It's been a busy few weeks for Swaledale Runners with some brilliant results and lots of varied races.
On 13/10 was the clubs annual Richmond Castle 10k race which they organise. Despite the rain the day was great success with a capacity entry of 500 filled and 432 finishers.
We were honoured to have newly crowned women's record holder of the John O' Groats to Lands End challenge - Sharon Gayter starting the race. A massive thank you to all the marshals & volunteers who helped with the race, it couldn't be done with out you. Special mentions to Claire Hewitt, Helen Lucas- Gardner, John Elliot, Geoff Kensett, Simon Hewitt and Robbie Kelly for all their hard work.
The race was won by Andrew Wiles from New Marske Harriers in an impressive time of 33.55. Swaledale Runners were led home by Rebecca Simpson - 8th female, 2nd F40 - 45.16, Jim Coldwell - 51.20, Peter Devlin - 53.24, Helen Nicholson - 56.45, Mel May - 1.00.53, Carrie Morrell - 1.06.33, Catriona Riley - 1.09.08.
13/10 - Kielder Marathon - Martin Randall - 101st - 3.45.14, Lucy Tulloch - 424th - 4.42.33, Grace Gilpin - 530th - 5.04.18, Niall Cheynne - 638th - 5.34.02
12/10 - Ripon 35 Mile Ultra. A fantastic course with perfect weather conditions and lots and lots of mud. A great day was had with Robbie Kelly winning his age group, Simon Hewitt running his first ultra marathon, along with Tony Taylor they did the course in under 7 hours. Stuart Clarkson was happy with 7.23, followed by Vicki Howe.
12/10 - Langdale Horseshoe - Tim Grimwood had a great run to finish in 2.37.20 - 48th out of 377 finishers.
On 6/10 was the Grewelthorpe Trail Race well done to Emily Abbey who was 3rd lady and 29th out of 143, overall in a time of 68.48. Liz Sowter was 91st in 84.58.
Also on 6/10 was the Dave Parry Winter Series - Saltergate Gallows fell race, Tony Taylor was first home for the club 23rd / 81 - 113.55, followed by Mike Keavney - 34th - 123.33, Caroline Graham - 51st - 138.15
On 30/09 - Martha McBarron - competed in the Durham Coast & County Half Marathon - which with a route change ending up being 15 miles but she had a great run in horrible conditions.
Also on 30/09 - Emily was once again 3rd Lady at the Winterhill 10k Mast Blast - 1.07, a very tough, muddy race which she enjoyed.
On 29/09 - Annelie Whitfield ran the Redcar Half Marathon in wet and windy conditions in a great time of 1.50.30 - 3rd in age group.
Well done to Martin Randall who on 15/09 was 12th in a time of 1.41.11 at the Lambton Trial Half Marathon.
Huge congratulations to Tony Taylor and Caroline Graham who completed the Hardmoors 60 in times of 12.59.23 & 15.00.53 respectively.
Three Swaledale ladies were in the The Vale of York half marathon on 15/09, Liz Sowter - 1.56.04, Annelie Whitfield - 1.58.50 & Julia Spittle - 2.05.55 - 2nd in her age group.
24/08 - West Witton Fell Race - Brilliant 2nd place for Tony Taylor 40.09, Martin Randall - 42.28
26/08 - Reeth Show Fell Race - Great result for Tim Grimwood - 4th - 18.20, Tony Taylor - 20th - 21.34, Jim Coldwell - 53rd - 27.04
27/08 - Roseberry Topping Fell Race- Tim & Tony once again. Tim was an impressive 3rd in 13.16 with Tony 27th - 16.14
Ian Oldham completed the UTMB/TDS (Chamoix, France) the tough 146.9km, 9113m of elevation mountain ultra in 37.03.32. Huge congratulations.
