It’s Carnival weekend!

The first week of July usually means only one thing for me –  I’ve spent the week wishing I was drinking Pimms and eating strawberries near the fine turf of SW19, but it seems that for you lot the running races don’t stop! After some fairly hefty distances of previous weeks, this week seems to be all about the short sharp fell races and the fast road races, which in this heat – must be tough!

Thurlstone Chase

Thanks to Pete for sending this over for his, I think, first race of the week?!

“Late decision to head over the Woodhead for this one following Alex Critchers suggestion. 

Part of Thurlstone Gala, this was a cracker of a race. Far from a fell race in the traditional sense (there’s erm……no fell is run on at all technically) but it was a great route around Royd Moor and a fast paced one at that. Only a small showing this time, after it being a champs race the last couple of years but Luke, Alex and I gave it a good go. It’s a great start with a 1.5k wind up the hill on a track and Luke and I pretty much stayed neck and neck all the way around with Alex in close proximity the whole time. 

With me leading him for the latter half of the race and then completly running out of steam in the final 100m, Luke sportingly opened the shoulder and let me nip in front on the finish. He didn’t have to at all but perhaps he was worried about getting lost in the finishing shute so needed someone to follow. Appreciate the gesture Luke. Thanks buddy. 

We literally crossed the line, turned around and Alex was finished too. 

No results officially at the time of writing but 

Placings out of about 50 odd 

19 – Me at 31 mins something 

20 – Luke Holme same

25/26 or 27 I think – Alex Critcher”

Alex surprised, or terrified, to find himself running with Pete and Luke

Good running team – and very gentlemanly of Luke to let you go in front – strava suggests a Maccy Ds might have been scoffed a tad too close to the race? Did you just have to stop to vom?!

Alderley Edge 10km

Somewhere over near the posh parts of Greater Manchester the Alderley Edge 10k was taking place today and this report winged its way over from Laurie Barlow.

“It’s never a good sign when you can’t even plait your hair because of the humidity (*Ed* Greg had much the same problem this morning Laurie so you’re not alone!), but the temperature was pleasantly cool with a decent amount of cloud cover…right up until the race actually started. D’oh! Less than a kilometre into the race and the sun was blazing down and making me regret not bothering with the sunscreen. I won’t beat about the bush; this race is a pretty boring out and back along a bypass surrounded by concrete with naff all to look at except the never ending outbound incline. RunNorthWest do try to make it more interesting by having live music acts along the course and I can’t fault the organisation. I especially liked their initiative of taking your own bottle to the finish to help cut down on plastic bottles. I set out with the target of finishing in the 60-65 minute bracket and I crossed the line with a chip time of 1:03:51 so job done despite the best efforts of the sun. I also had the added bonus of being the first Harrier home. Ahem. Would I do this one again? Probably not, but I see they’re moving it to May for next year to try and dodge the summer heatwave.”

Great running Laurie – bang within your target! Greg commented when he saw a report in from Alderley Edge that he quite fancied doing that one year – surprising given he doesn’t really like roads! I was like u do realise this goes down a bypass right!? Anyway, despite the lack of scenery sounds like a good atmosphere and after the plastic-fest that was RSR last week, glad to hear they were doing their bit for the environment 😉

Larking about in the Lakes

John Pollard is obviously trying to beat us at our own game of “how many weekends can you spend in Wales” by trying to take the title in the Lakes.

After, for me, a gruelling 23k trail in the heat last weekend I was looking for something less dehydrating in the Lakes this week (I’m trying to spend most of the summer here, though it does mean missing out on lots of tasty Peak District runs)….so I found Hoad Hill Harriers, a thriving little outfit based in Ulverston, had organised a cracking little 3mile fell race on the modest local hills, but there was nothing tame about the racing.
Remarkable to see the variety of running clubs in this area, rivalry fierce, not even counting the big boys(and girls) from Ambleside, Helm Hill, Keswick, etc etc.
Some fast lads from Levens RR (ex-Hoad Hillers apparently…”splitters, bastards”), alongside strong fell-runners from Black Combe & the like, lined up in a small field, at the bottom of the first climb, a steep ascent of a local iconic landmark, a mock lighthouse built in memory of famous explorer Sir John Barrow (here endothelial the history lesson, but please do google…). (*Ed* History lesson – or Biology? Guessing the endothelial was an autocorrect special!?)
I didn’t really see anyone much after that as I was soon in the rear of the 40-odd phalanx, (I plead that the 23k was still in my legs, tho tbh I don’t climb well yet, need work…). 
In other circumstances it would’ve been a great little tester, across fields and up small lumps…but I was knackered. My time is there on strava but I cba to look it up again, about 34 mins the last handful of finishers, and the photo of the Hoad Hill Monument is there too…
Now today, Sunday, I was going to go to Keswick to do the Skiddaw 9.5 mile up n down, (I know this has a descent which incurs nasty blisters…ask Chris Jackson) so I’ve chickened out in favour of going to Chapel Stile for the Langdale Gala Sports Day, and to see the beard-growth competition as well as the wife-carrying race and the children’s wrestling and other more conventional events…probably.
Oh and there’s the 2k fell race, which I suspect is vertical, but may give it a go.
Doubtful I’ll write that up (*ED* don’t worry guys, he decided he would write it up so read on!)

Well done John! Guess you’ll still be there next week if youre watching the beard growth competition and want anything worth writing home about….

Langdale Gala fell race

“Not a lot you can say about a 2k up n downer…but if it’s going to be brutal it’s best to do it here with a view of the Langdale Pikes. Great carnival atmosphere where I might have done better in the wife carrying race than this mini-Matterhorn.
21m25secs and 44 out of 48 either tells you there were some good runners here (Sharon Taylor won the female prize) or I’m not quite at the races atm. The latter applies. But great fun.
p.s. my friends won the raffle – result”

Up the Nab

For those desperate to avoid carnival chaos in town, there was a lovely lunchtime offering right in the heat of the day for those hardcore enough to handle it. This report came in from Paul:

“Could this be Des’ best race?It was certainly the most organized ; it was flagged, marshalled and supported brilliantly and the route was a belter. For a 3 mile race, it was brutal (but in a good way); it just kept on throwing you up against a challenging mix of flats, climbs and descents, some were fast and runnable, others ankle twisty and bushwacky but all kept you on your toes and racing hard.  As always, it was great to hear the cheers of encouragement from supporters like Matt Crompton, Simon Entwistle and Tony Jackson (there may be others but I was in full on race mode so was utterly oblivious to everything going on around me).

This was a cracking little local race that only cost a fiver. It would be great to see a little more support from the club at these events. GDH were represented my me, Crutches, Steve France and Mary Jeal (Frank was in his dapper blue and oranges (socks included) but raced as Pennine).

As always Ive no idea about results but I can say that Ian Crutchley and Steve France along with yours truly bagged the male Team prize. I also got the V40 but failed in my real goal; getting a win against Chris Jackson. Next time Chris!”

Wow! Hip hip hooray for the team prize and nice one Paul on the V40! If you don’t wanna see a really irate Paul (does that ever even happen?! Cant imagine!) you should get yourself along to the next local race that he mentions and keep the lad happy 🙂

Next years Eurovision entry?

Up the Nab Junior Fell race

Crutchleys out in force this weekend! Thanks to Ian for sending in a report from the Juniors race.

