Evening all – it’s that time again!
Apparently, we had a little rain in October…..! But at least there were the fell relays to take our minds off it!
First up on Sunday 1st October was the Hodgson Brothers Mountain Relay up in Patterdale. After helping them out last year by taking a late team place, we were back to having 2 teams from the start, which meant a slightly calmer build-up! Unusually, we didn’t have any drop-outs once the teams were announced & apart from Chris giving us all kittens by turning up with just 5 minutes to spare to start Leg 4, there were no other issues, other than the fact that we couldn’t actually see most of the hills we were racing on – low cloud & rain being the order of the day for most of the morning! The Mixed Team of Sally Coldwell, Sophie Cromwell, Katie Walshaw, Tommy Holroyd, Helena Croft, Phil Hewitt, Tim Brook & Phil Hinchcliffe finished 53rd overall (9th Mixed Team) in 5.12.42, whilst the Open Team of Adam Sunderland, Michael Sanderson, Alex Robinson, Phil Wilson, Jim Durrans, Gavin Baxter, Bob Dickinson & Chris Beadle were close behind, finishing 57th overall in 5.20.20. Run of the day was probably Adam & Michael, who were 25th on Leg 1 (from 71 teams) on what is always a fast & furious (& very slippy) leg (as Sally will testify)! At the sharp end, Ambleside took the Mens title for the first time in nearly 30 years, winning in 3.38.45 (just 2 minutes ahead of Keswick), whilst for the Ladies, Helm Hill managed to regain their title from Ambleside in another close battle, winning by just 5 minutes in 4.28.49. For the Vets, Borrowdale retained their title in yet another close race with Ambleside, finishing 11th overall in 4.11.10, whilst Black Combe scooped the Mixed Team competition, finishing 15th overall in 4.19.42.
The Fun-Bus then moved on to Braithwaite, near Keswick, for the British Fell Relays on Saturday 21st October & what a great day it was, particularly as Storm Babet had threatened to spoil proceedings. The Northern Lakes seemed to have missed the worst of the weather & although the courses were wet underfoot, the rain held off & we were even treated to occasional bursts of sunshine! We took 4 teams up & they all performed admirably against some top quality opposition. The Mens Open team of Alex Robinson, Richard Anderson, Lewis Byram, Tim Street, Phil Hewitt & Tommy Holroyd finished an excellent 37th overall (from 248 teams) in 4.14.50, whilst the MV40 Ale Stars team of James Washington, Tim Brook, Phil Wilson, Stu Sharp, Rob Savin & Phil Brown were 90th overall (15th MV40’s) in 4.59.03. We then had a real battle, with the Mixed team of Joanne ‘Bog-Monster’ Jones, Michael Sanderson, Helen Ilsley, Fran Whitworth, Claire Wheeler & Katie Walshaw finishing 157th overall (11th Mixed) in 5.36.55, whilst the MV50 Cote De Holme Moss (Andy’s Last Hurrah) team of Adam Sunderland, Jim Durrans, Gavin Baxter, Andy Shaw, Chris Beadle & Phil Hobbs were 159th overall (14th MV50’s) in 5.37.48! Run of the day was definitely Richard & Lewis on Leg 2, where they were 26th fastest – a storming performance! At the sharp end, in an incredibly close race, Dark Peak retained their title with a winning time of 3.30.00, just 48 seconds ahead of Keswick, who themselves were only 26 seconds ahead of Ambleside – a real spectacle, with the lead changing hands a few times! Ambleside took the MV40’s by just 8 seconds from Carnethy, coming back in 4.02.11 (16th overall), whilst the MV50’s title went to Borrowdale (again) – 31st overall in 4.11.39 and the V60’s to Bowland (118th in 5.18.35). As with the Hodgson, the Ladies title went to Helm Hill (41st overall in 4.19.48), whilst the FV40’s went to Ambleside (132nd overall in 5.22.48), the FV50’s to Dark Peak once again (114th in 5.18.22) and the Mixed to Dark Peak (39th overall in 4.18.34). Next year’s event will be hosted by Wharfedale Harriers & apparently we’ll be centred on Appletreewick in the Yorkshire Dales, so not such an early start required!
The juniors just had the Withins Curly Wurly Rat Runs on Sunday 15th October to contend with & I think I’ve spotted Arthur Gibbs as our sole Harrier, where he finished 4th BU11, so well done to him. The last race for the juniors is the Shepherds Skyline on Saturday 4th November, so let’s hope a few more make it across for their goody bag!
Although not in the championship, next up for the seniors is the Meltham AC’s Cop Hill race on Sunday 5th November, as it’s the Yorkshire Vets Fell Championship once again, followed by the final race in this year’s champs, Leg It Round Lathkill, on Sunday 12th November. The top of the Mens table is pretty tight, but barring any last-minute disasters, it’s looking like Adam Sunderland is just going to pip Michael Sanderson & Bob Dickinson to the title. Adam is currently on 214 points, whilst Michael & Bob are on 198 & 187 points respectively and as all 3 are entered for the Lee Mill Relays at the end of November, they’ll just be cancelling each other out with their bonus points!
Not so much opportunity to get out & about in October, as the calendar winds down & the relays take over, but good to see a few on the hills, including Phil Brown, Mark Henderson & Bill Hunter at Withins Skyline (where Bill was 2nd MV70), Phil Hobbs at Castle Carr Half, where he was 2nd MV50 & Bill Hunter at Padfield.
Finally, a few local(ish) races coming up in November/early December:
Shepherds Skyline (Lumbutts, nr. Todmorden) – Saturday 4th
Harriers v Cyclists (Bingley) – Saturday 25th
Mytholmroyd – Sunday 3rd December
See you at Cop Hill.