The Swaledale Marathon is probably the biggest day in the club's calendar and there was a tremendous turnout for this year's event. As usual, club rivalries were played out at the front end of the race, whilst some other members enjoyed a more leisurely day, in what after all, started as an event for walkers.
Stu Smith took the honours as first club member home in 3h37 for 16th place, with no fewer than six more men breaking the 4 hour barrier - Mark Sowerby 3.42, Martin Randall 3.44, Robbie Kelly 3.48, Derek Parrington 3.48, Tim Grimwood 3.53 and Ian Oldham 3.56. Rebecca Simpson also broke 4 hours with a superb run, finishing 6th woman in 3.58. She could surely challenge the men in the club fell championship if she chooses to.
Other club times. Neil Bowmer 4.16, Claire Stewart 4.32, Vicki Howe 4.47, Lucy Tulloch 4.48, Sue and Ray Crabbe 4.49, Kenton Smith 4.55, Suzie McGann 5.10, Michael Rosher 5.16, Jan Ilsley 5.16, Grace Gilpin 5.36, Helen Inglis 5.41, Keith Bell 5.42, Roger Brisley 5.46, Anne Singleton 5.47, Sarah Norman 5.57, Stu Clarkson 6.07, Alyson Cole 6.23, Andy Broadley 6.31, Christian Player 7.00, Harry Ellis 7.12.
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.
The inaugural Northallerton 10k road race took place in good running conditions on May 29th. There was an excellent turnout of 463 runners and Swaledale were well represented with eight. Derek Parrington finished in 12th place as first V50 in 38.52 with Andrew Fletcher third in the same category in 41.25. Zoe Mason was first of six female club members in 46.00, followed by Sarah Norman in 53.12, Karen Thorpe 56.28, Anne Singleton 57.08, Grace Gilpin 59.37 and Alyson Cole 61.08.
On the same day seven members took to the start line for the Helvellyn and the Dodds fell race (14.9 miles, 4386 feet climb). They were joined by (and beaten by) ex- Ladies Captain Jacqueline Keavney in her first fell race as a Richmond and Zetland Harrier. Several friends from the Reeth running scene were also there and contributed to a great day out. With warm weather making for difficult running conditions Tim Grimwood cemented his place as favorite for the Fell Championship, finishing 79th of 190 finishers in 188.08. Robbie Kelly ran well to record 197.36. Neil Bowmer and Michael Keavney have both had a year disrupted by injuries and had to settle for times 20 minutes down on their previous runs, with Neil finishing in 212.22 and Michael in 223.29. They were separated by Martin Randall in 217.29. Ros Blackmore ran steadily as usual, and finished in 238.11. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly after the previous week's marathon, Jim Coldwell was forced to pull out due to injury niggles.
With so many runners racing on Sunday, Alison Johnston was the only member in action at local Parkruns and was first V55 in Darlington, with a time of 23.52
Zoe Mason has picked up where she left off after a break from running and was first woman in the Darlington Parkrun on May 14th in 22.00. Marian Hunter also ran, finishing in 26.23, with Kathleen Finn in 29.20. In a higher quality field the following weekend Zoe was 8th woman in 22.30. At Northallerton on May 14th Ronan and Nicki Walsh both ran PBs, recording 23.23 and 30.45 respectively.
Seven club members ran in this year's Ripon 10 mile road race on May 15th. Calderdale based Derek Parrington returned to the area for the event and was first club finisher and 16th out of 356 runners in 67.36. Ronan Walsh was next home in 82.26, followed by Niall Cheyne 86.59, Roger Brisley 96.42, Anne Singleton 99.52, Grace Gilpin 102.15 and Nicki Walsh in 110.53. On the same day Martin Randall ran at the scenic Raby Castle 10k, coming 37th out of 458 runners in 41.51.
Jim Coldwell was back in the Lake District on May 22nd, this time on the roads rather than the fells. On a warm day he completed the hilly Windermere Marathon in 3.57.44 for 140th place out of 532 runners.