“After his DNF disappointment last week at Bakewell, Benjamin Crutchley was back at Up the Nab.  There were 5 junior races ranging from U9’s to U17’s, each one pushing a little further up the adult route, before turning round for the breakneck descent.  These are tough races and no mistake.  This race is number 5 of 6 in the English Junior Fell Champs, and there was seriously a lot of (very good!) kids, probably 50 in each category.

I have to say how well organised the junior races were, and huge credit to Des Gibbons and his team.  Melissa Crutchley had started the U11’s race, but was struggling with her breathing following a cold, so dropped out near the top of the climb.  Gutted for her, but sometimes its not to be, and we’ve all had that!  Benjamin was next in the U13’s and struggled with the sustained climb over the first mile.  At the turnaround his pace picked up, a bit of ankle trouble but made up a few places in the drop down, finishing I reckon around middle of the pack.  Was incredibly impressive to see these kids race, some real stars of tomorrow!”

Well run you lot! Absolutely right there – sometimes it just isn’t meant to be and sounds like a tough race to be doing when getting over a cold – good on you for knowing when to call it a day Melissa. Onwards to the next race!

Fab running Benjamin – sounds like a descender of the future that if you’re making up places on the way down!

Benjamin setting a cracking pace up the hills!

Blackpool Summer 10km

Where else to be when the sun is shining? Blackpool of course!

Strava shows Paul Gatley was over there, not just for the running it seems – also bagged a crate of beer! Nice! Well deserved after speeding round the course in sub 50 mins!

The GDHers of the Future/the Junior GDHers of the moment

There are some prominent names in the world of junior GDH running what with Barlow/Wallroth/Brack/Swan/Crutchley/Crompton to name just a few. But this weekend, we’ve added another to the mix – and WATCH OUT KIDS! Cos Leonardo Holme just smashed his way onto the running scene! This came in from justifiably proud dad Luke who was probably most relieved that young Leonardo doesn’t seem to have inherited Dad’s nav genes.

“Leonardo Holme made his running debut for GDH at Marple Junior Park run today. He is about to turn three in two days time so I was wondering if it was a great idea for him to be racing at an early age. He did start the race quite emotional, perhaps a little overwhelmed but nonetheless he still wanted to run. (his idea not mine) 

Leonardo lined up at the start of the run alongside Martha and Merlin who shot off like rockets. 

Really proud dad as he did finish the run to see mother, brother and sister waiting for him at the end. Also extra support from the Wallroth family helped spur on a sprint finish. 

Just add a massive thanks to the Marshalls as their support was much appreciated. 

He finished 20:08 unofficially as he needs to be four before he can get an official time.”

Wallroth senior doesn’t have much time to plan his run write ups what with the speed his M&Ms get round the course! Thanks to this report from Pete:

3 regular harriers over this morning and a parkrun debut for a super trooper mini harrier. Leo Holme at 2 years and 363 days must be one of the youngest to take part surely. Luke was knackered after the last few days running so someone had to take him for a run and Leo duly obliged by dragging him around the course in 20:08

Well done Leo and our other harriers today

Adam Crompton – 9:15

Martha Wallroth – 13:41

Merlin Wallroth – 13:47

Leo Holme – 20:08

Great Hucklow

Thanks to Nick Ham for sending in this report, I feared he might not make it in time having been errm, out running or taking photos?! But make it it did!

“I’d got my fastest Woodbank parkrun time since April yesterday (back to below 25 minutes – yeah, go me, woo) so I was looking forward to putting in a respectable effort today as the sole GDH representative. At 10k I should get it done and dusted within the hour (dream on oh gutless-engined one). It was my first time on this race, which promised plenty of up and down like the Derbyshire Dales do rather well. I entered because it’s in the Gritstone Series and I’m hoping to complete enough qualifying races, and it’s in my favourite part of the country. Registration in the finishing field was relaxed before the race organiser’s busted horn set us off down the lane, right along Great Hucklow’s main street (another lane) and right down a rough and rutted track, which descended for ever as I breathed in the dust cloud kicked up by all the runners in front and all those overtaking me. Relief was bestowed when we turned right into a grassy field to begin the first climb (what goes down must go up, and repeat, and repeat, etc.)

After the dusty descent we soon came upon an unavoidable swimming pool of liquid mud across a gateway (well, it was liquid mud by the time I got there). I’d heard the warnings and didn’t believe them, but it was true. It must have its own special water supply to maintain full replenishment. I just ploughed through the middle. Shortly after that there was a proper bog, which had been horribly activated and loosened by all the feet that had gone before. I just about held onto my shoes but I heard a cry from behind, with comments about having descended to knee level. That baptism of fire (well, mud) set us up nicely for the remainder of the very dry fell race looking like nature intended – absolutely splattered and caked. Not only that, this time it was soon caked hard, which is quite unusual around these parts.

Then there were the flies. Oh the flies. You know the ones that swarm around animals’ moist bits. Well, they were now in full attendance around our heads, with many buzzings of rapidly increasing intensity coming to abrupt stops as the infernal blighters landed. You can even see them on some of my photos. I flailed and slapped to halt the crawling scalp for mere seconds before the cycle repeated. I soon gave up the futile endeavour due to the effort involved in climbing the hill. I had no spare energy for swatting as my drooling tongue dragged along the ground and I blew out my a**e. Oh the steepness. Even walking’s a struggle. I know, pause to take a photo. Phew, that sun’s strong. I need my mummy water bottle but I didn’t bring it. Must rest. I know, pause to take a photo. Still, it’s only 10k; be over within the hour (continue to dream on, you of clogged fuel filter). An impertinent marshal called out to us: “Come on, Stuart Bond ran up here”. How very dare he. What does he think we are, superhuman?

Once the field had sorted itself out and we were going at similar speeds, I tried not to get overtaken on the uphill trudges and the downhill clumsy stumbles on jelly legs (anyone would think I was new to this lark). More pictures were taken in the strange valley of many lumps and marshals were thanked before we were eventually delivered to the top of the final descent. As soon as the washed-out track gave way to Tarmac I let myself go to overtake a runner who’d recently overtaken me and – get this – had the energy to SPRINT to the finish line. That uncharacteristic last 10-second burst of energy got me a time of 1:08:05. Must do better. Suggested remedial action: full re-bore, sort out blown gasket, new fuel filter.

We dined on home-made flapjack and bananas and guzzled water and juice as we waited to applaud the winners at the awards ceremony. It was a lovely race with lovely views but not lovely suffering during. Retrospectively, the ‘during’ fades in the memory, making the overall experience not just lovely but absolutely spiffing.”

Sounds great, and looks like you’ve got some great running form at the moment Nick!

Manchester 10km

Sadly no reports for this today. But it pretty much does what it says on the tin – it’s 10km around Manchester?! Definitely a hot day for doing a road 10km, and even with a relatively early start, the clouds had definitely cleared and the sun was shining which aint really conducive to PBs – but no fear, some cracking times anyway by the handful of GDH that went over – Jess, David C-L, Wendy M, Tony H (although not in team colour!), Sean P and any others?

Despite the unusual absence of David at the trail car park at 9am on a sunday, he more than made up for it, and can indeed show his face again with pride having bagged himself a MV60 prize! Massive congrats in a field that size David!

In other news

No consolidated Parkrun report sorry – I need to clean the car, the littlest dog just stole and ate an apple off my tree and now is now parading round the kitchen with her walking harness – so I think she’s trying to tell me something! Walk me or your apple tree gets it.

