One of my aims this year is to improve my endurance over longer events, so I decided to step into the ultra/trail world with the Nav4 Lakes 42 event. Starting in Askham and going onto the High Street Ridge, then over to Helvellyn and back via Patterdale, before a final slog up Place Fell and then long run back in, it would be a real test for me and my longest ‘race’ by far. Luckily Ian and Caroline, ultra-specialists, were also running so I had a good source of advice.
The whole fell versus trail debate is, in my view, fairly pointless and boring, but I have to admit I did notice a few differences from fell races. 1) a surprising amount of walking poles involved (both Ian and Caroline also sported these) which I had never really thought about before. 2) hardly any club shirts – I was wearing ‘the famous green vest’ but almost no-one else was in club gear. 3) footwear- at fell races is probably 80%+ ino-v8, here Salomon was the shoe of choice. A better choice than my x-talons as it turned out, due to the rocky paths where a bit of cushioning would have been appreciated. 4) almost no long socks or sunglasses.
We set off at 6am in glorious sunshine – coming onto Loadpot Hill with the sun shining, and seeing the Helvellyn range in the distance poking through the mist was one of the greatest running moments I have had, the sort that supports the cliché of making it all worth it. One guy, sweating profusely in his jacket, grunted that it was a lot warmer than he expected, and I don’t think he was particularly impressed with my enthusiastic reply of how great it was (why didn’t he just take his jacket off?). By mid-morning he was probably happier as the weather settled into an overcast high-cloud dull pattern that was perfect for running without causing any real navigation problems.
Not sure how I would react to the distance and time on my feet, I took it really easy and walked anything up. I got a bit carried away with some of the descents, but overall feel I got the balance right. The atmosphere throughout was amazing, really low key and sociable. A group near me going up to High Street were having an absolute ball, and you could hear their chattering and laughing for quite a distance. Whether this relaxed manner was because of the long distance or the fact I was mid-pack, I don’t know (maybe the front runners were a bit more focused) but I chatted with a variety of people through the race, really enjoyed the ‘festival’ atmosphere of the food stops and even had time to stop in Glenridding for a can of coke with Ian and another runner. Having said that, the competitive spirit re-emerged about 8 miles from the end when the dodgy calculations of myself and another runner worked out we had a chance of finishing under 10 hours if we got a move on and so we picked up the pace – I’m not sure whether this was the right decision or not. It was very satisfying to (just) hit our target, but I had really enjoyed not really bothering about times and paces until that point. By happy coincidence I ended up running most of the second half with Ian, who was great company and this was another really nice aspect of the day – I do most of my running alone but am beginning to appreciate the different aspects that having company brings.
Every year Swaledale Runners donate 10% of the Richmond Castle 10K profits to a local charity. This year we chose " Just the Job" a charity and social enterprise empowering adults with disabilities to achieve their potential by doing valuable work in the community. - just-the-job.org.uk. On Saturday 16th Niall presented the organisation with a cheque for £350.73.
There was a great turnout at the Thirsk 10 mile on Sunday 17th:
Jess Young 01:14:14, Jean Bradley 01:27:35, Elizabeth Sowter 01:29:27, Lucy Tulloch 01:31:39, Julia Spittle 01:33:29, Christine Sayer 01:34:52, Roger Brisley 01:35:04, Sheila Cantrell 01:36:52, Niall Cheyne 01:41:46, Helen Baines 01:45:07, Catriona Riley 01:45:41, Caroline Morrell 01:57:13
On 3rd March Emily Abbey had a great 4th Lady overall at the Dalton Park 10k in a time of 43.45.
On the 17th March Martin Randall continued his fine form coming 49th in a time of 1.34.57 at the Northumberland half marathon.
The first of the Fell Race championships took place on 17th March with the Bilsdale 23k/1300m Fell Race. Tim Grimwood had a great 10th place with Claire Stewart winning her age group and Caroline Graham 2nd in hers.
