The Three Shires fell race was one of the club fell championship races this year, and so on Saturday myself, Jim Coldwell, Mike Keavney and Ian Oldham travelled over to Little Langdale for the race (12.4 miles and 4000 ft ascent). It was my first Lakeland Classic race and a real step up for me in difficulty. My concerns about navigation around a potentially tricky route were not eased when we managed to go the wrong way walking from the car park to the start line, however the glorious weather meant there were no problems finding the route during the race – although the blazing heat caused different problems. The race consists of three big climbs and descents. Mid way through the second climb, up to Pike o’ Blisco, I started to struggle, and by the third, up to Lingmoor, this had turned to despair and I was wondering whether I would make it to the end. Luckily for me I crossed paths with Ian who helped cajole/guide me to the finish line and then a nice sit in a nearby stream. The event was excellently organised with a relaxed atmosphere and a great post-race pasty, and a humorous prize ceremony in the sunshine. Myself and Ian finished in 3.08, Mike in 3.25 and Jim in 3.43, and with winner Ricky Lightfoot getting round in 1.57 it was not a high scoring day for championship points. The club fell championship has just one race to go, Simonside Cairns on 11 December, and our championship director is starting to think about next year’s race calendar.
Short sharp fell races come thick and fast at this time of year and club members have been in action in four of the steepest of all. After Reeth Show on Bank Holiday Monday Caitlin Pearson ran again the following day at Kilnsey finishing in 12.44. The next day saw six members in the annual Roseberry Topping race. Tim Grimwood came 18th of 107 runners in 15.00, not far ahead of Ian Oldham in 15.15. Michael Keavney and Robbie Kelly took different routes down, with the "chute" proving quickest and Michael finished in 16.41 with Robbie ten seconds behind. Jim Coldwell came home in 18.27 with Mike Hulley in 19.47. At Muker Show on Sept 7th Caitlin Pearson, Michael Keavney and Martin Randall reversed their finishing order at Reeth. Caitlin was fifth woman in 16.59 with Michael in 17.37 and Martin in 17.50. Caitlin ran yet again at Burnsall fell race on September 11th and was sixth woman in 21.45.
Andrew Fletcher has been running well on the roads in recent weeks and was first club finisher at this year's Tholthorpe 10k on September 4th, with a time of 39.41. Roger Brisley finished in 53.52 with Julia Spittle in 55.34. Andrew also ran in the Vale of York Half Marathon on September 11th and was 3rd V50 in an excellent time of 1.25.54. Liz Sowter also ran and finished in 1.53.37. The Great North Run took place on the same day, with three members taking part. Roger Brisley finished in 2.02.58, with Stu Clarkson in 2.04.05 and Anne Singleton in 2.17.42.
At the Paras 10 mile multi terrain race in Catterick on September 4th Martin Randall came 11th overall in 77.03, with Lucy Riley 38th in 88.58 and Karen Thompson in 129.16
Club members featured in three different races in the North-East on August 21st. The quickest performances were in Northumberland, where Martin Randall finished fourth out of 74 runners in the Coastal Half Marathon in 1.46.00, and Robbie Kelly finished 8th (and first V55) in the Coastal Marathon in 3.52.58. Five runners took place in the second Scorton Feast 10k. Adele Marshall was first club finisher in 46.13, with Christian Player in 51.07, Helen Nicholson in 53.38, Vicki Howe in 55.21 and Anne Singleton in 60.07. At the rather less scenic Ray Harrison 10k in Billingham Pete Devlin finished in 54.51 and Julia Spittle in 56.50.
This year's West Witton fell race on Pen Hill had an unusually large and competitive field and was won by George Foster of Ambleside AC who is currently based in North Yorkshire and has been training with Swaledale. Martin Randall was the first of three club members and was followed by Caitlin Pearson and Michael Keavney.
There was an excellent club turnout at the Reeth Show fell race on Bank Holiday Monday with eight Swaledale runners amongst the record field of 100, six of them finishing in the top half. Tim Grimwood is developing into a force to be reckoned with as a fellrunner and finished tenth in 19.23. Robbie Kelly was next club member in 21.11, followed by Martin Randall in 22.17. A minor error on the descent by Jim Coldwell and Caitlin Pearson allowed Michael Keavney to nip ahead and just manage to hold them off. Michael finished in 22.36 with Jim in 22.41 and Caitlin in 22.48 (4th woman). Rebecca Simpson crossed the line in 24.58, with Michael Rosher in 26.56.
The club turned out in force for this years James Herriot Trail run on July 31st, with eleven runners taking part and several other members involved in organisation. Derek Parrington was the first club runner to finish, completing the 8.7 mile course in 63.05. Tim Grimwood was not far behind in 64.35. Performance of the day went to Oonagh Bathgate who won the FV45 category in 70.52 and led the winning ladies team. Other club times - James Taylor 74.03, Zoe Mason 74.30, Michael Keavney 75.18, John Lynch 76.19, Lucy Riley 79.24, Anne Singleton 96.48, Julia Spittle 96.51 and Karen Thorpe 102.25.
