Splashing our way into Spring!

It has been another weathery week with various combinations of snow, hail, wind and rain….soo very much rain.  However, unlike the last few weeks, most of the planned races appear to have gone ahead albeit with altered courses in some instances to avoid them becoming aquathlons.  And, where there were races, there were Harriers…..

Trafford 10K (courtesy of Dan Stinton)

I generally don’t mind running in horrible weather but I really wanted a nice day for this one.  I don’t do much road racing so wanted to have a go at this in good conditions and even with all the storms recently, it turned out nice and sunny!  I bumped into Tony Hillier during the warm-up who gave me a pep-talk about the upcoming race through his trademark sunglasses and gave me some good tips about what was coming up.

The race briefing warned of pot holes and water but it turns out there wasn’t much to worry about, it was nice to get cool feet a couple of times!  A nice flat scenic course with loads of fast runners taking part which was really inspiring.  Whatever time you were aiming for, there were a crowd of people at a similar pace which helped me keep going.  Here’s the results!  I was really chuffed with a new PB!

  • Daniel Stinton – 39:00
  • Michael Park – 43:03
  • Shaun Chambers – 44:59 (Pacing – I would hope for 45mins!)
  • Tony Hillier – 51:41

Dark & White Spring Trail Series – Race #1 (courtesy of Elanor Swan)

With the High Peak Marathon cancelled and the rescheduled Long Mynd fell race being a stretch too far for my current fitness levels, Caitlin and I ventured into the White Peak for the first race in D&W’s spring trail series.  The series comprises three events, each with the option of a long (14–17 km) or a short (5-8km) course.  Having spied on the website that U17s were allowed to take part in the short course as long as they were accompanied by a responsible adult, I signed us both up and persuaded Caitlin to run at a pace that I could manage.  Due to waterlogging by the river, the short course had been changed to an out and back on the trail alongside the railway line – 8k with a whole 50m of ascent.  Flat and fast and not massively inspiring in terms of terrain although we did get to wave at a passing steam engine.  That said, the event was very well organised, our feet remained dry and it was a lovely day for racing – perfect for Caitlin’s first longer race.   The results were as follows:

  • Caitlin – 39:05  (2nd senior lady/ 3rd lady/ 8th overall)
  • Els – 39:02  (1st VW40/ 2nd lady/ 7th overall) … those 3 seconds were purely down to more practiced dibber skills

Cloud9 Hill Race (courtesy of John Pollard)

A little known race though it’s there in the FRA calendar, and has been for many a year…since the reason I was doing it is because it was one of the first ‘fell’ races I did over 25 years ago in my previous incarnation & was curious to re-live it on not so fresh legs. It also gave me a good excuse not to run up James’ Thorn as in truth I’m not fond of sharp climbs.  To my knowledge the only current GDHs to have done it are Zoe, Des Mitchell & Andy Burnett and none more recent than 2014 I reckon. It only took me about 45 minutes to get there.

Congleton Harriers, who organise it, describe it as “a scenic and challenging mostly off-road race to Bosley Cloud (1125’) and back, via the ancient Bridestones (c2000BC)”- I didn’t notice these, though that was probably because I was toiling through some bog-ridden fields. I don’t have the OS map for this area but there are marshals at every possible route choice so absolutely zero thinking is involved.

Would be a good introduction for fell ‘novices’ or those who don’t feel confident with map & compass (no names no pack-drill!).   The Cloud is a fine viewpoint and the long steady climb up to it is the only real sustained pull throughout and as it comes at about 4 miles, the last 5 is potentially pretty fast except where the flooded fields slow you down.

I’d describe it as a trail race really, there’s a flat start & finish along some trail, a swathe of muddy fields, a good technical section through woods and quite a lot of twisty-turny stuff on the way back. There’s never any fell so it’s not that type of thing but if you wanted to crack on and give it full beans it’s pretty much all runnable.

I’m sure some of our lads and lasses could figure high in this. Simon Bailey of Mercia won today in 57.43 (he has the CR in 52.10, the female CR is 58.53). I was a bit discomfited by a bad shoulder from a fall last week but I gave it a fair shot in 94.56. Second v65 & if it wasn’t for the formidable Alan Bocking I would have had a rare category win!  Big field, getting on for 300 & it always sells out. And, as seems de rigueur for any self-respecting hosts these days, there’s cake (!) at the end.

Mid Lancs XC – Final Race (courtesy of Paul Peters)

I had my last XC of the season on Saturday (and maybe my last Mid Lancs ever…) at the home venue in Lancaster. Very soft ground made for tough work and I set off hard to try and make the top 10. After running by myself all race, at about 6-7km I lost 10th spot and ran the remainder of the race solo to finish in 11th. 

