April – bit of a mixed bag weatherwise, with some hefty downpours leaving the ground soft & muddy in parts, as the Point-to-Point competitors will testify!
The juniors just had the first of this year’s English Junior Champs races, which was over in the Duddon Valley on Sunday 23rd April. Unfortunately, with it being such a trek to the south-western Lakes, it doesn’t look as if anyone made it across. Here’s hoping for a better turnout at the next event, the local Coiners races on Bank Holiday Monday May 1st.
The seniors had 2 races to contend with, at different ends of the scale. First up on Wednesday 19th was the very short & sharp Herod Farm race, just down the road in Glossop. At just 3 miles, with over 1100 feet of climb, there is not a lot of flat running to be had! 6 Harriers made the mid-week journey over the Moss on what looks to have been a decent evening for racing – cool & bright, with a slight wind. First back for the club in what he’ll tell you is his preferred distance (anything short) was Adam Sunderland, 36th overall in 29.40, whilst first lady back was Fran Whitworth, looking very strong this year, finishing 68th overall, 10th lady & 2nd FV50 in 33.07. Not too far behind, we then had Jon Burdon (84th in 34.38) & Sophie Cromwell (92nd in 35.33). Mark Henderson is certainly an inspiration in whatever race he runs, and especially one with these steep descents, but he seems to take it all in his stride, finishing 142nd in 41.28 and successfully holding off the downhill speed of Becky Burdon, who was 157th in 45.15.
It was then time for something completely different, as a select few headed up the A65 on Saturday 29th to Horton-in-Ribblesdale for this year’s edition of the Three Peaks. Injuries & the arrival of new babies (congratulations to Jamie Wood & family) had meant that not everyone who had entered could make the race, but we still had 7 Harriers on the start line at 10.30am. Official distances have the race at 23 miles, with over 5200 feet of climb and the wise old heads always advise not setting off too quickly, as there is no prize for being first to Ribblehead, with 2/3rds of the climbing still lying in wait! Richard Anderson had been training hard for his first attempt at the race and had a superb run, finishing 22nd overall in 3.25.17 – the highest placed Harrier at the event for quite a few years I reckon. Also in his first attempt, Michael Sanderson clearly took the advice to heart and steadily worked his way through the field, from being 244th at the top of Pen Y Ghent, over Whernside in 197th, Ingleborough in 155th and finally hitting Horton in 135th place with an excellent time of 4.12.56. Phil Hewitt is an old hand over these hills now and ran a very even-paced race, rarely straying out of the top 150 and finishing just behind Michael, 141st in 4.14.20. After completing the London Marathon last weekend in a super-speedy 2.47.41, Tim Brook was looking to complete a pacey long-distance double. However, after reaching the Hill Inn in 106th place, Tim struggled on Ingleborough, but stuck it out to finish 245th in 4.34.43. Matthew Rose (another first timer) was using the race as part of his build-up for the Lakeland 100 in July and had a solid run, finishing 352nd in 4.53.43, whilst Andy Shelbourne (sadly in his last race in Holmfirth colours) was another who kept an even pace throughout, finishing 423rd in 5.08.21. Unfortunately, Jonny McLean was hampered by bouts of sickness during the race and had to drop out at Ribblehead. Well done to all who took part – it’s a tough race as we know!
In terms of the Holmfirth Senior Champs, it’s still early days, but we have 2 Men who have completed 4 of the 6 races to date, with Michael Sanderson on 89 points sneaking ahead of Jon Burdon on 84 points. For the Ladies, Sophie Cromwell is building up an early lead, amassing 119 points in 5 races completed, ahead of Becky Burdon (86 points from 4 races) and Fran Whitworth (71 points from 3 races).
Fingers crossed, but we’re looking good for the Calderdale Way Relay on Sunday 21st, with pretty much 4 full teams plus a few reserves. Mind you, there’s still 3 weeks to go, so I’m sure the reserves will be called upon! In terms of the champs in May, as well as the Calderdale, the seniors have the next of the English Champs races, the Fairfield Horseshoe on Saturday 13th, whilst the juniors have a very busy month, with 4 races to go at – 2 English Champs (Todd Crag on the 6th & Storth Stampede on the 20th), the Yorkshire Champs at Coiners on the 1st and finally the relatively local Alderman’s Ascent on the 18th!
Elsewhere in the month, we had a few out & about, including Kevin Yewlett at the Manx Mountain Half Marathon, where he finished 45th overall & 1st V70, Phil Hinchcliffe & Jess O’Brien at Wardle Skyline (where Phil was 5th overall), Katie Walshaw & James Washington at Wirksworth Incline (where Katie was 5th overall & 1st lady, breaking her own record time), Keith Baird at the Kinder Downfall, new member Matt Crompton at the Kong Mini Evening MM (from Ilam Hall) and Simon Platts, Jim Durrans & Phil Martin at the Cake Race. It was also the 2nd Trunce, so we had Andy Shortt, Sophie Cromwell, Kevin Yewlett, Heidi O’Shea, Tracey Newman & Richard Whale racing each other to the first stile!
Finally, some local(ish) races in the next few weeks:
Trunce 3 – Monday 8th May
Alderman’s Ascent (Greenfield) – Thursday 18th May
Blackstone Edge – Wednesday 24th May
(That’s So) Hebden Bridge – Thursday 25th May
Shepherd’s Crook (Rossendale) – Sunday 28th May
Bamford Sheepdog Trials – Monday 29th May
Thanks & see you on a hill sometime!
Photo Credit: Will Herman