01/09 - Tholthorpe 10k - A Fletcher - 43.34 - 69th - 4th MV60
01/09 - Northumberland Half - Martin Randall was an impressive 3rd overall - 1.43.09. In the Full Marathon - Robbie Kelly was 11th in 4.01.58
Great North Run - 08/09 - Well done to Iain Kerr first home for the club in 1.39.52, followed by Simon Hewitt - 10.51.16, Lucy Tulloch - 1.59.14, Sarah Hards - 02.03.15, Jean Bradley - 2.04.05, Roger Brisley - 02.09.39, Peter Parrott - 02.15.07, Stuart Clarkson - 02.20.52, Sheila Cantrell - 02.22.27, Carrie Morrell - 02.27.40, Sharon Knight - 03.01.20
It has taken me a long time to write this account because I just had too much to say! This is a very annotated version of my Hadrian Hvndred. (not a spelling mistake!)
Saturday 26th May St. Elizabeth’s School, Hexham, registration of the long distance walkers association flagship event. 478 people started. 293 people finished with 185 people (38%) retiring at some point on the course. The first person finished in 29 hours and 9 minutes. The last in 46 hours and 35 minutes. Walkers start at 10 am, but runners can choose to start at various later times, up to 2pm. This allows for less congestion at the early checkpoints. There are 13 checkpoints in the 100 miles. Some provide fully cooked meals, some snacks and drinks and some just shelter. All have kind welcoming marshals. Self navigation is essential. Everyone must carry a very detailed route description and a map of the area, either paper or electronically. There is a mandatory kit list and kit checks at various points on the route. If you don’t have the required kit you are disqualified. No support is allowed from anyone other than the marshals at the checkpoints. A drop bag is taken to the "breakfast" stop, roughly halfway, but other than that you must carry what you need.
Shortly after the leaving the first checkpoint it started to spit with rain. By the time I had climbed up onto Hadrians Wall it was raining and a very strong westerly wind was blowing straight into my face. The cagoule came out and didn’t come off until 29 hours later! After a battering along Hadrians wall the route turned south to Haltwhistle and checkpoint 3. This was really busy, a lot of the walkers having already made it to this point, but due to a big hall and brilliant organization you could get food and drink without queuing and get going quickly. The next section was the flattest part of the route as we followed the South Tynedale Railway – a disused one – all the way to Alston. However, it was mentally quite hard as it had a gentle incline all the way and it just seemed to go on forever. I passed a lot of very miserable people along here, only getting grunts to my cheerful “Hi!" as I went past. It’s only a bit of rain, I thought, but they obviously had crystal balls! I ran into Garrigill as it was getting dusk and for the last few minutes it had actually stopped raining. A dry night, I thought! After all, I had seen the forecast and that is always right!!
This section had always been highlighted as a tough one as the next checkpoint (Greg's Hut) had no food or drink facilities, so they gave us snack packs to take with us. From what I could see not much was actually being taken from these but the contents were not what I would have taken to sustain me! It didn’t matter, I had my own. Prior to the event I thought there was an awful lot of scare mongering going on about this section. It was only 13 miles from here to Dufton, but reading some of the comments on Facebook you would have thought we were climbing Everest with no oxygen in winter! I did stop reading them in the end! I changed to dry, thicker gloves, put on my headtorch, but didn’t put my waterproof trousers on as it had stopped raining and I was still quite hot!
I left the checkpoint to find it was raining again. I should have gone back in to put my trousers on but it was quite busy inside and I didn’t want to waste time. I’d put them on at Greg’s hut!!! It was now a long climb all the way. It was raining hard and as I climbed the cloud came down and the wind increased. My torch lit the way well but at one point I looked to my right to find a steep drop! Greg’s hut was lit by blue lights on the mountain rescue Land-Rover, which had 2 call outs that night! I was now cold. My gloves had made my hands colder than when I was wearing my thinner ones. The shelter was full and the marshal was shouting that no one was going on unless they went in a group. I finally put my waterproof trousers and my thicker waterproof gloves. However, by now my hands were numb and I couldn’t get anything out of my pockets to eat. I left with a group of eight people. I haven’t been up Cross Fell or High Dunn Fell before and when I saw pictures of them in the daylight I couldn’t believe how they appeared. That night in now thick fog, a wind that kept blowing us off our feet and driving rain it was impossible to find the path (if there was one) and we spent most of the time either clambering over rocks or knee deep in bogs. The self-clip at the top was well lit and then it was downhill through more bogs until we found a stone pavement, which led us towards Great Dunn Fell. And it was at this point, at about 2am, when I needed to really concentrate to keep my footing, that my body decided it was time to sleep. It was probably a combination of cold, lack of sugar and tiredness but it did make it very hard. I hallucinated about tall grasses enveloping me all the way down to the safety check where I grabbed a handful of sweets and I seemed to bring me round.
