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Senior Fell Championship update & current standings

Now we’re at the business end of the season, seems appropriate for an update on this year’s Senior Fell Championship. The races I’ve chosen this year have had something for everyone, from classic Lakes events to local evening outings, with the odd fell-orienteering race thrown in for good measure. And over 50 of you have had a go, which is great!

We have seen some cracking racing during the year, both locally & further afield. In April, it was our own West Nab race, where Mike Fanning took on the best English U19’s & finished an excellent 3rd overall, followed by the Anniversary Waltz and a great battle between Dan Shaw and Clark Hind for maximum points in the Lakes - Dan pipping Clark by just 2 minutes over 12 miles!

Into June & we ventured to the Dales for the Wharfedale Trail Half Marathon, on one of the hottest days of the summer. Sensing a photo opportunity, Clark Hind set off like a startled rabbit & briefly led the race for the first few hundred metres, before settling back to a steadier pace! Tim Street enjoys this race, having finished in the top ten 3 times in the last 4 years and this year was no exception. In a very competitive race at the sharp end, where the course record was broken by Aberdeen’s Kyle Greig, celebrating his GB call-up in the World Trail Running Championships to come home in 1.24.38, Tim was first back for Holmfirth, finishing 8th overall in 1.34.29. Close on his heels & packing well, had there been a team prize, were Dan Shaw, 12th in 1.36.46 & Clark, 18th in 1.39.19. A little further back & not enjoying the heat, was Dan Stewart, 80th in 1.51.56, ahead of Phil Hobbs, 141st in 2.02.31 and David Milton, 156th in 2.05.01.

Three weeks later, it was the Great Bakewell Pudding Race, held not surprisingly in Bakewell, Derbyshire. As well as racing in some beautiful surroundings, an added attraction of this race is that the first 250 finishers take home a Bakewell Pudding, so what’s not to like?! Just 3 Musketeers made it over the hill & with Dan Stewart having twisted his back standing on a dog bed (don’t ask….), it looked for a while as if it would be a straight battle between Chris Beadle & Phil Hobbs for maximum championship points. Happily, Dan was able to take his place on the start line (he’ll do anything for a pudding) & he managed to hold off the challengers to finish 32nd in 48.15. Very close behind, Chris Beadle got to the river crossing ahead of Phil Hobbs to finish 41st in 50.05, with Phil 47th in 50.43.

July saw the second running of the Rangers Aldermans Ascent over the hill in Greenfield. The hunt for championship points was fierce amongst the 12 starters and pride of place went to recent recruit Andy Fleet, who despite taking a wrong turn or two, still managed to win the race once he’d had a talking to from Mike Fanning, who probably wished he hadn’t bothered, as Andy out-sprinted him on the final descent! Andy’s winning time for the 5 mile, 1300 feet race was 45.45, with Mike just behind in 46.03, 2nd overall & 1st V40. Despite having a 5 minute penalty for a sneaky shortcut (he wasn’t alone) Dan Shaw still managed to finish 5th overall in 48.40, which helped Holmfirth to comprehensively scoop the team prize! Slowly getting his mojo back, Chris Beadle was next home, 14th in 54.45, just ahead of Tim Street, 20th in 55.59 & Dan Stewart, 22nd in 56.09. First lady Harrier home was evergreen Kath Farquhar, 32nd overall, 4th lady & 2nd FV40 in 59.29, followed by Phil Hobbs, 36th in 62.03 and, making a welcome return to racing, Jax France, who was 44th overall & 1st FV50 in 64.04. Being a chivalrous chap, Andy France just held back to finish 45th in 64.05, ahead of another new recruit, Mike Prior, who was 47th in 64.55. And clearly tired of laps of Neiley & making his long-awaited fell-running comeback, was club photographer Norman Berry, who managed to scoop the V70 prize, finishing 64th in 1.41.41, comfortably in before it started to get dark!

Attention was then turned to our own Holme Moss race, where Rob Kersey had booked some decent weather & was rewarded with another great turnout, with runners coming from far & wide to take part. With many from the Harriers helping out once again, we had just 8 runners amongst the 141 starters, but still plenty of quality on show. Race winner Peter Bray from Chorlton Runners was only 50 seconds outside Karl Gray’s 2013 record, finishing in 2.34.08, comfortably ahead of his nearest challenger, who was some 7 minutes behind.  Mike Fanning had a great run, finishing 6th overall & 1st V45 in 2.51.55 and bagged maximum championship points, ahead of Clark Hind, 22nd in 3.19.16. Jordan Mullinger continues to improve on the fells & despite a couple of injury worries leading up to the race, finished 34th overall & 2nd lady in 3.30.37, ahead of Chris Beadle, 56th in 3.47.33. Deserting her usual post at Laddow Rocks, Barbara Hinchliffe rolled back the years & finished 75th overall & 1st FV60 in 4.05.43, leading in Jon Burdon, 82nd in 4.09.28, Andrei Vais, 95th in 4.21.02 (wearing road shoes!) & Debbie Hall, 117th in 4.41.59.

August saw another Harriers promotion at the Denis Stitt Memorial, where we had 18 Harriers amongst the 47 competitors. Special mentions for Chris Law, who won the race & knocked over 30 seconds off his time from last year, finishing in 28.57, Lewis Byram, 4th in 31.20 & Mike Fanning, 5th & 1st V45 in 32.08, with Debbie Hall 22nd overall & 3rd lady in 43.47 & fell newbie Femi Sobo-Allen, 2nd FV45 in 52.49. Well done all!

September was particularly busy, with 2 English Championship races at Castle Carr & Great Whernside, as well as our own rearranged Ian Roberts Memorial race. Dan Stewart was the Harriers best placed finisher at Castle Carr, 83rd in 2.40.31, ahead of Phil Hobbs, 151st in 3.02.48 & Debbie Hall, 193rd in 3.37.16, whilst at Great Whernside, Mike Fanning flew the amber flag to great effect, finishing 45th overall & 3rd V50 in 33.50. Fifteen Harriers took on the terrible tussocks of Marsden Moor at the Ian Roberts Memorial race & there were prizes galore – Mike Fanning 3rd overall & 1st V50, Dan Stewart 4th overall & 1st V40, Jonny Sykes 5th overall & 2nd V50, Lucy Byram 1st lady, Helen Berry 2nd lady & 1st FV40, Ruby Sykes 3rd lady & 2nd FU23 & Malcolm Sizer, 2nd V70.

With just 2 races left in the championship, it’s very tight at the top of the men’s table. To count, everyone must complete 7 races, including 2 of each length (Short, Medium & Long) & so far nobody has qualified! With no long races left, only Dan Stewart and Phil Hobbs have a realistic chance, so will be hoping to stay fit for Meltham’s Cop Hill in November & December’s Bill Fox Gravy Pud. For the ladies, Debbie Hall is also on 6, so just needs to complete one more to be crowned champion!

See you on a hill sometime.

Phil Hobbs


2017 - Senior Fell Champs - Current Standings (as of 5th of October)

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