The end of the season has silver linings though. Our Lancaster Uni A team has now taken 2nd overall in division 1 (our best result that I know of), and I guess by turning up consistently I’m currently sat in 8th senior man for the season overall (subject to change once they add on the last results) , so who knows, I may still get my top 10 after all (Ed:  congratulations on a great XC season, Paul, and fingers crossed for that placing).

James Thorn (courtesy of Paul Skuse)

A lot of Harriers took part in today’s jaunt up James Thorn and, judging by the photos, there was some proper racing going on and maybe a little bit of getting temporarily misplaced.  A few words from Paul…

What a brilliant day’s racing; blue skies and breezy (damn windy is more accurate but that messes up the alliteration) with near perfect conditions underfoot. We had a great GDH turnout (less than a hundred but definitely more than ten) and some top class performances across the board. 

The whole setup was very slick with race numbers being swapped for electronic wristbands. A sea of blue and orange crashed like an ocean wave upon those unforgiving and relentless climbs. But our will was fixed and all the forces of nature could not deter us from our purpose. On we rose, reaching ever higher.  As you’ve guessed there’s not much to say about this one, we ran up, we ran down, some of us with a fixed and focused grimace and others with a cheesy grin. But it was ace. Thanks to those who gave shouts of encouragement along the way.

For me, this is one of Des’ best races. I think Lad’s Leap is coming up in a few weeks. I’d call that a true fell race so if you like it boggy, wild and local, it may be the race for you. No results posted yet but Steve K got the v40, Steve C got the v50 (despite not filling his age in correctly), Cheryl got 3rd lady and our ladies bagged the team prize. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the proper way to start a month.

SP24 (courtesy of social media stalking by Guy Riddell)

The South Pennine 24 is an LDWA event described on the website as “a fantastic foray into the Dark Peak and the South Pennine Moors.  A variety of terrain will be encountered from wild moorland to well graded footpaths and bridleways.  Hopefully you will enjoy the stunning views the area has to offer”.

Several Harriers appear to have taken part in this event and hopefully enjoyed those stunning views including Joshua Southall  (2nd), Luke Holme & Steven Pepper 5th & 6th, Paul Skuse, who unfortunately DNF’d having maybe sacrificed himself on the PW flags, and, possibly some others.

Additional races in which GDH may have featured

  • Tameside Half – Dave Munday did this
  • Hope Fell Race – Joe Bowker & Robin Hoffman did this

Parkrun Corner

Harriers were in action at a number of different parkrun locations this weekend:  Woodbank, Delamere, Northala Fields, Lyme Park, Stamford Park, Stretford and a very (very) wet Glossop.

The GDH parkrun Challenge moves on to ‘O’ this month with a number of people planning to head over to Oldham next weekend.  Laurie’s lovely spreadsheet (available on FB) has been updated to show the latest standings.


  • MACCL Results: huge kudos to David Chrystie-Lowe who finished 2nd in the V60 category at the 2019/20 Manchester Area Cross Country League (and thanks to Chris Webb for the heads up). David has had a fine season, performing consistently well throughout the winter on a variety of courses. Feeling inspired? Chris will be sending out details for the 2020/21 season in September.
  • VJ Shoe Test: This will take place on Thursday 2 April at 18:45.  The exact venue has yet to be confirmed however it will be Glossop where there is easy access to various trail/fell terrain.   The event will be run by Steve Franklin of Frontrunner in Sheffield and the shoes available will be iRock, XTRM, and MAXx.    If you are planning to come along please let Greg know either via the event that he has set up on FB or by email so he can give Steve a rough idea of numbers. Further details TBC shortly.
  • Simmondly Community Trail: much to Jeroen’s understandable excitement, the official opening of the Glossop “Community Running Track” will take place on Sunday 15 March at 2pm. Former GB athlete and Team New Balance coach, Steve Vernon, will be in attendance with a posse of elite runners.  Following the opening, there will be chance to join a training session with Team New Balance as well as some photo opportunities. Huge thanks to everyone who has helped to make this happen.
  • Fell Running for Rookies: check out Nicky Pennington’s write up of her recent attendance on a beginners’ fell running course.  Sounds like a great thing to consider for any Harriers who are looking to race on the hills this year > https://glossopdaleharriers.wordpress.com/2020/03/01/fell-running-for-rookies/ .

Greg & Lucy will be in the blogging hot seat next week so don’t forget to let them know about your racing exploits at gdhweeklyreports@gmail.com. Have a good week and happy spring running!

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