So every week there is more and more stuff going on at the moment. I’m slowly learning that being patient is a good idea, and that starting the report in the mid afternoon and panicking about making stuff up about EVERYTHING isn’t actually needed seeing as all you lovely people are sending loads of things into the email address. Thanks so much! As it is, I have left in my random asides just for old times sake. This week we have short runs, long runs, weekend runs, weekly runs, runs with lots of ascent, runs with ridiculous amounts of ascent, and runs with *insane* amounts of ascent, obstacle racing, parkrunning and all kinds of other stuff. This one truely is an epic- it’s currently clocking in at more than 4000 words which makes me VERY glad that I didn’t write it all. Keep it up campers….
Paul Skuse has been prolific in his racing this week- and as I hoped, he has also been prolific in his writing – here is his first…..
This is the race that I really pushed to be included in the 2019 fell champs. It’s one of my absolute favourites because it feels like what a fell race should; not only is it easy on the wallet and tough on the legs, it has a route that is will test you like no other.
Along with quite a few other Harriers, I did the race last year and rightly remembered it as being a good but really tough run. 2019 was able to produce a whole new level of suffering. Think back to Thursday evening and you may remember we had a spot of rain. The downpour (that finished only moments before we got to race HQ) was biblical. Thunder roared and lightening flashed. Had it carried on in its full, malevolent fury, I really doubt the race could have gone ahead (and if it had, I would have certainly bottled it). But stop it did so about a dozen GDH arrived to get vested up and ready for action (including a very last minute Joe Travis). My nerve had already started going as we walked down some flagged steps into the rugby club. With the X talons I had near zero traction. I wasn’t alone in this but all I could think was ‘If I can’t walk down here without wanting to use a handrail, how will I cope on the long(ish) path in and out of the village?’ Wendy tried to put me at ease but she should have known better; pre-race I’m as twitchy as a caffeine addled bunny rabbit being circled by a fox.
We wandered over to the start which is a few minutes away from the club house following a bunch of lads who, it turned out, didn’t know where the start line was. After a minor detour or two, we managed to find the start and had a little warm up. It was only then that it hit me just how humid it was. Do you remember the opening scene of ‘Apocalypse Now!’? That will give you a pretty good idea of the conditions on the rugby field. My vest was sticking to my back before the race had even started and all of us had left our water bottles back in the clubhouse. I did manage to scrounge a quick sip of water from the R.O. but I think we all knew that we were going to suffer over the next 5 or so miles. The race started at a good pace (not the standard ‘full beans’ but enough to question if you’d left it long enough since you’d had your tea) and you quickly knock out a lap round the rugby field before starting the climb up some paths, tracks and roads before getting some proper grass under your feet. Si Watts made a good start just behind Stevie K’s little pack. Jackson pushed past me on the climb and got between Si and Steve. Alice was up at the top cheering us on but I was so far gone at this early stage I don’t know if I even acknowledged her. If not, I do apologise. It’s a bugger of a climb and I still hate it when Chris overtakes me. On the plus side, air conditions up here were far nicer than in the village, almost pleasant. At this point, the route flattens out a little and is probably very runnable with fresh legs. Mine weren’t. Gaps between me and the lads ahead were getting wider and wider. At the end of the flat, there’s a short, sharp ramp up to the trig at Alderman’s and then the race just went mad. I’ve never heard so many fell runners swear at a descent. It was just unrunnable: slick, wet grass concealing slick, wet stones with ruts, lumps and bumps thrown in for good measure down a gradient you normally associate with the most dangerous elements of the Winter Olympics.
