This is a new event only the second year it has been run. It is organised by the Uper Wharfdale Fell Rescue Association and comprises of three events: a 22 mile route covering the three peaks of Birks Rigg, Buckden Pike and Great Whernside, a 13.5 mile route covering Buckden Pike and Great Whernside or a family valley walk up Dalesway path and Paradise Walk.
I hadn't heard of this event but Lynne from work found it and challenged me to complete the three peak route before she and a few others walked the two peak route. I thought my running might be up to it by the time the event came around so I accepted the challenge. But as most people know I'm having a a pretty rubbish time at the moment, especially how I felt after the Swaledale Marathon when I wish I'd never bothered!
Anyway I thought I would have a go. I decided I needed to recce the route as I don't know the area at all, so I set off to walk round it the Sunday before the race. The recce would have been very useful as it was quite challenging following the route description and I went wrong a few times. But as it turned out on the race day it was so well marked out there was no chance of getting lost, I've got to admit I felt slightly cheated by this! But on the other hand I found walking the recce such hard work ( I was out for 7 hours and I didn't even manage to complete the whole recce, I had to miss Great Whernside as I needed to get back home) that I'me glad it was well marked and easy to follow. This recce gave me no confidence at all and thought I had no chance of getting round before the girls.
The second Saturday in June is perhaps the biggest day in the Swaledale Runners calendar as it is Swaledale Marathon day. This year 36 club members completed the event which climbs around 4000 feet in its 23 mile course. Having traced his family tree (not surprisingly) to Swaledale, Vaughan Swale, a friend of the club from New Zealand, came from the other side of the world to make the race the focus of a trip to Europe. Jacqueline Keavney acted as tour guide and accompanied him around the route.
A cool day, with good visibility and good conditions underfoot saw some quick times. Matthew Hayes from East Hull won the race in 3h00, Heather Mochrie was first woman in 3h44. Stu Smith was first Swaledale runner in 3h21. There was a close contest between the next three club members. Martin Randall finished 12th in 3h33, followed by Robbie Kelly,13th in 3h35 and Derek Parrington 14th in 3h41. Mark Sowerby was next club finisher in 3h52. Rachael Alderson was the first Swaledale woman home in 4h12 with Christian Player 4h15, Jim Coldwell 4h18, Jim Gleave 4h18 and Mike Warren 4h22 not far behind. After a bigger gap there was another tight contest between the next four women with Claire Stewart in 4h46, Lucy Tulloch 4h39, Zane Agapova 4h43 and Ros Blackmore 4h45.
The remaining club runners were evenly spread throughout the field. Michael Rosher finished in 4h49, Suzie McGann 4h57, Vicki Howe 5h01, Rachele Dunn 5h10, Ronnie Cassar 5h15, Julia Spittle 5h20, Kenton Smith 5h30, Liz Sowter 5h30, Tracie Taylor-Page 5h43, Zoe and Alan Mackay 5h43, Jacqueline Morphew 5h48, Stu Clarkson 5h48, Helen Inglis 5h48, Richie Smith 5h58, Sarah Haynes 6h01, Anne Singleton 6h08, Shelagh Pearce 6h44, Karen Thompson 6h44, Roger Brisley 6h45 and John Elliot in 8h22.
Vaughan Swale and his guide finished in 5h05. He found the route tougher than expected, especially the rougher descents, but had an enjoyable and memorable day out.
The event was the first race in the club's inaugural Fell Championship. This uses a handicap system to allow men and women to compete fairly in the same competition. This seems to be working perfectly, with Stu Smith leading, Rachael Alderson second and five men and five women in the top ten. You can see these results under competitions above.
See galleries for a few photos, courtesy of Andrew Fletcher.
Thankfully, Sunday dawned with bright sunshine and the strong wind of the day before had died down to a light breeze. Jacqui and I arrived at Kirkby Stephen school around 8am, to a relaxed, but organised registration. I collected my number and was directed to the next table to collect my dibber, (a wrist band, with a plastic end attached) this would be used at the start, finish and 3 other checkpoints along route and so, record an accurate time. A little later we were joined by Michael Rosher, who had managed to come through, last minute.
Walkers were set off from 8am and the runners were then set off 9 - 10. Basically, once ready, you could set off by activating the dibber at the start line and go. So no mass start.
After a short run through part of town, we headed off along a farm lane and very soon began the first long steady climb. It seemed to go on forever, but as Ros had assured me, on reaching the top (eventually) the views were absolutely phenomenal. After running for some time along the top, it was then time for the downhill. Very nice, till I slipped on my bum, on a particularly muddy bit. Yuk!
Of course after every downhill, comes the uphill again, which always took 3x longer to do than the downhills.
