There were some brilliant results at the Commondale Clart run on 14th January. Tim Grimwood was an impressive 3rd place out of 131 runners in 39.46. Followed by Ian Oldham – 30th – 46.08, Martin Randall – 43rd – 48.56, Mike Keavney – 47th – 49.15, John Lynch – 100th – 59.34. The men's team were 4th overall.
The ladies' team were a brilliant 1st – Sam King – 55th – 51.00, Becky Barnett – 60th – 51.29, Oonagh Bathgate – 61st – 51.40.
Two Swaledale runners took part in the fast York Brass Monkey Half Marathon on Sunday 14th. Both had great runs with Mark Sowerby knocking nearly 3 mins of his PB in a time of 1.26.05 and Robbie Kelly in a swift time of 1.36.58.
Park Run Results – 13th January - Catterick – Jess Young continued her fine form to be first lady in a time of 22.19, John Lynch – 25.44, Grace Gilpin – 26.26, Liz Sowter – 26.36, Sheila Cantrell – 31.39. Darlington – Stu Hardcastle – 21.48. Northallerton – Evan Jones – 24.45.
Helen Nicholson completed the hilly multi-terrain Loftus & Whitby Poultry Run on December 17th in 1.13.25 (247/444). On the same day Liz Sowter tool part in a charity team event, the McTaggart Trot (team 18/49).
At the Jolly Holly Jog on December 31st Sam King finished in 51.13 and Julia Spittle in 1.07.48
Catterick ParK Run 23.12.17:
Neil Bowmer – 19.35; Jess Young – 23.11; Ross Blackmore – 24.03; Helen Nicholson – 25.51; Liz Sowter – 26.56; Corrina Russell – 37.33; Niall Cheyne – 37.34
Catterick Park Run 25.12.17: Grace Gilpin – 27.48; Sheilla Cantrell – 30.13; Jean Bradley – 31.50
Darlington Park Run 25.12.17: Stu Hardcastle – 21.57
The Swaledale Marathon is probably the biggest day in the club's calendar and there was a tremendous turnout for this year's event. As usual, club rivalries were played out at the front end of the race, whilst some other members enjoyed a more leisurely day, in what after all, started as an event for walkers.
Stu Smith took the honours as first club member home in 3h37 for 16th place, with no fewer than six more men breaking the 4 hour barrier - Mark Sowerby 3.42, Martin Randall 3.44, Robbie Kelly 3.48, Derek Parrington 3.48, Tim Grimwood 3.53 and Ian Oldham 3.56. Rebecca Simpson also broke 4 hours with a superb run, finishing 6th woman in 3.58. She could surely challenge the men in the club fell championship if she chooses to.
Other club times. Neil Bowmer 4.16, Claire Stewart 4.32, Vicki Howe 4.47, Lucy Tulloch 4.48, Sue and Ray Crabbe 4.49, Kenton Smith 4.55, Suzie McGann 5.10, Michael Rosher 5.16, Jan Ilsley 5.16, Grace Gilpin 5.36, Helen Inglis 5.41, Keith Bell 5.42, Roger Brisley 5.46, Anne Singleton 5.47, Sarah Norman 5.57, Stu Clarkson 6.07, Alyson Cole 6.23, Andy Broadley 6.31, Christian Player 7.00, Harry Ellis 7.12.
Swaledale Runners have unfinished business with the Ingleborough Marathon. A few years ago a group had to DNF due to foul weather and navigation problems. No such issues with the weather this year, it was a beautiful summers day. Vickie Howe, Neil Bowmer and myself represented Swaledale Runners, with friends Sarah Hackett and Scott Tranter also racing. Robbie Kelly and Rich Gale came along to stretch their legs, take photos and give moral support to the racers.
The race is organised by the Cave Rescue Organisation, although they don’t actually call it a race, it’s a ‘challenge’ for walkers and runners, meaning that it is meant to be something that you plot on the map from the checkpoints grid references and find your way around as fast or as slow as you like. The route is fantastic, it starts from Clapham and goes up to the summit of Ingleborough, then drops down towards the Hill Inn. It then circles around the mountain, crossing the Nature Reserve then on down to Selside in the Ribble Valley. It crosses the river then picks up the Ribble Way and then the Pennine Way down to Horton in Ribblesdale. The route then climbs back up the side of Ingleborough before dropping down to Austwick and finally back to Clapham. The route is well marshalled by CRO and is pretty well marked for something that is meant to be self-navigated, but it still managed to catch a few people out. Although the route follows footpaths, it is often on private land without public rights of way, so it was a good opportunity to run in new territory.
