Fell Section Update – March 2024

Evening all – hope you’re having a good Easter weekend. Here’s the latest Fell Section update to peruse and if you’re at the Trunce tonight – have fun!

March 2024 – would it ever stop raining?

Thankfully, it did hold off for the Ian Roberts Memorial Race on Sunday 3rd March, although there were some interesting conditions on the Saturday as we ventured out to flag the course, with thick mist & snow on Marsden Moor making route-finding a challenge! On race day, although the sun was shining, it was still pretty chilly out on the course, so full kit was required. A record entry of 160 runners made the start line, boosted by the welcome return of the Greater Manchester clubs who made the race the first counter in their ‘Run The Moors’ Grand Prix. With the moor sodden from months of rain, no course records were going to be broken this year, but that didn’t stop last year’s winners, Rob James of Royton Road Runners & Saddleworth’s Martha Tibbot, from returning to have another go. Rob duly won the Mens race in a great time of 48.07, but he was given a real run for his money by Lewis Byram (2nd in 48.30) & Tommy Holroyd (3rd & 1st MU23 in 49.27). For the Ladies, Martha triumphed once again, finishing 4th overall in 52.48, ahead of Katie Walshaw (12th overall in 56.28) & Horwich RMI’s Lindsey Brindle (17th overall in 57.53). Holmfirth had a great turnout, with 27 runners taking part and picked up a few prizes, including Jonny McLean (6th overall & 1st MV40), Rob Kersey (1st MV70) and Barbara Hinchliffe (2nd FV60). Jonny also helped Lewis & Tommy collect the Mens team prize, whilst the Ladies prize went to Martha & her Saddleworth Runners team-mates. Big thanks once again to everyone who helped before, during or after the event – these races can’t happen without you!

The seniors then had a rather different challenge, taking on the 15 mile, 3200 ft BL Heptonstall race on Sunday 24th.  Another excellent turnout, on what must have been the busiest racing weekend of the year so far, saw 15 Harriers line up on the cobbles to await the pre-race blessing from the local vicar, which was very entertaining! As you’d expect, there was plenty of up & down over some of the less-travelled Upper Calderdale moors on a perfect day for racing & we had some great performances, with plenty of battles for places & championship points. First back for the club, demonstrating his rapid improvement since last summer was Tommy Holroyd, who managed to hold off the challenge of Tim Brook to finish 9th overall in 2.08.45, with Tim close behind, 12th in 2.09.31. Jonny McLean is showing some fine running form at the moment & had another storming run, finishing 17th in 2.13.19, whilst Phil Wilson took on his first fell race of the year & didn’t look too rusty, coming in 22nd in 2.19.07. Not realising there were on the same day, Michael Sanderson had entered this race and the Wilmslow Half and so had a tough choice to make! The fells won out & he had another good race, staying in touch with the first lady throughout to finish 43rd in 2.28.16, whilst Phil Hewitt battled through and came back 55th in 2.34.38. After a couple of nasty tumbles in recent months, Sally Coldwell was just looking to get round in one piece, which she duly managed, finishing 103rd overall & 14th lady in 2.52.27, whilst Keith Baird must be wondering where he dropped 3 seconds, as he had a decent run to finish 132nd in an agonisingly close 3.00.03! His fellow V50’s were close behind, with Fran Whitworth (143rd & 24th lady in 3.06.34), staying ahead of Phil Hobbs (154th in 3.09.55) & David Milton (158th in 3.11.43). Diane Lee is building up the mileage ahead of her London Marathon debut & was very pleased to finish 177th in 3.18.19, whilst Jon Burdon & Stef Dickinson were neck and neck to the end, Jon edging the line to finish 195th in 3.25.42, with Stef 198th in 3.26.49. And last but not least, after a week of illness, Becky Burdon toughed it out to finish 232nd in 4.08.52, mainly for the excellent curry put on for all the runners after the race! At the sharp end, the race was won by Horwich’s Luke Foley in an excellent time of 1.53.25, whilst the fastest lady was Aisling Wall of Horsforth Harriers (42nd overall in 2.27.39) and there were 234 finishers.

For the juniors, there was the Centenary Rivington Pike race on Saturday 30th March and it looks as if we had a couple of runners having fun in the sun in the West Pennines, with Niamh Sykes producing another excellent run to finish 5th overall & 1st FU11, ably supported by Arthur Gibbs, in his first year as an U11.

In terms of the champs in April, the seniors have a varied month, with the next counter in the English Championships, a Des Gibbons production just over the Moss at Crowden for the Lads Leap on Saturday 6th, followed by the Newlands Memorial on Saturday 20th April, whilst the juniors have the first of the English Champs events at Duddon on Sunday 21st.

There’s also the club Point-to-Point race on Tuesday 23rd April, so if your legs have recovered from Newlands, then have a go at this – it’s the same edition as last year, so you can see if you can improve your route choices! And not forgetting the YVAA Vets Race that we’re hosting on Sunday 28th – if you’re not planning on running, then Adam still needs plenty of helpers to enable the event to go off smoothly, so drop him a line or fill out the volunteer form on the website.

Finally, it’s the Calderdale Way Relay on Sunday 19th May, where we have 4 teams entered once again. Now that the Ian Roberts race is out of the way, I’ll be chasing willing volunteers to get their names down. If we can get everyone out, then we’ll have some cracking teams across all the categories (said every Team Captain ever…..)!

Elsewhere in the month, we had Tim Brook, James Spencer & Jo Robinson at Saddleworth Ten Res’s (where Tim was 4th overall), David Milton & Diane Lee at the Haworth Hobble, Curtis Firth at Flower Scar (the first of this year’s English Championship races), Jim Durrans at the Cleveland Survival, Tim Brook at Grindleford Gallop (where he was 4th overall & 1st V40) & Mark Henderson at the Chicken Run.

Other local(ish) races this month include:

Trunce 1 (Oxspring) – Monday 1st April

Bunny Run 1 (Haworth) – Tuesday 2nd

Bunny Run 2 – Tuesday 9th

Bunny Run 3 – Tuesday 16th

Herod Farm (Glossop) – Wednesday 17th

Kinder Downfall (Hayfield) – Sunday 21st

Trunce 2 – Monday 22nd

Bunny Run Relay – Tuesday 23rd

Hartcliff Hill (Langsett) – Wednesday 24th

See you on a hill sometime.

Cheers,

Phil

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