The 2017 club Fell Championship got underway on 11th March with a trip to West Cumbria to tackle the notoriously difficult Black Combe fell race. An original group of 5 was whittled down to 3 (injuries affecting 2 runners in the days before) comprising defending champion Tim Grimwood, Becky Barnett and myself. I’ve written about this race a couple of times before and this year it certainly didn’t disappoint! The race includes 2 tough ascents, the second of which (coming towards the end) is one of the hardest (steep and seemingly never-ending) in the sport. However, as is often the case with the Combe, the weather was to provide the biggest test. With thick fog even at relatively low level navigation was always going to be a problem. Finding a good line off the summit is a real challenge, with 2 potential wrong trods to follow. I went slightly wrong at this point. I was with Wendy Dodds (who, literally, wrote the book on mountain running) who was running on her compass bearing. Even this, however, can prove difficult with no real means of orientating yourself. I realised we were heading too far to the left and we got back on track. It showed the difficulty when a runner of that experience could make an error. Tim (a runner with rather less experience!) wasn’t quite so lucky. He was with a group who made the same mistake but didn’t realise until much later, with Tim losing nearly 20 minutes with his detour. Marshals at the next 2 checkpoints used bells to help guide the runners, with CP3 (White Combe) not emerging from the mist until you were almost on it. The remainder of the race (including the fearsome final climb) was easier to navigate – although Becky probably missed the chance to go ahead of me as she was unsure of the route from the final summit back to the main path. I went wrong here (in similar conditions) last year but this time my route-finding was spot on! Tim’s mistake meant that we all finished fairly close together, although comfortably in the back half of the field. Tim finished in 1.54.39, I was 1.58.13 and Becky just behind in 1.59.03. The fact that I have a PB of 1.42.46 shows how much the conditions affected our times. I said last year that the ability to navigate should never be underestimated and this year proves the point. Hopefully the rest of the Championship races will take place in slightly better conditions!
Please be aware that our AGM will be held at the Swaledale Outdoor Club, 17 New Road, Richmond, North Yorkshire on 25th April 2017. The meeting will start at 19:00. As per our constitution, please find here a copy of the nomination form for members to use as necessary. The form is self-explanatory. You may use the form or put your name forward at the AGM.
With regards to any member wishing to propose a resolution at the AGM please note, that as per our constitution, notice of any resolution should be given in writing to the club secretary not less than 14 days before the meeting (by 11th April 2017).
As per the club constitution, all committee members will step down at the AGM and those who wish to continue in their roles will put forward their nominations along with any other club member. Any member is welcome to put themselves forward for a role on the committee regardless of whether current committee members wish to continue or not. There are two roles on the committee which will not be filled by current committee members. The positions are for Chair and for one of the two Captains roles.
Swaledale Runners were evenly spread between two events on March 5th with four at the Lightwater Valley Challenge 10k and four at the Haweswater Half Marathon. Zoe Mason was the first club member at Lightwater Valley and finished as 5th woman in 45.21. Stuart Hardcastle was next in 48.41, with Julia Spittle finishing in 59.56 and Anne Singleton in 62.29. The hilly Haweswater race took place in excellent conditions with views of snow topped mountains. Martin Randall finished in 1.32.14, with Oonagh Bathgate first FV55 in 1.39.14, Sue Crabbe third FV50 in 1.47.34 and John Lynch fifth V50 in 1.48.44.
At the previous days Parkruns Stuart Hardcastle recorded 22.17 at Darlington, with Zoe Mason in 23.14. Mark Sowerby was fifth at Northallerton in 22.03 with Carol Murray second woman in 27.32. Andrew Fletcher was the only member at Fountains Abbey, finishing in 20.17.
I did the Bolton Abbey Ultra last week in rather challenging weather: 33 miles on a hilly (542m ascent) and at times very muddy course! The scenery is spectacular and the route varied and interesting, despite being a lapped course. Unfortunately the lapped course also means you have to face the very exposed and soggy loop down to Bolton Bridge 3 times, but once that's completed for the 3rd time you are on the home run. I was very happy to finish in 6 hr 28, 3rd lady and 16th overall (out of 22). Although the Ultra field is small, there are many other races on the same day, from fun run, 10k, half marathon through to marathon. I would thoroughly recommend it and am keen to return on a day when the weather is more forgiving to enjoy the views at their best.
Moody weather and muddy ground greeted the seven Swaledale runners who turned out for the spectacular High Cup Nick fell race (9 miles, 1500 feet climb) on February 25th. In a race won by ex-English champion Tom Addison of Helm Hill Harriers in 61 minutes, Tim Grimwood was first home for the club in 79.16. Martin Randall was next club runner in 85.21, with Rebecca Simpson first club woman in 89.44. She was followed by Becky Barnett (93.39), Jim Coldwell (93.52), Oonagh Bathgate (97.10) and Claire Stewart.