The following Sunday, on another bright blustery day, twelve club members ran in the Darlington 10k. Andrew Fletcher was first Swaledale runner to finish in 39.48, just ahead of Tim Grimwood, who squeezed under the 40 minute barrier in 39.59. Andrew Fahey finished in 41.31 with Martin Randall in 41.55. Zoe Mason was the first club woman to finish, in 43.42, just ahead of Caitlin Pearson in 44.38. Other club times - Vicki Howe 52.16, Roger Brisley 53.28, Grace Gilpin 54.43, Liz Sowter 55.00, Julia Spittle 56.33, Anne Singleton 57.59
The Harrogate Midweek League concluded with the traditional Handicap race in Ripon on June 28th. Runners set off with staggered start times based on their previous performances in the series. Nicky Logan outperformed herself relative to previous races and therefore finished fourth in the race with a time of 45.59. Alan Mackay was quickest Swaledale runner on the night finishing 49th in 37.58. Other club performances - 32nd Roger Brisley 46.14, 35th Zoe Mackay 44.46, 44th Stuart Hardcastle 41.25, 127th Chris Sayer 50.01, 158th Ronan Walsh 39.52, 217th Karen Thorpe 50.53.
Tim Grimwood was in action on June 26th at the Cronkley fell race in Upper Teesdale (10.5 miles 1755 feet climb). He finished an excellent fifth place out of 35 runners.
On July 2nd Ian Oldham took part in the Ultimate Trails 55km race in the Lake District. His time of 7h47min earned him 62nd place from 449 finishers. Sarah Haynes also ran, finishing 375th in 11h09min.
The following day Tim Grimwood, Jim Coldwell and Michael Keavney travelled to the Bampton Show near Haweswater to run in the 5.5mile fell race. Ian Oldham also attended, with the intention of spectating after his previous day's exertion, but couldn't resist running and entered at the last minute. Despite heavy legs he still managing to beat Jim and Michael in the process. Times - Tim 45.30, Ian 49.27, Jim 50.25, Michael 51.12.
Ros Blackmore took part in this years Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon on July 2nd and 3rd. Running with Mandy Goth of Todmorden she finished 38th of 47 pairs in the Kirkfell class.
Parkrun times July 2nd. Darlington - Neil Bowmer 19.26 (Parkrun PB), Marian Hunter 27.25. Northallerton - Niall Cheyne 23.52.
Last month Dave and I had the honour of competing in the GBR age group team for the ETU long distance European Duathlon Championships in Copenhagen. Over a very hot weekend we recced the bike course, attended registration, bike checks and team briefings, before rising early on Sunday morning for the big day.
The course was an absolute cracker, starting on the banks of the river, heading on two x 5k run loops through beautiful parkland for the first run section, before heading out along the fast dual carriage way (closed roads) and then a bike path along the coast. The dual carriage ways were bliss, allowing for a speedy push once out of the wind, and although somewhat nerve wracking, the narrow bike paths (and a cheeky cattle grid) along the coast kept the spirits high with the spectacular scenery.
After negotiating the slightly chaotic transition area, we headed back out for two further laps of the run course. Overall we covered 10k run, 60 k bike, and 10k run. I finished in 3.36:41, with split paces of 7’50min/mi for run 1, 20mph bike, and 8’17min/mi for run 2. I might have dawdled a bit in transition though!!!
I finished 13th in my Age Group, Dave 39th (out of 21 and 99 respectively). My training times running up to the event had been a little lack lustre, so I was very pleased with my effort, and given the standard of competition, with my overall placing too. It just confirms my suspicions that I just can’t pull my finger out without a little bit of race adrenaline !
The weekend was made complete by having the kids there to cheer us on too! Go Murrays!!
Swaledale Runners were the hosts for the third race of this year's Harrogate Midweek League on May 31st. Many club members were involved in the organisation of the 6 mile race at East Harlsey but there were still some good performances by the handful of members who ran. As usual Steve Brown was first V55, finishing 27th out of 285 runners in 38.11. Derek Parrington was second V50 in 39.17. Other club times - Caitlin Pearson 43.58, Martin Luxton 45.06, Ronan Walsh 45.56, Stuart Hardcastle 51.05 and Roger Brisley 54.15.
The following evening Michael Keavney ran in the Blencathra fell race (8 miles, 2700 feet climb) and was pleased with his time of 90.20. He was back on the hills again on June 9th in the Kettlewell Anniversay race (5 miles, 1800 feet), finishing 42nd of 72 runners.
Three club members took part in this years Yomp based in Kirby Stephen. The 23 mile course involves over 4000 feet of climbing including Wild Boar Fell and Nine Standards Rigg and race proceeds are donated to charity. Neil Bowmer finished 20th out of 133 finishers in 4.39.12, with Ros Blackmore not too far behind in 34 place in 4.57.49. Michael Rosher came 55th in 5.44.53.
