Bring on the sleet, we’re going racing…

Horizontal rain, snow, hail and strong winds marked a return to the joys of winter running this weekend, much to everyone’s delight if the run titles in the club Strava summary are to be believed “wind was a real treat”,  “wind and hail stopped play”, “rather mingin”, “wet and wild”, “goodness me that was hard”, “who’s idea was this?”, “cant feel my hands” etc.   Not that a small amount of inclement weather was ever going to prevent a significant contingent in blue and orange heading for the hills, trails, pavements as this week’s lengthy missive demonstrates.

Many thanks to Ian Crutchley, Steve Crossman, Jeroen & Emma Peters, Paul Skuse, Guy Riddell, Rachel Walton, Kaylea Haynes, Zoe Barton, Wendy McMahon and the race-sensing antenna of the Weekly Roundup Team for saving me from having to make this whole thing up.

Hawarth Hobble (courtesy of Ian Crutchley)

Lucy Wasinski and I met at an ungodly hour, for the drive north, to take on the Haworth Hobble as a mixed pair.  At 32 miles and around 5000 feet of climb, it’s a formidable challenge, and regarded somewhat as a classic event on the local (ish) Ultra scene.  On arriving in Haworth the weather looked OK, but as we readied on the start line at the bottom of the cobbles on Main Street, it turned, and quickly.  The first mile was horrific, soaked to the bone already and dreading what was to come.  The rain was mercifully on and off, but the blustery head on wind in the first 10 miles was relentless – properly energy draining.  Thankfully, once we turned South about 1/3rd into the race, the weather improved and the wind dropped steadily through the day.

About half way, we found ourselves caught up in a waterproof clad, single file line of runners, through some particularly tricky and very muddy trails.  Here the pace increased dramatically.  Lucy was hot on the heels of Ian, and thinking, “crikey, Ian’s really pushing here!”.  Meanwhile, I was actually behind Lucy, slipping and falling all over the place trying to keep up, thinking “jees, she’s killing me here!”.  Lucy caught the guy in blue and realised it wasn’t me, at the same moment I appeared from behind covered in mud from one of two falls through that section.  Note – the Hoka ATR’s served me well generally, but it was so muddy and slippy that they were lethal in places.

We had no idea how many, if any, mixed pairs were in front of us.  During the climb up Stoodley Pike we spotted a mixed pair in front of us.  We set them as our target, and started to pressurise them from behind, and with the frequency that they were turning around to see where we were, they knew the score.  We held our nerve and they held out well, and was perhaps another 3 miles after Stoodley before we passed them, climbing a steep lane with the most cheery “Hi, how you doing” we could possibly muster.

The final 2-3 miles were murderously runnable, and we found ourselves at the back of a small pack of around 5 others running strong, one of which was a lady, and I could see Lucy had set a new target.  By this point we were struggling, but we knew they would be too, so held on, hoping to make a late move.  As we re-entered Main Street in Haworth, 100 metres from the end, we made our move and descending some steps and crossing the road to the primary school, we went into all out sprint mode.  The pack we’d been following didn’t see it coming, and were powerless to fight back.  We edged in in front of them all, literally within 10m of the finish line.

We set an ambitious but achievable goal to finish in 6 hours, which in previous years would have seen us win the mixed pair prize.  We managed 5.51.56, which under those conditions was amazing.  We did finish 1st X35 mixed pair, but there were three V40 mixed pairs ahead, one of which by a huge 45 minutes.  Goes to show, just depends who decides to enter that year (and that life begins at 40!)  Lucy finished 5th lady, so we’re pretty damn chuffed with how we did.

We’d bumped into Nick Ham during registration, but didn’t see him again.  Nick is a veteran of this event and, this year, finished in 7.26.

The one where we saw the photographer and the one where we didn’t.

