Evening everyone – time for the latest Fell Update! And it’s January 2023, when it all starts again!
The aim is to get as many as possible out there racing this year, so after a spirited recruitment drive (thanks Michael Sanderson), I was really pleased to see we had 18 seniors starting at the first of this year’s races, the Stanbury Splash meeting over at Haworth on Sunday 15th January. After biblical levels of rainfall in the run-up, we were all pleasantly surprised to be greeted by sunshine & a light breeze as we splashed our way around. Mind you, the stream crossings were not without excitement, as the water levels were knee-high on me, so definitely challenging for the shorter amongst us! The organisers had listened to last year’s comments and tweaked the route to avoid the long queues at a couple of stiles, although that wouldn’t have worried those at the sharp-end, which included our own Tim Street, who had an excellent race, finishing 8th overall in 53.48 over the 7.5 mile course, whilst close behind & knocking nearly 90 seconds off last year’s time, was Curtis Firth (15th in 56.26). We then had a similar gap to Michael Sanderson (32nd in 59.56), who held off the challenge of Adam Sunderland (45th in 62.24). First lady back for the Harriers was Sally Coldwell, who had a great run, finishing 60th overall, 7th lady & 2nd LV40 in 64.38, no doubt spurred on by the thought of staying ahead of Beadle’s shorts, which finished 84th overall in 68.10 (thankfully still attached to Chris)! We then packed-in incredibly tightly, starting off with Fran Whitworth who was 98th overall & 3rd FV50 in 69.39, followed by Jon Burdon (101st in 69.53), Bob Dickinson (102nd in 70.01), Jim Durrans (112th in 71.22) & Phil Hobbs (117th in 72.31). Next lady back was Debbie Hall (130th overall in 75.30), who had a great battle with Sophie Cromwell (131st in 75.45) – to be continued as they say! A little further back, we then had Diane Lee (172nd in 86.33), Becky Burdon (187th in 93.45) & Mark Henderson (193rd in 97.03). And last but not least, it was the turn of our super-Vets, with Bill Hunter (195th & 2nd V70 in 97.23), staying ahead of Richard Whale (203rd in 99.58). There were 212 starters overall, which was down on last year, but it’s still a great event for anyone starting out on the fells – just ask Mark Henderson!
Only a handful of juniors made it across, so well done to Bethan Morris (17th overall & 5th GU13), Florence Gibbs (20th overall), Arthur Gibbs (24th overall & 5th BU11) & Isaac Morris (31st overall), who will have all got very wet feet & definitely earned their goody bags!
Elsewhere, it’s been a fairly quiet month, although fairly momentous, with Dave Milton successfully completing the Spine Challenger South in some brutal weather conditions over the weekend of the 14-16th January. Over 40% of those that started in Edale had already abandoned their attempt within 24 hours, but Dave stuck it out, finishing the 108 mile route at Hawes in 55.43.46 hours, comfortably (probably not the right word) within the 60 hour cut-off. And I’m pleased to say that Dave has now penned an excellent report for the website, which I highly recommend you all read!
3 of us turned out on Saturday 28th for The Hebden, which is a great event starting & finishing in Mytholmroyd, with the option of 15 or 22 miles circling around Hebden Bridge, Hardcastle Crags, Blackshaw Head, Stoodley Pike & Cragg Vale. It’s not a fell race as such, but it’s well organised, with plenty of food & water at the checkpoints and pie & peas at the finish, all included in the entry fee! I took in the 15-mile version (which had nearly 3000 feet of climb), whilst Matthew Rose & John Field opted for the full 22-mile course (closer to 4500 feet of climb). All safely back & I would certainly recommend it as a relaxed introduction to the longer distances.
Elsewhere, I think I’ve only spotted Tim Brook racing – mind you, he had a stormer, finishing 2nd overall & 1st V40 at Giant’s Tooth on New Year’s Day!
Hopefully, you’ve all seen the email with my request for volunteers for the Ian Roberts race on Sunday 5th March. So if you’re not planning on racing (or even if you are), please offer your services – it’s only for a couple of hours.
Next up in the Fell Champs, the seniors will be in action at Flower Scar over in Todmorden on Saturday 18th February, which will be a good test, as it’s been an English Champs race in the recent past, whilst those juniors not taking part in the National XC Champs will be heading over to Mirfield for the Hoppits Hill race on Sunday 26thFebruary.
Other local(ish) races in the next few weeks include:
Wadsworth Trog (BL) – Saturday 4th – Old Town, nr. Hebden Bridge
Winter Half Tour of Bradwell (BL) – Saturday 11th – Bradwell
Windy Hill (BM) – Sunday 12th – Denshaw, nr. Oldham
New Chew (O) – Sunday 19th – Dovestones Reservoir
Midgley Moor (BS) – Sunday 19th – Booth Cricket Club, nr. Luddendenfoot
Hoppits Hill (BS) – Sunday 26th – Lower Hopton Cricket Club, Mirfield
See you at Flower Scar, if not before.