Those of you interested in Hodgson Bro relays (is it a relay or did i make that up? I don’t know) – anyone Matt C wants your names so get in touch. If like me you have no idea what they are, just ask Matt – or in fact anyone else probably! They need teams of 8, so the more the merrier!

Seems we got a few new members, or potential new members who are watching quietly from the sidelines – so massive welcome to the recent newcomers, and hope the rest of you will join us soon! Tuesday coached session – best way to meet everyone and can take it at your own pace 🙂 think this week is Hurst Crescent and Coach J will be putting the details on FB on Tuesday.

That’s it for now – sorry if i’ve missed anything but you know the drill! Happy Sunday!


It’s the Scorcher Weekend Report

Things really hotting up this week, not just literally, but also in our Championships. Saturday was ridiculously warm and boy, there was a lot of group photos this week! Thanks everyone for the contributions, and well done t everyone that got out there. Put your feet up, and enjoy the highs, lows, (and rants) from just one week of Glossopdale Harrier life.

Trunce 5

One short of a Gaggle, the Swan family headed over to Trunce, determined to experience minimal queuing within the first mile. Phil Swan ran the “big race” and managed a time of 32.04. Not quite a PB for Phil in this race series, but I can vouch that its a very good time! Meanwhile, fledglings Caitlin and Josie Swan ran the junior race, finishing 5th and 6th Junior Females respectively. Well done girls!

Don’t forget people, Trunce is a Champs counter this year, so do make sure you get over for at least one in the series. It is a cracking little race.

Remaining Trunce races, for the diary….. 16th July, 5th August, 19th August and 9th September.

Round the Resers

A champs race, and I’m not sure we could find one that is any more on home turf. So well do we know this territory, we can do it with our eyes closed. And a picture I saw on Facebook of Rob Sheldon, was pretty much just that.

Paul Skuse very helpfully sent in this report. “Not sure if this has been done already but thought I’d give a few notes if needed. Conditions were perfect. Loads of GDH were out. I beat Steve Crossman“.

Thanks Paul!

Now, I’m not entirely sure of the route to be honest, but its 5 miles and I think does a couple of laps around Valehouse. If going anti-clockwise, then I guess you do that horrific little hill twice! Mur de Huy as its known on the “Strava segment circuit”, where Luke Holme holds the record, and I’m still convinced he strapped his watch to his dog that day. The times do the talking, but there was an epic turnout and some really interesting battles played out by the look of it.

Below are the results, but I cant find a proper record of the prizes. I know there was a prize for Paul Peters, and also vets prizes for Steve Crossman, David Christie Lowe and of course, Tony Hillier. Possibly got the Mens team prize too depending on how they work it out. Beyond that, its anyone’s guess!

5Paul Peters28.39
8Sean Philips30.02
13James Knapper30.36
14Paul Skuse30.41
15Steve Crossman30.48
17Simon Watts31.05
19Nick Lord31.33
25Ben Naylor32.53
30Will Mather33.20
36Luke Holme34.01
38Rob Sheldon34.17
53David Christie-Lowe35.47
55Jeroen Peters35.56
60Alex Critcher36.20
63Peter Wallroth36.31
64Mike Burton36.34
65Frank Fielding36.37
66Michael Raynor 36.40
96 Rachel Walton39.27
99Simon Toole39.44
108Joanne Brack40.35
109Nick Ham40.36
127Emma Rettig41.42
129John Pollard41.50
131Charm Brierley41.54
136Tony Hillier42.07
137Marie Williamson42.15
155Wendy McMahon44.41
175Kaylea Haynes47.15
180Malcolm Brown47.42
193Laurie Barlow49.31

Sale Sizzler

A few of the lads found themselves in Wythenshawe on Thursday, for the first of 4 in the Sale Sizzler series. Apparently this is a very flat and fast 5K! This from Nick Ham…..

Three of us kept the GDH end up at the first Sale Sizzler this evening (and was it a sizzler in that heat and humidity) – me, John Stephenson and Tony Hillier. Two of us graced Round The Resers last night as well. There’s nothing like serial compulsive racing for keeping you fit (I think).

359Nick Ham24.07
379Tony Hillier24.50
397John Stephenson24.59

Don’t forget, the last Sale Sizzler is a counter for the road/trail champs. Thursday 8th August, so get your entry in!

Wheres your thumbs Nick?!

Hope Wakes

Just shy of 6 miles and 1500 feet, Hope Fell Race is a local classic, and one which I am ashamed not to have done! I think the summer route is the reverse of the winter version, but perhaps I just made that up. Either way, Robin Hoffman and Sarah Andrew made the short trip, for this little belter over Win Hill. I scoured for some piccies, but perhaps there was some incognito running going on here, as I see no blue and orange. Brilliant running, but you should get yourselves a vest guys!

73Robin Hoffman56.15
87Sarah Andrew57.30

Tideswell Fell Race

Midweek Man Paul Skuse was over in Tideswell Friday night, and sent this in!

Just four mighty Glossopdalers dared take on the challenge of Tideswell on Friday evening. William Mather (Bright of shorts and short of brains), Luke Holme (Wise of route and ignorant of pace), Paul Skuse (Witless, feckless and scrawny) and a newcomer to the world of midweek racing, Lance with the double barrelled surname (I’ve got high hopes for this lad!) .

The weather was warm as I’m sure you all know. It always feels warmer with limestone underfoot. We did a quick recce of the start and end of the route. It was clearly going to be one of those balls out at the start and hang on type races with a very long mile of descending trail before hitting the hard climb. And this is exactly what happened. Luke, as always, promised to beans it on the first mile and lead the pack till at least the first photo op. And as always, he bottled it! To be fair, this wouldn’t have been a good day to try it. Keswick had come down from the far North (Winter is coming!) and they dominated like Cynthia Payne! The pace they set off at was insane and they did it in force and with smiles on their faces. The route was nearly pure trail with a fairly respectable lump to climb half way round. Keeping the pace going up was really tough; you know when it’s runnable but only just. After that, it’s straight back down via a slippery path, some deep, dark woods and a near endless series of steps. I think quite a few of us lost traction at some point. Will took a spill and hurt his arm (but my little snuggle monkey picked himself up and carried on regardless). Then it’s a fast, flat dash to the finish. I’m sure that regardless of the route or race, the last mile is always longer than any other. 

Not sure about results but I came 11th feeling truly ragged. Will came in soon after with a brilliant sprint finish to snatch an extra place. Lance was only moments behind and, hats off to the lad, he had given it the beans and had nothing left in the tank. Luke had garmin issues so no idea about his time but the sweaty state he was in was proof he’s been giving it the beans as well. And so that’s it; the Tideswell fell race 2019.

“Where’s your vest Luke”? “It got lost”.

Well done lads, below are the results. I must add that I received the following cryptic message from Luke Holme after the race.. @Ian Crutchley if Paul says anything about me drinking before the race its a lie. He didn’t Luke, but now the whole club demands an explanation!

11Paul Skuse30.26
36Will Mather34.18
41Lance Hamilton Griffiths34.41
48Luke Holme35.16

Whaley Whaltz

Saturday was definitely not the day for racing, but some just won’t accept any kind of adverse weather condition. A few brave souls were over in Whaley Bridge. This from Pete Wallroth….

Well this was…..erm……warm and I mean devilishly warm. 30C to be more precise which made for an altogether unpleasant running experience. Knowing there was a river dip at the end probably kept all of us going as we struggled around what would be a testing, but great 9.5k course in normal British weather, never mind in a heatwave.