Trafford 10k (courtesy of Jeroen Peters and Steve Crossman)

Today’s Trafford 10k was the 2nd instalment of the GDH road/trail champs 2019 and everyone is clearly gunning for the prestigious championship titles this year. So many harriers took part that I have had to resort to a spreadsheet to show the results.

Jo Brack put in another speedy performance breaking her own course record by some 2 minutes. Also Emma Rettig was delighted to improve on her PB by about a minute and a half.  Chris Peters ran her first ever 10k race racking up yet another PB for the GDH Ladies.  Chris exceeded her own expectations with an excellent time of 56.00 which made her 4th in her age category.

Jeroen finished in approximately 43.02, more or less dead on expectation.  He only just failed to reel in Will Mather before the line and was just out-sprinted by Luke Holme who was clearly determined not to be beaten by an old codger (Editor’s note: Jeroen’s words, not mine).  Coach Jeroen’s performance of the day award went to Paul Peters who finished in an incredible 33.02, yet another massive PB. 

This feels like an appropriate point in the report to call out a certain Matt Crompton, this week’s unsung hero/ heroine.  Apparently Matt stopped his race at about 6k to help a stricken lady runner and stayed with her until a marshal arrived, he then smashed a 10K PB.  Awesomeness on all fronts!

James Thorn (courtesy of Paul Skuse & Zoe Barton)

From Paul….It’s never a good sign when you see Chris Jackson wearing more layers than you at the start of a race. There was a huge kit faff in the pub as the light dusting of snow rapidly turned to near white out conditions. Consensus across the field was if you’ve got it, wear it. Conditions underfoot were treacherous, wet mud, snow and slush and assorted combinations of the three making both climb and descent precarious to say the least. GDH ladies managed a respectable haul of bling, Zoe getting 3rd lady and 1st LV40 and Mary 1st LV50.  I had a right old battle with the legend that is Andy Fox (he got me on the down, I got him on the up) and Lance made his fell race debut in some pretty brutal conditions. Forget times and placings, the real winners were those who managed to stay on their feet throughout the race. Thinking back, I’m not sure anyone did.

From Zoe…. it was obvious from arrival that we’d be encountering a fair bit of the white stuff falling from the sky. Jackets on for almost all the 40 odd who were silly enough to part with a fiver. And what a return we got for our fiver! Blizzard, clag, blizzards in clag, hellish runnable climbing and slidey descending, free t shirt and water at the end and prizes a plenty. Being female seemed to guarantee a prize 😉 – well done us old birds.  Well done everyone for some classic local racing in choice conditions and to huge thanks to Des’ marshals out there in the arctic blast. 

Some smiling, some not smiling, some trying to run away from the unusually overdressed

Irwell Valley 20 Miler (courtesy of Kaylea Haynes and Wendy McMahon)

Turned up at race HQ today (a Marquee in the middle of a field) to a sign with today’s weather report “horrible to grim” it said. I’m not as hardy as many of you lot reading this, having not been in Hadfield long, I’m still trying to shake off my soft road running ways so this wasn’t the weather report I wanted to read…

Wrapped up in  many layers I set out for 3.5 hours of pretty much cross country. The trails were muddy, wet, “undulating” (probably read as a small bump in the road for you fell runners) and we got a mix of weather for snow and hail to beautiful blue skies. Apart from being a bit crowded in the first few miles I enjoyed the run. A great one for the run calendar for anyone like myself training for spring marathons. It’s a 2 lap course but I was more looking to get some long miles in on closed roads then pick a very scenic run. It didn’t get boring though as there was enough variety. 

Rumour (and Strava) suggest that Wendy McMahon and Amanda Holtey were also stretching their legs around the 20 mile route. Wendy Mcmahon 3:14:18, Kaylea Haynes 3:19:22, Amanda Holtey 3:35:06.

