Fell Section Update – June 2024

June 2024 & finally a brief hint of summer! In terms of the Fell Champs, we had Howtown on Sunday 9th & the Bakewell Pudding race on Sunday 30th, whilst the juniors had the latest 2 English Champs races, Rossendale on the 9th & Weaver Hills on the 15th.

4 intrepid Harriers made it up to the very low-key Howtown (AL) race (44 starters) on Sunday 9th & were rewarded with some reasonable weather & some great views over Ullswater and the surrounding hills. With no flags or marshals at any point along the 13 mile/4600ft route, navigational ability came into play, particularly as no-one had done the race before! Sally Coldwell admitted to taking the odd detour en route, but that didn’t stop her being first Harrier back, finishing 29th overall, 7th lady & 2nd FV45 in 3.04.34! Diane Lee, Becky Burdon & Jon Burdon stayed pretty close together throughout the race, with Diane (complete with full size OS map) just having the legs to come back 41st in 4.19.56. Jon, having gallantly taken on the role of navigator, sportingly allowed Becky to cross the line ahead of him to finish 42nd in 4.25.25, whilst Jon was 43rd in 4.25.27. General consensus was that it was a tough race, but very rewarding, with a lovely route over some less well-travelled parts. At the sharp end, the race was won by Sean Leckey of Ambleside in 2.09.33, with the fastest lady being Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn (easy for you to say) in 2.26.25.

Unfortunately, the organisers of the Harden Moss Sheepdog Trials had to take the decision to cancel the event, thanks to the incessant rain making the event field & surrounding area too wet to go ahead, which was a real shame, particularly as the day itself was glorious.

And hot off the press, it was the Bakewell Pudding Race on Sunday 30th June, where we had another decent turnout, all hoping to get their hands on a pudding for finishing in the top 200 places! The 10k race is category CM, which means there isn’t much climb involved, but that generally just makes it faster! 2 races in 2 days didn’t seem to affect James Washington too much, as he had another decent race to finish 24th overall & first Harrier back in 46.20. I got to the river crossing a little too late to see Adam Sunderland take a full-on plunge, so there’s no photographic evidence, but it clearly didn’t affect him too much as he finished 35th overall in 47.26! After a few injury & illness worries, Andy Shortt seems to be on the road to recovery and had a great race, finishing 68th overall in 50.43, whilst Bob Dickinson, also crocked for the first few months of the year, is gradually returning to form and came back 76th in 51.30. Although there was too much flat for her liking, Sally Coldwell had a cracking race, finishing 92nd overall, 8th lady & 1st FV40 in 52.41, whilst Sophie Cromwell, in her first fell outing of the year, was close behind (111th in 54.05). As we know, Dave Milton prefers the longer, steadier races, but still put in a decent shift (and without any assistance climbing the river bank to boot), coming back 152nd in 56.55, just ahead of Hannah Austin, who certainly looked to be enjoying herself as she finished 155th in 57.17. Stef Dickinson was next back & got her hands on a pudding, finishing 190th in 60.38, with Diane Lee our final counter, 243rd in 65.25. To give you an idea of how fast the race was, the winning time was 35.35, which was over 5 minutes ahead of 2nd place & smashed the existing course record by over 2 minutes, whilst the fastest lady was 5th overall, in a time of 42.40 (leaving Katie’s 2015 record of 41.37 untouched)!

In terms of the Fell Champs, with 9 of the 15 races completed, we’ve got 11 Harriers who have completed 5 races or more, and 70 who have raced at least once (including the Calderdale Way Relay), which is great to see. As far as the current standings are concerned, Tim Brook leads the way for the Men on 172 points from 7 races, ahead of Adam Sunderland (137 points) & Phil Hewitt (125 points), both from 6 races. For the Ladies, it’s an incredibly tight battle, with Becky Burdon on 136 points from 6 races, just staying ahead of Fran Whitworth (134 points from 5 races) & Stef Dickinson (133 points from 6 races), so all to play for! As everyone needs to complete 7 races in total, including 2 from each category (Long, Medium & Short), the positions are bound to change over the next couple of months, so watch this space!

Sadly, it doesn’t look as if any juniors made it to either of their races this month. Let’s hope they can rustle up a few takers for Alderman’s Ascent on July 4th.

Elsewhere in a busy month, there were plenty of other Harriers racing, including Patrick Needham, Katie Walshaw, James Washington, Michael Sanderson & Mark Henderson at Edenfield (where Katie was 13th overall & 1st lady), Tim Brook & Tim Street at the OMM Lite Long Score 2 Day Event (where they were 2nd overall & 1st pair), Keith Baird at the Lantern Pike Spunch Orienteering Event, Tim Brook at the Stanza Stones 50 mile Ultra (where he was 3rd overall), Mark Henderson at Brown Wardle & A Bit Moor, Tim Brook & Bob Dickinson at Buttermere Sailbeck (the latest English Champs race, where Tim was 110th overall & 26th V40 and Bob was cursing his life choices!), Curtis Firth at the Kettlewell Trail Half, Kevin Yewlett at North Barrule on the Isle of Man, where he was 61st overall & 1st MV70, Debbie Hall & Keith Baird at Cragg Vale and Katie Walshaw & James Washington at Whaley Waltz (where Katie was 10th overall & 2nd lady and James was 12th overall & 2nd MV45). Finally there were 2 editions of the Trunce, which saw Eleanor Walker, Adam Sunderland, Louis Cromwell, Helen Ilsley, Leighton Moxon, Debbie Hall, Janet Foreman, Kevin Yewlett & Richard Whale join the stampede!

Coming up in July, the juniors have the final English Champs race – Clwydian (North Wales) on Sunday 7th, as well as Alderman’s Ascent on Thursday 4th, whilst the seniors have the small matter of Holme Moss on Sunday 28th.

On the admin side, entries for Hodgson Brothers Relay open on Sunday 7th July, so I’ll be looking to enter 2 teams again. And entries for the British Fell Relays, which this year will be in Appletreewick on Saturday 19th October, open on 1st July. They’ve just announced how the entries will work and there seems to be a tight limit on entries (around 150 teams, so it’s unlikely there’ll be any room for V60 or Mixed categories). This means that unless we can demonstrate that we have teams that are likely to be placing in the top 20-30 for their category, we’ll end up in a ballot & then it’s down to pot luck, which is very disappointing. So I need early commitment from everyone to give ourselves half a chance!

Finally, some local(ish) races to have a look at over the next few weeks:

Rangers Alderman’s Ascent (AS) – Greenfield – Thursday 4th

Heptonstall Festival (AS) – Saturday 6th

Thurlstone Chase (BS) – Thurlstone, nr. Penistone – Saturday 6th

Great Hucklow (BM) – Sunday 7th

Widdop (BM) – Widdop, nr. Hebden Bridge – Wednesday 10th

Charlesworth & Chisworth Gala (BS) – Saturday 13th

Baildon Canter (BS) – Saturday 13th

Trunce 6 (BS) – Monday 15th

Big Stone (AS) – Chinley, nr. Chapel-en-le-Frith – Thursday 25th

Turnslack (BM) – Summit, nr. Todmorden – Saturday 27th

Chip Chase (BS) – Cross Keys, Uppermill – Sunday 4th August

Hope to see some of you at Holme Moss (if not before).

Cheers,

Phil

Howtown - Before the Off!

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