hrs 5 mins – 169th . 370 runners finished .

 

cheers

Ian Shuttleworth

Autumn Leaves fell race, Saturday 4 October

Given the name of this race (Autumn Leaves) I had expected that the route would be a bit woodland-y. More like a trail race. Wrong. Part moorland ( Pennine Way flagstones and path), part tracks, and part up through tussocks at the side of Marsden Golf Club (similar to the Ian Roberts, so I’m told). Hardly an autumn leaf in sight. Just plenty of plenty of peat, heather, and stones for 8.5 miles (~1700 ft ascent).

I’d heard great things about the cake competition, and my expectations for that part of the event were well and truly met. What a great idea. Prizes for best tasting, best decorated and best junior cake. The winning entries are used as prizes and the rest given away to hungry runners. An edible Walsh has apparently featured in previous years. We had an edible moor on the table this time round (complete with heather and flags).

Anyway, back to the race bit. It was cold, wet and windy when we arrived to register. This changed to just cold and windy for the race itself, which I suppose we should be grateful for.

Just five hardy Harriers racing out of a field of 102 (other club members apparently otherwise occupied swimming down Patterdale in preparation for the Ian Hodgson relay the day afterwards …)

Four of us started the race with the main pack at 11:00am. Phil H. decided to take a bit more time tying his laces, and started shortly afterwards. Still, he didn’t have too much competition to secure the title of First Harrier Home.

Despite the rather wet and slippery flags I seemed to be doing okay for the first part of the race. Unfortunately, this feeling of: “Am I really so far ahead in the field?” got the better of me, I did a typical Paula-esque blunder and landed on the ground. Knee and rock made contact. Ouch.

By the time I finished the race there was lots of blood and a fair bit of mud on the said knee, and it was feeling pretty painful. Still, amazingly I still got a prize for third lady (which probably says more about the quality of the field than anything). Karen was second lady so if we’d had a third counter, we really would have been in with a team prize. Ladies, where were you??

Will definitely be back next year to try and complete the race without falling over. And to sample some more of the delicious cakes, of course.

 

Harriers results:

Phil Hobbs (32nd, 78:39); Karen Sinkinson (56th, 86:03), Paula Gould (62nd, 87:02), Rob Halstead (83rd, 97:34), Jim Somerville (86th, 98:29).

 

 

 

Three Shires, Saturday 20 September

The Three Shires fell race is 13 miles and takes in 4000 feet of up and down according to the official blurb (though magic mapping software reckons another 500 feet should be added). Whatever. It is still the shortest “long” in the FRA calendar. And so, I reckoned, not too scary.

Hmmm. Let’s just say that my first two recces of this fine Lakeland route weren’t exactly terribly successful. My poor guide had to put up with many protestations that this really was way out of my league and I was never going to make the two-hour cut off at the Three Shires Stone. Kind soul that he is, I got a third guided tour and this time we completed the circuit (thankfully without too much trauma, though my navigational ineptitude was made fairly plain).

The day of the race itself dawned bright and clear – at least in Holmfirth. We picked up Karen (still eating her porridge) and headed off north-west-wards. All was sunny. Then we entered the Lake District and found the mountains were shrouded in clag. Not actually what was wanted, but at least it wasn’t raining.

We arrived at the car park after the Ians but before Mr Elsart (which has to be a record). Compo’s reputation for turning up ‘just in time’ is gradually being eroded now that he increasingly has a fusspot (me) as a passenger in the car.

The race start had been moved from 11:00am to 11:30am owing to a last minute change in car-parking to a site 25 mins walk from registration. I think we started at 11:50am in the end. That was good news for Helen B., who managed to have a puncture en route. Mind you, she still wasn’t the last Harrier to register, not by a long way.

Then suddenly we were off! My main aim was to get round, to remain uninjured, and not to get lost. I had made a deal with myself that if I reached Three Shires stone within two hours, then I would carry on regardless of how rough I was feeling (some pesky cold germs had turned up a few days beforehand, and whilst not mission-stopping, they weren’t exactly helpful).

After about 20 minutes I added another aim – to shake Karen off my heels. Unfortunately, despite the savage first climb up Wetherlam, and a rather unusual choice of route on my part, this was proving to be annoyingly difficult!!

The mountain tops were still in clag at this stage, but this was steadily lifting. The compass came out to get from Wetherlam onto the path to Swirl How, and then again to make sure I didn’t go too far left as we diverged from the walker’s path. I didn’t quite hit the optimum line, but I didn’t head off left into the wrong valley either.

At this point I dared to glance at my watch, and found it stuck on some completely useless mode. A helpful runner just in front, who had been more competent at setting his watch, confirmed that we were well within the cut off. This provided a major psychological boost, and despite the fact that my legs were now feeling like lead, I headed off towards Blisco with renewed enthusiasm – and at last, without my tail.

Things get a bit blurry on the stage after Blisco. I was tired, thirsty, and not completely with it. Not surprisingly, I crashed out on the muddy path, though thankfully managed to miss most nearby rocks and had a soft landing. No damage done, I lurched off down the trod, trying to keep my mind and legs in gear. Which sort of worked. Amazingly, I think even managed to get down the path into the larch woods without sitting down hard on a rock (a feat not achieved on any of my three recces!)

One last hill to go and absolutely nothing left in the legs at this stage. I’d reserved a slurp of my drink for the climb which I think helped a bit. I also managed to overtake a couple of runners, which was another boost.

Then it was all downhill. Not horrible, rocky steep downhill, but runable downhill, all the way back to the Three Shires Inn.