Suffice to say this race took victims early on as heatstroke and flying low branches took out a few of the front runners. Thankfully we all finished safely

97Rebecca Smith1.02.57
105Pete Wallroth1.04.45
144Cathy Murray1.09.37
180Nick Ham1.15.34
“The Tarmacs melting Pete”. “Just smile like you’re enjoying it”.
“And why are we in this random kitchen?”. Just smile team, just smile….”

Arrochar Alps

Tim Budd, Matt Huxford, Jamie Helmer and Andy Oliver went North of the Wall to take on the Arrochar Alps race. Pretty serious this one, with 4 Munros and about 15 miles. In typically modest and humorous fashion, Tim Budd provides us with all the details….

The 4 horsemen of the glosspocolypse headed to Arrochar, just north of Glasgow for this delightful little race which is 277,777 battered Mars bars long and has 20869 cans of Irn Bru of ascent. Here’s a bullet point list of quotes and things we learned.

  1. Findlay Wild does not look like that.
  2. Scottish tussoks are easier to run on.
  3. Thunder travels at the speed of sound.
  4. Everywhere in Scotland has a castle. Even caravan sites.
  5. Midges are lovely around these parts. Less like being bitten, and more like having a massage.
  6. Just because you live in Scotland doesn’t make you any better at going up hills. (according to Angela mudge)
  7. Wierd moaning cows
  8. Carnivorous plants
  9. Frogs everywhere
  10. Jamie nearly got struck by lightning
  11. We can’t count.

Thanks Tim, I think! I don’t see any results yet, but I’ve got no doubt you guys did well here.

Lakeland Trails 55K

Dan Stinton also went North, but had the sense to turn off the M6 before it was too late. Having said that, he took on a 55k race on the hottest day of the year. Should have stayed on the M6 mate! He sent us this in…..

I took on the Lakeland Trails 55km on Saturday, did anyone mention it was hot? There was a few races going on, including the 100km (which started at midnight on Friday) and the 23km and 14km.

Dan (left) with someone he doesn’t know (right)

I guzzled water like the was no tomorrow and when the aid stations weren’t enough, a few well timed streams came to my rescue (including filling my hat and pouring it over my head). Later in the race a couple of lads were stood by a fence and said to me: “You’re in 12th position, you could get top 10 if you pushed it a bit”.  This was a massive surprise as I had no idea where I was in the field, and I’m not normally there. 

If there is any moment to give it some wellie, this was it! So I started running like a maniac (well, as much as I could muster anyway)! 15km or so later and I’d somehow crept up to 7th place. Totally unexpected, but I’m really pleased to have been able to push through at the end. 

John Pollard was on the 23km and gave me a big Glossop cheer at the start (thanks John!). 

Indeed he did Dan, I picked this up from Facebook…

Ran the Lakeland trail 23k from Ambleside today, good demanding route round Grasmere and Elterwater. Obviously hot and rocky but not like Liam at Glastonbury..knowwhatimean!

“This was the best group photo I could come up with under the circumstances”


Plenty of GDH action at Glossop this week, with Wioleta Wydrych taking advantage of the dry conditions nice a PB. Loads of tourism as normal but it seems Marple was the place to be, with Caitlin Swan, Wyatt and Laurie Barlow all smashing out PB’s. Lyme Park also had a PB from Rick Gwilt. Well done all!

Check out the consolidate club report HERE

Round Sheffield Run

Running around Sheffield doesn’t appeal me, but the Round Sheffield Run definitely does. Here and now, I’m pledging to go try this one next year! Lucy Wasinski ran as a mixed pair with Steve Page, and I believe came third. Not sure beyond that, but Lucy sent this in…

Perfect weather for today’s Round Sheffield Run, and got an early start in before it got really warm!
So here we are sat in Steve’s car on the way home pondering what to put so in the absence of feeling creative and feeling like we should talk to each other, we decided to have an interview, there won’t be any job offers forthcoming from the BBC.
Lucy: Skuse, did u have a good day?
Skuse: I had a fantastic day, and the company was tolerable (*charming!)
Lucy: What was your favourite bit?
Skuse: Stage 4 the long descent through the woods.
Lucy: Were u pleased with your time? Skuse: Slower than last year but yes!
Lucy: Will u back?
Skuse: Defo! With the GDH peloton!! Be nice to beat Crossman haha.

Skuse: So Steve what was it like winning your first ever medal?
Steve: Disappointing!! Haha. We were 10seconds behind second!! But equally top laugh, really enjoyed it ….apart from Lucy’s foul mouth. (* there might have been a “bit” of cursing but it was hard alright!!!) We’ll be back next year to get that 2nd place with 10 seconds off!

Think the blokes have summed it up really, was a fab event, defo recommend it! Massive thanks to Steve for pacing/waiting/encouraging/carrying the water and being an all round blooming good partner… despite a painful toe! It was loads of fun!

Big thanks to the GDH marshal (Laurie Barlow) and kudos to the other GDHers (Wendy Mcmahon, David Munday, Susan Moore, Kate Emily, Marie Williamson) and any others I’ve missed sorry) out on the course who we sadly didn’t bump into, there were a lot of people in Endcliffe park! But some happy photos of faces and some good running times so looks like everyone had a brill day out!

“I’ll race you up the hill”. “What do you think this is, don’t be stupid!”
“Whats the time Steve?” “Bugger off, I’m not falling for that one”

The Great Bakewell Pudding Race

A mass start of juniors and seniors, when the race splits after a mile, was always going to be a disaster. And, unfortunately the inevitable happened to my own, with Benjamin Crutchley completing half the adult route, before a kind marshal pointed out he should have turned left 2 miles back. With kids involved, the marshaling on the split should have been better, and I’m afraid this race will be better remembered for my shouting at the RO at the finish, than for the race itself. To be fair, I was missing a child, and slightly bemused as to why no one thought that was a problem! Anyway the kind marshal brought him back shortly after, and no real harm was done. I have to say, a really harsh DNF for young Crutchley in the junior race.

Enough of my ranting now, this was a Champs race after all, so what happened? This is a fast race and no mistake, and there’s just no hiding from it. It generally undulates, no big ups and downs, but there is a very welcome river crossing close to the finish. No full results presently but I believe the first handful were Sean Phillips, Joe Travis, Will Mather, Ian Crutchley, Luke Holme, Zoe Barton, Wendy Trelease in that order. I had my face in a Bakewell Tart so missed the rest. Cheeky! Serial racer Nick Ham sent this in….

I ran 4 races in 5 days (it could have been 5 races if I’d done Tideswell on Friday). My Whaley Waltz effort was painfully slow with heart rate at 173bpm as I walked up hill. It wouldn’t come down below 100 for the remainder of the day. By this morning at Bakewell I felt slightly more in the mood for running. I might have got yet another PW but it wasn’t as emphatic as yesterday’s debacle and I finished with a contented feeling that I’d actually managed to run most of it. When’s the next race?

Excellent attitude Nick, and well done all!

And another group photo!

Halifax Marathon

Simon Watts was over in Halifax for the Marathon, and sent this in….

A tough marathon! My partner is from Halifax so I know some of the roads but there were some unforgiving>15% accents. The first 8 miles or so is climbing followed by a steep descent into Halifax,then for lap 2 with a minute lost due to poor signage back to the start/finish. Last 6 miles I was managing the cramp creeping into my legs but elated to see the finish line😁

A wee bit windy and warm but a great morning out with some cracking views…and I placed first! Yay! Not a PB marathon time but really happy with 3hr 17m with 910m of climbing!