Brough Law Fell Race (courtesy of Emma Peters)

Not to be outrun by the rest of her family, Emma Peters ran Brough Law today which is 8km with 400m elevation gain….I raced it a couple of years ago when the weather was glorious, so naturally today was forecast snow.  I optimistically set off from the Ingram valley in shorts, a base layer and my GDH vest and after 150m of elevation in the first km I was feeling nice and warm. However, by 2km the sleet started and by 3km I was struggling to concentrate on anything other than the driving hail hitting my bare arms and legs. I battled on for a while longer, but soon had to stop and put my jacket on. Needless to say most runners had started in their jackets… Lesson learnt.

The last km of Brough Law goes back the same way as the first km, so -150m elevation meant I could catch 8 runners on what was a very determined run in. Time was 57:02, taking over 6 minutes off my previous time!   I would definitely return a third time for this race, come rain, shine or sleet.

SE Lancs XC – Final Results

The 2018/2019 XC season is now sadly (?) at an end however there has been some great running especially from the GDH Juniors and Vets over the course of the SELCC series this winter:

  • Martha Wallroth:  15th U11 Girl
  • Caitlin Swan:  4th U13 Girl
  • Josie Swan:  2nd U15 Girl
  • Jo Brack: 3rd LV50
  • Dave Christie-Lowe: 2nd MV60

Parkrun Corner

This week, harriers were doing their parkrun thing in Durham, Glossop, Jamaica Pond, Clitheroe and Frickley on Saturday and at Marple Juniors on Sunday.  Whilst it was not really a weekend for PBs, Tracy Robinson took over 30 secs of her PB at Glossop (maybe something to do with wanting to get back to an incredibly cute puppy?) and Merlin Wallroth, ably paced by dad and sister,  smashed his junior parkrun PB by more than a minute!

Sikobe clocked up his 250th parkrun this weekend celebrating in true Harriers style with an amazing cake crafted by Sheelagh and suitably adorned with blue and orange icing.

Elsewhere this weekend

Chester 10k:  Chris Harrison and Adrian Gent took part in the ALDI Chester 10k finishing in 42:03 and 57:04 respectively.

The Tunnel Ultra:  Definitely the winner of this week’s ‘how is that even a thing?!’ award and arguably not something that even Tim “I skip merrily across the line between fact and fiction” Budd could make up.  This weekend, Riccardo Giussani took part in the Tunnel Ultra which, according to the website is  ‘200 miles, 200 times non-stop through the darkness of the UK’S longest foot tunnel (Combe Down Tunnel in Bath) ….a mindbending test of extreme endurance and sensory deprivation’.  Riccardo completed 65 of the 100 loops i.e. 130 miles.  Given that the image on the website makes me feel distinctly peculiar, I can’t imagine running 1 loop let alone 65 so much kudos to Riccardo for this craziness.

The Dentdale Run: Ian McGarry made a surreptitious race appearance yesterday taking part in the Dendale Run which, according to Rachel who didn’t run it, was “a nice undulating road race with a bit of a stream on the course for some of it”.  Ian ran and maybe paddled the 14.2 miles in 1 hour 52 mins.

Official Stuff

Herod Farm Fell Race (Wed 17/4 @ 18:30) Just in case you haven’t seen the FB request, Sikobe is looking for marshals.  This is a great local race so if you can help out please let Sikobe know.  Also, whilst we are on the subject of Herod Farm, huge thanks to Darren Clarke who has agreed to take over as RO from 2020.

Navigation Training: after the resounding success of the 2018 courses, 2 new dates for 2019 have been announced (March 17th & 24th).  It is a 6-hour session (roughly 9.00-4.00) and is subsidised by the committee with a charge of just £15 per person.  If you are interested please either comment on the relevant FB post or send a PM to Jude Stansfield. 

Phew….I suspect this may be the longest weekly round up EVER. Apologies if you have missed anything important this evening due to the time required to read this report, there has been an impressive amount of activity.  I hope I haven’t overlooked anything or anyone.  Don’t forget, we have a special email address for your reports and updates (gdhweeklyreports@gmail.com).

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