For many of us, this became a masterclass in mincing (my chance to shine!). I opted for the arse slide over the rockiest of bits. Other’s did the same but not through choice. The worst bit for me was when I thought we’d levelled off only to see the path continuing down the hill. It takes a lot of energy to psyche yourself up for another pant wetting descent when you’ve just got your head back into running mode. So you push on down, level out and then start to climb up all that height you’ve only just lost. This is a tough climb, a real marmite moment. I think I’m in the minority cos I love it. It is runnable but that’s pushing the definition to its limits. When you crest that final climb it’s a good fast, descending line all the way back re-joining the path you started on. At least it should be. After a teeny, tiny little ankle roll, my bottle went so just eased up on anything that I considered a potential trip hazard (puddles, pebbles, clumps of grass, you name it). It turned out I was right to be cautious about the state of the paths and tarmacked roads. Like the lads around me, I braked hard on a lot of the final descent, the primary goal being staying up right and in one piece. Hopefully there’s no video footage of this, it wasn’t my finest moment. Steve Page went for the speed option and got a good dose of gravel rash on his leg and back for his troubles. Kudos. It was great seeing the Harriers come in in various states of physical and emotional distress. Lance clearly loved it, Joe was frightened by it and Pete W is now in counselling.
The prize giving is back at the club where a free mug of chunky soup and a very welcome pint awaits. The after race social is another reason I pushed for the race to be a champs race. Sadly all the Harriers had to dash off home but I really wanted a pint so hung about with the Chris and Stevie K. It is a great little venue with plenty of prizes so it’s worth hanging around for those that can. This is especially true when they mess up on prizes and either forgot to do a separate V45 or just ignored Stevie K and gave me the V40 prize! Don’t worry; I gave him the prize when he started sobbing. And because the winning team had gone home, GDH won the men’s team prize by default so beers again for the boys (Si Watts, Steve Page and me)!
7 Simon Watts
10 Paul Skuse 10th (1st 40)
20 Steve Page
22 Joe Travis
24 Will Mather
27 Lance Hamilton-Griffiths
?? Rob Sheldon
????Pete Wallroth was defo there- I saw the pictures but I couldn’t see him on the results list coz of the slightly dodgy photo.
Hathersage Gala race
Rob Sheldon was across at Hathersage, looking at Well dressings and running races….. he picks up the story: I asked Paul ‘anytime, any race, anywhere’ Skuse what I should expect….”Fast…..” he said “it’s all runnable, so give it full beans” – this included our recce of the hill back down to the finish line “definitely, give it full beans down here….it doesn’t matter if you fall-over as it’s near the end”. I wasn’t completely convinced by Skusey’s plan, so I proceeded to nod, agree and do the opposite. Back at Race HQ, Mary ‘two races in two days’ Jeal avoided the crowds by sauntering in to registration just ahead of the 7.30 start time (fair-play to Skusey and Mary for taking on Hathersage Gala straight after Up the Nab the day before, which is a brutal short race – kudos to both of you [I was busy on Sunday, so couldn’t make Up the Nab……ahem……anyway, moving-on)].
The race starts on a blind bend on the main road out of Hathersage, then left up a hill, through some woods, then a flat bit, then a hill, through some woods, then a flat bit & repeat….just when you think you’ve got over the worst of it, there’s a Tor to scramble/climb up (at this point, I had a vivid recollection of Skusey’s ‘it’s all runnable’ advice & realised that he would have the same advice about any running related question “Q. Irish Sea?”, Skusey: ‘all runnable’; “Q. Everest?”, Skusey: “all runnable” ….). The Race Director had mentioned that there were some cows up at the top and to give them a wide berth if they were still there, but they should be gone by the time we got up there…..predictably & in true fell-racing tradition, they weren’t. Luke Holmes’ nemesis’ were (menacingly) ambling down/sitting on the racing line….danger was narrowly avoided as they were completely disinterested in the mass of fell-runners who had just staggered over the top of the Tor. From there, it’s over the top, break left and then a fast descent into Hathersage on tracks, trails and a bit of road (with a couple of small climbs thrown in for good measure) before a really fast final descent into the village. There was a great crowd outside the Scotsman’s Pack cheering every runner to the finish line before a final dash up a hill through the field and home.
