School’s out and running is still very much in!

Yet again, we have been spoilt for choice for evening and weekend races this week (all days except Tuesday and Friday by the look of things) and it turns out that quite a few Harriers have been doing real life sport rather than just watching other people exerting themselves on catchup TV  (the Netball World Championship and the Tour de France in my case).

Trunce (courtesy of Caitlin Swan)

Casting all the way back to Monday, Matt and Adam Crompton and Caitlin Swan headed over to Penistone for the 5th race in the Trunce series.  Many thanks to Matt for acting as the junior team chauffeur this week…From Caitlin, “I really enjoyed The Trunce this week because the weather was just right, maybe a little too hot, and I wasn’t the only Glossopdale Harrier there. I think that Matt and Adam also enjoyed it however Adam had an issue with his leg, making it hard for him to run. Despite this, we all had very good runs with Adam coming 18th Junior Male and Matt coming well above half way through the pack. I was 3rd girl.  The best bit of this adventure (and I am sure Adam will agree) was that afterwards we had delicious ice-creams in Penistone.

Pirates of the GDH Skusey-Full-Beans: The Curse of the Black Knight Charge Report (courtesy of Rob Sheldon)

The GDH crew set-off for the Black Knight Charge on Wednesday aboard two vengabus galleons with Captains’ Pete “room for a small one” Wallroth and Steve “hot dog crust pizza” Page at the helms.

The Black Knight Charge is an arduous 5k out and back across fields/roads/tracks around Daisy Nook Country Park…..which is just to get you from race HQ to the start line and back.  This was all too much for the GDH crew, resulting in some dissension in the ranks – me and John “what holes…..this vest’s got plenty of life left in yet” Stephenson and me elected to combine Jeroen’s ‘high-knees’ routine with a rendition of ‘Give me Sunshine’, while Luke “please don’t take me” Holme and Will “three ultras before breakfast” Mather resorted to chasing each other around a kids’ playground/wooden boat as part of a non-approved Jeroen warm-up routine………the wooden boat would prove to be Wendy “I could have made it as a gymnast” Trelease’s nemesis on the return leg.

Eventually, the hardy GDH crew made it to the start line which was somewhere between a couple of trees at the bottom of a hill and set off in pursuit of a medley of East Cheshire Harriers, Hyde Striders and Oldham & Royton Road Runners.  As Captain Paul “Redbeard” Skusey (don’t ask) hadn’t done the race before, it was left to me to utter the immortal GDH mantra…..”it’s all runnable'”, and with that, we were off around a fast trail course, a loop of the park and then out on trails and paths and back again for a fairly fast and furious 10k (a bit like Hit the Trail but more woods and a few more bumps in the middle to negotiate).  Skusey went for ‘full-beans mode’ (I know, that may come as a surprise to some of you) and came 9th out of 177 followed by Steve “have you tried cheeseburger pizza?” Page and Nick “praise the” Lord.   Behind the full-beans crew, me, Will and Luke had an awesome battle all the way round – Will “is that it?” Mather came 30th, Luke “Death or Glory” Holme came tearing past me on the line in 33rd (good effort!) and I came in 34th followed by the rest of our buccaneering GDH crew (including Rachel “Rules are there to be broken” Walton who decided to ignore the finish funnel as she headed for a reunion with her GDH crew-mates and David “Skull & Crossbones”  Chrystie-Lowe).

Pirate Pete Wallroth pressganged an unsuspecting runner into taking a picture on the way back to race HQ, which gave the GDH crew another opportunity to board the kids wooden boat/playground – various pirate poses were adopted and some high-quality pirate jokes were told….”where do pirates go shopping? Arrrrrrrrrrrrgos” – with the pictures done, we all abandoned ship….apart from Wendy “this is higher than it looks” Trelease, who was abandoned by the rest of the GDH crew as she dangled precariously from the crow’s nest.

