Here we are again with the latest round-up of all things Fell in May, where we finally had some decent weather to tempt people onto the hills!
Potentially, the juniors had an incredibly busy month, with 2 of the English Junior Championship races to go at, plus the Yorkshire Champs & another local race over at Greenfield. First up on May 1st was Coiners, on the hills above Mytholmroyd, which this year had been chosen as the Yorkshire Junior Championships, which would have boosted the numbers. Imogen Brewer & Arthur Gibbs both ran in the U11’s race, where Imogen was 13th overall & 2nd GU11, whilst Arthur was close behind in 15th. We also had Florence Gibbs running in the U13’s race, where she finished 34th overall in a very large field, so well done to all three for flying the amber flag. Next up on May 6th was the English Champs race at Todd Crag in Ambleside, but unfortunately it doesn’t look as if anyone made the trip up. Frustratingly, the organisers had to cancel the junior races at Alderman’s Ascent in Greenfield, as the car park close to Dovestones Reservoir wasn’t available, which was very disappointing, as it is our most local race! Finally, it was another long trip for the next English Champs race, this time the Storth Stampede on Saturday 20th over at Milnthorpe on the edge of the Lake District. Sadly, the distance put everyone off & we had no competitors on the day.
For the seniors, it was the next race in this year’s English Champs, the Fairfield Horseshoe on Saturday 13th. The perils of having to pre-enter races were keenly felt this time, when 3 of us succumbed to injuries, leaving Phil Hinchcliffe as the sole Harrier on the start line for his first race in the Lakes. In a packed field of nearly 450 runners, Phil had a tough day out, and although he started well, reaching the top of Fairfield in 116th place, he took a tumble on the descent & gave his knee a bash, causing him to lose quite a few places to finish 159th in 1.46.35. Still, he picked up maximum points for the Holmfirth Champs, so not all bad news!
It was then a return to one of the most popular events in the Fell calendar, the Calderdale Way Relay on Sunday 21st May, where once again, we managed to put out 4 teams (48 runners) – the traditional Open, Ladies & Vets teams, plus the Cote de Holme Moss team, which this year was a full Mixed team of 6 men & 6 ladies. Remarkably, we only had a couple of changes once the teams had been announced, so I was able to relax & follow the race as it unfolded! We had plenty of new recruits amongst the 48 & everyone seemed to have enjoyed the race, even if it did get very warm as the day progressed. At the sharp end, despite having a few of their usual suspects unavailable, the race was won by perennial winners Calder Valley in 6.15.11, ahead of Barlick (6.18.14) & Rossendale (6.20.20), which was the tightest it has been for some years. For the record, the Open team matched last year’s result to finish an excellent 6th overall (6.56.27), the Ale Stars were 28th overall (8.07.13) and the Cote de Holme Moss were 49th overall from 84 starters (in 9.02.48). After losing their title last year to Barlick, the Ladies were in no mood to repeat the disappointment and duly put in a great team performance, finishing 31st overall & worthy champions in 8.16.45, ahead of Barlick, who finished some 7 minutes behind in 8.23.16. Individually, results of the day included Tim Brook & Phil Hewitt 6th fastest on Leg 4, whilst Sally Coldwell & Annie McLean had the fastest Ladies time on Leg 3 (& 17th fastest overall), as did Helena Croft & Evie Durrans on Leg 4 and Helen Standing & Joanne Jones on Leg 6.
Elsewhere in the month, it’s been great to see plenty of you getting out on the hills, including Katie Walshaw, Adam Sunderland & James Washington at Coiners (where Katie was 7th overall & 1st lady), Andy Shaw at Cautley Horseshoe (where he was 2nd V60), Katie Walshaw & James Washington at Shining Tor (where Katie was 15th overall & 1st lady), Tim Brook, Keith Baird, Matt Crompton, Debbie Hall & Mark Henderson at Alderman’s Ascent, Katie Walshaw, James Washington & Bill Hunter at Mount Famine (where Katie was 7th overall & 1st lady), Richard Anderson at That’s So Hebden Bridge (where he finished 3rd overall) and Katie Walshaw, James Washington & Elspeth Taylor at Bamford Sheepdog Trials (where Katie was 13th overall & 1st lady). There were also 2 instalments of this year’s Trunce, featuring Chris Beadle, Sophie Cromwell, Debbie Hall, Diane Lee, Heidi O’Shea, Richard Whale, Hannah Austin, Lucy Clark, Andy Shortt, Kevin Yewlett, David Straw & Tracey Newman.
Special mention needs to go to Lewis Byram, who had an amazing result at the UTMB Snowdonia 100 mile Ultra race on the 12-13th May. Lewis had trained hard for this race & it certainly paid off, as he finished 9th overall in 28.52.55, beating plenty of seasoned ultra- runners in the process. The official stats have the ascent at over 10,000 metres, so I imagine his quads were screaming by the end. On finishing, I think he was heard to say ‘never again’, but now he’s got the taste for these events, who knows?!
Coming up in June, the seniors have Duddon Valley on Saturday 3rd, followed by Harden Moss/James Blakeley on Saturday 24th and Heptonstall Festival on Saturday 1st July, whilst the juniors have the next of the English Champs races, Hope Bowdler (Church Stretton) on the 24th. As I think I mentioned before, I’ve volunteered to organise the Harden Moss race again this year, so I will need a handful of helpers on the day if anyone would like to volunteer!
Neil Hill has asked me to give a plug for the Heights Ultra event at the beginning of September, as they’re struggling a little for entries for what is a charity event, raising funds for 3 of the junior schools in the Colne Valley. With three distances to go at (10k, 50k & 50M), plus a kids fun run (1 mile), there’s something for everyone, as well as plenty of local business stalls, entertainment activities & live music. There might even be a bar….! As an added incentive, the organisers are trying to encourage some of the speedier types to have a crack at breaking the records for the 50k or 50M races and so are offering 2 free places to clubs who could put runners forward. If you think you’ve got what it takes, let me know and we can work out who gets the places, depending on the interest. Here’s the link to their website, which tells you everything you need to know – the routes look pretty good & the event seems to be well organised. Might even have a go myself! https://heightsultratrail.co.uk/
Finally, other local(ish) races coming up in the next few weeks (always busy at this time of year):
Ogden Midsummer Madness (Ogden Water, north Halifax) – Wednesday 7th – Nick Small (who used to organise the Calderdale Way Relay) is the organiser for this race & would be very pleased to see some Amber vests taking part!
Knowl Hill (Norden, nr. Rochdale) – Sunday 11th
Trunce 5 – Monday 12th
Bridestone (Todmorden) – Tuesday 13th
Up The Nab (Glossop) – Sunday 18th
Bakewell Pudding Race – Sunday 25th
Kinder Trog (Hayfield) – Sunday 25th
Cragg Vale (Mytholmroyd) – Wednesday 28th
Eddie’s Revenge (Shaw, nr. Oldham) – Wednesday 28th
Plenty to go at there! Hoping to be back fit for Heptonstall – we shall see!