It’s a great race and was great to benefit from Skusey’s race-advice and to cheer Mary home as she blasted down the hill at the end – would be great to see more GDH at next year’s race so you can tick a rare Monday night fell-race of your list. It also got me thinking about last year’s GDH social at Hathersage Lido with the inflatable assault course – I don’t know whose idea that was, but it was a belting day that we should do again. Hopefully we’ll have a load more GDH at next year’s race as it’s a great night (when nearly 300 people turn up to a field on a Monday night, it must be good).
Thanks to Chris Webb for the update on how Wasdale went this year:
The next Lakeland Classic of the year was the final ‘super-long’, Wasdale. A beautiful yet hard route around one of the most remote valleys in the country; 21 miles with 9000 feet of climbing and a long standing record dating back to 1982 (Billy Bland, obviously, in an insane 3hrs25mins). After nearly 3hrs in the car with big Roy Gardner from Saddleworth, we arrived to ideal conditions of high cloud and some sun. I assumed I was the only Glossopdaler but I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Andrew and Robin Hoffmann who were entered and had recced the route! The start up Illgill Head is a runnable affair and a strong field meant the pace was pretty full-on despite the miles and climb to come. After Whinn Rigg you drop down the the southern end of Wastwater – you can’t even consider what’s to come at the point, Esk House seems miles away (it is) – before crossing to Joss’ house at Greendale before the first proper climb up a grassy Seatallan.
Robin and Sarah were finding it hard going at this point they told me and they decided to call it a day, saving themselves for 2020?! I was feeling good knowing the race doesn’t really start until Pillar where mercifully the flag was down as it had got hot by this point. Sticking with local mountain goat Scoffer I followed his excellent lines until I had a meltdown in the heat over Great Gable and down to Styhead. A full-body dunk in Sprinkling Tarn revived me and I picked up again up to Scafell Pike summit. Staving off the cramps on the steep decent off Lingmell nose I finally made it back in 4hrs44mins in 18th place. There’s plenty of room for improvement but just getting round this beast of a route is satisfying enough! Another certificate in the bag (you get a certificate if you finish sub-5hrs, signed by Joss Naylor) and more hard miles in the legs for the summer. Thee are 3 Lakeland Classics left this year; Borrowdale, Three Shires and Langdale. Entries are open for all and are just ‘long’ rather than ‘super long’ those considering entering will be pleased to hear!
Lakes Sky Ultra
Kasia was over in the Lakes doing the Sky Ultra. Essentially that’s 60k and 5000m of ascent and descent which is a fair old way with a pretty significant amount of up and down. She settled into a decent pace and crushed the course in 11:06:40 coming in an excellent 20th and 2nd Lady. Excellent work there!
Thanks to Matt Crompton for the Sale Sizzler info… Just in case no one has sent in a report about Sale Sizzler from last Thursday, here is a brief one!
Five Glossopdale runners out of a total of 603 finishers for a flat, fast 5km around Wythenshawe Park.
Matt Crompton 21.47
Nick Ham 23.29
John Stephenson 24.30
Tony Hillier 24.34
Kaylea Haynes 25.31
Grand Trail Courmayer
Steve Knight has been a bit quiet recently, apart from some pretty decently long runs in various low key ultras. Now we get to see why. He snuck off to the Continent to have a bit of a blast around the 110k 6000m Grand Trail Courmayer and ended up 61st of 312. Amazing effort- with some excellent views if his strava profile is anything to go by. I still can’t work out how to copy photos from Strava onto here, other than take a photo of his photo with my phone and then upload it, but I’ll spare you that tech disaster.
Tony Hillier was out doing his 10k thing in Mossley. I have little else to go on apart from the fact it was Tony, he was probably up there in the top 3 V70’s, and it was around Mossley.
Piece of Cake Half
Joe Travis, after his warm up at Aldermans ascent, had a hankering for either a) a road race or b) some cake. As it was, there was the very thing! The Piece of Cake half… at least, I assume it was a road race and there was some cake involved- if neither of those things happened, I’d be writing to trading standards. As it is, Joe came in 8th overall- or at least that’s what I think I saw on Strava. Rumours that he ate 8 cakes as a reward are uncorroborated, and as yet are merely an unfounded smear made up by 3rd parties.