Back at Race HQ, hot-pot was on offer for all the finishers…….I also discovered that Pirate Paul “Full Beans”  Skuse doesn’t just get animated about races, but is almost delirious when offered the option of cheese and onion pie (it’s not ‘full beans’, but it’s pretty close).  The GDH results are as follows:

Sheldon Fell Race (courtesy of Lance Hamilton-Griffiths)

On Thursday evening Simon, Paul and I headed off to the Sheldon Fell race. Sheldon is the most delightful village nestled in the fields of the white peak, when we arrived there was a nice buzz and plenty of people readying for the race.

After a little warm up and recce of the last ½ mile we headed for the start line, there was a fantastic atmosphere with 176 runners ready-ing themselves for the 4 miles of ‘fun’. After a looking around the start  and noticing a lot of young and fast looking people on the front row I lowered my expectations of finishing in the top 50 to finishing in the top half.

It’s a full beans downhill start through the village, after a small climb out of the village we turned left into the fields and the race really took hold. We sped across the fields for about a 1 mile as fast as our balance and legs would allow, Si & Paul clocking sub 5 min mile and me just trying to hold on. At the end of the fields the race turns onto a trail and then heads up through the woods on what is largely a single path with a steep drop off the edge and lots of tree roots(which I managed to kick a couple of times with my already painful toe).  At the end of the wooded trail you hit a hill which could easily be mistaken for a wall, a sharp 200m climb brings you back out into the fields and heading back to the top of the village.  Once you hit the village it is a 100m spirit downhill through the local crowd, under the colourful bunting and across the line.

The official results have not been published yet however: Paul finished in a very impressive 18th, Simon 23rd, and I’m hoping to have been in the top half.  This is a very well organised race, well worth a visit next year and at £5 it’s a bargain.

Ras Yr Wydda – Snowdon International Race (courtesy of Matt Crompton)

Someone once described this on to me as the “London Marathon of fell races” and I can see why. Televised by S4C, international teams, and crowds lining the streets of Llanberis to send runners on their way up the mountain and applaud them back in. And unusually for a fell race – an obvious start and finish line!!
2pm, I lined up as the sole runner in blue and orange. A steep road climb away from the village was followed by a runnable section pretty much all the way to just before Clogwyn, about three quarters up the hill. Then the climbing started in earnest, pretty much all the way to the summit.
The pain of the climb was helped by the distraction of watching, and admiring, the top men and women coming back down. The way they descend with such ease really is some sight. 
Anyway, I reached the summit in 1hr 12m. Then straight back down the same way. Save for turning my ankle just after the top, I was happy with the descent, reaching the finish line back in the village in 1hr 54.
I know a lot of members have done this race before, but if you haven’t then I can recommend it. It still feels like a local race, and I was really struck with the “welshness” of it all – a very big positive! Yet at the same time it felt like an “event race”. Cracking fun! 

Denholme Doddle (courtesy of Nick Ham)

Many, many years ago (we’re talking 2000, 2002 and 2003) I did an LDWA challenge event called the Harden Hard’un. It was based in Harden, east of Haworth and consisted of 27 tough miles up and down and across the moors in the summer heat. It became defunct a long time ago but was resurrected in recent years as the Denholme Doddle, now based in (you guessed it) Denholme, which is a little further west. Yesterday, Saturday 20th July I finally got the chance to do it all again 16 years later.

My previous best time was 5:49 in 2003 and slowest 6:05 in 2002. Those years were hot. Back then I regarded myself as not much more than a part time jogger. This year promised to be considerably cooler and more damp, so perfect for a PB (I bet you know where this is headed already).

The somewhat chaotic and rambling organiser set the walkers off at 08:30. The wind was blowing but the rain hadn’t arrived yet. Then it was time for us to register before our start time of 09:30. Our send-off was even more chaotic, and late (he couldn’t cope with the hooter that had just been given to him to send us on our way). By now, drizzle borne energetically upon the strong wind had caused me to set off wearing my lightweight Montane ‘waterproof’ (it’s anything but). Within a mile I was burning up, so off that came to get tied around my waist, where it remained for the remainder of the event. The frequent scudding drizzle showers, which lasted until around midday, were sufficiently ‘warm’ for shorts and T-shirt to be just right while running.