Details of both championships have been published and it's time to start planning your racing year. It doesn't matter if you're not superfast - both are designed to be inclusive and to encourage people to try out races they haven't done before. See details under competitions above,
The saying “Good things come to those who wait” could not be more apt for our running of the Swaledale Watershed. With very rough moorland and endless bogs to cross, we were waiting for an extended dry spell to ease our passage. We had kept our eye on conditions for several years, waiting for a hot, dry summer and finally one arrived this year.
The Swaledale Watershed route had first caught my eye in Richard Gilbert’s book, ‘Wild Walks’. At just under 30 miles long, this circular route follows the highest ground that drains into Great Sleddale Beck, Birkdale Beck, Whitsundale Beck, Stonesdale Beck and a myriad of other moorland streams which eventually form the River Swale. With 1160m of ascent and difficult terrain, it promised to be an adventure.
At 07.00 on 5th July 2018 Neil and I left Muker, jogging along the road to Thwaite. We could have taken the footpath through the meadows but thought we would enjoy some easy running whilst it was available. Conditions were perfect as we set off up the Pennine Way to Great Shunner Fell. The sky was blue, the sun was out and there was a lovely cooling breeze. The summit of Great Shunner Fell (716m) was deserted and we would have liked to linger, but a quick check of the map and it was off on the next section across to Hugh Seat.
Although there was a fence to follow, this was the start of the challenging terrain. Despite being bone dry, it made for energetic running, even downhill, as we dropped into and climbed out of the peat hags. With it being the height of summer, the grass was also very long, which meant that high footsteps were required to get through it, sapping even more energy. After approximately 4km we came to the fence corner that marked the summit of Hugh Seat (689m). After more strenuous work we finally reached Archy Styrigg (695m) which came as a relief, as this top sits on Mallerstang Edge and has a vague path. Those that have run the Yomp will recognise this next section, one of the finest of the race.
The views from Mallerstang Edge into the Eden Valley were stunning. The running was much easier and we made good time along to High Seat, arriving in 2 ½ hours. At 709m, it is the highest point on the ridge and was a good spot to have something to eat as we admired the view. High Pike Hill (642m) then marks the end of the fine ridge running and we dropped down Careless Bank to cross the road at Tailbridge.
Very little navigating is needed for the slog up Nine Standards Rigg, the path is clear at all times. The day was heating up and I was feeling a little worn by the time we reached the summit at 10.30. In the distance we could see other walkers approaching, the first of the day, but we immediately turned off the beaten track and headed out over the wild moorland. The destination was Brownber Hill, which I admit I had never heard of before researching this route.
“Ultra King” Ian Oldham took part in the Lavaredo Ultra Trail race in Italy on 22/06. About 120k, 5800 metres of Alpine running and he completed it in an amazing 22hours 43mins.
On 30/06 Sue Crabbe, Jan Ilsley & Stu Clarkson took part in the Upper Wharfdale Three Peaks Challenge: 22 miles of scenic views in perfect conditions, taking in the three highest peaks in Wharfdale.
On the same day Ros Blackmore took part in the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon. With her partner Mandy Goth they managed to win the Fairfield score class ladies race and come in 18th out of 73 pairs overall. They were also 3rd Vets team overall (includes male, female and mixed Vets teams with age grading).
Vicky Jewitt was also in the Lakes competing in the SIMM and with her partner was 30th in their class.
Martin Randall had a brilliant 3rd overall at the Coastal Half Marathon on 01/07 in a time of 1.41.59. Grace Gilpin was 44th in a time of £2.24.09
Jim Coldwell had a great race and was 6th place at the inaugural Lighthouse 10K in Millom on 01/07.
James Taylor said he had a lovely day at the Heart of the Park Challenge, 12k race in Braemar. Like most of the races over the weekend it was very hot but at least the race route crossed the river Dee three times to cool him off.
