The “Get Up The Hill Before It Goes Dark” Weekly Report

A short summary this week of what’s been going on and what’s coming up, kicked off with the story of Thursday night’s relay qualifier…

Hodgson Bros. Mountain Relay Qualifier 2021

Thursday night saw a gaggle of Harriers take on Sandy Heys in a qualifier/social outing ahead of next month’s Hodgson Brothers Mountain Relay. Here’s Club Captain Ian Crutchley with the report and qualification results:

Huge, huge thanks to everyone involved.  This is a new approach, and I’m so pleased at how well supported it was, both in concept as well as in attendance.  Even some who aren’t available to attend the Hodgson’s themselves, and others believing they had no chance against this field, showed up to get involved.  We ended up with a very rare treat indeed, to see our very best runners going head to head for a place on the team, for pride, and for glory.

After a mini heatwave earlier in the week the weather was looking distinctly dodgy for Thursday nights qualifier, and sure enough, it tipped down all afternoon on the day.   Mercifully, it cleared up a bit as we made our way up to the start, and after a short briefing, they were off.  For those of us loitering near the finish line, it was an anxious and quite miserable experience as we were gradually consumed by the hoards of midges.  After 30 minutes or so, the runners started to come in, and the results look like this:

Chris Webb36:48
Matt Bridges38:18
Tim Budd39:18
Chris Smith39:55
Chris Jackson40:37
Josh Southall40:39
Mark Harrison47:28
Paul Skuse50:01
Immy Trinder50:03
Lance Hamilton-Griffiths51:38
Rick Steckles53:35
Wioleta Wydrych55:40
Pete Daly55:56
Anne Williams1:17:07
Steve Hoon1:17:07
Kate Emily1:17:07
Ian Jackson1:17:07
John Stephenson1:17:07

Results are undeniably self-explanatory, but in some cases it doesn’t tell the whole story.  Everyone did brilliantly, some obvious battles had played out on this tricky course in tricky conditions – a course not well suited to everybody.  I don’t really want to single anyone out further than the results already do, but Chris Webb was phenomenal, sauntering into the finish and barely out of breath for his trouble. Also, that Josh seemingly hadn’t studied the route too well, and from a leading position near the start, had continued along White Brow instead of dropping to the footbridge. He soon realised and corrected this, but he lost places and undoubtedly a minute or two. An easy mistake but a fantastic fight back to finish where he did. Bombed out trophy contender?  Once more, Thank you, and well done everyone!

Additional Big Thanks to the support crew – Zoe Barton (Timing, smidge and general cheer), Mark Davenport (photography & Willy Clough marshal), Ree O’Doherty (Cowbell duties), Jess Marchington (hillside glamour) and Dan Calverley (just for being cool).

Immy and I will be finalising all the relay teams over the coming week.

Sandstone Trail Race

Report by Pete Tomlin

Cast your mind back to a time when a race being cancelled wasn’t an everyday occurance, and when the Wrexham Half (one of the 2020 champs races) was cancelled due to flooding. We were offered a selection of boring sounding road races to compensate, which didn’t really float my boat, so I asked if I could swap onto Run Cheshire’s only trail race, the Sandstone Trail. Which of course then got cancelled many times.

Fast forward to today, when finally I got to run the race, and it was definitely worth the wait. I was doing the B race, 10 miles (apparently) starting from Beeston Castle and finishing in Delemere forest.

The first 6 miles was very flat but not boring, lots of nice trails and as a result quite fast. There was a frustrating section where the route was poorly marked (with an over reliance from the organisers on the trail waymarkers) and a good 30 or so of the front runners got half a mile down the road only to realise that we had to turn back, leading to a lot of slow running along the narrow paths getting round people we’d already overtaken once! Other than that, it was a delight, much less gnarly than I’d expected, running along narrow paths with 8ft corn on either side, making it feel like I was running through a maze, alternating with wide open views of Cheshire. 

After 6 miles the surroundings changed, we crossed into woodland and the route became much more undulating, although not too bad. There was one beast of a climb at mile 9 that was steep as hell and went on for ever! Followed by a winding finish around delemere where I found myself on my own and was a bit worried I’d missed a turn, but I was reassured by various passers by that I was on track.