Two club members ran in the hilly Kirkby Stephen 10k on May 31st. Jacqueline Keavney finished 15th overall and second lady in 44.38. Lucy Turner, in her first 10k, finished in 62.51 and would surely have broke the hour barrier on a flatter, less windy course. On the same day Roger Brisley completed the Edinburgh Marathon in 4.47.36.
The third of this year's midweek league races took place in Thirsk on Tuesday June 2nd. It was another tight battle between Stu Smith and Steve Brown to be the first club finisher. Stu came 14th overall in 30.07, just 12 seconds ahead of Steve, who won the V55 category. Derek Parrington was next Swaledale runner in 30.57, then Neil Bowmer in 32.40 and Jacqueline Keavney, 1st FV50 in 33.51. There were 20 club members in all, with Alan Mackay in 34.50, Robbie Kelly 34.14, Andy Gaines 36.34, Stuart Hardcastle 37.23, Michael Rosher 38.25, Vicki Howe 39.26, Janet Ilsley 39.42, Ros Blackmore 40.06, Ronnie Cassar 40.21, Liz Sowter 42.17, Karen Palmer 43.46, Martin Luxton 43.47, Sarah Norman 43.58, Karen Thompson 44.48 and Shelagh Pearce 45.51.
On Sunday 31st May I ran my first 10k road race in Kirkby Stephen. It was a small, friendly event run by Howgill Harriers with about 50 runners. As a novice runner this looked a good challenge to start with. The course was described as undulating and had enough variety for me to test myself on. On the day windy conditions meant I was pipped for my aim of under an hour with a time of 1.02.59. However, I learnt a great deal and would encourage runners,new or otherwise, to have a go next year. Jacqueline Keavney was second woman with a time of 44.38 and was a great support on the day. Oh, and I won a spot prize of two bottles of beer!
I'd just like to thank everybody that turned up at Reeth on Saturday May 9th, for my Stag Run and drinks in Reeth. I had a fantastic time, my ideal day. What more could I ask for than a run in beautiful scenery with friends followed pizza and beer? Special thanks to John for organising it all, especially the mid-run beer stop, and to Chris for going that little extra and cross dressing to make sure she blended in!
Apologies for the late publication of this article
On Sunday 31st May I ran the Middlesbrough Riverside 5km. It was a well organised race with the feel of a big event. The course started on the road outside the stadium, looped around some of the streets and finished with a lap of the pitch. I was pleased with my time (22.09) as it's a new pb. There were a few bridges and some sections into a strong headwind too so perhaps I can still shave a bit off. I did spot another Swaledale vest but there's no club name on the results for me to see who it was.
On Bank Holiday Monday Jim Coldwell ran in the Shutlingsloe fell race near Macclesfield whilst visiting family. The short race up the distinctive peak climbs 886 feet in less than two miles. He finished 53rd of 92 runners in 24.46, beating his brother along the way.
Last weekend was a quiet one for racing, perhaps due to the forthcoming Swaledale Marathon. Nicky Logan ran at the Fountains Parkrun on Saturday finishing in 30.43. At the Darlington Parkrun Jacqueline Keavney was first woman in 20.03 in 16th place overall out of 312 runners. Gary Young finished in 28.20 with Jess Young in 28.24. The following day, without Gary to hold her back, Jess ran a PB of 22.09 at the Middlesbrough 5k. Jan Ilsley ran in the same race and finished 4th V50 in a time of 24.41.
Four club members ran in the Raby Castle 10k on May 17th. Martin Randall finished 36th out of 320 runners with a time of 41.12. Jacqueline Morphew was next for the club in 55.30. Corinna Russell and Niall Cheyne finished together in 76.24.
On May 21st fourteen runners made the trip to Leeds for the second of this year's midweek league races. Steve Brown finished in 35.19 for 11th place and first V55. Andy Gaines was next in 39.00 followed by Jacqueline Keavney in 39.43 (3rd woman, 1st V50). Alan Mackay was just behind in 40.00, then came Louise Branford-White in 47.20, Jan Ilsley 48.20, Zoe Mackay 51.14, Julia Spittle 51.45 (2nd V60), Roger Brisley 53.29, Chris Sayer 54.26, Karen Palmer 56.11, Karen Thompson 57.21, Shelagh Pearce 58.10 and Allyson Cole 59.26.
Stuart Hardcastle was back at the Darlington Parkrun on May 23rd after a short injury break. He finished 72nd in 22.35. Anne Singleton was at the more scenic Fountains Abbey Parkrun and came home in 31.05
Jacqueline and Michael Keavney returned to the Helvellyn and the Dods fell race (14.9 miles, 4386 feet climbing) on Sunday. There was a strong field in the women's race with the first three runners breaking the old course record. Jacqueline finished 8th woman and 1st V50 in 3.07.28, 17 minutes quicker than last year. Michael also knocked quarter of an hour off last year's time and was pleased with his time of 3.23.24.