The June 2022 Round Up

Halfway through the year already! Where did all the time go?! Some epic stuff been going on this month with loads of local racing, races further afield and another finisher of the Bob Graham (Updated on Club Achievements page HERE). Also a rather astonishing ultra… here’s the reports! Thanks for all the submissions!

Bob Graham Round (Sarah Andrew)

This was mine and Robin’s second BG attempt; the previous one last August, consisting of me and Robin, my parents on road support and a humongous bag of cold pizzas, had ended on Clough Head. We had pushed it back three days due to feeling poorly and clearly we weren’t better!

This year was a different affair, very much an expanded team consisting of many GDHers, family and non-GDH friends. To keep with tradition, me and Robin again picked something up the week before and felt off.. not ideal but we were committed! 

Robin had also picked up a knee injury in our last long training run two weeks prior – a double Kinder dozen attempt – which he had had to abort.. not ideal but we were committed.

On the day the weather was interesting, strong winds and poor visibility with some rain thrown into the mix too, enough for Emmerdale RO to decide to cancel the race.. not ideal but we were committed!

Anyway, you get the idea, conditions weren’t ideal (are they ever?!) but off we went! Leg one felt good and we got to Skiddaw quicker than any time previously. The parachute descent off Blencathra was tricky in the clag but a quick changeover followed and we set off on leg 2 with the stoic Josh and Jake. 

Leg 2 was clag, wind, rain, and darkness and we began to lose time. Robin was feeling worse by the hour, and apart from a surge of energy up Fairfield this was to carry on for the rest of his run. Quick changeover at Dunmail, some pizza, and we cracked on with the ever strong Rick and Neal.

Leg 3 continued with clag, wind, rain but by now daylight! Robin decided that he wanted to carry on at a slower pace due to his energy levels falling way short of usual, so he and Neal stayed together and me and Rick carried on at an ever so slightly faster pace.. and that was the last me and Robin ran together. I felt very slow, which I definitely was over the greasy wet rocks around Scafell, but Rick was brilliant, and I made it to Wasdale slightly less behind than I had been! A sit down, some soup and then off on leg 4 with the ever encouraging and professional Zoe and Greg. 

Leg 4 saw some better weather and we ticked off the summits. At this point I was convinced I wouldn’t make 24 hours but I was also determined that I would make it round whatever the time. Seeing Robin waiting for me at Honister brought a mixed bag of feelings, I was ecstatic to see him but also gutted that our joint adventure hadn’t happened the way we had hoped. 

More soup, a swig of tea and on to leg 5 with a full entourage of people – Greg, Ian, Wiola, Josh, Jake and Nat, all of whom played a massive part in dragging me through leg 5! 

We arrived in Keswick at 19.44, 23 hours 44 minutes after setting off. An amazing feeling, following the same footsteps of so many heroes of mine who had done so before (albeit in a much slower time!), as well as fellow GDHers. I’m very grateful to have been able to do it and it would not have been possible without all those mentioned above, as well as the amazing, spirit-lifting road support, Ollie, Anna, Joe and Lucy. 

Robin had struggled with extremely low energy and his knee injury since early in leg 3 but carried on to Wasdale, where it was a no brainer for him to end his run. Still, we both had a great weekend and massively appreciate the efforts everyone went to to be a part of it and to enable it to happen. 

Me and Robin first set out together on this BG adventure six years ago – back when we were more hill walkers and heavy drinkers than fell runners! – when we first walked and camped the route over five days; at the time it was the hardest thing we’d ever done! Six years later and the aim was to both finish it in 24 hours, and to do so together.. so the adventure isn’t quite over yet.. 😉

The Dream Team
Out of the clag and into a new day, finally a bit of a view on leg 2!

Lakesman (Marie Williamson)

I recently completed my 95th marathon/ultra. That’s nothing new for me, you might think. Well….this one was completed after also swimming 2.4 miles & cycling 112 miles. I have spent the last 30 weeks dedicating my time/training solely on getting me iron distance triathlon fit. I suffered a running injury at the gravy pud in December & that had affected my run training a fair amount for several months. I’d taken a couple of weeks out & had physio but had struggled with any speed work & downhills! Luckily, it had started to feel better in the month before the event. 

On the day: The swim was totally fine, whilst the first half of the bike was awful. My chamois cream had washed off in the swim (& I didn’t reapply in transition). I was in pain fairly early on & I was convinced I wasn’t going to make the cut off time. I was in a pit of misery. I cried & I swore…loudly!! At around 70 miles, I redid the maths & worked out that I might actually be in time. Things felt much better after that & I managed to start enjoying the ride. I reached the dismount line at transition & was told I’d made it in time…even had 10 minutes to spare! Everything felt better once I was running. I was able to relax into it. I had several friends there supporting who, because of the lapped course, I saw lots of times along the way. I felt like I’d walked a lot during the run (& ate my weights worth of sweets!!) but still finished the marathon in a respectable 4:55:50. My total time for the triathlon was 14:57:50 which I was very pleased with. Just 4 marathons to complete before my planned 100th at London in October.  

