“What has 2019 been like then?” Report

Here it is Harriers, the 2019 free-for-all.  Thanks for all the submissions, it’s great to read all of your stories!

Here’s everything that came in (in the order it came in, no favouritism!).

Pete Wallroth

2019 has been about recovery after a rubbish 2018 hampered by mental health battles and injury niggles.

Have learnt to simply walk out the door and go if I want to run rather than sitting and pontificating about it. The result:

Support of some amazing club mates, a load of bloody awesome running days, taking the piss of out of Luke, amazing scenery, loads of ace new club members, marginally speeding up I dare say (nothing anyone needs to be remotely worried about though)….. oh and a questionable year end moustache! In all been runnable!

Steve Page

Representing the Club at London. Whilst not my goal time, the whole weekend was fantastic and I hope whoever is drawn out of the hat has as much fun as me and Tamsin did over the weekend. Electric atmosphere!

The GDH Peloton at The Tour of Tameside was awesome. Some of the most competitive and closely fought racing I’ve experienced in my relatively short time as a runner. That first night’s race with 4 of us crossing the line within 3 seconds will take some beating. Attached is a photo of me showing Crossman a clean pair of heels!

Round Sheffield Run. Me & Lucy 3rd mixed pair. Such a great event, and with a Paul Skuse deal of approval, this has prompted a bit of a challenge of GDH mixed pairs waiting to enter when entries open in January!


Simon Watts

I’ve loved running with the club this year, great turn out at the midweek sessions and some really good spirited and competitive racing. My highlight was the ToT and the GDH peleton which seem to grow with each race! Cracking racing by all, sprints on the line and we only just missed the team prize; next year!

Pete Tomlin

 I only started running in 2018, doing a C25k, and was kind of plodding around a bit, doing the odd parkrun. I challenged myself for 2019 to do some bigger runs, try out new routes etc.

In May I did my first ever 10k, doing the D&W white peak trail short course, which was great, and a real confidence boost that I could actually run more than 5k!

After that I feel like my running’s come on a lot, I joined the club in August and have ‘enjoyed’ several of coach J’s Tuesday sessions. I’ve gone from 10k to 10 miles, doing the D&W Autumn series. My parkrun time has gone from around 26mins to around 23-24mins. And it’s been great to meet a lot of you all and be made very welcome.

Next year I’m aiming for a half marathon in Feb. After that who knows!

Marie Williamson

Here’s a little bit about my 2019 running achievements….
I started 2019 looking forward to/dreading running the Brathay 10 in 10. I had some training marathons booked, & also spent time doing strength work & yoga, to prepare my body & mind for the challenge. My ultimate goal was to just complete each day, which I did. I ended up injured, by the end of it, which wasn’t a surprise really. But that didn’t stop me continuing the year running more marathons.
I’ve completed 27 marathons (& the Bullock smithy) this year…& may slip in one more before the year’s out!! My marathon/ultra total is now up to 75. I’m hoping to be in the 90s by this time next year, in the hope of doing my 100th early 2021. I’m currently trying to decide where I want that to be….

In other news….my guide runner licence has just dropped through the letter box. I completed the training several weeks ago.  Happy to support anyone with visual impairment to start/continue running.

Emma Peters

This year I decided not to focus on any specific targets but instead to just do what I fancied as opportunities came along. The most poignant outcome of this has been my ventures in the fells. From a couple of Bob Graham legs over Easter, to days out in Scotland and Northumberland and even the Yorkshire 3 Peaks, I’ve had a great year pushing the limits of what I thought I was capable of. Even still had time to run a 10km PB, get back into XC and start triathlon- not a bad 2019!

Paul Skuse

(Ed: Paul sent in a report and star rating for every race he’s done this year, with an impressive list of 35 races – all at full beans effort.  I’ve extracted the top-star ratings below – let me or Paul know if you want the full reviews!)

Chicken Run: First time at this and loved it. Really good, fast running. Don’t hang about at the start, there’s a bottle neck.

Buxworth 5: Possibly best race going. Love it. Long climb up, fast descent and a torturous flat mile at the end.

Joe’s Cup: Okay, this might be the best race going. Really fast start, good runnable climb and a nice easy descent with a final climb on tarmac to the finish. One of the best I’ve ever done.

TOT: This is now the benchmark for me with running with fellow GDHers. Running against but also with each other. Page on the half was amazing. Page, Crossman, Watts and Skuse –The Peloton! Forget the results, we were the best team! Never been prouder of being GDH.

Round Sheffield Run: Another contender for best race, also best event/day out.

Alderman’s Ascent: Horrendous weather, I thought it would be cancelled. An absolute classic and in the English champs next year. Also one of the best prize givings.