Park Runs – 30/06. Catterick -Mark Sowerby and Neil Bowmer had a good battle and were 3rd & 4th in times of 19.19 & 19.28. Grace Gilpin did a time of 25.58. Northallerton – Julia Spiitle – 28.56. Fountains Abbey – Andrew Fletcher – 21.05 –27/359 runners and first in age category.
Two Swaledale runners took part in the Croft Pitstop 10k on 04/07. Mark Sowerby - 41st – 41.36, Evan Jones – 137th – 51.16
On 07/07 Tim Grimwood had a great 8th place at the Blackfell race at Kettlewell – 1.46.02
The tough Burn Valley half marathon at Masham was on 08/07. Martin Randall had a great run to finish 41st in 1.42.05, Helen Bain – 2.21.41, Julia Spittle – 2.22.16.
Well done to Sue Crabbe who was 1st FV50 at Skirfare Trail race at Kettlewell on 14/07.
On the same day Ian Oldham continued his great performances in ultra runs. He was 1st V45 at Lakes Sky Ultra in the Lakes, 37 miles – 12.22.
Park Run results – Catterick – 07/07 – Rebecca Simpson – 20.25 1st Lady, Grace Gilpin – 25.55, Zoe Mason – 27.31. 14/07 – Grace Gilpin – 25.55, Simon Hewitt – 32.26.
Darlington – 07/07 – Nialll Cheyne – 26.03
Races come and races go, but the routes are still out there, waiting to be rediscovered. One such race was the Great Shunner Shuffle, a 30 mile route linking Wensleydale and Swaledale, organised by the Fell Rescue from 1986 to 2000. Although I first heard about this old race a few years ago, I only recently got round to researching it. With the help of Jill King from the Cleveland LDWA I tracked down the checkpoints and some additional route information.
Stu Clarkson and Jan Ilsley were booked as running companions for the day, with a steady run promised as none of us had done much preparation for this distance. Good weather was also booked and shortly after 9.00 on a Saturday in June we left Askrigg. The Great Shunner Shuffle was on!
The route started easily, heading out on a minor road then a footpath through the woods to arrive at Skellgill. After dropping down a track, the route then followed field paths and tracks towards Hardraw. A friendly farmer at West Shaw Cote Farm warned us that the footpath from the lane back into the fields was easy to miss, which was very helpful as it was tucked away in the side wall. We stopped for a shady snack in the lych-gate of Hardraw church, then headed up past the Old School House onto Great Shunner Fell. The race originally started at the (then) Hulme School House but had to move to Askrigg School due to a shortage of parking.
It was cool and clear on the summit of Great Shunner Fell, but the heat was increasing as we dropped into Thwaite, so a cooling ice cream and tea stop in the Kearton Tea Rooms was the order of the day as it was conveniently situated at about half way.
The route then headed up Kisdon on the Pennine Way, for a superb high level traverse above the Swale. Stu and Jan decided that they would take a pleasant short cut back down the valley to Ivelet Bridge, whilst I followed the race route. This took me across the Swale near Keld, onto the C2C route past Crackpot Hall, up Swinner Gill and down ‘the yellow brick road’ to Dyke heads and along the road to meet them at the bridge. I found Stu and Jan standing up to their thighs in the cooling water, so I jumped in to join them.
On the 27th May Dan Corthorn was at his home town to compete in the Buxton Half Marathon, where he did a time of 1.49.29 92nd/302.
The Harrogate MWL kicked off on 6/6. The first race was hosted by Skipton. Club finishers were Martin Luxton- 40.28, Evan Jones- 41.21, Helen Bains - 48.40, Chris Sayer - 50.11, Roger Brisley - 56.01.The same night was the Ossy Oiks fell race. Tim Grimwood went one better than last year and had a superb win. No results yet, but the rest of the Swaledalers came in the order of Ian Oldham, Mike Keavney, Robbie Kelly, Caroline Graham and Jim Coldwell.