So in summary – great route! Though not sure I’d want to do anything much longer… Very big thanks to all Harriers/friends who were supporting on the course.

I definitely plan to do this one again. And maybe next time, my lovely husband won’t be so busy talking to his mates and will actually notice me finish!

Paula G.

 

Harriers results: 13 Tom Brunt (2:09:55), 57 John Ewart (2:24:21), 65 Gavin Baxter (2:26:26), 81 Nigel Moran (2:31:15), 103 Helen Berry (2:36:44), 140 Ian Shuttleworth (2:43:23), 203 Ian Arnold (2:54:07), 262 Paula Gould (3:12:22), 269 Dave Knight (3:16:41), 284 Bill Hunter (3:23:01), 286 Karen Sinkinson (3:23:49), 315 Sophie Barraclough (4:11:21). [The “official” results claim Sophie’s time to be 3:51:02, but she insists that this is wrong, and that 20 minutes more should be added on].

 

 

 

 

Borrowdale 2nd August 2008

After a week of uncertain weather and forecasts – the last of the rain seemed to fall on Saturday morning about 10.00am leaving a fresh day ahead .

 

What a turnout – plenty of the Elite Fellrunner Front page and Centrefolds milling around .The race had been full within a few days of the entry date .

 

 No shortening of the course this year – weather was OK  - 11 O’clock – we were off .

 

Steady , crowded loop on road then track before heading up the first hill to get some ascent in the legs . Up Bessyboot , past Glaramara meandering up and over the bogs and fells  towards Esk Hawse .

 

From Esk Hawse up Scafell Pike …. through the clag and over the wet , slippy boulders to get there . Have you ever tried running with blocks of ice on the soles of your shoes ? that is just what it was like – there were some rather strong expletives used by most runners  - understandably !

 

From Scafell Pike the heading down is supposed to go down a very quick scree on to the corridor route – the merry bunch I followed went the wrong , long way round ! – Hey ho , a mincing route then to the bottom of Great Gable to head up again into the mist , head down and just keep going .

 

Poor viz on the top but had ditched the last merry bunch by this time and found another one  - this lot knew where they were going ! Steady run then all the way to Honister pass – no mist down here so you could see again – yippee !

 

Nearly home now – just the climb over Dale Head !!. It does go on a bit though does this climb – luckily my legs still had something left and managed to gain a few places on the ascent .

 

Off Dale Head , long descent back down the valley – no river crossing this year – back into the field and the finish . All in all an enjoyable run .

 

Great performance from Tom Brunt – 27 th 3hr 18mins . Gavin Baxter showing what a good nights sleep can do before a race finishing 133 rd  3hr 57mins , John Ewart chasing him down in 147 th 4hr 01min – though this maybe due to a poor nights sleep in a leaky tent the night before the race ! I was happy with 261 st 4hr 35 min .

 

461 set off – 41 retired . Winner – Simon Booth 2hr 49 – 1 st lady Janet McIver 3hr 25

 

 

 

Ian Shuttleworth

 

Kentmere Horseshoe, Sunday 20 July

 

Near-perfect weather conditions for my debut Lakes fell race. Clear skies (so no lost-in-mist worries) and not too hot. Most runners didn’t carry water and most wore just vests. I know that I get cold and thirsty more than most, so put a long-sleeve Dryflo top under my Harriers vest and carried a half-full bottle of very, very dilute energy drink. I didn’t regret either decision.

Kentmere is a great race (in theory). Really logical. A true horseshoe course taking in the peaks of Ill Bell, High Street and Kentmere Pike, and one of my favourite Lakes walks. Hence the decision to do the race. Oh yes, and a counter for the Harriers fell champs this year. The race was also a counter in the Fell Runners Association (FRA) 2008 English championship series, which again meant more runners (~400).

At 11.9 miles long, with 3300 feet of climbing, this is the longest “medium” in the FRA calendar. I have to say, it felt pretty “long” to me. The last descent seemed to go on forever. Just when your legs want to give up and plod on home, you have to concentrate on a ceaseless, rock-strewn descent through bracken. The recent rain had made the ground extremely muddy which didn’t help. Yes, I ended up sitting down at one point, but no damage (it was a soft landing).

First Harrier home was Tom, who finished 34th in 1:40:12. This time would have secured a top 10 placing in 2007, but that just goes to show how the quality of the field changes for English champs races.

Our newly-crowned club captain continued his good run of fell form to complete the course in 1:47:07. Gavin B. similarly secured a sub-two hour time, finishing in 1:56:46.

Helen led the Harriers’ ladies contingent home in 1:57:16, finishing just outside the prize line-up as 8th woman. I’ve been told she was still suffering from massive blisters after Holme Moss. Hopefully these extra mountain miles haven’t added too much to the damage.

Once again, Bill Wade finished the course looking as fresh a daisy, probably ready to run round again. Bill went into the race leading the over-65 category in the English championship series. He was beaten on the day by two other V65 runners, but should have gained sufficient points to retain his top slot (at least according to my maths).

 

Holmfirth finishers:

34 Tom Brunt (1:40:12), 83 John Ewart (1:47:07), 149 Gavin Baxter (1:56:46), 155 Helen Berry (1:57:16), 224 Ian Shuttleworth (2:05:29), 264 Ian Arnold (2:11:01), 300 Bill Wade (2:16:51); 313 Christine Couch (2:19:57), 332 Paula Gould (2:23:55), 336 Jim Sommerville (2:25:13), 351 Robert Halstead (2:28:23), 355 Bill Hunter (2:28:55), 364 Karen Sinkinson (2:34:25), 384 Sophie Barraclough (2:54:56).

 

 

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