It was such a pleasure running this marathon in such beautiful surroundings with friends that I forgot that it was a race most of the time. Until the last few miles when I could see another female catching me up, then it was all systems go! The finish line was not where I expected it to be, which was at the tunnel entrance where we started. It was instead upstairs in the CRO headquarters where Phil Nuttal the organiser was sat behind a desk! Plenty of tea and cakes were on offer and the opportunity to chill out beside the stream following the race was great. A flexible, chilled approach is required for this event, the organisation is a bit quirky but the route is definitely worth it.
Neil Bowmer 5.24 (6th overall); Ros Blackmore 5.46 (7th overall, 2nd Female); Vickie Howe 5.50 (9th overall, 4th Female). Sarah Hackett and Scott Tranter came in at 5.09 (joint 4th overall with Sarah as 1st female)
Thanks to Richard Gale for these photos. For more, see galleries.
On Sunday I joined a large team of Swaledale runners who made their way over to the northern Lake District for the latest instalment of the club fell championship, Helvellyn and the Dodds. At 15 miles and 1337m/4386ft of climb it was going to be a very tough race for me, and whilst the glorious sunshine made for great views it also added to the challenge. The race started pleasantly enough with a mile or so of track and gentle grassy incline out of Threlkeld Cricket Club, but soon presented possibly the most challenging part of the course, the very steep ascent onto Clough Head. From here the course followed some great grassy tracks, which on the way out provided some excellent running, although were not quite so welcoming on the return leg. The runners spread out as the course followed several ascents and descents of various peaks until the increasing groups of walkers (including two cyclists carrying their bikes – which at least made me feel better about what I was doing in comparison) and the race leaders tearing past me, indicated we were close to Helvellyn, where we could finally turn around and return for home.
As a newcomer to fell racing I was worried about getting ‘carried away’ and so had tried to take it carefully on the outward leg, but I felt pretty good at half way and so picked up the pace, getting drawn into a little bit of one-up man-ship with a bunch of runners on one descent (much to my regret later on). However about mile 10 I started to ‘feel it’, and the final ascent back onto Clough Head seemed much longer and tougher going up than it had seemed skipping down it several miles earlier. The descent from Clough Head was an absolute killer – my legs were on fire but gravity and the desire to get it over and done with as quickly as possibly meant it was ‘easier’ to keep going than to slow down. After this even the gentler descent at the foot of this was agony, and I trundled down the seemingly never-ending track to the finish line to finish in 3.08. Once the running had ended it was a beautiful afternoon laid out on the cricket ground boundary in the sun, refuelling on sandwiches and cake put on by the organisers.
Swaledale contributed a large number of the 190 finishers – Robbie Kelly finished in 3.17, Neil Bowmer 3.32, Martin Randall 3.37, Mike Keavney 3.43, and Ros Blackmore 3.58. Unfortunately Jim Coldwell was forced to retire with an injury he picked up completing the Windermere Marathon the previous week, but it did allow him to watch the race leaders come in, including the winner Carl Bell who took two minutes off his previous record to finish in 2.07. There were also several runners associated with the club involved as well – including Jackie Keavney in 3.05, and Sarah Hackett in 3.10 who were third and sixth female respectively. Despite the fact that I am now struggling to walk properly it was a great race and I look forward to more in the future.
The inaugural Northallerton 10k road race took place in good running conditions on May 29th. There was an excellent turnout of 463 runners and Swaledale were well represented with eight. Derek Parrington finished in 12th place as first V50 in 38.52 with Andrew Fletcher third in the same category in 41.25. Zoe Mason was first of six female club members in 46.00, followed by Sarah Norman in 53.12, Karen Thorpe 56.28, Anne Singleton 57.08, Grace Gilpin 59.37 and Alyson Cole 61.08.
