Ian Roberts Memorial Fell Race

Marsden Cricket Club, 8th March 2015

The wind dropped but the drizzle came instead, so waterproof tops were the order of the day for the 135 runners on the start line at Marsden Cricket Club for the 2015 race. This was another good-sized field, particularly as the first of this year’s English Championship races had taken place the day before at Flower Scar. Course conditions were good to firm, so we were hopeful of some fast times.

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The 6.5 mile race route is now well-established & takes the runners over Marsden Moor via the Pennine Way & the Standedge Trail. With none of last year’s top 3 present, the way was clear for some new names to fight it out for the prizes and bizarrely, it was 2 runners who arrived at registration with minutes to spare who ended up battling it out at the front. It was nip and tuck between Clive Fitzpatrick and Dean Watson for most of the race, but Clive just had enough left in the final mile to pull away, winning in a very quick time of 48.30. Dean was close behind in 50.08, with third place going to Andrew Wainwright in 51.19. Mike Fanning (who has been running 2nd claim for Holmfirth over the winter in cross-country & on the road) donned his more familiar Borrowdale vest & was 1st V40 in 51.53. The honours for first Harrier home went to Dan Stewart, who seems to have put his injury worries behind him, finishing 8th overall in 53.07.

For the ladies, Nicky Spinks finished off a busy weekend, having competed at the Flower Scar race on Saturday, by finishing 34th overall and 1st lady in 59.48. Close behind and clearly benefitting from Kath Farquhar’s endurance sessions was Jordan Mullinger who finished 46th overall & 2nd lady in a time of 62.42, whilst 3rd lady, making a welcome return to the fells, was Zoe Storr, 58thoverall in a time of 65.01.

John Ewart

Club Captain pushing on

We had 13 Harriers starting the race, so competition was fierce for championship points. Joe Law had another great race and was just seconds behind Dan Stewart, finishing 9th overall in 53.15, whilst Chris Beadle ran well to finish 14th in 54.38 & helped Dan and Joe scoop the team prize for Holmfirth. After a great battle out on the course, Mark Law managed to pip John Ewart for the V50 prize, finishing in 57.21, against John’s 57.34, whilst Rob Kersey had his own battle with John Comyn-Platt of Saddleworth Runners for the V60 prize, finally overtaking him on the climb from Butterly Clough to win in 64.05. Fran Whitworth and Lorraine Smith also had their own private tussle, with Fran taking the FV40 honours, finishing 62nd overall in 65.29, with Lorraine 2nd FV40 in 65.42. With Jordan & Zoe, Fran also completed the victorious Holmfirth Ladies 1st place team.

The other age category prizes were shared around a number of clubs, with Nicky Snook from Saddleworth 114th overall & 1st FV50, Bernice Nixon from Penistone FPR 109th overall & 1st FV60 and Tony Greene from Saddleworth, 126th overall & 1st V70. Austin Frost, Bob Johnston & John Spencer from Dark Peak were 2nd Mens team, whilst Clare Wightman, Rowen Ratcliffe & Lorna Watson from Saddleworth claimed the 2nd Ladies team prize.

Once again, the Harriers answered the call and the post-race refreshments were wonderful and plentiful! Thanks again to all those who helped in any way & thanks to Marsden Cricket Club for allowing us to use their clubhouse. Thanks to the National Trust, Natural England & Yorkshire Water for allowing us to race over the beautiful Marsden Moor & thanks also to Matthew Pierson & Richard Smith at Up & Running Huddersfield, who sponsored the race by providing us with the waterproof numbers. Until the next time!

Results (Holmfirth unless stated): 1st – Clive Fitzpatrick (U/A), 48.30; 8th – Dan Stewart, 53.07; 9th – Joe Law, 53.15; 14th – Chris Beadle, 54.38; 22nd & 1st V50 – Mark Law, 57.21; 23rd – Wayne Byram, 57.31; 24th & 2nd V50 – John Ewart, 57.34; 34th & 1st lady – Nicky Spinks (Dark Peak), 59.48; 39th – Andy Brentley, 60.47; 46th & 2nd lady – Jordan Mullinger, 62.42; 48th – Paul Fearns, 62.57; 51st & 1st V60 – Rob Kersey, 64.05; 58th & 3rd lady – Zoe Storr, 65.01; 62nd & 1st FV40 – Fran Whitworth, 65.29; 64th & 2nd FV40 – Lorraine Smith, 65.42 & 116th – Clare Ash, 80.53 (135 finishers).


Phil Hobbs

Full race results: available here

Further photos available on the Holmfirth Harriers flickr page courtesy of Norman Berry.

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