As always there was great turn out at the Swaledale Marathon on 9/6, wiith plenty of regulars and lots of first time runners to the event. There were some brilliant results with the men & women taking the team prizes: Steve Brown 1st Vet & 1st Over 60, Nick Downing 2nd Man, Sarah Hackett 2nd Lady, Rebecca Simpson 4th Lady.
Results ( so many runners so sorry if anyone is missed) , Nick Downing 3.16- 2nd, Stuart Smith 3.39 - 11th, Steve Brown 3.39 - 12th, Sarah Hackett 3.42 - 15th, Derek Parrington 3.46 - 20th, Rebecca Simpson 3.49 - 24th, Martin Randall 3.49 - 25th, Ian Oldham 3.54 - 28th, Mark Sowerby 3.55 - 31st, Richard Gale 3.56 - 35th, Robbie Kelly 3.56- 36th, Neil Bowmer 4.15 - 63rd, Jim Coldwell 4.20- 72nd, Sam King 4.24 - 79th, Caroline Graham 4.26 - 82nd, Ray Crabbe 4.33 -96th, Nick Turnbull 4.38 - 105th, Rachel Carlton 4.42 - 112th, Vicky Jewitt 4.42 - 113th, James Taylor 4.43 - 116th, Lucy Tulloch 4.54 - 124th, Vicki Howe 5.06 - 153rd, Grace Gilpin 5.07 - 155th, John Lynch 5.18 - 168th, Claire Stewart 5.21- 171st, Lucy Riley 5.21 - 172nd, Carol Murray 5.24 - 176th, Annelie Whitfield 5.29 - 187th, Oonagh Bathgate 5.31 - 189th, Zoe Foulerton - 5.38 - 203rd, Anne Singleton - 5.46- 210th, Sarah Hards 5.48 - 215th, Carrie Morrell 5.57, Sheila Cantrell - 6.45, Liz Sowter - 6.45, Stu Clarkson - 6.45, Niall Cheyne - 8.10.
Sarah Norman and Julia Spittle competed in the White Horse Hardmoors half (17 miles!!) on 10/6. Well done to Julia who was 1st Lady over 60.
A massive well done to Neil Bowmer who completed the Northern Traverse – 190 miles Coast to Coast in 95 hours.
Martin Randall had a good run at the Raby Castle 10k on 20/05. He was 20th and 3rd in his age category in a time of 42.04.
Park Run Results – 19/5 – Catterick – Martin Randall – 19.16 (10th) PB, Mark Sowerby – 19.17 (11th) PB, Grace Gilpin – 25.29, Zoe Mason – 26.48, Jade Swainston – 29.55 PB – Northallerton – Evan Jones – 23.02 (12th) PB, Julia Spittle – 28.59, Darlington – Carrie Morrell – 30.18, Niall Cheyne – 30.19.
Well done to Jean Bradley and Sheila Cantrell who ran the Manchester Half on 20/5 in hot conditions. They did 2.37.36 and 2.38.00.
There was three excellent results at the 24K Helvellyn & the Dodds Fell race on 27/5. Tim Grimwood 13th - 2.44.40, Rebecca Simpson 59th - 10th Female, 3rd in V40 - 3.16.33, Martin Randall 60th - 3.16.52.
There was a good turn out of Swaledalers at the local Northallerton 10k on 27/5 in a big field of 725 runners. Evan Jones 132nd - 49.01, Martin Luxton 149th - 49.51, Amy Kerr 302nd - 55 .37, Helen Baines 401st - 59.34, Julia Spittle 437th - 1.01.25 (1st for Category), Sarah Norman 493rd - 1.04 06, Jean Bradley 562nd - 1.07.36.
Mark Sowerby continued his fine form at the Melmerby 10k - 27/5. He was 41st out of 305 in a time of 41.14.
Well done to Ray and Sue Crabbe who completed the St Begas 37 mile Ultra on 27/5.