But, in the meantime…..I am a Lakesman!!

A whole load of races in June (John Pollard)

So it looked like a busy June ahead, and I was only hoping my decidedly dodgy knees were going to cope with the run load. At time of writing, with two events still to go only the chronic arthritis is bugging me.

First race was guess where, yes the Lakes – an Epic events 21 mile trail run anti-clockwise around the Ullswater Way.

This was the most enjoyable as coincidentally Sue Clapham had entered and I hadn’t run with Sue for a while. If we’re talking painful conditions, Sue can tell you what agony a piriformis/sciatic nerve issue can cause. But this wasn’t going to stop her, and this was a freebie for both of us as I’d marshalled last year and Sue had won FV at Grizedale.

A lovely clear morning dawned but promising not to be too hot (unlike the pace Sue usually sets) and a large field gathered at Glenridding at 8.30 to be set off along the shore in the direction of Place Fell. For some traffic issue we were kept huddled together for an extra 15 minutes….maybe the wait was why Sue and I started at a fair pace after agreeing we would be keeping a brisk but social pace to, of course, enjoy it more!

Progress was steady and as the field spread out we were probably averaging 11min chatty miles and maintaining our position. Lots of hard packed trail along the route and rocky sections through wooded areas and above the shoreline. It got technical and hilly in a few places which was good.

After a fast rocky descent below Hallin Fell passing Arthur’s Pike toward the tourist haven of Pooley Bridge we were running a short road gauntlet of shops and eating outlets, tantalising us with a mix of breakfast smells, and began some gentle but testing short climbs on the west side of Ullswater.

The biggest fell hereabouts is Great Mell Fell, and that’s only 1762’ and we weren’t even summiting that, but the climbs were stiff enough and by the end we’d done over 1000 metres of ascent. We passed modest Little Mell Fell, somehow a Wainwright…and pulled up picturesque Gowbarrow Fell, before turning abruptly away just below its summit, frustrating for baggers! (Gowbarrow is where William and Dorothy Wordsworth strolled along the Aira Point shore to encounter the ‘host of golden daffodils’ immortalised in a certain poem later). It was a host of spring heather we encountered!

And tourists flocking to Aira Force as we ran through the rammed car park – the most difficult route-finding of the day.

It was honestly just a bit of a slog from there, some road again through Glenridding to pick up the last miles on the lakeside trail. It must have been warmer than it seemed as I got a severe cramp within the last mile and alarmed Sue with my yelp of pain, she thought I was having a cardiac arrest. But the drama queen survived and I got to the finish field a little behind the flying Sue. I was just over 4 hours, I think Sue just under, and not sure of positions. Did you get another cat win Sue? I was 3rd V60.

But really, it was all about getting round together.

Worth a long walk some other time too👍

2nd and 3rd races I did were at the Lakeland Trails weekend in Coniston a week later.

I’ll be mercifully briefer about these.

One of the best things about Lakeland Trails is the buzz and atmosphere they generate at their HQ. I arrived on Saturday to do the 15k trail race and was pleased to see Paul Amos there, ready to do the earlier 15k challenge.

It was the very windy weekend, when proper fell races like Ennerdale were cancelled on account of the conditions up top. The race field HQ at Coniston Hall was gusty enough, the finish tapes rattling away in the wind and trying to drown out the resident musician.

I had a free pre-race massage off an enterprising newly-qualified sports therapist, though I was full of a cold that week and a cure for that was not on offer.

The 15k route there is one of the best LT routes they offer(and the marathon on Sunday is billed as ‘the most scenic trail marathon in Britain’).

It climbs up the Coppermines Valley and heads partly into the fells on the flanks of The Bell, with some good technical rocky sections, before descending to the Walna Scar road and heading west into the headwind. Can’t believe Sarah Andrew completed the BG in that…awesome!

The descent down to Torver is more like a fell race and uses lines from the Coniston Old Man race. It’s a good testing finish too after that along the lake shoreline back, with many complaining about protruding tree routes. Aww.

So 450 metres ascent and I got a pb at least in 1hr 29.

The Sunday was marathon and half marathon day for many, including Lucy Wasinski and Mandy Beames. Over to you babes.