I finished 70th out of 264 runners in 1hr 47, probably longer than I’d hoped, but the navigation error definitely added a bit, plus it turned out to be more like 11 miles even accounting for me getting lost.

Definitely a race I’d recommend, I’ll certainly be doing it again, and might try my hand at the 17 miler A race next time. 

Manchester Area Cross Country League 2021/22

Roll up roll up, it’s nearly time for the return of cross country! The Manchester Area Cross Country League has been going for 15 years and is getting more popular each year with runners of all abilities. 5 races – known as “matches” – make up the league over the winter with one each month from October to February:

DateVenueHost club
16th October 2021Wythenshawe ParkSale Harriers
13th November 2021Sherdley ParkSt. Helens Sutton AC
4th December 2021Kenworthy WoodsChorlton Runners
15th January 2022Tatton ParkRunning Bear RC & Wilmslow RC
19th February 2022Heaton ParkManchester Harriers & AC

It’s £7 to enter no matter how many matches you run and includes chip timing for the first time; that means if you run all 5, it’s £1.40 each… a bargain! If you would like to enter you need to do 2 things:

  1. Complete the form (note: you must have an EA registration number to take part, please contact Membership Secretary Vicki Hamilton if you’re not sure about yours).
  2. Transfer £7 to Glossopdale in the same way you pay your membership fees.

The deadline for club entries is Thursday 30th September.

Multi-Terrain Relay (September Monthly Mash-up)

There’s still time to sign up for the next Mashup – the multi-terrain relay!

The relay will take place on Sunday 26th September at 11am, starting at the turning circle in Old Glossop. Please sign up individually – we will announce the teams a week or so before the race. There will be 3 runners per team, and 3 legs: trail, road and fell. We will allocate the teams, and you can decide between yourselves who runs which leg.

Following the race, we will descend on a poor, unsuspecting public house to debate who had the best line up Cock Hill. Juniors are welcome to participate and must be accompanied by a responsible adult. This will mean that teams including juniors will have 4 runners. This was soooo much fun when we ran it in May… get yourselves signed up here!

Shelf Moor (September Virtual Club Championship)

September’s Virtual Club Championships event is the 5.5 mile Shelf Moor fell race. Cruise the contours by Mossy Lea, “enjoy” the majesty of the James’s Thorn ascent, survey the wonders of Doctor’s Gate from the Higher Shelf trig, then float over the open moorland to Dog Rock before descending back down the glorious Lightside. For a less romantic but more useful route description and map, see the Club Champs page.

Ultra-Trail Snowdonia 2021

Will Mather, Jason Hart and Chris Jackson took part in the 165km, 100km and 50km versions of this epic challenge respectively this week. Chris finished a very strong 15th in a time of 08:03:54, but unfortunately both Will and Jason were forced to retire with injuries. While we’ve not seen any official reports (besides a photo of a horrific looking blister that we won’t reprint here!), years of dedicated training and preparation was put into these attempts; Will is raising money for Blythe House Hospice and you can donate via JustGiving.

In other news…

I’ve tried to be as complete and accurate as possible when nabbing these items from Facebook – apologies in advance for any errors/omissions:

  • Several GDH members (including Guy Riddell, Steve Page and Michael Greenhalgh, above) took part in the Great North Run earlier today. We’ve had no full reports in yet, but well done to all. Emma Peters ran to raise money for the Crohn’s & Colitis UK charity – you can see more details and donate on her JustGiving page.
  • Congratulations to GDH’s Frank Fielding who completed the Manchester 100-mile cycle sportif just ahead of his 70th birthday, to raise money for The Christie. You can donate via JustGiving.
  • The Bill Fox Gravy Pud Fell Race takes place on 5th December, starting and finishing from the Bulls Head, Tintwhistle. All profits go to local charity Mummy’s Star. Sign up here and join the fun!
  • The local Bradwell Fell Race (a.k.a. Short Tour of Bradwell) will go ahead on 9th October.

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