It is not too late to get your number for the 2015 series. There will however be no entries on the day. Numbers cost £10 and cover all 5 races. This year's first race is at Harrogate on the 5th May. A full run down of the venues and dates can be found under "race diary".
Mad March racing round-up
The madness started at the end of February with 4 club runners doing High Cup Nick fell race. Starting and finishing in the pretty village of Dufton near Kirby Stephen the 9m race has 460m of climbing. First timer Robbie Kelly brought the club home in 1.25.11, Jacqueline Keavney 1.26.31 and 6th woman, Michael Keavney 1.28.22 and Jim Coldwell 1.35.41.
The next day (Sunday 1st March) again saw 4 runners having a day out, this time at Haweswater Half Marathon. A hilly road run on an out and back route. Jacqueline Keavney was first for the club in 1.34.32 and 8th woman, Robbie Kelly 1.39.16, James Taylor 1.44.15 and Sarah Haynes who had the worst of the weather that day 2.22.27.
The Call of the Combe
A bloke I know back home in Millom once wrote a poem called 'The Call of the Combe' about the strange hold that the fell has over people from the area. The Black Combe Fell race has the same kind of hold for some of us – a race that once done draws you back again and again. It's certainly hard (it's 8 miles covering 3,200 feet of climb) and has a second climb as steep as any in the sport. The first time I raced here I got completely lost and finished in last place (the subject of a much used assembly story) and I'm still nervous when I wake up on the morning of the race. The race also appears to have got under the skin of club mate Mike Keavney, and this year was the 5th time we've done battle on the slopes of the Combe. The race starts with an extremely steep climb to the first checkpoint - Seaness, which on clear days offers a fantastic view of the Isle of Man. On race day it only really offers a view of your own feet or the backside of the runner in front. Once there, however, the rest of the climb comes into view and it's a hard slog to the summit. As usual I'd gone off a bit too fast and Mike came past me just before the top. He remained in my view (unfortunately just too far ahead!) for the rest of the race. After a boggy ridge run to the neighbouring White Combe the course drops steeply before the last climb, from the 'wrong' side back to the South Summit – long and very steep, with a false summit to keep you on your toes (literally). I felt I was finally gaining on Mike at this point, and I took a faster line off the top (the only time that local knowledge played a part). Mike almost always descends faster than me, however, and he finished just over a minute and a half ahead. A classic race in near-perfect conditions saw Mike achieve a race PB (I'm pleased to say still a bit slower than my own!) and I was really pleased with my 3rd best time. Rob Jebb won in 1.09.14. Out of 213 starters Mike finished 118th in 1.43.36 and I was 131st in 1.45.12. Think you could do better? Come on then - the Combe will be calling again next year!
What an extraordinary setting for a road race! Halfway up a mountain, surrounded by a wall that can apparently be seen from space, is the beautiful former leper colony of Fontilles. Built in the 1800s and dedicated to St.Francisco Borja, there are 28 buildings clustered around the church, all originally for the care of people suffering from leprosy. Now offering a range of hospital facilities, Fontilles is also still the headquarters of a charity which works with people with leprosy all around the world. I was astounded to discover that leprosy still existed despite being curable since the 1980s. The road race was a fund raiser for the charity so into this tranquil setting about 300 noisy, excitable runners arrived. With the children's races completed, the senior race set off straight up a steep hill. The 7 km course around the country roads was very hilly and very hot and I instantly started to struggle. Thankfully though there was some shade in amongst the pine trees, so after about 5km I began to feel a bit better. The problem with it being such a short race however was that by the time I had warmed up and was starting to feel like I could run a bit, it came to an end! Neil ran really strongly and finished well up the field and I was pleased to finish in the top half after so much effort. Following the race, after a massage, runners were invited to join a tour of the colony and then paella was served. Now that's what I call an event! Neil Bowmer 30.35, 20th/284, 4th Veterano B; Ros Blackmore 39.01, 122nd/284, 6th Veterana B.
Club championship 2014 and 2015
Results of the 2014 championship and the list of races for 2015 can be seen under the competitions tab here.
‘A Foot in Two Dales’: A Fifty Mile Journey
I had been thinking about trying to run 50 miles for some time, but couldn't find a race at the right time, the right place or at the right price! When Sarah Hackett expressed an interest in doing the same thing, I dusted off some old route notes and started planning in earnest. A couple of years ago I had discovered a walker's route on the Long Distance Walkers Association website which made a circuit of Swaledale and Wensleydale and I had recced it all over time. I checked out a couple of sections that I couldn't remember clearly and we were good to go. Neil Bowmer was booked as our support vehicle driver, doubling up as cook and tea maker and we enlisted the help of Richard Gale and Liz Sowter to accompany us over two of the more remote sections, just in case of any difficulties.
Running in the Sun 2015: Part 1
San Silvestre Races
Each year, Spanish town councils encourage their populations to run by putting on short races around their town centres, which only cost a few euros to enter. This allows runners to race just about every day over the festive period by travelling to nearby towns. Neil and I managed to run the last two of these races, in Altea (the day after arriving in Spain!) and in Pego on New Year's Eve.