Here is his side of the story…
Hiya! I’ve been representing the blue and orange down in Shropshire again this week:
I took part in the Piece of Cake Half on Saturday, which is a trail/fell half marathon in the Shropshire Hills. Absolutely cracking route with a couple of climbs and descents totalling around 650m elevation gain. Despite struggling on the climbs after racing at Alderman’s Ascent on Thursday I was happy to get around in under 2 hours which was my aim on the start line. Would have been good enough for 3rd last year but only good enough for 8th this year! Great fun and contemplating coming back next year to do two laps and the full marathon that was also on offer!
Snowdonia Trail marathon/10k
The Trail marathon over and around Snowdon had a bit of a decent showing from the Blue and Orange this week. Greg Wasinski was there as an impartial observer (and instigator?!)…. I’m not sure if any of those who actually ran it will get a chance to put in a report for this week, but just in case a fair few GDHers were in Snowdonia for the ON Snowdonia Trail Marathon (10k/Ultra)…Lucy W, Luke H, Pete N, Rebecca S, Kate B, Marie W, James K, and other will no doubt come forward…While they were putting the effort in I spent the time pootling Beddgelert with the dogs so can’t really say too much about the race except that the course was apparently amazing, the sun was out, Kate B looked on good form when I saw her at Beddgelert, and everyone finished in the various stages of brokendom that you expect at the end of a marathon. Lucy has explained to me that I would love the course and should do it next year. Not sure if that’s revenge for me telling Lucy that Snowdon isn’t that high and once you get to Pen y Pass it’s all done. The next hour and 50 minutes to the top probably resounded with my name and certain highly descriptive adjectives…
I have managed to find some stats, so for the stat conscious amongst you:
60 James Knapper 4:42
154 Lucy Wasinski 5:34
236 Luke Holme 6:26
333 Pete Nicholson 6:30
338 Becky Smith – 6:31
374 Kate Bowden 6:40
517 Marie Williamson 7:35
Claire Campbell was doing the 10k and was 53rd in 1:04
All times may or may not be chipped, fried smothered in mayo and served with additional optional garnishes.
Holme Howler Obstacle Race
John Pollard was enjoying himself at the Holme Howler Obstacle race. Um. It’s an Obstacle race in Holme? Maybe?….
aha! a report….
Holme village, tucked away off the A6 near Carnforth, were holding their annual festival including a 10k ‘Howler’ obstacle race, which piqued my interest, to do a different sort of race.
It was indeed. Over 30 obstacles, including much submersion in filthy water, log balancing and crawling under nets and through tunnels, water slides and inflatable castles to scramble. Was a fair bit of running through lanes, canal paths and fields, which sorted the fancy dress/fun runners from the regular tough mudder types, but full credit to the organisers, it was challenging and fun.
Definitely recommended, are there other similar events anyone knows of ?
Results don’t matter of course ;/ which is why I wasted over 5 minutes at the water slide trying to get a photo with a waterlogged phone. It’s knackered….
Charlesworth and Chisworth Carnival
The Skusinator is on a roll at the moment….. here we go with C&C…
I wandered over to the race to sneak in a quick recce of the route. I always forget how beautiful it is over by Coombs Edge. The sun was out despite some pessimistic weather forecasts and the carnival was in full swing. GDH put out a good showing with Lance, Steve F, Rob S, Stephen H, Pete D, Alex C, Joe G and (not sure who the other lad is, seen his face before but don’t know the name).
