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Kentmere Horseshoe

 

English Fell Championship race: Kentmere Horseshoe, Cumbria

Saturday saw the fourth counter in the 2014 English Fell Championships take place at Kentmere, near Staveley.  Whilst many Holmfirth Harriers were busy helping and competing in their local fell race, Holme Moss, Helen Berry made the trip to Cumbria to continue her bid to win the English Vet 40 Championship.

With two Vet 40 category wins under her belt at Coniston and Ennerdale, in May and June respectively, another win would certainly put distance between Helen and her rivals.Helen Berry Kentmere web

The race 11.9 mile horseshoe route took in 3300 feet of climb, over Ill Bell, High Street and Kentmere Pike and provided lots of good running after the initial tough climb. The heat affected many competitors and although the downpour towards the end of the race proved refreshing, it caused chaos when it came to getting cars out of the then waterlogged field!

Such is the popularity of Championship races, this event had reached its maximum entry of 650 athletes within a month or so of opening.  However it was only 350 or so who turned out on Sunday.

It was still a large enough field to enforce a congested and steady start out of the Kentmere valley. Once onto the stone track on the first ascent, Helen soon found herself working through the field and leaving many other leading female athletes behind.  Taking charge up the steep and long climb to the first checkpoint, Ill Bell, she’d already taken the lead of the ladies.   A determined effort saw her gradually extend the gap to finish over two and a half minutes clear of her nearest rival in 1:50:20, to finish not just first in the Vet 40 category, but first lady in the open race.  Helen has enjoyed a few second placings in previous Championship races, but this was her first English Championship win, gaining her valuable points towards the open series as well as the Vets.

The men’s race was won in spectacular style by Tom Addison from local club, Helme Hill. He was also two and a half minutes clear of the second place runner, former English Champion Rob Hope of Pudsey & Bramley.                     

Two more races remain in the series; Sedbergh Hills in August and Hodder Valley in September.

 Photos by Norman Berry

 

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