Park Run results June 11th. Darlington - Zoe Mason 22.24, Niall Cheyne 22.50, Alison Johnston 23.28 (1st FV55 and second overall in age graded results table). Northallerton - Ronan Walsh 22.40 (PB), Jo Caisley 28.37.
Swaledale Runners have unfinished business with the Ingleborough Marathon. A few years ago a group had to DNF due to foul weather and navigation problems. No such issues with the weather this year, it was a beautiful summers day. Vickie Howe, Neil Bowmer and myself represented Swaledale Runners, with friends Sarah Hackett and Scott Tranter also racing. Robbie Kelly and Rich Gale came along to stretch their legs, take photos and give moral support to the racers.
The race is organised by the Cave Rescue Organisation, although they don’t actually call it a race, it’s a ‘challenge’ for walkers and runners, meaning that it is meant to be something that you plot on the map from the checkpoints grid references and find your way around as fast or as slow as you like. The route is fantastic, it starts from Clapham and goes up to the summit of Ingleborough, then drops down towards the Hill Inn. It then circles around the mountain, crossing the Nature Reserve then on down to Selside in the Ribble Valley. It crosses the river then picks up the Ribble Way and then the Pennine Way down to Horton in Ribblesdale. The route then climbs back up the side of Ingleborough before dropping down to Austwick and finally back to Clapham. The route is well marshalled by CRO and is pretty well marked for something that is meant to be self-navigated, but it still managed to catch a few people out. Although the route follows footpaths, it is often on private land without public rights of way, so it was a good opportunity to run in new territory.
It was such a pleasure running this marathon in such beautiful surroundings with friends that I forgot that it was a race most of the time. Until the last few miles when I could see another female catching me up, then it was all systems go! The finish line was not where I expected it to be, which was at the tunnel entrance where we started. It was instead upstairs in the CRO headquarters where Phil Nuttal the organiser was sat behind a desk! Plenty of tea and cakes were on offer and the opportunity to chill out beside the stream following the race was great. A flexible, chilled approach is required for this event, the organisation is a bit quirky but the route is definitely worth it.
Neil Bowmer 5.24 (6th overall); Ros Blackmore 5.46 (7th overall, 2nd Female); Vickie Howe 5.50 (9th overall, 4th Female). Sarah Hackett and Scott Tranter came in at 5.09 (joint 4th overall with Sarah as 1st female)
Thanks to Richard Gale for these photos. For more, see galleries.
On Sunday I joined a large team of Swaledale runners who made their way over to the northern Lake District for the latest instalment of the club fell championship, Helvellyn and the Dodds. At 15 miles and 1337m/4386ft of climb it was going to be a very tough race for me, and whilst the glorious sunshine made for great views it also added to the challenge. The race started pleasantly enough with a mile or so of track and gentle grassy incline out of Threlkeld Cricket Club, but soon presented possibly the most challenging part of the course, the very steep ascent onto Clough Head. From here the course followed some great grassy tracks, which on the way out provided some excellent running, although were not quite so welcoming on the return leg. The runners spread out as the course followed several ascents and descents of various peaks until the increasing groups of walkers (including two cyclists carrying their bikes – which at least made me feel better about what I was doing in comparison) and the race leaders tearing past me, indicated we were close to Helvellyn, where we could finally turn around and return for home.
As a newcomer to fell racing I was worried about getting ‘carried away’ and so had tried to take it carefully on the outward leg, but I felt pretty good at half way and so picked up the pace, getting drawn into a little bit of one-up man-ship with a bunch of runners on one descent (much to my regret later on). However about mile 10 I started to ‘feel it’, and the final ascent back onto Clough Head seemed much longer and tougher going up than it had seemed skipping down it several miles earlier. The descent from Clough Head was an absolute killer – my legs were on fire but gravity and the desire to get it over and done with as quickly as possibly meant it was ‘easier’ to keep going than to slow down. After this even the gentler descent at the foot of this was agony, and I trundled down the seemingly never-ending track to the finish line to finish in 3.08. Once the running had ended it was a beautiful afternoon laid out on the cricket ground boundary in the sun, refuelling on sandwiches and cake put on by the organisers.
Swaledale contributed a large number of the 190 finishers – Robbie Kelly finished in 3.17, Neil Bowmer 3.32, Martin Randall 3.37, Mike Keavney 3.43, and Ros Blackmore 3.58. Unfortunately Jim Coldwell was forced to retire with an injury he picked up completing the Windermere Marathon the previous week, but it did allow him to watch the race leaders come in, including the winner Carl Bell who took two minutes off his previous record to finish in 2.07. There were also several runners associated with the club involved as well – including Jackie Keavney in 3.05, and Sarah Hackett in 3.10 who were third and sixth female respectively. Despite the fact that I am now struggling to walk properly it was a great race and I look forward to more in the future.