We started with the usual firing of the musket. This is a short, fast race so by Harrier law it demands a full beans start. Not sort of, partial, let’s leave some in the tank for later full beans but real full beans! Get down the road turn right and push on up the hill, across the bog and up the hard climb up onto Coombes. Don’t slack off here. It’s runnable. Suck it up and get on with it. Once on the top you get a brief chance to take in the view. Then crack on along the top, you’re half way done now so stay competitive and push hard for the descent. It is a great runnable descent and this is from someone with a deep seated aversion to all things that slope downhill. There is a nasty little style that just wrong foots you every time before crossing the track and turning right into the field. Alex failed to do this so he carried on the track for a scenic tour of Charlesworth (Look at his face at the finish line. Priceless!). Then, if you manage to go the right way, it’s a little hop over a narrow style and cross the finish line. As always, I’ve no idea about results. I was well chuffed with getting 3rd overall but the race doesn’t do 2nd or 3rd so no prizes, nor do they do teams which is a shame as the Harriers absolutely nailed it. Lance is now a full on race fiend. Rob ran brilliantly –the route clearly suited him. Steve F came in with a huge grin having seen Alex balls up his race only metres from the finish line. I didn’t see the others come in as went to get a well-deserved drink of water.
Next year Sean Philips, Jessica and Fast Harry need to have a crack at this. It’s barely a fell run and if you’ve got some speed in your legs, it’s one of the best races you’ll do.
I have no idea… not about the race, nor about this photo… but it is probably indicative of the race….
Kidding…. Will Mather sent this in:
The day started with the idea of 4 of us running to the the race from peep o day following the Bullock smithy route, after arriving just in time to register, Paul Skuse and I (Will) ran past the massive selection of cake and registered but Lance Hamilton-Griffiths and Steve France couldn’t resist the cake so didn’t race. Arriving at the start line we spotted the the race photographer Nick Ham and the one who can’t be named, Voldemort Pepper.
It was a 10k race that started and finished in the middle of Peak Forest it was a “full beans” kind of race as it was all runnable and when the the gun went “start” Skuse was off like a mad man was chasing him, again you decide who that was. It went back the way we had just come up the limestone way and over Ox low hill then coming off the limestone way we headed for Eldon hill avoiding the old disused mine shafts and not falling into the Quarry we then had an 1 mile fast downhill where Skuse ballet danced his way down I waddled down,both of us with legs not wanting to work anymore and Nick skipped down dreaming of the cakes.
No official results so it’s all ish time.
Skuse 48mins, 3 cakes
Voldemort 51mins, 2 cakes
Me 55mins, 3 cakes
Nick 60mins, lost count on how many he had.
The Nick Ham Corner
Nick Ham did something this weekend…. It looks like it was a 26 miler, so pretty short for him. The White Peak Walk… so it was either a slow run, or a fast run… I’m a little confused either way. 5:39 and 17th of nigh on 400…. but not a selfie amongst his photos!
Dufton Away Weekend
A bevvy/gaggle/skean/generic group noun of Glossopdalers mooched on up to Dufton this weekend to enjoy a bit of a time outside of the Shire. I can’t go into everything that happened or this might end up being another couple of thousand words long… grab someone at a race/run/pub and ask them… here is a potted version….. We took over the YHA there, Sheelagh cooked some AMAZING food- and was assisted wonderfully by various sous-chefs from the junior ranks. Routes were run. Games were played. Dogs were exercised (none got lost in ravines), babies were cuddled. New acquaintances were made, and a grand time was had by all. (sorry- these were the only pics I could lay may hands on at this time….). Look out for the next one in a place somewhere, somewhen. The more the merrier.
Well well well. I understand we have another serial Parkrunner on our hands. David Chrystie-Lowe ended up doing his 250th this week. Flipping heck! Will Mather went and got himself a PB at Glossop, there were a mass of Harriers at Penrith Parkrun- all? most? of whom forgot their barcodes, yet still managed to get their names recorded…. Julie Eyre broke 28 mins for the first time and was pretty flipping happy about it.
If you made it all the way through to here, well done! If you’ve done a race and it wasn’t in the report, send in a few words, a picture of whatever to email@example.com and it’ll get put in the next weeks report. Without you guys sending things in we have to resort to making stuff up, and we know where that leads….. We don’t? Oh- well read some of the random ones from 2 years ago- it all got a bit strange.
Im going to have to stop now, or you’ll all be reading this half way into next week.