At the first checkpoint I was greeted by an array of sweets to get any kid excited. I saw tubes of Bassett’s cherry drops, which took my mind back to the late sixties when I used to beg them from my Auntie Edna. I never knew they were still made. Barely able to contain myself, I took a tube and opened it on the run. It was quite damp from the rain. Being wrapped in paper, risk of disintegration and disgorging of contents was high, but I managed to wheedle not one but TWO out of the packet to suck on simultaneously, in tandem, all at the same time. “Push the boat out” I thought. “Fill me boots, knock meself out.” The taste brought it all flooding back. I was reminded why I begged so for the opening of the handbag 50 years ago. Ooh, I were in me filament.

At Checkpoint 2 a different array of sweets was available. A couple of soft cola bottle chews went down well from there. After CP2 I ran ahead of the others I’d been with. With all the faster runners out of sight ahead and the slower ones out of sight behind, I was navigating alone from the route description. I was surprised how I couldn’t remember any of the route from 16+ years ago. It all seemed new to me.

On the approach to Checkpoint 3 at 12 miles (Walshaw Dean Middle Reservoir dam), the sun finally came out. There were tuna wraps on offer here. I filled my boots again as I trundled up the Pennine Way towards Top Withins, down to Bronte Bridge and straight up the other side to pick up the far track left to Checkpoint 4 on the edge of Penistone Hill.

Passing to the south of Haworth and crossing the steam railway at Oxenhope, I trundled onwards via CP5 to CP6 at Harden (24 miles), by which time I was slowing and struggling to keep the jog going, but still there was no sign of any pursuers. Having just turned back south again, it was just a case of grinding out the last 3.5 miles to the finish in the now rather warm sunshine. With less than a mile to go, the pursuers appeared, three of the perishing blighters. Although I really couldn’t, I dialled up the uphill shuffle to 11 back to the Denholme Mechanics’ Institute. They caught me at the finishing desk. Our times were 6:41. I could never imagine doing it in 5:49 now. Even though I’m ‘only’ 55, it’s sobering if a little depressing what age does to athletic ability.

Holme Moss (courtesy of Jude Stansfield and Paul Skuse)

After some stirring words penned by Paul S. on FB earlier in the week, 4 Harriers ventured over to Holme Moss for today’s race.  Here are some brief race notes from the racing machines that are Jude Stansfield and Paul Skuse.

From a slightly broken Paul….This race is the mother of local fell races. Just look at the lumps it takes in and the terrain it covers. It’s a challenging yet rewarding course with more cake than you know what to do with at the end. If you haven’t done it, you really should. It’s a true classic.

Craig Leith turned up last minute with zero kit so had to scrounge whatever he could (big thanks to Austin Frost from Dark Peak for helping out here). Rather than a race vest he had to use my Harriers drop bag; the one that looks like a kid’s school bag.

Si Watts came in first for GDH-no idea about times or positions. He did take quite a few spills along the way but I’ve been informed by eye witnesses that he did a belting job on the descents.

Craig Leith came in second for the club and won a V50 prize (it’s in my bag; we need to sort handing it over). He also shared his water with me when he saw me in a ragged state. Appreciate it matey.

I had a mare. Just one of those days/races where it doesn’t come together. I just wanted to finish. You know when you can’t swallow your food and are just perpetually thirsty? That was me. I did enjoy picking/ eating whimberries(?) so that’s a plus.

Jude Stansfield may have got a prize; I’m not sure how that whole thing got resolved.  Special note about our part time friend Chris Jackson, he had a brilliant run and came 5th overall.

From a seemingly less broken Jude….A tough and warm 27km but thoroughly enjoyed it apart from the last killer road section. Really pleased with 4:10 (as it was only 12’ slower than my last time 9 years ago).. Really well organized, great prizes, loads of cake.