It was brilliant to see them both after I’d finished my 10k (LT call it the mini-marathon lol). I’d somehow managed to miss Lucy on her run in, as I wasn’t sure of the finishers by then, but wandered a mile up the last bit hoping to be able to offer a cheer. Can she really have been running so fast I didn’t see her pass. It’s possible….

Anyhow, caught up with them both in the damp finishing field after, didn’t even know Mandy was going to be there so it was a nice surprise.

You don’t get so many club runners at these events, so it is possible to finish further up the food chain than in a fell race. I was pleased to win the V60 cat in the 10k after two days of racing, and I’d sweated most of the cold out. Result.

And, we all came away clutching our fetching green Lakeland Trail t-shirts.

4th June race for me was the Dark/White Peak 25k trail race from Hayfield.

Had to miss the Tour of Tameside for this. Shame.

First time doing one of their events, and I’m impressed, especially with the organisation.

I didn’t see any other Glossopdalers there but I saw afterwards that Simon Toole had run. Sorry to miss you.

The starts were all staggered/timed so when I set off at 9 I was on my own and obviously the downside of this is that:  a)there’s no company – until you catch someone, or are passed!  b)you can easily be lulled into taking it easy – god forbid!  and c)you don’t know how you are doing relatively.

Having said that, I quite enjoyed the solitude at times, but also striving to overtake people was satisfying. And the faster lads that took me didn’t bother me at all honest guv.

The route was basically a figure of eight, with the trails out to Lantern Pike – annoyingly by-passing the peak, then out on familiar tracks to Cown Edge and the Picking Rods, before through Rowarth, back to Sett Valley and the Pennine Bridleway and a long drag up to Chinley Churn- the descent off being the literal high point for me.

So there’s plenty of scope for fast running, but really too much tarmac to enjoy it all.

I was timing myself and figured if I did 10 min miles I’d be inside 2 and a half hours, but I hadn’t factored in that it would be 15.6 miles and even at well-sub 10s I was back alone in 2.31.34 after 703 metres ascent. But good enough for 1st V60, so obviously I’ll do another of these!

Lots of lovely tea and cake at the Scout Hut after, and gold and silver certificates depending on your time (I was one of the pupils of the day I think😉) and they’re very fast with rolling out the results.

Just Lyme Park trail race and Hyde 7 left now.

Roll on to Lyme Park…

On the warm evening that most GDH racers were pounding round the resers, I took my carbon footprint over to Lyme Park to do the midsummer 10K organised by Run NorthWest.

This was the biggest field of runners I’ve been in since pre-covid, over a 1000 entries(not everyone is keen to mingle so freely but I felt comfortable with it). They obviously do a good job of marketing their races and Lyme is an attractive location anyway.

 The course was basically the route the NT devised for their free monthly 10K there, which doesn’t seem to have survived. It’s a fast, hard and grassy trail race with a couple of reasonable climbs (272 m) up to the cage and through the woods. I say fast, but we had to queue at two wall stiles for minutes, a bit of a blow for pb chasers.

Bumped into Paul Amos again, as at Coniston…we really must stop meeting like this Paul. And the only other GDH was Kirsty Read. Though I saw a few familiar faces from Cheshire way. The car park suggested affluence!

I went off fast for me at around 7 min miles, but the climbs put paid to that and I finished in 54.20, still holding my position throughout. And I was chuffed to get the V60 cat win.

A generous cash voucher has just landed on the doormat today.

Just the Hyde 7 to complete somehow. I’m not holding my breath.

Brighton Trail Marathon (Amanda Hotley)

A trail marathon in Brighton seemed a good idea, however lack of training and a water infection a few days before meant this was going to be a struggle. Cut off was 9 hrs, so nothing to lose!

Only 12 toilets at start line with 1,500 runners meant half hour queues, but I got to my pen in time. The promised 3 minute wait between waves didn’t happen and everyone trotted off together for the first 0.51 miles. The first gate caused a 15 minute delay! Once through everything seemed quite smooth, it was baking hot and the offerings at the aid stations were limited. The route was very pretty which I walked a lot of, mostly along the South Downs Way. Made a friend along the way and helped  her to finish her first ever marathon. Official time 8:03:11, but really just happy to finish it. 

This was the first event and I think there were a lot of lessons learned. Would recommend it if anyone fancies a weekend away. 

Whaley Waltz (Lucy Wasinski)

Having never done this race before, I’d now say this is a mid summer must do! Local, well oragnised by our neighbours at Goyt Valley Striders and a lot of fun with a couple of river crossings – one right at the very end when you think you are home and dry! Home, but definitely NOT dry! It’s 9k with just under 400m climb, but no monster hill – just some pretty runnable climb shortly after a fast start as you go up to Windgather rocks and Taxal edge. Conditions were pretty perfect with some sun and very dry trails underfoot.True to its name it was pretty breezy up at Windgather rocks half way round. After that, its pretty much all downhill through a few fields and then some cracking fast single track before hitting the lane into the playground and then through the river at the end….there is no elegant way of getting through it and up the other side! Once a few people are back a crowd grows with shouts of “jump! Jump! Jump!” as racers dawdle on the riverbank pondering a line through!

