Three Peaks Fell Race - 28th April 2012

The organisers call it the Marathon with Mountains and at 24 miles with over 5000 feet of ascent, taking in the summits of Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside & Ingleborough, it's a title well-earned. The Three Peaks race is one of the top events in the fell-running calendar and always attracts a quality field, hoping to add their name to an illustrious roll of previous winners that include Jeff Norman, Kenny Stuart, Andy Peace & Ian Holmes, Sarah Rowell & Wendy Dodds. This year, the competitors were also challenging for the Yorkshire Championships, so even greater interest was assured. A limit of 1000 entrants gives an indication of the race's popularity and this is always filled weeks before the event takes place.

The week of torrential rain probably put a few off and injuries & other commitments meant that 745 runners made the start line in Horton for the 58th running of the race. 12 of those were from Holmfirth Harriers, including Tom Brunt, our top man on the fells, Ladies Captain Helen Berry and V70 Bill Wade, who was hoping to complete the race for the 42nd time! Although the easterly wind was pretty strong, conditions were not as bad underfoot as feared, although there was still considerable discussion as to the choice of shoes on the start line! Thankfully, the rain held off & apart from a brief hail shower on Pen-y-Ghent, it was wind-proof rather than water-proof that was the order of the day.

At the sharp end of the race, Joe Symonds was hoping to follow his father Hugh in becoming a winner of the event and after a great duel with Carl Bell, last week's Anniversary Waltz winner and Rob Baker from Dark Peak, he crossed the line in 2.55.58, some 90 seconds ahead of Bell. First home for Holmfirth was Tom Brunt, who declared himself pretty happy with his showing, as he should be, coming in 13th overall in 3.14.27.

A little further back, a great race within a race was taking place between Andy Hauser, John Ewart & Helen Berry, who were within a minute of each other at the Hill Inn checkpoint. Andy managed to break away on the climb up Ingleborough and finished strongly in 3.44.23, 70th overall & 2nd V50, with John just behind, 91st overall, 3rd V50, in 3.48.51. Helen had a great race, posting a new PB for the event and finished 99th overall, 5th lady, in 3.50.50. More importantly, she was also 1st Yorkshire lady, which earned her a well-deserved call-up for the Yorkshire team at the forthcoming Inter-Counties race, alongside Katie Walshaw – a great honour for the club.

Jim Durrans was running the race for the first time & although he was in contention with Helen for much of the race, the increased distance took its toll, particularly into the wind on the final run-in. He still finished under the 4 hour barrier in 3.59.24, 144th overall & though he swore blind he would not be entering again, he'll be back! Just behind him, Phil Hobbs steadily picked his way through the field, moving up over 100 places between Pen-y-Ghent and the finish, coming back 182nd in 4.06.37, an improvement of 40 minutes on his 2010 time.

Recent recruit & first-timer Jon Burdon also ran a well-judged race, saving a little for the hard slog back from Ingleborough. He finished 388th overall in a time of 4.37.49 and will definitely be back for another crack! Dave Knight had twisted his ankle the week before at the Anniversary Waltz, but with plenty of strapping around his foot, battled round to finish in 4.47.52, just ahead of another first-timer John Robinson, who came back in 4.57.09. Karen Sinkinson, a regular at this event, surprised herself but no-one else when she claimed the FV50 top prize, finishing in 4.57.15 – a great reward for her efforts. Unfortunately, Jim Sommerville & Bill Wade had to retire from the race at the Ribblehead checkpoint, but I'm sure they'll be determined to have another go next time.

Next up for the Harriers is the Calderdale Way Relay on Sunday 13th May, where the ladies will be hoping to retain the title they won last year.

Results (Holmfirth unless stated): 1st – Joe Symonds (Hunters Bog Trotters) 2.55.58; 13th – Tom Brunt, 3.14.27; 36th & 1st lady – Sarah O'Neill (unters Bog Trotters) 3.28.43; 70th& 2nd V50 – Andy Hauser, 3.44.23; 91st & 3rd V50 – John Ewart, 3.48.51; 99th & 5th lady – Helen Berry, 3.50.50; 144th – Jim Durrans, 3.59.24; 182nd – Phil Hobbs, 4.06.37; 388th – Jon Burdon, 4.37.49; 457th – Dave Knight, 4.47.52; 517th – John Robinson, 4.57.09 & 520th & 1st FV50 – Karen Sinkinson, 4.57.15 (641 finishers).

Phil Hobbs

Pre-2012 news, results & reports are on the old sites: 2009 to 2011, Pre-2009

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