On the same day seven members took to the start line for the Helvellyn and the Dodds fell race (14.9 miles, 4386 feet climb). They were joined by (and beaten by) ex- Ladies Captain Jacqueline Keavney in her first fell race as a Richmond and Zetland Harrier. Several friends from the Reeth running scene were also there and contributed to a great day out. With warm weather making for difficult running conditions Tim Grimwood cemented his place as favorite for the Fell Championship, finishing 79th of 190 finishers in 188.08. Robbie Kelly ran well to record 197.36. Neil Bowmer and Michael Keavney have both had a year disrupted by injuries and had to settle for times 20 minutes down on their previous runs, with Neil finishing in 212.22 and Michael in 223.29. They were separated by Martin Randall in 217.29. Ros Blackmore ran steadily as usual, and finished in 238.11. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly after the previous week's marathon, Jim Coldwell was forced to pull out due to injury niggles.
With so many runners racing on Sunday, Alison Johnston was the only member in action at local Parkruns and was first V55 in Darlington, with a time of 23.52
Zoe Mason has picked up where she left off after a break from running and was first woman in the Darlington Parkrun on May 14th in 22.00. Marian Hunter also ran, finishing in 26.23, with Kathleen Finn in 29.20. In a higher quality field the following weekend Zoe was 8th woman in 22.30. At Northallerton on May 14th Ronan and Nicki Walsh both ran PBs, recording 23.23 and 30.45 respectively.
Seven club members ran in this year's Ripon 10 mile road race on May 15th. Calderdale based Derek Parrington returned to the area for the event and was first club finisher and 16th out of 356 runners in 67.36. Ronan Walsh was next home in 82.26, followed by Niall Cheyne 86.59, Roger Brisley 96.42, Anne Singleton 99.52, Grace Gilpin 102.15 and Nicki Walsh in 110.53. On the same day Martin Randall ran at the scenic Raby Castle 10k, coming 37th out of 458 runners in 41.51.
Jim Coldwell was back in the Lake District on May 22nd, this time on the roads rather than the fells. On a warm day he completed the hilly Windermere Marathon in 3.57.44 for 140th place out of 532 runners.
This years Harrogate Midweek League got underway on Thursday May 5th. Nine club members made the journey to Ilkley and it was good to see Steve Brown back in competitive action. He finished 32nd out of 378 runners and was a convincing winner in the V55 category. Mark Sowerby was next home for the club in 34.01, with Martin Luxton in 36.23. Zoe Mackay was first club woman to finish, with an excellent time of 37.09. Other club times - Alan Mackay 43.35, Chris Sayer and Nicky Logan both in 46.54, Andy Broadley 47.25 and Karen Thorpe 48.35.
Andrew Fletcher was amongst the 459 runners in the Keswick Half Marathon on May 1st. He ran well over the hilly course and is shown in the results as 4th V50 in 1.33.03. Since Andrew is in fact a V55 it is liley that he was 2nd in his age category.
Darlington Park Run results.April 30th - Niall Cheyne 21.34, Stuart Hardcastle 21.41 (1st V60), Zoe Mason 22.58. May 7th - Niall 21.30, Zoe Mason 22.37.
Northallerton Park Run results. April 30th - Zoe Mackay 26.17, Anne Singleton 32.14. May 7th - Ronan Walsh 23.32 (PB), Nicki Walsh 31.54.
The Fellsman is a gruelling fellrunning event covering 61 miles with 11000 feet of climbing including the summits of Ingleborough, Whernside and Buckden Pike. Much of the route is over energy sapping moorland and competitors are grouped together for safety reasons during the hours of darkness. Five club members took on the challenge this year on April 16th. Neil Bowmer finished a fantastic 72nd out of 312 starters in 18h08, almost 3 hours quicker than last year. After a frustrating couple of years dogged by injury Stuart Clarkson was understandably "chuffed" to finish the course in 26h26. Unfortunately Ros Blackmore, Michael Rosher and Helen Inglis were amongst the 95 non -finishers. No doubt they will feel they have unfinished business for next year.
The Gisborough Moors fell race (12.4 miles, 2789 feet) the following day saw Tim Grimwood and Ian Oldham battle in the club's new rivalry to be top fellrunner. Tim finished 22nd in 105.25, with Ian 26th in 106.32. Jim Coldwell was 76th out of 143 in 124.37. Also on the 17th Martin Randall was first V45 in the Druridge Bay half marathon with a time of 96.35.