Holme Moss: The only real, local fell race. It chewed me up and spat me out. (I think it’s cos I was trying to keep up with Jackson at the start – the hill after the road crossing left me in bits).

Chris Jackson

Highlights for the year for me have been the Ring of Steall Skyrace in Scotland which was epic. Cracking weather, route and atmosphere. The uphill only races have been ace too. Hope to do more next year.

Lucy Wasinski

June 2019 gave me that race result I had hoped would never happen – my first (and expect not the last!) DNF. yeah I know it’s just a race, but I was gutted – this was my main goal for the year. Next day, still sulking, I pulled on my big girl pants, and entered Snowdonia Trail Marathon – and persuaded Luke H to as well! Nothing like a DNF to re-evaluate your goals – mental strength 0%, fear of failure 100%. Aim – to finish -we did. Granted it wasn’t all plain sailing (one word – Snowdon) but the positivity barometer was back in the green! Feeling inspired, and fit enough to do a marathon the lure of the Chester fun bus was calling!! Having never fancied a road marathon I felt like this was the time to do one with plenty of GDH both running and supporting. What an amazing experience – target time made with about 45 seconds to spare. It would have been more had the guy at the mile 6 portaloo locked the door and we’d not wasted those few seconds in awkward shock! With the DNF demons banished, I did what any normal GDHer seems to do, and jumped at the chance to do another marathon 3 weeks later when a Snowdonia road marathon place came up (yeah there’s a theme here, 3 marathons in Snowdonia). Having had disappointment, then delight at getting my road mara goal, I couldn’t wait to do this marathon just for the enjoyment of it – it was so much fun soaking up the support, enjoying the views, chatting to other runners and was probably my favourite race of the year!

2019 was not the running year I had planned – 1 marathon became 3.5 marathons, but wouldn’t have changed it for anything – that DNF led to new challenges, new opportunities, new friends, new trainers…obvs…and lots of brilliant memories. So don’t be like me andlet a DNF disappoint you (at least not for too long!) cos you never know what it brings!

Daniel Stinton

I’ve had quite an epic year of running! It has mainly been focussed around training for, and painfully getting through, the Lakeland 100 in July – definitely character building!

Other highlights include finishing the Welsh 3000’s with Immy Trinder which we started in heavy snow – to put this into perspective  we had planned a BBQ for when we finished!  Running in both of the GDH relays was fantastic especially the final descent in the British relays!  In August it was cool to see growing numbers at Manor Park Marathon which started as (and still is) a silly idea!

Steve Crossman

(Ed: Steve went for a “picture says a 1000 words” approach)

Cogito Ergo Run

Elanor Swan

My New Year’s Resolution for 2019 was to run bravely and, unusually for me, I actually managed to fulfil this resolution. This was thanks, in large part, to our wonderful club. My ‘running brave’ list included Trigger, High Peak Marathon, Old County Tops and Lakes in a Day all of which were big challenges for me in terms of nav/ distance/ terrain. I absolutely could not have done any of these without the support of many many Harriers in terms of reccying, training, team mates, gear advice, race crews and general support and encouragement through the year. Thank you everybody!

Running is a big part of life for Family Swan and we all really enjoy being part of GDH. Roll on 2020 and many more blue and orange running adventures!

Ian Crutchley

Lots of races again this year.  OK, perhaps too many – the result sometimes suffers, but I enjoy it, so shoot me!  Here’s a summary of the highs and lows….

Races where I really bombed – Edale Skyline, Sale Sizzler, Chester Marathon

Races where I didn’t bomb too badly – Trigger, Haworth Hobble, Manchester Half, Bullock Smithy

Races where I didn’t bomb at all – Marple Beer Run (4th, I finally uncovered my true gift)

Other highlights?  15 Trigs, Kinder Killer, FRA Relays, all and countless short fell races.

Had fun?  Type 2 mostly, but it’s a pleasure to experience it with GDH friends – like-minded, yet all different.

Next year?  Time to stop messing about and plant my flag.  I’m a fellrunner, very average, but there it is.

Tim Budd

This year I have been able to get out and enjoy runs on Sundays, mainly due to the rather superb and eloquent report writers that have graced the website. Thankyou lucy, Greg, Dan, Ian and Els. You are awesome.

Lance Hamilton-Griffiths

This has been my first year as a member of a running club and I feel very lucky to have chosen GDH. Over the last year I have experienced amazing support and encouragement from all of my interactions with members of the club.

Before joining I had no/little running experience and other than a couple of parkruns my first competitive race was the 2018 Bill Fox Gravy Pud, which I loved. Since then I have been on many adventures through my inability to decline an invitation delivered with a smile. I have had an amazing year filled with a ton of joy, too much sweat, some unwanted blood and thankfully no tears. My membership with GDH has made me stronger, happier and most importantly connected me and my family with a wonderful community full of beautiful people, Thank you.