Catterick Park Run - 26/5 - Martin Randall - 19.25, Annelie Whitfield - 22.59 (PB), John Lynch - 25.42, Grace Gilpin - 25.53, Zoe Mason - 26.22, Helen McKay - 30.00
There was a massive turn out of Swaledale Runners at the popular Wensleydale Wander on 14/4. There is a choice of the "Long Run" - about 22 miles or the "Short Run" of 12 miles. The event is organised by the Wensleydale Rotary Club and is a great day out. Results can be a bit vague but here goes: Short Run - 1st for the Club and 4th overall Ian Oldham - 1.41, Robbie Kelly - 6th - 1.48, Oonagh Bathgate - 11th - 2nd Lady - 1.59, John Lynch - 14th - 2.04, Claire Stewart - 16th -2.08, Jan Ilsey - 19th - 2.13, Liz sowter - 28th - 2.25, Stu Clarkson -37th - 2.32, Annelie Whitfield (who got lost and did an extra 3 miles) - 41st - 2.37, Geoff Kensett, Sarah Haynes, Ros Blackmore, Gill Mclean - 3.20, Zoe & Amy Foulerton - 3.28, Carrie Morrell - 3.38. Long Run - 1st Overall - Derek Parrington - 3.09, Neil Bowmer - 3.30, Martin Randall - 3.49, Niall Cheyne - 5.49. Sorry if anyone was missed.
Good to see Sue Crabbe back to fitness and achieving a PB for a half marathon trail race at the Burnsall Half Marathon - 21/4 - 2.08.01 - 45th - 3rd in age category.
Its been a busy time for the fell runners, especially Tim Grimwood and Mike Keavney. Resent races and results:
15/04 - Gisborough Moors Fell Race - 207 runners - Tim Grimwood - 8th - 1.37.05, Nick Downing - 23rd - 1.43.57, Ian Oldham - 93rd - 1.59.55, Mike Keavney - 118th - 2.06.42, Caroline Graham - 122nd - 2.07.21, Jim Coldwell - 126th - 2.08.48
21/04 - Anniversary Waltz - Newlands Valley Horse Shoe - 3600 feet of ascent - 481 runners - Tim Grimwood - 23rd - 1.58.19, Sarah Hackett - 116th - 2.17.28, Ian Oldham - 163rd - 2.24.51, Rich Gale - 202nd - 2.29.40, Mike Keavney - 256th - 2.38.40, Rebecca Simpson - 266th - 2.41.06, Caroline Graham - 290th - 2.44.36, Jim Coldwell - 312nd - 2.47.43, Vicky Jewitt - 353rd - 2.56.27, Simon Hewitt - 447th - 3.30.26
29/04 - Blakley Blitz - Tim Grimwood - Brilliant 2nd - 1.28.46, Mike Keavney - 50th - 1.59.31
02/05 - Gribdale Gallop - Tim Grimwood - 4th - 40.10, Mike Keavney - 53rd - 50.48
Two Swaledaler's competed in the Sand Dancer 10k on 29/04 - 360 Runners - Martin Randall - 31st - 41.13, Peter Devlin - 176th - 50.49
Park Run Results -
Catterick Park Run -
14/4 - Jess Young 1st Lady (officially) - 22.37, Grace Gilpin - 25.46, Sheila Cantrell - 31.16, Jean Bradley - 33.14.
21/4 - PB's Galore- Robbie Kelly - 21.24 PB, Annelie Whitfield - 23.51, John Lynch - 24.30, Grace Gilpin - 25.02 PB, Jean Bradley - 30.44 PB.
28/04 - Annelie Whitfield - 23.08, Jess Young - 23.38, Sheila Cantrell - 29.51 PB, Jean Bradley - 30.11 PB
05/05 - Mark Sowerby - 19.31, Zoe Mason - 25.46, Simon Hewitt - 26.58, Jade Swainston - 32.12.
Northallerton -05/05 - Carol Murray - 25.57
Roger Brisley ran in the Great Peace Run and Walk half marathon on 06/05 in Belgium at Ypres - 2.15