Yes, it is the 3rd weekend of the year, it has snowed, there is low lying fog across the hills, and there it is generally pretty grim out there. Which must mean that the time is ripe for a load of people to go trogging off across moors and mountains in the name of racing fun!
Oh the delights of freezing your bits off while wading through snow with a squidgy layer of rich peaty mud underneath. mmmm. Frozen fingers and toes, numb digits and the feel of snow down your socks. Ah – I wish I was racing already.
As it was, the Fell Champs got underway over the border in Hayfield at the Lambs Longer Leg, it was, of course, the Trigger, and one of our number decided to have a day/night/day trip to Hawes by foot, on the Spine Challenger. (and there is yet another who thought that wasn’t far enough, and is still on his way to Kirk Yetholm).
So first things first, because second things first would be odd- like having desert before a main course- Lambs Longer Leg. A short, hard race in Hayfield of 1.03 Leagues and 158 Fathoms of climb, well known for its small eccentricities, like how to enter, was run by a number of the club. 12 people managed to get through the Crystal maze like entry process and turned up to the middle of no-where along the road to Chunal. The winner of the race was pretty much a foregone conclusion as Simon Bailey makes a habit of running it as the first race after his birthday, however, the GDH standings were less predictable.
Caity and Dan Oldham had a real battle for a while until she eked out a bit of a lead during
one of the climbs, which she held onto for the remainder of the race to come in 6th overall and first lady. Dan fought back well and managed to stay ahead of Chris Jackson – who is coming back from a mild injury- and came in 7th overall – and first MV40, with Chris settling for 8th, a mere 16 seconds later, showing that despite his lack of running training he still has good form. Andy Fox gave a masterful showing, giving us good reason to think that cycling in hot countries *is* good preparation for slogging through waterlogged fields, as he romped around the course, and arrived at the finish, none the worse for wear in 21st, first MV60. Behind the Wily One, Paul Beckett and Jason Hart had a bit of a tussle through the ups and downs, with Paul coming out on top in 28th, with Jason just a few seconds behind, but back in 35th. Darren Clarke of Cock hill repetition fame was 39th, squeezing in just under 40 mins, and was followed not 20 seconds later by serious race snapaholic Nick Ham. Cheryl Stitt opened up her Championship campaign was second Glossop Lady home in 53rd, and was followed by Club race stalwart John Stephenson. Mary Jeal continued to find form, despite recent illness, in 58th, and Jo Brack rounded out the field.
It looks like Glossopdale also won team prize Mens/ladies/mixed(?) – but I’m not entirely sure.
So the overall standings looked a bit like this…
6th Caity Rice 31:11
7th Dan Oldham 32:32
8th Chris Jackson 32:48
21st Andy Fox 35:38
28th Paul Beckett 38:21
35th Jason Hart 38:55
39 Darren Clarke 39:58
42 Nick Ham 40:17
53 Cheryl Stitt 42:58
55 John Stephenson 43:33
58 Mary Jeal 43:58
64 Jo Brack 47:04
So Dan Oldham and Caity are leading the Fell champs – in what looks to be quite an exciting year. I’ll update the champs tables in the next few days.
On the same day a number of Glossopdalers decided that they were going to head over to
Marsden to run South to Edale making a marked attempt to not get distracted by the fact that they would pass Glossop on the way there. As has been the case for the Trigger in the last couple of years, the weather was particularly grim with snow and bog and winds and precipitation and all the factors that mean it is much nicer to be sat at home with a cup of cocoa, thinking about the “lucky” people that got into the race this year.
I haven’t had a chance to see the results yet, but I am led to believe that the weather really took its toll. Mark Ollerenshaw took the decision to not start (a cunning plan, it seems), and there were a good number of withdrawals along the way from a number of clubs. John Hewitt and Lindsay Palmer made it to Crowden before calling it a day. Lins had ankle problems, and wisely decided against carrying on. I have no idea what was up with John, but there is apparently no truth to the rumour that he was, once more, hungover as a newt after considerable race preparations involving a bottle of whisky. Tim Culshaw made it to Snake Summit before succumbing to the cold, wind and rain, again, no news as to his footwear this year. Jamie Helmer hardened up through the cold and the rain and finished in somewhere around 5 and a half hours. Ben Naylor really nailed it down though, pulling through the bog and getting home in about 4:53, 22nd overall, and managing to beat Jasmin Paris to the finish as well. Superb running by all involved, including those that took the intelligent decision not to go on when it would have been foolhardy to continue.
A mention should also go out to Kasia and Dave who picked up a couple of injured and borderline hypothermic runners on their way to somewhere else. Thanks guys.
The other main race this weekend started in Edale and went north, somewhat further North than Marsden. Alasdair Cowell satisfied the Live Dot Watching association of runners by competing in the Mountain Rescue Spine Challenger. 108 miles, you don’t need to know the ascent – that doesn’t matter when you go 108 miles. There are a number of incredible facts about the speed Al was running, worked out by Sikobe, but suffice to say that despite starting off 4 hours later than the main Challenger field of 80 runners, he finished 9th, in a time which was 5th fastest overall. Yes, Al battled through rain, snow, sleet, hail, mud, mud, mud, peat, mud, sleep deprivation, blisters, fog, mist, bears, mud and more rain to finish this epic race in 33 hours and 37 minutes. He came home as First Mountain Rescue Finisher and has shown a stupendous amount of grit and determination to get through this. Amazing effort.
Well Done Al.
I should also mention that Harshan Gill is doing the whole Spine- all the way to Kirk Yetholm… his 3rd attempt at the race. He’ll be going for the next few days, so keep an eye out on the tracker for him.
Parkrun in Glossop was cancelled this week, but the consolidated club report for the rest of the country is here.