Thanks to Tony Hiller for passing on his place having done plenty of racing in recent weeks! He jokingly said before the start he wanted sub 50 mins from me, never in a million years did I think i’d be close to that as although back doing long distance races I’m a bit of way off the fast short stuff still. Over the moon to get 50min 10, and a  bottle of beer, a beanie and a strawberry plant for 2nd F. Tony was happily gonna quench his thirst with the beer! Great to see a few GDH out for this race (Tim C, Kevin I, Jayne S, Melanie B, Skuse), obviously race addict super speedy Skuse leading the pack despite being about his 300th race in as many days 😉

If you haven’t done this, get it in your diary for next year!

Hyde 7 (James Barnard)

Leading up to the race on Sunday the game plan had been to target 42 mins, chatting to Nat we reckoned this might be good for 10-15th. We figured it would be tough but doable on a good day.

The morning of looked like perfect racing conditions, cool, a bit drizzly and when we got to Hyde an amazing turn out from GDH, there must have been at least 25 of us!

A few minutes of jogging, some drills and strides got us ready to go, as we crammed into the starting area, Skusey took pride of place right on the tape as per usual and led the dancing to Jump Around by House of Pain.

And with the gun we were off in a mass of blue and orange!

The guy who would eventually win shot off the front and had a gap of 20m on us before we were half way up Market Street, no way we were keeping up with that so a group of maybe 10 of us formed as we climbed the first gradual hill.

In the group were Nat, Josh and me, a bunch of Salford Harriers and a couple of Rochdale Harriers.

As we neared the top, the group started to split, Nat surged to make the break and Josh and I hung on.

I started to move away with a couple of Salford Harriers at the top of the hill, I was feeling pretty good and knew there was a long descent coming to recover on, I managed a brief chat with the Salford guys before they surged and left me for dust in no man’s land, they were both on the full tour and looked fresh as anything.

On the climb up to Hattersley McDonalds I could hear someone coming up behind, I saw it was one of the Rochdale lads so moved aside to let him past, I figured I could use him as a carrot to drag me up the hill for a bit, as we turned onto Underwood Road he had gapped me by a few metres, uh oh, maybe I went out too quick.

The descent through Hattersley was great, long enough to recover and not steep so could keep the pace pretty high without thinking too much, I continued to lose contact with the guys in front though.

Wait, who put this bloody hill here! I’d completely forgotten the short climb out of Hattersley since we recce’d the route a couple of weeks ago. I slowed a lot for this climb and another Rochdale came past me. I managed to open my stride up again though on the descent down into Godley, clocking my fastest mile of the race. The added boost from seeing Chris Jackson out supporting kept me pushing on.

Once I saw the 6 mile marker I knew I could maybe hold on to a top 10 and first harrier home, but knew the others wouldn’t be far behind so I’d have to push hard.

I could see I was gaining again on the Rochdale guys at the top of the climb so dug a bit more to close the gap. As we turned on to the run in to the finish I was only a couple of metres back from one of them, I put in a big surge (at least it felt like it) to pass so he didn’t have a chance to hang on and opened up my sprint to the line. In hindsight this was too early, the finish was further away than I realised so I was gritting my teeth trying to sprint and keep a gap on the guy behind.

I just about held it together and crossed the line in 9th place in 41:23, chuffed!

As I crossed, I turned to see the next Harrier home, Nat came through just behind under 42 minutes. Goal: done ✅

Loved it, didn’t look once at my watch and just raced it. It was amazing seeing the rest of Glossopdale come through, so many absolutely smashing it and having great runs.

A big shout out to Immy for coming through as 3rd female!

And huge kudos to those who did the full tour, I can’t imagine putting together 4 races back to back, amazing work!

3 Peaks Ultra (Ian Crutchley on behalf of Riccardo Giussani)

Riccardo Giussani has been up to his old tricks again, reminding us al what it means to run long.  And I mean really, really long.  This time he took on the National 3 Peaks Ultra, which in a nutshell, requires you to climb the national 3 peaks (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowden) with the added challenge of running between the 3!  Yes, that’s right, bonkers.  430 miles or 691.2km later, and Riccardo finished in 6th place, in an impressive time of 209 hours 27 minutes (about 8 ½ days).  That’s averaging about 50 miles a day back to back!  28 started, with 19 finishers. 

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