A terrific result that Simon. Makes me really proud to be part of this running club. Long may I bask in the glory of others!

The single picture this week that proves we are a “running” club, and not a “group photo” club!

Other Stuff

Not too much more I can think of, but I can’t miss the opportunity for some “post race pig out” pictures….

As always, please send any racing contributions to We do love to hear all about it!

“If only that was the last of the rain” Weekly Report

Nowadays you don’t need to wait for Michael Fish’s weather report, you just have a scroll through Strava.  From the titles I can reliably inform everyone that it’s been a warm one, sunny, humid and in some cases brutal.  Of course though, now it seems to be raining again…

Here’s the weekly report.

Kinder Trog

Don’t have a fight with rocks on Kinder.  That’s the take-home message from the Kinder Trog today.  Immy Trinder (who found out the hard way) gives us this report:

GDH lineup for Kinder Trog was John S, Jo B, Alison H, Charmayne B, Matt C, Dan S and myself. It was nothing if not an eventful day. Dan and I chugged round together, and it was all going well until we were heading towards the Downfall where I decided it was a good time to have a fight with the floor. Following a moment of bemusement I worked out how to peel myself off the gritstone, shouted at Dan for trying to help me (classic, sorry Dan) and after a wobbly-bottom-lip moment and being overtaken by Matt, we cracked on. It has been suggested that I might call this kind of a disagreement with the floor a ‘John Stephenson’, although as far as I’m aware he managed to stay on his feet today for the duration!

It was lovely to see Tracey R, Cecil and Mark D out on route. It was especially nice to see Marco’s big box of Haribo! Meanwhile, Matt had a hot date with a PB but unfortunately it wasn’t to be, as we discovered when we caught him up in the final few kilometres. A knee problem, which had something to do with a gate that I didn’t quite grasp, was to blame.

Alison had a great race and put her HPM demons to rest. She encountered a minor nav mishap but got round without fighting any inanimate objects. Jo, Charm and John ran together, the report from Jo being that they ‘all enjoyed it but it was bloomin’ hard work!”

Fight for 1st GDH came down to a sprint finish between Dan and myself, which I won, although I’m pretty sure if it hadn’t been for the variety of mitigating circumstances including Matt’s knee, and Dan sticking with me after my face-plant, it might have been very different!

I knew I didn’t stand a chance on a sprint finish with Immy but it made it quite an exciting ending in around 2:44.  The results don’t seem to be out yet so we’ll get them posted on the facebook page.  Great local long racing…. well done all!

(Also to add Chris Jackson and Frank Fielding were out there for Pennine)

Buttermere Horseshoe

The Lakeland Classics Trophy started back in 2002 and has grown ever since.  It covers six classic Lakeland races and the best three performances count. Chris Webb took on the Buttermere horseshoe and sent in the report below:

Tim Culshaw and I headed up to Loweswater on a glorious day to run the Buttermere Horseshoe fell race. At 22miles/9000ft it’s statistically the toughest of the Lakeland Classics and the heat spiced it up even more this year. Finlay Wild turned up so the winner was never in doubt (he broke the course record I believe, unsurprisingly) but for the rest of us we were trying to get round without the wheels coming off!

I was going well until Haystacks when a nav error cost me a few mins; that combined with the sun really beating down at that point made for hard going over Red Pike and High Stile. I rallied on the descent of Scale Force (despite another minor nav error) and managed to climb Mellbreak without too much suffering.

Tim meanwhile was smug with his controlled effort early on, “feeling great” he said over Grasmoor. It’s still early in the race though and he had his fair share of suffering and minor nav mishaps on the way back. Still, with Edith only 3 weeks old and off the back of very little sleep Tim finished strong, storming past the Kirkstile Inn beer garden like a man possessed! I can highly recommend this race for anyone wanting a long, challenge fell race on a beautiful route.

Final results:

Chris Webb: 12th in 4hrs 51mins

Tim Culshaw: 27th in 5hrs 29mins

The Spine Flare

The summer version of the Spine Challenger (108 miles) is happening right now.  I’ve just looked at the tracker and Sue Clapham finished in 36:04:04.  I don’t have any details, but absolutely epic running – I hope we can hear all about it!

A Trio of 10kms

Why just run one race in a week, when you can do three?  John Pollard took on Marple, the Hawkshead 10km and the Shirgley Stag fell race, and tells us below how it went.  It seems Lance Hamilton-Griffiths also made an appearance:

To complete a trio of 10k races in 7 days, starting with Marple trail on Sunday, I first ran the Hawkshead 10k road race around pretty little Esthwaite Water in the heart of the Lakes on a gorgeous Wednesday evening.

Now I did intend to do the Langstrath fell race in Borrowdale (honest guv) but didn’t leave enough time to drive down the valley, a pity as it’s the most beautiful route up to Watendlath tarn, but I thought I’d let Ricky Lightfoot win that for the umpteenth time.

So instead I mingled among the assorted Kendal AAC & Eden road runners to do what is truthfully quite a tedious undulating metalled loop, views notwithstanding, around Esthwaite. Good hard running though and getting me fit to finish in 51.02, with a burger and beer reward provided by the slightly chaotic organisers in Hawkshead afterwards.

That was a road and trail completed and on Saturday afternoon it was the Fell run, a new race at Pott Shrigley, tucked away by Shrigley Hall in the local village Rose Queen fete.

Charming Cheshire. A varied route, supposedly 10 k, pretty much all runnable, touching on Lyme Park at the Bow Stones and the most enjoyable run of the week.

I was short of concentration on one downhill section in the woods and went a*** over t*t, a reminder not to be so careless…but felt I ran ok to finish 3rd v60 in 57.25.

Lance Hamilton-Griffiths appears to have finished about 36th in 47.12 but I didn’t catch sight of him at that pace. Well ran sir.

Whether this all means I’m going to have the stamina for next week’s Ambleside trail half marathon I’ll have to see.

Kingsway Track 5km

Rochdale? What happens there? I have no idea usually, but earlier in the week Immy Trinder and I attended a chip-timed track 5km at the Kingsway track.  It seems to be a collaboration set up by the Rochdale Triathlon Club, Royton Road Runners and Rochdale Harriers.  There are three separate races (sub-20, 20-25min, 25+mins) and a junior 2km.

I somehow managed a PB of 18:43 and Immy came over the line in 20:30.

It costs £4, you get a print-out of all your lap times and you get to feel like a proper athlete for a bit – highly recommended!

Colshaw 10km

Alex Critcher provided an in-depth review of the Colshaw 10km on Stava.  How was it Alex?

“Awful”.  So, there you go.

Parkrun Corner

A load of Harriers enjoying a warm Parkrun yesterday with 17 on the start line.  Caitlin Rice was first GDH followed by Sean Phillips.  Perusing Strava it looks Sean did an extensive warm-up of 18-19kms, nothing quite like getting the legs ready for a Parkrun, eh?

Luke Holme, probably powered by a vampire-bite from T100, bagged a PB at 20:34.  No other PBs from GDH at the home course, but David Christie-Lowe is just two runs away from the 250 milestone.  Top running!

Check out the consolidate club report HERE

Top Mileage and Climbing

Who has been out there grinding out the miles and powering up those hills?  On the GDH Strava group, this week Steve Knight has clocked up an impressive 91.8km but Jenny Ross takes the elevation crown with a whopping 5,278m.