Solway Coast Marathon (courtesy of Will Mather)

So a marathon in the Lake District it’s got to have some hills in right? No they claim it’s flatter than Manchester but with the wind it felt very hilly. I believe I was the only Glossopdale Harrier to give this a go.  It started near an airfield in Solway did a 6mile loop, it was far too hot for me I was already throwing water down my back, then it was off out to run a big loop of the coastal road it was beautiful having the beach/sea next to you then the Scottish mountains in the distance, but with any beauty there must be a beast – the bloody wind. I managed 14miles before problems started, basically my core needs to improve. So for 12 miles it was a battle to keep moving, I stopped 3 times to try stretch it out but nothing worked so went to plan C, just finish. I got to the finish line in chip time of 3hr25min30sec which got me 30th from 150 which isn’t too bad not a PB but plenty of lessons learnt and it was a beautiful low key race I would recommend it if your that way next year. 

Coniston Fell Race (courtesy of John Pollard)

Quick details about the country fair fell race this afternoon, much briefer than my ascent certainly!  A straight up and down the Old Man of Coniston as the Old man of Glossopdale toiled to keep up with the young whipper snappers in an entry of only 36.

These Lakes events have got to toughen you up, there’s no passengers in these fields;
as the organiser said when I asked him if “there might be some trods to pick up”…”it’s an old fashioned fell race lad (lad?!), get up and down how you like”… I managed ok until I nearly ended up in Torver trying to get back to the show field, they don’t waste time on marshals in these shows!  I ended up at the rear again as the climb took its toll and the clag came down in the last part of the climb, wind against you going up, behind you blowing you over on descending…not ideal.

I finished in about 1hr 50m and was 35th of 36 starters. But I was last, as one bloke pulled his calf on t’way up. Legend Darren Fishwick came tearing back down past me at one point, shouting he’d been stung by a bee…I was just stung by the climb.

Other running and racing antics gleaned from FB and Strava:

  • Oldham 7k:  Completed by a delightfully colour coordinated Tony Hillier in 37.57.
  • Bamford Carnival Fell Race:  Jude Stansfield was 1st GDH in 44 mins and without any rain  “Lovely (apart from the Tarmac bits)”
  • Dark Peak 15 Trigs: Ian Crutchley completed this crazy 55 mile challenge last Sunday. The write up for this is great and worthy of a blog of its own >
  • Earlier in the month Jude Stansfield and Lins Palmer fast hiked/ ran the Tour du Mont Blanc in a sociable 6 days (5.5 active days).  It was absolutely spectacular and highly recommended. The heatwave was pretty hellish making even downhill running exhausting (not possible!). They did a few variation high passes for a bit of ‘interesting’ ascent (boulder fields, moraines, slushy fragile snow – Jude was very grateful for being with super Lins who assured her that should wouldn’t fall  into a glacial melt running under the snow and get trapped ;).  Happily Lins was right.  10,500m of alpine flowered ascent and 165km long.  As it wasn’t enough to just go round Mont Blanc, Lins has just climbed to the top this week!

Parkrun Corner

GDH parkrunners were running far and wide this weekend; Richmond Park, Hyde, Brighouse, Medina IOW, Marple, Marple Juniors, Dewsbury, Portobello, Whinlatter, Bakewell and, of course, Glossop, where Josie Swan completed her 100th run.   The full club parkrun results are available at:

In Other News….

New Hoodie Supplier:  We are in the process of finalising a new hoodie supplier.  Once this is set up, you will be able to order your own kit online rather than waiting for bulk orders.  Hopefully our club ordering page will be up and running in the next few days.

Spin Classes:  Cheryl Stitt is looking at setting up spin classes for the club.  There are a number of possible times available.  If you are interested, please see Cheryl’s recent posts on the club FB page.

Aqua Fun:  Dan Ellingworth has kindly booked Hathersage Pool for the club again:  5-6pm on 17th August with the Aquarun inflatable. For more info, check out the event section on the GDH FB page.


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