The St Wilfrid's Muddy Boots 10k in Ripon has grown steadily over the years and the tenth running of the race on February 7th had over 400 finishers, including four from Swaledale. Martin Randall was first home for the club in 43rd place with a time of 44.07. Suzie McGann was next club finisher in 52.22 with Jacqueline Morphew in 57.26 and Anne Singleton in 62.44. The following Sunday saw two club members at the five mile long Ann Johnson Absent Friends Trail Race organised by Billingham Marsh House Harriers. Jonathan Gray finished 45th out of 162 runners in 38.41 with Julia Spittle 124th in 49.09.
At the Darlington Parkrun on February 6th Niall Cheyne ran 21.27 and Kathleen Finn finished in 30.19. The previous weekend Alison Johnston finished as 5th woman and first FV55 in 23.28, with Liz Sowter second in the same age category in 26.27 and Marian Hunter first FV60 in 27.14.
Sunday 10th January 2016
The Vertical Kilometre is a particularly tough start to our Spanish ‘racing season’. Starting from the edge of Gandia, a town south of Valencia, it runs through the campo, through orange groves and pine forests on rough tracks, before heading straight up the mountain, with the finish line on the summit. This 13 km race does exactly what it says on the tin, 1000 metres of ascent, with most of this in the last 4 kms.
Both Neil and I were planning on slow races, as we were both nursing dodgy ankles. Neil was still recovering from injury, with corresponding lack of fitness and I had stupidly sprained my ankle on the journey down to Spain, tripping on a kerb! I was fortunate to meet a lovely lady who had moved to Spain 13 years ago so had good company and conversation until we got on to the really steep stuff, then all talk ceased! Neil had Phil Hodgson from Todmorden Harriers for company, but not for long as he disappeared off up the hill ahead! Needless to say both Neil and my times were unimpressive, but we achieved what we set out to do, which was to finish without further injury and kick start our winter race season. Neil finished in 2.01.27, 85th Veterano, 233/712 and I did 2:28.31, 32nd Veterana, 526/712.
This year's Brass Monkey Half Marathon in York on January 17th took place in excellent running conditions and delivered personal bests for two of the club's runners. Robbie Kelly broke the 1 h30min barrier for the first time finishing in 1.27.54 and John Lynch was delighted with his time of 1.43.45. Martin Randall also squeezed under 1.30 although his name is missing from the official results.
Three members ran in the Darlington Parkrun last Saturday. Stuart Hardcastle's remarkably consistent times continued with 22.09, with Jess Young not far behind in 22.44. Liz Sowter ran her second Parkrun a little faster than her first, finishing in 26.48. Michael Rosher was the only Swaledale runner at Not a Parkrun in Reeth and completed the 7km offroad course in 38.24.
There was a good turnout at the rescheduled Jolly Holly Jog in Ripon on Sunday 24th with nine Swaledale runners amongst the 525 participants. Derek Parrington is based in Calderdale these days but continues to represent Swaledale and made the trip back for the race. He finished as first V50 and 19th overall in 41.43. Martin Randall was next club runner home in 45.59, followed by Alan Mackay in 51.35. Carol Murray was the first club woman to cross the line in 54.27 although Suzie McGann had a faster chip time of 54.16 despite finishing three places behind. Other club times - Zoe Mackay 59.10, Richie Smith 61.33, Julia Spittle 61.21 and Marian Hunter 67.01.