Anything Else?

As is the Harriers tradition there was a summer solstice run out into our lovely hills.  With fast-paced and busy lives getting out into the hills is always a joy, but this one has the added benefit of whisky.  A perfect time to enjoy our magnificent local playground and think about our friends old and new.

There has, of course, been a Tuesday speed session and a Thursday fell run, but it also looked like a splinter group set-out to run loops around the reservoirs.  We all know what that means! That’s right, it’s “Round the Resers” on Wednesday! This year the race will be supporting Tinttwistle Children’s Gala, a local charity providing activities for young people in the community.  I’m sure a good bunch of the blue and orange army will be there!

Guy Riddell is beating the drum for the Chester Marathon in October – get your entires in!  Chatter of Bullock Smithy recces seems to be all over the place.  The Manor Park Marathon looks likely to be happening on August Bank Holiday… I’ve spotted a recce of “Lakes in a Day” out there on Strava – have fun on that one!  Basically, it’s all going on Harriers!

That’s all i’ve spotted or been sent this week – if there’s anything missing then please let us know what happened in the Facebook comments!

Keep flinging the reports and pictures in to the GDH report-writing-crew at


Tour of Tameside 2019

No. I didn’t forget. To be honest, this is a true epic, and I have to say a massive thanks to Skusey and Crossman for putting this together for me. Without those 2, you’d have had me making up a load of drivel that really didn’t pay true homage to what an event this has become.

As Steve says: This one is for Nev.

Stage 1 X Trail Thursday 19:15 (Report from Paul Skuse)

It’s day one so we all rocked up with eyes bright and legs fresh. There was a bit of rain in the air on the short drive over to Daisy Nook but had dried up by the time we got to the car park. A few GDH were already loitering in the car park so we congregated for the obligatory team photo. Then it was a wander down to the start line and first of many discreet toilet stops in the bushes. We had a quick look at the paths which were wet enough to justify trail shoes. Then back to the start line for what was meant to be a rousing warm up routine – Steve Crossman’s face was a picture. Stage 1 SaluteThen the race was started by Dr Ron himself. As for the route, it was a bit more road than trail; pleasant enough but nothing to get excited about. And yet this was one of the best racing experiences I’ve ever had. I can’t speak for the others racing; maybe a separate report would give a less personal response but for Crossman, Page, Si Watts and me, it was brilliant! There was no plan other than race as hard as we could. So we did. And by chance, the four of us ended up racing as a pack. Nothing was said, we just found our pace was almost identical to each other, formed a little group and took turns leading. We pushed the pace when at the front and just held on when chasing. Apart from a few moments at the halfway point when Steve Junior stopped for a drink (he was thirsty, bless him), we ran like it was one of Coach J’s training sessions. We all came in within 4 secs of each other. Page came in at 38:44, Crossman and Watts were tied at 44:46 (V50 for Steve Senior) with Si trying to shoulder charge him out of the way and I came in at 44:47. Never been in a race like it and never felt as proud to be a Harrier. Stage 1 Finish 1Steve Knight came in just moments behind us. Simon Entwistle took the V60 in 41:03. Never ran with him before but that lad can shift. Rob Murphy in his mandatory orange hat picked up the V55 in 43:28. Guy Riddell came in 44:45, Alex Critcher came in 47:57, Ian McGarry was in at 48:16 and Tony Hillier was in at 53:37 taking the V70. Wendy McMahon 58:00 and Becca Coward 1:00:46, also ran, putting in strong performances


Name Gender Position Cat Position Chip
Steve Page 9 6 00:38:41
Steve C 10 1 00:38:43
Si Watts 11 7 00:38:43
Paul Skuse 12 2 00:38:44
Steve Knight 14 3 00:39:00
Simon Entwistle 35 1 00:40:58
Rob Murphy 58 1 00:43:20
Guy Riddle 71 9 00:44:20
Alex Critcher 137 29 00:47:51
Ian McGarry 143 27 00:47:57
Tony Hillier 233 1 00:53:29
Wendy McMahon 113 26 00:58:00
Becca Coward 144 37 01:00:46

Stage 2 Hell on the Fell Friday 19:15 (Report from Paul Skuse)

I was looking forward to this race more than the others as it sounded like a fell race. Guy and Steve P lead a quick recce before the race which turned out to be useless as neither could remember the route.  With all of us none the wiser about the route, we headed back down to the start. There was another odd aerobics style warm up that felt just a little embarrassing. We’d already done a warmup ourselves so we just watched in silence at the poor lass jumping up and down on the stage. Conditions again were good for racing. The start was damn fast. I realized pretty quickly that my legs were not coping well with consecutive racing. Wendy McMahon was out on the tarmac climb taking photos so it was shoulders back and fake the pace.Rob Stage 2 The route is (according to my near infallible memory) just running up some pretty steep tarmac streets to Hobsons Moor; then it’s a bit traily and there was a tall grassy bit that kept grabbing your ankles. John S and Sikobe were supporting somewhere around here so fake the pace again. There’s still a fair bit of climb so just keep pushing. Si Watts had a great start and was chewing up the climb.  At the summit, if you’re lucky, you’ll find a small group of numpties offering beer as a mid-race refreshment. Seriously, who dresses Will Mather? And fair play to Luke for allowing to be seen with him in public. And from the summit, it’s a full on, balls out, take no prisoners descent. Si Watts needs to do some fell races. He’s a natural born descender. I’m not. He kept getting smaller and smaller as he Image-1sped off. Steve Page was very hungry for this and made up some serious ground down the sh*t strewn path (it was properly minging, that’s all we really discovered on the recce!). Page might get me on the road and trail but there was no way I was letting him get me on the hills. Huge thanks to all who supported. I know John Pollard was out but have no clue where.

Stage 2
Name Gender Position Cat Position Chip
Si Watts 9 7 00:40:43
Paul Skuse 13 3 00:41:38
Steve Page 14 9 00:41:47
Steve Crossman 7 1 00:42:07
Simon Entwistle 27 1 00:43:29
Rob Murphy 46 1 00:46:25
Guy Riddle 85 15 00:50:02
Alex Critcher 121 30 00:52:03
Ian McGarry 123 23 00:52:38
Tony Hillier 247 1 01:02:48
Becca Coward 123 30 01:09:56
Clare Higgins 131 24 01:11:57

Stage 3 Hero Half Marathon (in memory of Nev McGraw) Saturday 10:00 (Report Steve Crossman)

This report will be much briefer than the previous days, due to a date with a cold beer!

The event started at Roughfields, Padfield with a minute’s applause for Nev McGraw. It was a nice touch from the organisers and they invited GDH to mass at the podium as a focal point.

A great team photo was taken with many practising the Tony Hillier ‘thumbs-up’ salute.

The usual suspects doing the full tour were joined by Jess Camp (on her ½ marathon debut), Mike Greenhalgh, Mike Raynor, Alan Schofield. Adele Metcalfe, Jennifer Day and Laurie Barlow.HMG Group Shot

Not much to say about the race other than you run down the trail, turn around a cone, grit your teeth and come back into the strong headwind! Great support on the course from Wendy, John S, Becks, Ironman Oates, Rachel W, Dan S and Zoe. There may have been some offspring involved in the cheering too. Judging by the comments from the full tourers, it was difficult mentally to tune into the race after limited sleep from the previous night’s race exertions.Laurie Stage 3

Jess Camp finished strongly to claim 3rd female and a few quid! The GDH peloton at the front end was disrupted a touch & everyone else put in a sterling mornings effort. Most of the team must have been knackered as the Howard Town Beer Tent was avoided.