Five club members ran in the Reeth trail races on April 24th. Alison Johnston was first FV55 in the 10k event in 59.51 with Julia Snape finishing in 67.26. In the 20k race Lucy Riley ran an excellent 117.29 with Ray and Sue Crabbe recording 124.12 and 125.44 respectively. Anne Singleton was the only member at this year's Fountains 10k, finishing in 58.39.
The club's representation at this year's London Marathon was reduced by injuries, leaving new runners Karen Dobson and Kathleen Finn to fly the flag. As novices to distance running they did well to complete the course in 5.28.14 and 5.44.13 respectively.
The Wensleydale Wander started life as an event for walkers but over the years an increasing number of runners have taken part, either over the short 12 mile route or the longer 23 mile option. This year's event took place in fine weather on April 9th and featured many club members. Unfortunately the results are a confusing mix of runners and walkers, both long and short, listed by residence rather than club. However there is no doubt that Steve Brown was the winner in the short event in 88.24, with Andrew Fletcher third in 100.00 and Caitlin Pearson fourth overall and first woman in 100.30. Robbie Kelly and James Taylor were 7th and 8th in 105.23 and Rebecca Simpson was 9th and second woman in 112.00. Alyson Cole (156.00) and Marian Hunter and Stu Clarkson (both in 171.20) also competed in the short event. In the long event Martin Randall had a great run and surprised himself by winning the race in 199.20 with Mark Sowerby next in 218.30. Sue and Ray Crabbe finished together in 237.50. Other club times - Vicki Howe 249.30, Niall Cheyne 259.30, Jan Ilsley and Suzie McGann 268.00.
There were also two Parkrunners in action on April 9th. Stuart Hardcastle ran 22.09 in Darlington and Nicky Logan finished in 37.28 at Fountains Abbey. Stuart ran another 5k the following day, this time at the Preston Park Tees Trail race, and recorded a time of 23.27.
The first of this year's Dales Trail Series, the DT 20 took place on April 2nd. These three races are organised by Swaledale Outdoors in Reeth and club members, led by Ros Blackmore, are heavily involved in marshalling.
Eleven club members were among the 206 finishers at this years race, with Pocklington based Stu Smith first club finisher in 7th place in 99.55. Less than a minute separated the next three members, with Derek Parrington 13th in 104.30, Tim Grimwood 14th in 104.55 and Ian Oldham 15th in 105.07. Next came Martin Randall, 22nd in 108.09, followed by Caitlin Pearson, 6th woman in 116.50. Other club times - Mike Warren 130.08, Ray Crabbe 133.55, Sue Crabbe 136.51, Adele Marshall 139.28 and Grace Gilpin 178.21.
With so many runners busy in Reeth, Abi Player was the only member in Parkrun action last weekend, recording 25.47 in the Darlington event.
There was an excellent turnout of 14 Swaledale runners at the Thirsk 10 mile race on March 20th. Dave Atkinson was first club finisher in 123rd place from 877 runners, with a time of 65.19. Martin Randall runs consistently well and was next home in 68.09. He was followed by James Taylor in 76.50 and Ronan Walsh in 80.19. Carol Murray was the first Swaledale woman in 81.17. Other club finishers - Alan Mackay 82.20, Christian Player 82.51, Vicki Howe 83.57, Pete Devlin 85.47, Roger Brisley 87.29, Zoe Mackay 89.28, Julia Spittle 90.10, Ronnie Cassar 94.07, Nicki Skinner 106.02.
Also on Sunday 20th Tim Grimwood ran in the Blakey Blitz fell race (10.6 miles, 2800 feet), probably the toughest of the Esk Valley winter series. For the second race in a row he finished 20th, in 99.54.He now lies in 4th place in the Male Open category.
On March 19th Jacqueline Keavney and Jim Coldwell were over in the Lake District for the scenic undulating Coniston 14 mile race. Jacqueline beat her previous best at the course by several minutes to finish as third woman and first FV50 in 93.47. Jim also ran well, finishing just seconds off a PB in 106.19.
Two club members were in action at the Helmsley 10k multi-terrain race on Easter Sunday. Andrew Fletcher finished in 47th place in 44.12 with Angela Turner in 55.00.
Parkrun results 26th March. Darlington - Marian Hunter 26.38. Northallerton - Nicky Logan 29.53.
