The Fellsman is a gruelling fellrunning event covering 61 miles with 11000 feet of climbing including the summits of Ingleborough, Whernside and Buckden Pike. Much of the route is over energy sapping moorland and competitors are grouped together for safety reasons during the hours of darkness. Five club members took on the challenge this year on April 16th. Neil Bowmer finished a fantastic 72nd out of 312 starters in 18h08, almost 3 hours quicker than last year. After a frustrating couple of years dogged by injury Stuart Clarkson was understandably "chuffed" to finish the course in 26h26. Unfortunately Ros Blackmore, Michael Rosher and Helen Inglis were amongst the 95 non -finishers. No doubt they will feel they have unfinished business for next year.
The Gisborough Moors fell race (12.4 miles, 2789 feet) the following day saw Tim Grimwood and Ian Oldham battle in the club's new rivalry to be top fellrunner. Tim finished 22nd in 105.25, with Ian 26th in 106.32. Jim Coldwell was 76th out of 143 in 124.37. Also on the 17th Martin Randall was first V45 in the Druridge Bay half marathon with a time of 96.35.
Five club members ran in the Reeth trail races on April 24th. Alison Johnston was first FV55 in the 10k event in 59.51 with Julia Snape finishing in 67.26. In the 20k race Lucy Riley ran an excellent 117.29 with Ray and Sue Crabbe recording 124.12 and 125.44 respectively. Anne Singleton was the only member at this year's Fountains 10k, finishing in 58.39.
The club's representation at this year's London Marathon was reduced by injuries, leaving new runners Karen Dobson and Kathleen Finn to fly the flag. As novices to distance running they did well to complete the course in 5.28.14 and 5.44.13 respectively.
The Wensleydale Wander started life as an event for walkers but over the years an increasing number of runners have taken part, either over the short 12 mile route or the longer 23 mile option. This year's event took place in fine weather on April 9th and featured many club members. Unfortunately the results are a confusing mix of runners and walkers, both long and short, listed by residence rather than club. However there is no doubt that Steve Brown was the winner in the short event in 88.24, with Andrew Fletcher third in 100.00 and Caitlin Pearson fourth overall and first woman in 100.30. Robbie Kelly and James Taylor were 7th and 8th in 105.23 and Rebecca Simpson was 9th and second woman in 112.00. Alyson Cole (156.00) and Marian Hunter and Stu Clarkson (both in 171.20) also competed in the short event. In the long event Martin Randall had a great run and surprised himself by winning the race in 199.20 with Mark Sowerby next in 218.30. Sue and Ray Crabbe finished together in 237.50. Other club times - Vicki Howe 249.30, Niall Cheyne 259.30, Jan Ilsley and Suzie McGann 268.00.
There were also two Parkrunners in action on April 9th. Stuart Hardcastle ran 22.09 in Darlington and Nicky Logan finished in 37.28 at Fountains Abbey. Stuart ran another 5k the following day, this time at the Preston Park Tees Trail race, and recorded a time of 23.27.
The first of this year's Dales Trail Series, the DT 20 took place on April 2nd. These three races are organised by Swaledale Outdoors in Reeth and club members, led by Ros Blackmore, are heavily involved in marshalling.
Eleven club members were among the 206 finishers at this years race, with Pocklington based Stu Smith first club finisher in 7th place in 99.55. Less than a minute separated the next three members, with Derek Parrington 13th in 104.30, Tim Grimwood 14th in 104.55 and Ian Oldham 15th in 105.07. Next came Martin Randall, 22nd in 108.09, followed by Caitlin Pearson, 6th woman in 116.50. Other club times - Mike Warren 130.08, Ray Crabbe 133.55, Sue Crabbe 136.51, Adele Marshall 139.28 and Grace Gilpin 178.21.
With so many runners busy in Reeth, Abi Player was the only member in Parkrun action last weekend, recording 25.47 in the Darlington event.
There was an excellent turnout of 14 Swaledale runners at the Thirsk 10 mile race on March 20th. Dave Atkinson was first club finisher in 123rd place from 877 runners, with a time of 65.19. Martin Randall runs consistently well and was next home in 68.09. He was followed by James Taylor in 76.50 and Ronan Walsh in 80.19. Carol Murray was the first Swaledale woman in 81.17. Other club finishers - Alan Mackay 82.20, Christian Player 82.51, Vicki Howe 83.57, Pete Devlin 85.47, Roger Brisley 87.29, Zoe Mackay 89.28, Julia Spittle 90.10, Ronnie Cassar 94.07, Nicki Skinner 106.02.
Also on Sunday 20th Tim Grimwood ran in the Blakey Blitz fell race (10.6 miles, 2800 feet), probably the toughest of the Esk Valley winter series. For the second race in a row he finished 20th, in 99.54.He now lies in 4th place in the Male Open category.
On March 19th Jacqueline Keavney and Jim Coldwell were over in the Lake District for the scenic undulating Coniston 14 mile race. Jacqueline beat her previous best at the course by several minutes to finish as third woman and first FV50 in 93.47. Jim also ran well, finishing just seconds off a PB in 106.19.
Two club members were in action at the Helmsley 10k multi-terrain race on Easter Sunday. Andrew Fletcher finished in 47th place in 44.12 with Angela Turner in 55.00.
Parkrun results 26th March. Darlington - Marian Hunter 26.38. Northallerton - Nicky Logan 29.53.
Sunday 7th February 2016
The Mitja Marato de Oliva is the flattest half marathon in existence, but it is not without its challenges, namely it can be either very hot or very windy. This year it managed to combine both and was very hot and very windy!