Stage 3
Name Gender Position Cat Position Chip
Steve Page 14 7 01:27:47
Si Watts 16 9 01:28:04
Paul Skuse 19 6 01:29:05
Steve C 22 1 01:29:36
Simon Entwistle 39 1 01:33:51
Jess Camp 3 2 01:38:12
Mike Greenhalgh 71 18 01:39:30
Rob Murphy 79 2 01:40:37
Guy Riddle 85 11 01:41:15
Mike Raynor 103 16 01:43:56
Ian McGarry 105 17 01:43:59
Alan Schofield 136 59 01:48:23
Alex Critcher 193 39 01:54:32
Tony Hillier 233 1 01:57:50
Adele Metcalfe 56 4 01:58:04
Jennifer Day 166 35 02:24:58
Becca Coward 170 41 02:26:24
Laurie Barlow 173 38 02:28:33

Jess & J

Stage 4 Dr Ron Hyde 7 Sunday 09:30 (Report by Steve Crossman)

Everyone rocked up to the start line at Hyde town hall with the usual banter, assortment of injuries and horror stories of their toe-nails. A quick recce was required to see where Howard Town Beer Tent was located. With that sorted, we got down to the racing. A few GDH were in with a shout of Cat wins and Rob Murphy, took to donning an anonymous disguise to fool his nearest rival from Blackburn! The men were in with a shout of the teams prize too.

Dr Ron set proceedings underway and the serious stuff started. The route goes up, around, gives you a lovely view of Tesco Hattersley, down, up and down the Market street (if only it was over that quick in reality!) Everyone did a great job, with Kirsty S coming in 3rd female. Coach J would have been pleased with the technique on show from GDH! Most headed into the Town Hall for a beer or 3 then the presentations.Wendy & Sue

Stage 4
Name Gender Position Cat Position Chip
Si Watts 14 8 00:44:01
Steve C 15 1 00:44:11
Paul Skuse 16 5 00:44:15
Steve Page 19 10 00:44:48
Kirsty Sharp 3 1 00:45:00
Simon Entwistle 65 1 00:49:44
Rob Murphy 79 2 00:50:40
Guy Riddle 84 9 00:51:02
Ian McGarry 117 20 00:52:38
Alex Critcher 213 40 00:57:37
Tony Hillier 238 1 00:59:30
Wendy McMahon 82 21 01:02:14
Malc Brown 335 30 01:07:11
Becca Coward 166 41 01:11:12
Susan Moore 183 34 01:12:03
Clare Higgins 199 36 01:13:55
David Munday 355 132 01:21:18


Final Positions

Name Gender Position Cat Position Chip Chip Position Overall
Si Watts 7 4 03:31:36 8
Steve Page 10 6 03:33:09 11
Paul Skuse 12 4 03:33:47 13
Steve C 14 1 03:34:43 15
Simon Entwistle 25 1 03:48:17 26
Rob Murphy 49 2 04:01:23 50
Guy Riddle 56 6 04:06:59 57
Ian McGarry 88 14 04:17:54 96
Alex Critcher 116 26 04:33:02 135
Tony Hillier 180 1 04:54:06 226
Becca Coward 167 23 05:50:27 351
413 Completed


Unfortunately, the hunks missed out on the team prize to East Cheshire.

Vets prizes for Simon Entwistle, Tony Hillier and Steve Crossman



Running in the GDH peloton all week has been great fun and bloody hardwork. Other runners have come to us every day, commenting on the great rivalry, friendship and banter that GDH provided throughout.

It’s a tough 4 days, particularly the short rest Friday night / Saturday morning

You really get to know other runners and clubs doing the full tour. Runners are generally a great bunch.

The team behind the Tour actually did a good job, despite all the flack they’ve had in the past

Lastly, This one is for Nev, the original TOT Wily Vet!.

(*disclaimer – apparently Steve was massively confused by chiptime and guntime, so some of these times/places may or may not be entirely reflective of what happened)

I believe him, though.


Other mentions in the dispaches this week…

Simon Toole said- Let me congratulate the GDH Tour of Tameside 4 dayers , not only on their running but also on managing to get Steve Crossman to actually smile on the team photos, outstanding achievement. Is the angry bloke softening up in his old age?

Wendy McMahon – Today, the 4th day of the Tour of Tameside, Hyde turned yellow! For those that don’t know, Tony Hillier has a running community group ‘HRC’, which is a non affiliated social running club based in Hyde. Run North West is one of the official sponsors of the Tour and Tony kindly requested that non club runners wear the yellow tops as a thank you to the shop. Myself and a few other club runners chose to wear the yellow tops. This was more of a thank you to Tony. It was lovely to see lots of yellow today, as well as the blue and orange! I have not been running with that group long but I have seen many people who have never ran ever, progress and even a few of them did part of the tour this weekend. Tony is an inspiration to not just myself but a lot of people. I know it’s not GDH news but it’s running related and I just wanted to give some recognition to Tony on all he has done for the Hyde running community.


“Full moon closest to the Solstice” Weekly Report

So not a huge amount of stuff going on this week. I guess it being the middle of the year and all that everyone is a bit chilled out and relaxing, drinking beer and generally enjoying the marvellous weather that everyone seems to be going on about. Thankfully there were a few non-layabouts this week, toiling away in far flung places, and they have been kind enough to send us through some lovely words about how their various races went down.

So sit back and enjoy the generally quiet week that was the Full moon closest to the Solstice weekly report. (I’m sure there is a snappier way to say it, but I just can’t think of it).

DRCO dash

A bevvy of harriers wended their way across the tops to take part in the inaugaral DCRO Dash, organised by Pennine/Cave Rescue extraordinaire Alan Brentnall. It all seemed to go off without a hitch, Luke managing to more or less keep to the course to come in first Glossopdale, and everyone else snapping at his heels. Will was running with a friend who has never been fellrunning before, and did the gentlemanly thing at the end. (no, not committing seppuku, but letting her finish before him).

30 Luke Holme 51:06

61 Wendy Trelease 56:01

73 Pete Wallroth 59:16

83 John Stephenson 62:19

85 Mary Jeal 62:28

96 Will Mather 79:44


Coed y Brenin 1/2 and marathon

Report from deepest darkest Wales from Lucy Wasinski…. So Saturday saw 4 GDHers head over to coed y brenin for Trail marathon Wales, 2 for the full and 2 for the half. Tracey Robinson was gunning for a quick time on the half having left Cecil fending for himself in a cottage in Wales. Greg Wasinski was also wanting a course PB having put in the effort lately with Illy having let him down at the previous Cyb race. I was also hoping to do better than 2 y ago on the marathon having done more training and it being at least 15 degrees cooler! Rebecca Smith was feeling like she hadnt quite done the training but was going to have fun and get round anyway! Well where to start?!