Ian Oldham's form has improved quickly in a short time since joining the club and he broke the 20 minute barrier for the first time at the Darlington Parkrun on March 12th, finishing 24th of 274 in 19.35. Stuart Hardcastle and Marian Hunter produced their usual steady performances with 22.17 and 27.13 respectively. Four club members were at the Northallerton Parkrun with Ronan Walsh coming 10th in 24.24. Liz Sowter recorded 28.04, Julia Spittle 28.37 and Nicki Walsh 31.33. Andrew Fletcher was first V55 at Fountains Abbey in 19.53 and Niall Cheyne ran the Skipton Parkrun in 23.18.
Also on Saturday, Jim Coldwell made his annual trip home for the Black Combe fell race ( 8 miles,3300 feet) in south west Cumbria. "The Combe" is the first obstacle facing weather fronts coming in from the Irish Sea and has a reputation for a special kind of thick mist. This year was no different and along with many of the nations best fellrunners Jim went off course in the clag, losing around 10 minutes. He finished 368th in a field of around 500 in 1.57.06.
On the same day, Jacqueline Keavney and Martin Randall ran in the 14.1 mile hilly Dentdale run. Jacqueline finished as 5th woman and first FV45 in 1.41.27. Martin was closer to her than at the previous week's Haweswater half, finishing in 1.42.45. The following day, as part of London preparation, Jacqueline ran the similarly hilly Spen 20 mile race on tired legs. In the circumstances she was satisfied to finish as 11th woman and second FV50 in 2.34.51.
12th March saw my 8th consecutive attempt at the Black Combe race. This year was to be a little different to usual as it was the opening counter in the English Championship. Usually around 150 runners turn up on the day. This year 750 places had sold out well in advance and the expectation was for around 500 to turn up. Silecroft village hall feels crammed with the usual turnout, so marquees had been erected on the start field to deal with the numbers.
I have some previous with this race. In 2009, in thick clag, I went wrong after the first checkpoint, got hopelessly lost and ended up finishing in last place. I always stay a couple of miles away in Millom (my hometown) the night before race and the Combe looms over the town like a benign behemoth. This year it was invisible – completely covered by Irish Sea fog. A bad sign. Checking my kit I also realised I’d left my shorts back in Richmond. Frustrating, but nothing that an early morning visit to Pete Bland’s van couldn’t fix.
The race begins with an absurdly steep climb to Seaness (CP1). It’s a good idea to take this section steadily knowing what is to come later in the race. This year the number of runners meant there was no alternative. Then begins the long climb to the summit (CP2). I was feeling strong and met Ripon Runners’ Gary Bastow on this section. A brief chat and I pressed on ahead (he’s coming back from injury) and I also got an unexpected shout from a school friend who was spectating. It’s at the top, though, that the fun begins. This was where I made my mistake in 2009, and this year the clag, if anything, was worse. However, I’ve learnt my lesson, stayed high and was even able to keep a couple of others in the right direction. It’s a longish drag to CP3 (White Combe) a quick descent and then an awkward contour down to the river crossing (CP4). At this point I heard the sound of fast approaching runners behind me. The ladies race had started 10 minutes earlier and I’d spent the race up to this point gradually overtaking the back-markers, so I was taken aback. I was amazed when a group containing Rob Jebb, Rob Hope and two or three other elite runners whizzed past. It turned out they’d got lost after CP2 – not just me then!
Six Swaledale runners ran at the Lightwater Valley multi-terrain 10k on Saturday 5th February. Andrew Fletcher confirmed his return to fitness finishing in 29th place out of 251 runners in 43.27. Stuart Hardcastle was second club runner home in 48.58. Other club finishers - Vicki Howe 52.23, Julia Spittle 57.26, Anne Singleton 59.49, Ronnie Cassar 61.40. On the same day Jacqueline Keavney and Niall Cheyne ran in the Darlington Parkrun. Jacqueline was 3rd woman in a time of 20.23 with Niall recording 22.27.
Four club members travelled to the Lake District for the hilly Haweswater half marathon on Sunday. There was a close contest to finish as first club runner with Jacqueline Keavney in 1.30.19, Robbie Kelly in 1.32.25 and Martin Randall in 1.33.46. Jacqueline was 8th woman and first FV50 and Robbie won the V55 category. Martin Luxton completed the club quartet, not far behind in 1.40.22