Jude Stansfield

For my 50th year I undertook three running challenges. All in the first half of 2019 to leave me a good few months of partying at the end! With the Audacious Gals team (Becky Smith, Ali, Els) after 8 years of entering, we finally got a place and a run at the High Peak Marathon on 1st March. 42m team navigation  on the Edale Skyline. Setting off at 10pm it was nice to be near the front and then cheer all the fast teams overtaking us. We’d reccied it to death, got some good lines, an annoying wrong line or two, had great support and made it round. Great achievement for us all and just fabulous to be out training through the winter months with GDH friends. Motivational team work and camaraderie.

Next up was Old County Tops, slightly less miles but much more ascent. Els ran amazing. I suffered with the incredible humidity. My body wanted to lie down, and despite making me dizzy and nauseous, I managed to stumble over the boulders and marshy bits to Cockly Beck in good time before hitting the slow button. Very slow. Felt much harder than HPM. Felt shit. Looked shit. Very proud to have completed.

Finally Lins and I did a leisurely Tour de Mont Blanc over several glorious days. Setting off in the France heatwave meant we were fast walking, not running much, even the downhills were exhausting. As usual we were well matched and had great days of pure sunshine, plenty of water, good food and spectacular views. Never thought Id say it but poles were essential, maybe because of the heat, but really easy to use and everyone had them. We had a fab week. I  would thoroughly recommend it as a running or walking challenge (not the ridiculous race that our super runners do 😉

John Pollard

On a personal note I’ll look back on 2019 as the year I re-found the joy of running and rekindled my love of the Lake District especially.  Having re-joined GDH the previous year but due to injuries it was only this year I really got my teeth/feet into more competitive action as well as testing myself against the elements for the fun of it.

It’s quite a different club from the one I knew in the 90’s, but without being too judgemental I’d say it’s not just a much bigger beast but an even more friendly and close knit one. The camaraderie is great to experience. Makes me wish I still lived in Glossop to be closer to the hub and the hills.

Getting a caravan in the Lakes though(and being retired!) gives me a fabulous opportunity to explore it, and many of my best memories of this year have been runs or walks there.

Like at Coniston Fair fell race, when I naively asked if there was a preferred trod to look for, and was bluntly told “it’s a fell race lad, tha’ gets up & down using tha’ wits tha’ knows”(country cousin stereotype noted).

Or at Blencathra on a murky evening, when after a chat with one of the marshals about my likely pace, he made a point of introducing me to the tail sweeper.

Or at Black Combe, where I got injured, then lost, & ended fighting a losing battle with fierce man-high brambles, which hurt my pride as much as anything.

I’m itching to be back to do more next year.

Reflecting as we often do this time of year, I think, like others, of those great people who are no longer with us, but rather than cast a shadow I can see that the carpe diem mantra is really alive in this club, and we don’t just run for ourselves, we run for all.  When you reach pensionable age you can be prone to musings on mortality..(note to self…lighten up John!)

One thought; there are so many strong, accomplished, fast…younger runners in the club that it sometimes makes us plodding vets think twice about joining in on the fells, that we might be slowing down the pack on a run…I’ve only had encouragement tbh & I guess there’s a range of runners to find your own paced group.

Parkrun Corner

First place overall and a new shiny PB for Lucy Wasinski (and Rowan) comfortably breaking the 20-min milestone at Glossop parkrun.  Lance Hamilton-Griffiths and Tracey Robinson (and Cecil) bagged PBs this week too.  Awesome running! The consolidated report is HERE

Big Miles and Smiles

Who has done the most mileage this week?  I’ve not looked yet, but it’s gotta be Will Mather surely…. *checks Strava* Yup…. Will on his epic December challenge of running 804.7 km (ok, ok 500 miles) for Mummy’s Star and has ticked off 137 km this week and it’s only gonna get bigger.  If that wasn’t enough he’s also bagged the most elevation with 2,574m (It can only mean David Christie-Lowe has fixed his watch!)

Donate HERE

Other stuff

Stockport 10 happened.  I did this a few years ago and remember running along with a horse.  Guy Riddell made the top trump cards the same year too I think.  David Munday, Susan Moore, David Christie-Lowe, Cheryl Stitt, Wioleta Wydrych and Alex Critcher as far as I know, maybe more.

There’s been a Peak Raid.  Which were cancelled, but now aren’t thankfully.  Lynne Taylor was there and report suggests “stupid cold feet”.  I haven’t spotted any other harriers there.

All the other standard stuff, Tuesday speed, Wednesday muddy speed, Thursday social.


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