Evening all! Latest Fell Section Update for you to peruse.
January 2024 – yet more storms, with snow & ice thrown in for good measure!
But despite the weather, we had a great start to the year, with 18 seniors turning out for the first of this year’s races, the Stanbury Splash meeting over at Haworth on Sunday 14th January. There hadn’t been much rain in the week before the race and with the frosty start, the ground was pretty firm underfoot, which made for some fast times, particularly as the streams were mere trickles! First back for the club, after a real ding-dong battle with Jamie Wood, was Tim Brook, who came in 10th overall & 3rd MV40 in 51.17, just 4 seconds ahead of Jamie (11th in 51.21). A little further back, we had another great tussle, with Michael Sanderson (32nd in 56.42) edging out Adam Sunderland (35th in 57.55). Not too far behind, another close contest ensued, with Chris Beadle (65th in 62.55) just having enough in the tank to hold off the challenge of Joanne Jones, who had a great race to finish 66th overall, 4th lady & 2nd LV40 in 63.06. We then started to pack in closely, with Gavin Baxter next back (72nd in 63.51), followed by Mark Wilson (74th in 64.10) and Sally Coldwell, in her first race since injuring herself at last year’s Hodgson Brothers Relay in October, very happy to get round & finish 80th overall & 8th lady in 65.01. A little further back, Andy Shortt (97th in 67.08) did enough to stay ahead of Phil Hobbs (108th in 68.25) & Jon Burdon (137th in 74.05). After making her debut at the Tinker Cup, Hannah Austin was keen to try out some more off-road racing & in her first ever fell race, finished 143rd in 75.29, still with a smile on her face! Completing the ladies contingent, we then had Stefanie Dickinson (157th in 79.38) & Becky Burdon, who knocked off over 10 minutes from her previous year’s effort to finish 165th in 82.26. Hot on Becky’s heels & relishing the firmer conditions, Mark Henderson smashed his 2023 time by some 15 minutes, coming back 167th in 82.51, whilst Rob Kersey, returning to the Haworth moors for the first time in many a long year, was 170th & 2nd MV70 in 83.33. Last but not least, it was the ever-cheerful Richard Whale, who finished 190th in 92.00. There were 205 starters (similar to last year), with the Mens race being won by Ilkley’s Jack Cummings in 45.47 and the Ladies race by Hinda Hardaker of Keighley & Craven, 34th overall in 56.51.
Under the watchful eye of Scott Gibbs, a handful of juniors made it across for the Rat Runs and they all performed admirably on a chilly morning in the quarry, with Niamh Sykes 6th overall & 1st GU11, Arthur Gibbs 8th overall & 1st BU11, Florence Gibbs 13th overall and George Hand 32nd overall, so well done to them all.
Elsewhere, it’s been a month of extremes, both in the weather and the events being entered. Pride of place must go to David Milton, who you may remember successfully completed the Spine Challenger South race last year. Not one to rest on his laurels, he decided to take on the full Spine Race this year and after months of planning & preparation, lined up at Edale at 8.00am on the morning of the 14th January. Battling some absolutely horrendous weather conditions, including snow, ice & 50mph winds over the 268 miles, I’m so pleased to say he successfully touched the wall at Kirk Yetholm at 6.21am on Sunday 21st, a full 7 days after setting off (official time 166.21.48 hours)! An incredible achievement, particularly as he was suffering with a cricked neck for the last 3 days, after an uncomfortable bivvy on Hadrian’s Wall. Those of us dot-watching were willing him on, especially over the last 30 miles or so in The Cheviots, when his progress had slowed to a painful 1-2mph. His report of last year’s race was a fascinating read, so I’m hoping he will put pen to paper again for us – I for one can’t wait to hear about his amazing journey.
Not to be out-done, Curtis Firth entered the Spine’s little brother, the Spine Sprint, which is a ‘fast & furious’ 46 mile yomp from Edale to Hebden Bridge. Curtis had a great race, finishing 3rd overall in a cracking time of 9hrs 26 minutes, well under his target of 10 hours & comfortably ahead of 4th place. Elsewhere, we had a few taking part in ‘regular’ races, including Tommy Holroyd, Bob Dickinson & Tom Edwards tackling The Trigger for the first time, with Tommy coming back 26th overall & 1st U23, as well as Bill Hunter at Hoofstones.
All the necessary permits have been requested from National Trust and Yorkshire Water for the Ian Roberts race on Sunday 3rd March, so just waiting to hear back. The email has gone out with my request for volunteers, so please let me know if you can help, even if you’re planning on running, as we can find a job before the start!
Next month, the seniors will be in action at Windy Hill on Sunday 11th February, whilst the juniors will be heading over to Mirfield for the Hoppits Hill race on Sunday 25th February. Looking further ahead, entries have opened online for Heptonstall, Lads Leap and Newlands Memorial, so get yourselves on the list! And don’t forget, it’s the Calderdale Way Relay on Sunday 19th May, so please stick the date in your diary & don’t arrange anything else! We’ve got 4 teams entered once again, so need 48 runners. The club pays, so you just have to turn up & run!
Finally, some other local(ish) races happening in the next few weeks:
Wadsworth Trog (BL) – Old Town, nr Hebden Bridge – Saturday 3rd Feb
New Chew (O) – Dovestones Res – Sunday 18th Feb
Midgley Moor (BS) – Booth, nr Luddenden Foot – Sunday 18th Feb
Doctors Gate (AL) – Glossop – Sunday 25th Feb
Hoppits Hill (BS) – Lower Hopton, Mirfield – Sunday 25th Feb