Fell Update – March 2023

In: News

Evening everyone – hope you’re taking advantage of these lighter nights?! Anyway, time for the latest Fell update – a little bedtime reading!

You can always rely on March to throw up some interesting weather & this year was no exception, although thankfully, the snow day arrived after the main event had taken place! The main event in question being our own Ian Roberts Memorial Race, held this year on Sunday 5th March. We had an excellent turnout of 132 runners, including 17 Harriers, with numbers being swelled by the Greater Manchester clubs around Oldham & Rochdale, who had included the race in their Fell Grand Prix series. Individual highlights include Jamie Wood (3rd overall) & Bill Hunter (119th overall & 2nd V70), with Holmfirth also picking up the Mens team prize, Jamie being joined by Phil Hewitt (7th overall) & Phil Hinchcliffe (8th overall). Conditions were perfect for racing – cool, with barely a breath of wind, which made for some very fast times throughout the field. So much so that both the Mens & Ladies records were broken, with Slaithwaite’s Rob James (running for Royton Road Runners) smashing last year’s record time by over 2 minutes, finishing in 45.06, whilst Saddleworth’s rising star Martha Tibbot broke Katie Walshaw’s 11 year time of 52.03, coming back 4th overall in 50.32! Big thanks once again to everyone who helped either before, during or after the event, which this year has added poignancy, as Kevin Johns was in charge of time-keeping, as he had been for pretty much every year that I’ve organised the race. He always gave up his time freely, with a smile on his face and will be greatly missed.

We then had a short trip over the Moss to take part in the short Lads Leap AS race from Crowden Campsite on Sunday 26th March. 10 Harriers made the start line (with your Fell Captain having to be content with a supporting brief) and it was great to see some new faces turning out in the amber vest. First back for the club, despite claiming he was still not back to full fitness, was Phil Hinchcliffe, who finished 6th overall in 58.11. Bob Dickinson is slowly swapping road for fell & had a great run, finishing 32nd in 1.13.17, staying ahead of Jim Durrans, who came back 40th in 1.15.45. First lady back for the club & maintaining her 100% start to the champs, was Sophie Cromwell (44th overall in 1.16.22), keeping at bay the challenge of new member Andy Shortt, who finished 46th in 1.17.40 – we just need to find him a club vest now! A little further back, we had Jon Burdon (56th in 1.23.48), followed by another new member David McGuinness (65th in 1.34.43) & Bill Hunter (69th overall & 1st V70 in 1.39.22). Mark Henderson couldn’t quite believe how boggy it was on the top, but toughed it out to finish 71st in 1.43.37, whilst last but not least, Becky Burdon, definitely feeling the Club 6 in her legs, came home 74th in 1.47.30.

Elsewhere in the month, we had Matthew Rose, John Field & Dave Milton at the snow-shortened Haworth Hobble, Richard Anderson at Coledale Horseshoe, Tim Street at the British Orienteering Championships, Jamie Wood & Tim Brook at Edale Skyline (with Jamie coming in 15th overall) and Jonny McLean, Phil Hewitt & Mike Sanderson at Heptonstall (where they would have been 2nd team had they hung around for the prizegiving)! It was also the first of this year’s Trunce series on Monday 27th, so we had plenty stretching their legs & getting their feet wet, including Mark Law, Sophie Cromwell, Andy Shortt, Dave Milton, Kevin Yewlett (in his 35th year), Diane Lee, Tracey Newman & Richard Whale.

In terms of the champs in April, the seniors have a varied month, with the short, sharp Herod Farm on Wednesday 19th April, followed by the Three Peaks on Saturday 29th April, whilst the juniors have the first of the English Champs events at Duddon on Sunday 23rd. And entries for the remaining places at the Fairfield Horseshoe (13th May) went live today (31st March) & disappeared pretty rapidly! They are operating a waiting list, so if you’re planning on running, then it will be worth getting your name down, as there are always drop-outs. Here’s the link: https://www.sientries.co.uk/event.php?elid=Y&event_id=11469

And don’t forget, it’s the Calderdale Way Relay on Sunday 21st May. I’ve entered 4 teams once again, so please can you make sure the date is in your diary & let me know as soon as possible that you’re available – saves me a lot of heartache!

Finally, other local(ish) races coming up in April include:

Bunny Runs (nr. Haworth) – 4th, 11th, 18th & 25th April

Wardle Skyline (nr. Rochdale) – 8th April

Trunce 2 – 17th April

Kinder Downfall (Hayfield) – 23rd April (pre-entry only – https://entries.events360.co.uk/events/kinder-downfall-2023

The Cake Race (Diggle) – 29th April

Hope to see you all soon!



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