I was surprised when I realised that I hadn’t done a road race for a year, so I had low expectations of this race. My sole aim was to run at about 5.30 minute kilometre pace, to see if I could keep up some consistency, something that can be difficult in off road and ultra-running. As it is a two lap race, it’s quite easy to monitor progress too.
As I set off around the streets of Oliva I could feel the temperature rising. By the time I reached the quiet roads around the orange groves on the edge of town I was frying. However, once I reached the sea front and turned to run along it, the wind made itself felt and for the rest of the lap I had to work really hard to keep to my planned pace in the strong headwind.
There is also a Quarter Marathon going on at the same time, finishing after the first lap, so it is important not to get caught up with the Quarter Marathoners as the temptation is to increase speed as they start tearing past. It’s a much lonelier road once the Quarter Marathoners have been funnelled off to their finish line, but it was back into the hot lanes again. I was aware of some strong gusts of wind, but wasn’t prepared for how much the wind speed had increased as I turned along the sea front. From about Km 16 it was gruelling, not just coping with the head wind, but also sudden, strong gusts funnelling down the side streets. I worked hard though, managing to pass a few runners who were also struggling. I managed a strong last kilometre and sprinted for the line, relieved to be able to stop fighting the wind at last.
The post-race refreshments were absolutely perfect for the conditions; a slice of melon, half a cup of lemon slush puppy and a cold beer! And if that weren’t enough there was an extremely generous goody bag which was so impressive for a low cost race that I feel compelled to list the contents! The bag itself was a good quality shopping bag and contained:
A quality long sleeved technical t-shirt, a buff, a bag of oranges, a carton of fruit juice, a bottle of water, a carton of soup, a cake, a packet of bread sticks, a packet of nuts, post-race muscle rub and a running magazine. Cheers Oliva!
I ran slightly faster than my goal, but managed to retain the consistency I was after (averaging 5.19 per km), finishing in 1:52.18, 7th Veterana C, 257/393. Neil, battling with two painful feet this time, finished in 1:40.06, 24th Veterano C, 145/393. Just to prove how fast a course it can be, Estaban Perales Montesinos produced a winning time of 1:11.18!
Ian Oldham's form has improved quickly in a short time since joining the club and he broke the 20 minute barrier for the first time at the Darlington Parkrun on March 12th, finishing 24th of 274 in 19.35. Stuart Hardcastle and Marian Hunter produced their usual steady performances with 22.17 and 27.13 respectively. Four club members were at the Northallerton Parkrun with Ronan Walsh coming 10th in 24.24. Liz Sowter recorded 28.04, Julia Spittle 28.37 and Nicki Walsh 31.33. Andrew Fletcher was first V55 at Fountains Abbey in 19.53 and Niall Cheyne ran the Skipton Parkrun in 23.18.
Also on Saturday, Jim Coldwell made his annual trip home for the Black Combe fell race ( 8 miles,3300 feet) in south west Cumbria. "The Combe" is the first obstacle facing weather fronts coming in from the Irish Sea and has a reputation for a special kind of thick mist. This year was no different and along with many of the nations best fellrunners Jim went off course in the clag, losing around 10 minutes. He finished 368th in a field of around 500 in 1.57.06.
On the same day, Jacqueline Keavney and Martin Randall ran in the 14.1 mile hilly Dentdale run. Jacqueline finished as 5th woman and first FV45 in 1.41.27. Martin was closer to her than at the previous week's Haweswater half, finishing in 1.42.45. The following day, as part of London preparation, Jacqueline ran the similarly hilly Spen 20 mile race on tired legs. In the circumstances she was satisfied to finish as 11th woman and second FV50 in 2.34.51.
12th March saw my 8th consecutive attempt at the Black Combe race. This year was to be a little different to usual as it was the opening counter in the English Championship. Usually around 150 runners turn up on the day. This year 750 places had sold out well in advance and the expectation was for around 500 to turn up. Silecroft village hall feels crammed with the usual turnout, so marquees had been erected on the start field to deal with the numbers.
I have some previous with this race. In 2009, in thick clag, I went wrong after the first checkpoint, got hopelessly lost and ended up finishing in last place. I always stay a couple of miles away in Millom (my hometown) the night before race and the Combe looms over the town like a benign behemoth. This year it was invisible – completely covered by Irish Sea fog. A bad sign. Checking my kit I also realised I’d left my shorts back in Richmond. Frustrating, but nothing that an early morning visit to Pete Bland’s van couldn’t fix.
The race begins with an absurdly steep climb to Seaness (CP1). It’s a good idea to take this section steadily knowing what is to come later in the race. This year the number of runners meant there was no alternative. Then begins the long climb to the summit (CP2). I was feeling strong and met Ripon Runners’ Gary Bastow on this section. A brief chat and I pressed on ahead (he’s coming back from injury) and I also got an unexpected shout from a school friend who was spectating. It’s at the top, though, that the fun begins. This was where I made my mistake in 2009, and this year the clag, if anything, was worse. However, I’ve learnt my lesson, stayed high and was even able to keep a couple of others in the right direction. It’s a longish drag to CP3 (White Combe) a quick descent and then an awkward contour down to the river crossing (CP4). At this point I heard the sound of fast approaching runners behind me. The ladies race had started 10 minutes earlier and I’d spent the race up to this point gradually overtaking the back-markers, so I was taken aback. I was amazed when a group containing Rob Jebb, Rob Hope and two or three other elite runners whizzed past. It turned out they’d got lost after CP2 – not just me then!
The results for the first two races are now available: see under competitions above. Many thanks to Julia Spittle who is helping me with the 'number-crunching' this year. So far 10 club members have got off the starting blocks, but there's plenty of time for the rest of us to join in.