Evening all – hope you’re keeping dry?! Time for the latest Fell Update to warm up your evening!
So, into September & a definite autumnal feel to the weather!
First up for the seniors on Sunday 10th September was the Lost Shepherd, a race that’s changed its name & route over the years, but still takes in Stoodley Pike a couple of times! We had 9 Harriers amongst the 83 starters heading out from Mytholmroyd on the 15 mile, 2700 ft course. First back for the club & continuing his great recent form was Tim Brook, 3rd overall & 2nd V40 in 2.07.05, whilst not too far behind, in his first race in Amber, we had Tommy Holroyd, who despite taking a wrong turn, still managed to come back 14th overall in 2.25.24. Close on their heels, as the competition for championship points hots up, we had a 3-way race within a race, with Michael Sanderson (22nd in 2.33.36) just managing to stay ahead of Bob Dickinson (23rd in 2.33.57) & Adam Sunderland (28th in 2.38.54), whilst a little further back, Jim Durrans was 46th in 2.56.06. First lady back for the Harriers was Sophie Cromwell, who had another solid race to finish 56th overall & 8th lady in 3.03.46. Finally, it was the battle of the Burdons, with Becky taking the kudos & the house bragging rights, finishing 77th overall in 3.45.13, with Jon close behind, 79th in 3.46.26.
The following weekend saw the Cross Keys Road & Fell Relay on Saturday 16th, with teams being organised by Chris Beadle & James Washington. On a very busy day for racing, we had 3 teams taking part amongst the 37 registered, down on our usual numbers due to the fact that the local council wouldn’t allow the road leg to take place, so our road specialists didn’t fancy taking on the bogs of Slades Pits! Tim Brook, Curtis Firth, James Washington & Phil Hewitt were 2nd Mens team, whilst Adam Sunderland, Adam Wakelin, Bob Dickinson & Jon Burdon were 11th overall & 3rd Vets team and the hastily-assembled West Riding of Yorkshire Mixed team of Gav Baxter, Phil Hobbs, Judy Howells & Gav Baxter (again) came in 18th. Here’s hoping they can sort out the permissions for the road leg for next year.
Finally, it was a short hop over the Moss to Glossop for the short, sharp Shelf Moor race on Saturday 23rd, which this year was also doubling up as the final race in the English Championships, so attracted a stacked field eager to finish off their season in style. The Ladies race went off first, with Katie Walshaw our sole representative. In a quality field, Katie set off with her customary speed & was in the mix at the Higher Shelf Trig point (after roughly 1500 ft of climb), where the top 10 were all within 3 minutes of each other. She lost a bit of time through the bogs & on the descent, but still finished an excellent 11th overall (from 98 finishers) in 53.14 for the 6 mile course. The ladies winner was current international athlete Philippa Williams of Dark Peak, who broke Carol Greenwood’s long-standing 1986 record of 47.17 by over 45 seconds, coming home in 46.28!
For the men, Phil Hinchcliffe succumbed overnight to a bout of holiday-induced sickness, so left the field open for the rest of us to try & pick up some valuable champs points! After lining up too far back at the start, Curtis Firth gradually picked his way through the field, finishing 91st overall (after being 105th at the top) in 55.47. Close behind, climbing specialist Adam Sunderland enjoyed the first half of the race, topping out in 100th place, before finishing 107th in 57.09. Bob Dickinson has been honing his descending technique this year & although he was 142nd at the top, he flew down to finish 124th in 58.54. Having not felt too cracking on the morning of the race, James Washington was in two minds about taking part, but the lure of the Amber vest proved too much & he ground out a good result to finish 140th in 1.00.30. Finally, Ye Olde Fell Captain Phil Hobbs resisted the retirement calls & donned the Mudclaws for his first race since July, taking it steady (very) to finish 179th in 1.07.11. At the sharp end, the race was won by Joe Steward of Salford Harriers in a very fast 40.34, with 217 runners completing the course.
In terms of the Championship, barring any last-minute disasters with one race & the autumn fell relays left to come, it looks as if Adam Sunderland (currently on 184 points from his best 7 races) is going to pip Bob Dickinson (on 172 points) & Michael Sanderson (on 168 points) to the title. For the Ladies, Sophie Cromwell has the title sewn up, with 186 points from her best 7 races, with no other ladies able to complete the required 2 short, 2 medium & 2 long races, so well done to her.
Coming up for the seniors we have the Hodgson Brothers Fell Relay from Patterdale on Sunday 1st October, where we are back to our regular 2 teams, which this year are an Open & a Mixed team, whilst at the British Fell Relays at Braithwaite near Keswick on Saturday 21st October, we have been awarded 4 team places, which will be Mens Open, Ladies Open, MV40’s & MV50’s teams. The juniors have the Withins Skyline Rat Runs on Sunday 15th, so would be good to see a few taking part. And although it’s not part of our fell champs, entries have opened for Cop Hill on Sunday 5th November, which once again is the Yorkshire Vets Fell Champs race, so let’s get a few over to Meltham & pick up some prizes!
Looking further ahead to 2024, next year’s Ian Roberts Memorial race will be on Sunday 3rd March 2024. Please make a note in your diaries!
Elsewhere, great to see plenty out & about in Amber, including Katie Walshaw & James Washington at Pendleton (where Katie was 6th overall & 1st lady), Katie Walshaw & James Washington again at Longshaw Sheepdog Trials (where Katie was 11th overall & 1st lady in a new record time), Bill Hunter at Blackshaw Head Fete, Phil Hinchliffe & Jess O’Brien at Helvellyn Triathlon (where the run leg involves contouring beneath Catstycam before ascending Helvellyn Lower Man & descending via Whiteside & Glenridding Common – over 800m ascent & descent!), Curtis Firth & Diane Lee at the Heights Ultra Trail 50 Mile (where Curtis was 2nd overall), Lewis & Wayne Byram at the Heights Ultra Trail 50km (where Lewis was 3rd overall), Katie Walshaw & James Washington at Bollington 3 Peaks (where Katie was 2nd overall & 1st lady), Sally Coldwell at Bleaklow Blitz (where she was 16th overall & 1st lady), Tim Brook, Andy Shortt & Diane Lee at the Kong Mini Mountain Marathon at Bradfield, plus Chris Beadle, Sophie Cromwell, Janet Foreman, Tracey Newman & Richard Whale at Trunce 9 (the fancy-dress edition)!
Finally, just a couple of local(ish) races in October to consider (if you’re not at the West Yorkshire XC or the Holmfirth 10k):
Withins Skyline & Junior Rat Runs (Haworth) – Sunday 15th
Castle Carr (Full & Half) (Old Town, nr Hebden Bridge) – Sunday 15th
Race You To The Summit (Littleborough) – Saturday 28th
Padfield (nr. Glossop) – Sunday 29th
See some of you bright & early tomorrow morning for the magic bus-trip to Patterdale!