At just 4 km, the Altea San Silvestre is possibly the shortest distance I have raced since my schooldays. Starting in the main square after dark, the route dropped down to the harbour before climbing in three sharp hills up to the church. It then went round some back streets before a long straight road to the finish line back in the main square. The race is just a mad thrash, there is no point in trying to pace yourself, the only option is to run as hard as you can then collapse over the finish line. Not my style of running at all! I had Jess's voice in my ear as I attacked the hills ('pockets to sockets', 'head up', 'drive on') and I even managed to win a 'sprint' to the line with a fellow competitor, so all in all I was pleased with my first foray into Spanish racing. The winner, Juan Fernandez Cantos, crossed the line in 12.35. Neil Bowmer finished in 15.08, 37th/272, 5th Veterano B and I came in at a slightly more sedate 19.07, 139/272, 5th Veterana B.
2015 has been a strange running year for me so far. I had good intentions to get really fit before moving up to a new age category, but over the last couple of years I have struggled to train consistently and seem to be turning into an aging plodder!
As a member of the North East Marathon Club I decided to offer my services as a marshal at the Newcastle Racecourse Marathon on January 25th, just a few days before my 55th birthday. To my surprise the response came back: 'Why don't you run the half, then help out on the drinks table afterwards?', so I found myself entering my first race of the year on a whim. Having completed the full marathon in December 2013 (16 laps), a mere 8 laps of the racecourse didn't seem too daunting. With very few training miles behind me I wasn't hoping for a fast time: how often have I said that over the years – but now I really mean it! The weather was kind to us, there was a great atmosphere and I had a thoroughly enjoyable day. Immediately after crossing the finishing line you got a printout of your laps and I was pleased to have maintained a fairly even pace to finish in 2.00.33. With only one other runner in my age group and most of the better runners doing the marathon or the 50K, I also picked up the FV50 trophy.
AGM 2015 - CHANGE OF DATE
Our 2015 AGM will be held on Tuesday 28th April at 7.00 in the Richmond clubhouse (not on the 21st as originally advertised)
I've been wanting to try a fell run for a bit and after Jackie gave me some advice I took the plunge and entered the Esk Valley, Commondale Beacon fell race. I took everything I might need to carry with me, having no idea what I would actually have to carry. Luckily while registering I heard someone else ask what they needed, so I could discard some of my load.
It was a far more low key start than any road race I have ever been in. There were no big groups of people milling around but everybody seemed to know everybody else. It was nice when Michael Keavney came up to me and gave me some words of encouragement and useful advice on the course.
We stood on the road while the organiser gave out a few notices about future events and then in almost the same breath he said "off you go" and that was it. No gun, no chip timing, no waiting for ages to cross the line, there wasn't a line, just a dirty steep hill.
I had been suffering with a bad cold over the last fortnight, which had left me with a hacking cough. I did wonder whether I should have been running but I decided if I did start coughing I would just have to walk.
The race started up a steep grassy bank, which soon narrowed out to single file. People were walking in front of me, which gave me no option other than to do the same. I was so glad!!! After less than ½ mile we joined the road which climbed steadily up onto the top of the moor. It was while running up here that I realised that my cold had taken more out of me than I thought, when I felt as though all the oxygen had been sucked out of the air and I was really struggling to breath, let alone run.
Latest news: the group is now full, but feel free to contact Jess for information or to be put on the waiting list.
Many of us have enjoyed Jackie's strength and conditioning sessions on Thursdays throughout the winter. The last of these will take place on January 22nd and the following week a new training cycle begins. Jess Young has planned a 14 week programme leading up to the Tees Barrage 10K on May 4th. Runners of all abilities are welcome to join in, whether or not you plan to take part in that particular race. Even if you have no intention of racing at all, feel free to come along and see how you can improve over the weeks. Here is the complete programme. Just turn up to the Richmond clubhouse at the usual time on a Thursday.
Captain Cook's and Clay Bank East fell races
What better way to kick start the year than by doing a fell race on New Year's Day. The Captain Cook's race is a short one, being only 8k in distance and having just over 300m of climbing involved. This year's race conditions were very mild, which meant plenty of mud. The route takes in a mixture of tracks, woods, tarmac and fields. Paul Lowe from North Yorkshire Moors won the men's race in 32.49. The women's event was won by a junior just old enough to run the distance. A name to look out for in the future is Bronwen Owen from Scarborough AC. Bronwen was 5 minutes ahead of her next rival and broke the women's course record by 2 minutes. I finished in 42.52, 8th woman and 2nd vet 45, Jim Coldwell's time was 43.49 and Simon Dowson (Great Ayton old school boy) ran as an individual and finished in 56.40. In all 271 people ran.
- Loftus Poultry Run 2014
- Blyth Sands Race
- Frostbite 30
- Ravenstonedale 10K 2014
- Wensleydale Wedge 2014
- Tour of Pendle 2014
- Dunnerdale Fell Race
- A South Yorkshire 'Fishwick'
- Shaun Lee Johnstone Memorial 10 mile
- Half price kit
- British Fell Relay Championship
- Round Ripon Ultra 2014
- Grewelthorpe Multi Terrain Race 13K
- Nine Edges Endurance Event
- Snape 10K 2014
- Kirkstall Abbey 7
- Tholthorpe 10K 2014
- Club accreditation