Calderdale Relay 2012

Organised by Halifax Harriers, the race is a 6-leg relay run in pairs around the 50 mile route of the Calderdale Way. Although traditionally held in December, bad weather had meant that the 2010 race had been re-arranged for May last year. This re-scheduling proved to be a success in terms of organising, marshalling etc, so the decision was taken to make the May slot permanent and although there was a cool northerly wind to contend with, it was spring sunshine that greeted the 80 teams as they made their way to the start.

The race has something for everyone – from pure fell terrain to out-and-out road running. This year, the Ladies were hoping for a repeat of their 2011 victory, whilst the Men were looking to improve on their 6th place finish. With Track & Field meetings, Triathlons & road races taking place over the same weekend, it was a challenge to ensure we had 36 athletes available to take part. Thankfully, we managed to fill our 3 teams, even though illness meant that changes were still being made as late as Saturday morning!

The ladies team was without a couple of their more experienced fell specialists, but did have a good pool of willing volunteers that more than made up for their absence. Lisa Lacon, back after 9 months out through injury, got the team off to a great start with Maggie Sykes and handed over in 1st ladies position, 44th overall, with a lead of 4 minutes on Abbey Runners. Nicky Brown and Debbie Hall stretched the lead on Leg 2 by another 4 minutes and held onto 44th place overall. Lesley Ewart has raced Leg 3 many times and with her partner Karen Sinkinson picked up 5 places on the overall standings, handing over in 39th place & more importantly some 13 minutes ahead of the next ladies team.

Helen Berry and Katie Walshaw have both been selected to run for Yorkshire at the Inter-Counties fell race later this month and used this race as an opportunity to test their speed, with great effect! They ran a fantastic time of 1.15.40, giving them the 13th fastest run overall on Leg 4, pulling them up to 32nd overall and putting them over 25 minutes clear of the next ladies team, Clayton-le-Moors. Although Helen & Katie missed the cut-off for the mass start of Leg 5 by just 2 minutes, new recruits Helen Standing & Fran Whitworth had been told they were likely to be in the lead, so no pressure! Helen & Fran twisted & turned on the footpaths and trails to great effect, maintaining the lead over Clayton and only dropping one place overall to 33rd.

Leg 6 was also a mass start for Kath Farquhar and Jacqui Khoueiry, who led from the off. They improved on their 2011 time by over a minute, finishing 23rd fastest in 1.21.03, holding on to 33rd place overall and crucially extended the lead over Clayton to over 35 minutes. The total time was 7.34.40, ahead of Clayton Ladies in 8.11.09 and Abbey Runners in 8.28.25 – another great team effort!

The Mens A Team were also without a couple of the usual suspects, but still ran extremely well and improved on last year by finishing 5th overall in 6.39.07, a great effort when you consider that 8 of the 12 runners were Vets. Particular mention must go once again to John Ewart & Andy Hauser who ran the 5th fastest time on Leg 2 and to Wayne Byram who only found out on Saturday morning that he'd been promoted! The All Stars (or should that be Ale Stars) also had a great day, significantly improving on last year's result, finishing 25th overall in 7.28.08, some 20 minutes quicker, beating several A Teams in the process – thanks to Kevin Yewlett for stepping in at the 11th hour and to Andrei Vais, our roving reserve!

The race winners were Wharfedale Harriers, crossing the line in 6.18.49 for their first victory in this event. As a club, they certainly entered into the spirit of the occasion, running 6 teams on the day, including 2 ladies teams - something to strive for in 2013?! For the Harriers, thanks to all who volunteered to run and to those who came out to support on another great day for the Ladies.

Phil Hobbs

Full Results:

Mens A Team:

Leg 1 (10.60 miles) – Bill Stewart & Gavin Baxter, 1.24.11, 13th

Leg 2 (8.46 miles) – John Ewart & Andy Hauser, 1.05.09, 6th overall (5th on leg)

Leg 3 (4.80 miles) – Geoff Hall & Wayne Byram, 42.19, 6th overall (9th on leg)

Leg 4 (9.36 miles) – Tom Brunt & Matthew Pierson, 1.10.21, 6th overall (7th on leg)

Leg 5 (7.55 miles) – Julian Rank & Andy Shaw, 1.02.27, 6th overall (13th on leg)

Leg 6 (9.23 miles) – Jim Durrans & Rob Savin, 1.14.50, 5th overall (10th on leg)

Ladies Team:

Leg 1 – Maggie Sykes & Lisa Lacon, 1.37.36, 44th

Leg 2 – Debbie Hall & Nicky Brown, 1.19.16, 44th overall (40th on leg)

Leg 3 - Lesley Ewart & Karen Sinkinson, 49.18, 39th overall (39th on leg)

Leg 4 - Helen Berry & Katie Walshaw, 1.15.40, 32nd overall (13th on leg)

Leg 5 – Helen Standing & Fran Whitworth, 1.11.37, 33rd overall (41st on leg)

Leg 6 - Kath Farquhar & Jacqui Khoueiry, 1.21.03, 33rd overall (23rd on leg).

All Stars Team:

Leg 1 – Maz Khoueiry & Kevin Yewlett, 1.36.18, 41st

Leg 2 – John Robinson & Dave Knight, 1.18.08, 39th overall (37th on leg)

Leg 3 – John Adair & Andy Keast, 45.52, 35th overall (20th on leg)

Leg 4 – Phil Hobbs & Nigel Moran, 1.19.42, 31st overall (27th on leg)

Leg 5 – Chris Beadle & Ian Goulding, 1.05.56, 29th overall (24th on leg)

Leg 6 – Jonny McLean & Graham Howatson, 1.22.12, 25th overall (27th on leg)

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

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