The first Swaledale Runners Fell Championship got off to a fine start with the Swaledale Marathon. Although more a trail race than a genuine fell race it’s always popular with club members and so was an obvious choice as the first long counter. Stuart Smith was first home for the club and top points scorer, although the race also saw an unfortunate injury to Neil Bowmer, putting him out of the series. Next up was a medium – the Ingleborough Mountain Race. Four club members made the trip, with Jackie Keavney first back (just ahead of Jim Coldwell) and top points scorer (a situation that was to become familiar!). Mike and Jackie Keavney and Jim Coldwell made the long journey to the South Lakes in August to take part in the Turner Landscape fell race, a testing medium around the back of the Coniston fells made even harder due to the heat. Jackie finished well ahead of Mike and Jim. The end of August brought Reeth Show, the first short counter and another popular club race with eleven Swaledalers present. Robbie Kelly was first home for the club, but finished behind Jackie Keavney and Caitlin Pearson on points due to the 15% ladies allowance. September’s Viking Chase saw the championship move to the North Yorkshire Moors and a top finish for Martin Randall in his second race of the series. Mike Keavney missed this race due to an injury that was to end his championship hopes. Later in the month Jackie Keavney, Robbie Kelly and Jim Coldwell were in the heart of the Lake District for the next long counter, the formidable Langdale Horseshoe. The team-mates were well spread out with Robbie fist back (and Jackie again picking up the most points). Jim was more than happy to get a Lakeland Classic under his belt! November brought the final short counter – Great Whernside at Kettlewell. Jim Coldwell was yet another injury victim, failing to finish after twisting his ankle on the descent. The race also saw Michael Rosher completing the required number of races (and of course Jackie picking up the most points!). Jackie Keavney was also the only club member to manage the trip to Lancashire for Tour of Pendle. Four runners completed the series (Ros Blackmore falling short of one race and injuries spoiling the plans of others). Jackie Keavney finished as Fell Champion, ahead of Robbie Kelly, Jim Coldwell and Michael Rosher. This championship is certainly accessible to many club members – if you are capable of completing the Swaledale Marathon and Reeth Show then you should be more than capable of completing the required four races. This year’s Championship will consist of nine new races spread throughout the year and around the North of England. Details to follow soon!
What is the most appropriate thing to do on the shortest Saturday of the year, in torrential rain and a howling gale? Is it to sit beside a roaring log fire planning next year’s races with a nice cup of tea? Or is it running 38 miles round the recently flooded and devastated Lake District with 180 other fools? Well, Mike Rosher and I chose the latter, running the Tour de Helvellyn on the 19th December. This race was definitely in doubt following Storm Desmond, but thanks to the dedication of the team at Nav4 who carefully assessed the viability of the route and to the people of Cumbria who were keen to encourage ‘business as normal’, the race went ahead.
The Tour de Helvellyn is advertised as a race for experienced ultra-runners with mountain skills, and this year it was definitely essential, with choice of kit and navigation skills essential. I just about scraped into this category, more from my mountaineering background than running pedigree. However, I still felt a bit of a novice amongst some seriously hard-core and fast ultra-runners, such as Spine and Dragons Back finishers.
I travelled over to Askham, near Shap, on the Friday evening, choosing to sleep in the van rather than have a probably sleepless night in the Community Hall with other competitors. The next morning I prepared to leave at 7.15 and discovered that Mike was planning the same time. Rather than a mass start, competitors choose their own start time based on their anticipated speed, with the aim of getting to the first manned checkpoint at Patterdale at 9.30 when it opens. This meant that slower runners started earlier in the dark and finished in the dark, with faster runners attempting to get round the route in the daylight.
But before ‘dibbing’ to start my clock, there was the small matter of the stringent gear check. The art of balancing safety and weight was challenging for this race. With few checkpoints and difficult access, runners have to be responsible for their own safety, which basically means carrying and wearing clothing/equipment that will save your life in the event of an injury or getting lost. There was no question about what to wear to start though, it was full waterproofs as the rain was pouring down with high winds. Mike got held up in the gear check so I started a few minutes before him and therefore didn’t seem him again for about 9 miles.