The following day two club members ran in the flat fast Snake Lane 10 mile race at Pocklington. Chris Sayer finished in 94.14, with Andy Broadley not far behind in 96.45.
Andy Gaines was the only member at least weekends Parkruns, finishing 5th in Northallerton in 23.01.
The weather forecast for the evening of Feb 23rd was not good; Storm Doris was doing her damage around the country and heavy rain and high winds were expected in Richmond.
This, however, did not put off an 'elite' group of runners who turned up for the Predictor Run. It was a lovely evening for running; so much for accurate weather forecasts!
Mark Sowerby was first home in a time of 28.23. Several runners were very close to their predicted times; Martin Randall - 9 secs out, Claire Stewart - 8 secs out, but the winner was Jan Ilsley who only missed her time by 5 secs. It was great to see Suzie McGann running, who is now living 'down south' and was here over the half term break. John Lynch slightly misjudged his effort and finished 2mins 23 sec slower than his prediction. A chocolate bar awaits you John!
Our final Predictior Run for the Winter season will take place on Thurs March 30th. It would be great to see a good turn out for this final run. Meet at the clubhouse at 6.30pm to register.
Nine hardy souls turned up on Thursday 26th for our latest Predictor Run. It was a freezing cold night with temperatures below zero. Some club members didn't venture out that night, but one was spotted heading home with a very tasty blue cheese and a bottle of wine to share with his wife, and fellow runner, in front of an open fire. Can you guess who that may have been??
Robbie Kelly was first to finish in 28.47, and was also closest to his predicted time, being 43 secs below his prediction. Robbie was obviously not running flat out as he did a loop around town, including Lombard's Wynd, to warm down. Julia Snape ran much better than she expected, and finished 2mins 18 secs below her prediction.
For those whose competitive streak kicks in on these events, Rebecca Simpson's time of 27.19 is still the time to beat.
Our next run will take place on Thurs Feb. 23rd; just come along to the clubhouse at 6.30 to register.
Four Swaledale runners took part in this years Commondale Clart fell race (5.2 miles, 700 feet climbing) on January 8th. Tim Grimwood had another fine run to finish 12th out of 136 runners in 39.28. Ian Oldham was next club finisher in 45.35, followed by Caroline Graham in 47.28 and Becky Barnett in 48.22. Mark Sowerby was the only club representative in the Brass Monkey half marathon in York on January 15th, finishing just outside the 1h 30 barrier in 1.30.53.
Most of the racing action in recent weeks has taken place in the local Parkruns. It was great to see Steve Brown emerge from hibernation to finish 3rd in Darlington on Saturday 7th with a time of 18.51. Martin Randall finished in 20.09 with Zoe Mason in 21.38. On the same day, Andrew Fletcher was 7th at Fountains Abbey in 19.40 with Nicky Logan recording 33.30. At the Northallerton event Andy Gaines was 7th in 22.26 with Niall Cheyne in 26.26.
Last weekend five members ran in the Darlington Parkrun. Times - Martin Randall 19.49, Andy Gaines 21.12, Zoe Mason 22.34, Stuart Hardcastle 22.46, Niall Cheyne 25.48
The Tour de Helvellyn is a gruelling off road event taking in Lakeland passes in a 38 mile loop around Helvellyn. Three club members took part in this years event on December 17th with Ian Oldham finishing 98th of around 200 runners in 8h 43m, Caroline Graham 124th in 9h 13m and Michael Rosher 188th in 11h 9m. The following day Robbie Kelly was first club finisher at the 8 mile multi terrain Loftus Poultry Run in a time of 56.53. Oonagh Bathgate was 2nd FV55 in 57.38 with Claire Stewart in 68.38 and Julia Spittle in 78.74.
The club's women have become used to winning team prizes in recent months and scored their most impressive victory to date on December 27th, to finish first of 14 teams at the Guisborough Woods Fell race. Rebecca Simpson was 8th woman in 49.28, with Caitlin Pearson 12th in 51.45 and Becky Barnett 15th in 54.19. Michael Keavney also ran, finishing in 51.38. Also on the 27th, Derek Parrington finished 34th out of over 602 runners at the Jolly Holly 10k in Ripon, Carol Murray recorded 53.09, with Roger Brisley in 65.10 and Richie Smith in 66.35.
There were 4 club members in each of the two local New Years Day fell races. Tim Grimwood continued his good form to finish 26th in the 8 mile Nine Standards race at Kirkby Stephen, with Robbie Kelly next club finisher in 70.44, followed by Jim Coldwell in 77.55 and Claire Stewart in 86.36. At Captain Cook's monument Ian Oldham finished just ahead of Martin Randall, with times of 40.40 and 41.07 respectively. Stephen Libby recorded 43.45 and Caroline Graham 45.55