For me it went something like this, have a great first 5 miles, a not so good second 5 miles and a lot of thinking whether to call it a day at the half way point and get a half time. As it was, I pushed on through the split point until 15 miles when running wasn’t really happening and I knew I couldn’t get another 11 miles done without a fair amount of pain and a lot of walking. So I turned back pretty disappointed with my first DNF but just in time to see Rebecca S pass through 14 miles looking spritely if not a tad surprised to  see me walking the opposite way! A quick hug, a hi and off she went and 12 miles later she saw the clock approaching 5h, so pushed it up the last hill (it is a hill!) Up to the finish line to come in a good 20seconds under 5h, which was 5th in category, a fab 18th lady and 15 mins quicker than 2018!! Awesome stuff 🙂 and all on no training!
Once back to start/finish area I just made it back in time to see Greg speed through the finish line in 1h50 for the half which was a good minute quicker than his previous best a few years ago, and feeling a lot better than on recent races! He was blooming happy with 29th over all! Sadly we might, only might, have been eating flapjack at the time that Tracey R flew over the line in sub 2h30 having enjoyed time to take some photos on her way round!
All in all a fab day out all round, and I’ll be back to get my revenge another year 🙂

Marple trail 10k

John Pollard has given us a brief resumé of the Marple carnival 10k on Sunday.
I did this as I wanted to improve on last year’s effort (plus they do a good goody bag, motivation for all roadies)…and I’ve come to the conclusion that I run better on trails than on fells…though the latter is

Rocked up at Brabyns Park in perfect running conditions, Asics trainers at the ready. Looked around in vain for another GDH shirt but couldn’t find any in the masses of Stockport Harriers and Dennis the Menaces. I have since seen Mary Jeal figure in the results, so I was not alone in flying the flag.
Starts steeply up to the Peak Forest canal but apart from a short sharp climb at halfway it’s fast going along the canal, with a few diversions.
I thought I was going to crack last year’s 53.09 coming into the final mile but that seemed to go round the houses/Park/whatever, and despite some old codger catching me on the line I managed 54.20. At least I got first v65, so maybe the age law of diminishing returns isn’t all bad. Mary got home in 55.41 for 2nd in her category.
Happy trails!

Aha – Martha and Merlin were also out as well – rocking it around the Marple fun run, with some bling to go with the inevitable candy floss?


Fathers day 10k

Simon Toole was out and about in Lancaster…. The Fathers day 10k in Lancaster runs along the river Lune before heading toward Morecambe , nice and flat. Dragged myself round in a time of 47.36 , position unknown as yet.

Podium 5k

A short report from Paul “rocket from the North” Peters… For the second time this year I headed over Burnley way for the Podium 5k, but after PPDNF’ing last time I had some demons to put to bed. Weather was looking great for racing until about 20 minutes before the start, when in typical Lancashire fashion it started pouring down. Admittedly it eased off by the start but it still didn’t make me any more confident.

I knew I had a habit of starting too fast in 5k’s lately (who doesn’t??), so pacing was the main aim of the race today. After a solid first 3k, my head started playing games with me again and thoughts of another DNF were looming. However, I soon passed my cheering teammate again and got myself back on track and finished strong for a new 3-second PB of 16:00!

(PS. Apologies for the vest, hometown races and all )


No PB’s at Glossop Parkrun this week – But Simon Toole did PB over at Morecombe, Holly, David and Will Munday did a bit of a first time smash and grab at Wilmslow, and young ms Rice had a first mooch around Bushy… Home, I believe of the whole thing?

John’s Jura Jolly

My Jura Fell Race 2019  – An emotional and physical rollercoaster

I’ve been running with Glossopdale Harriers since about 1998 now, and probably since the early 2000s I heard about the Jura Fell Race. “Are you serious?” was my first and second response. It’s half way to Iceland, who wants to travel so far for a race. So I put it off, and off, over the years.

Along came John Hewitt and soon he was also advocating the race, more as a great weekend than just a race. Still I put it off for the same reasons of distance and cost.

Then in 2017 after John’s terminal condition was diagnosed we were chatting one day and he reassured me I was missing out on an experience like no other so I quietly said “Maybe one day”. Then late 2018 I made the decision that I had to attempt the deed before age makes it too hard/impossible.

A brief stream of consciousness covers the process of getting to Jura.

Winter chats with Caity, Julie Eyre, Lins, decision made to enter. (Maybe I’ll be spared and they won’t accept me).

February to May, hill training, catch a cold, hill training, catch two colds one after the other, hill train a bit more.

May 24th, 4am Long drive ferry ferry bus walk Craighouse.

Warm welcome new old friends and the gathering

First impression of Jura…sunny and beautiful (on the friday) Caity plotting her route
idyllic cottage on seafront

Then on Friday evening, Crisis what crisis, The Carnethy crew prepare a meal in their cottage but during this the plumbing goes mad and in a strange prequel to the weather on race day -water streams down the walls and light fittings of the cottage, knocks out the electrics.

No problem, fault was diagnosed, water turned off, plumber called out of pub to fit new ballcock, kudos to Dave Palmer),  everything sorted and we ate an excellent meal prepared by John Ryan I think.l.

Then I tried to ply everyone with Jura whisky but they weren’t falling for this old trick.  A couple of tipples and that was that!. Enter the mantra of the event, What would John do?

On the day of race kit  we naturally faffed with kit for an hour after breakfast. We’d been watching the weather forecast for 24 hours and it was not good and getting worse, a definite batch of wind and rain starting same time as the race! I also could not find my long sleeved helly top which I was sure I had packed so I started the race in my club vest (the holy one) over a cotton T shirt, not the best fell race clothing. Given the rain had started I then put on my blue waterproof as well. I had a 2nd waterproof top & overtrousers just to comply with the regs of course.

Race start, everyone shoots off like it’s a 10K, I’m actually last within 100m!. Immediately after crossing the road bridge the route turns up a track for 3 miles uphill to CP1 (530m).  normal tussocky trods till about 400m height when the rocks started. Julie Eyre was at CP1 but due to the weather I couldn’t see who was who under the hoods!.

By this point I’d met and chatted with Richard Topliss from Pennine who said he’s done the race 19 times so I thought ‘good man to follow’. Easier said than done, he was going very steadily.

From CP1 Turn right, drop down on a saddle to 400m then climb back up to CP2 (562m). Then drop down across another saddle to 410m  and back to 499m.

Then the serious stuff started! Drop right down to 150m valley bottom and look up to Pap 1, Beinn Chaolais at 733m. Apart from finding a thigh deep bog in the valley I took a good line and topped out still in touch with a group including Richard.(I later learn I’m only 4 minutes behind Lins)

Over the rock field at the top and down a massive rock scree slope to the saddle at 350m and start the climb up pap 2 Beinn An Oir to 785m. The rocky boulder fields near the top of this bastard are made of lumps about a metre cubed! An elephant could have dropped a leg between rocks, only way to cross is to crawl. Didn’t take the best route either. Saw nobody at all for the last half of the climb so simply went straight up, can’t go wrong as long as you go up. Was immensely relieved to finally find the marshalls at the checkpoint.  I got close to a sense of humour failure on this mountain, wished a helicopter would appear and whisk me home.

This photo might be of the top, borrowed off Jura FB page. Amazing to think the Race Organiser puts all these rocks out every year!

The descent off is very tricky and slow, some scree tracks just end in more big rocks so you have to be ultra careful. Drop down to about 450m Teamed up with Mary Edgerton of Pennine and her friend Virginia while crossing the valley floor, Mary had some idea where she was going and we’d been about the same pace since CP4.

actual photo of me, i think climbing up Pap 3 before I put on extra layers

So by now the weather was solid rain and very windy on the mountain tops so I put on all my extra waterproof layers and gloves, then soldiered on up to pap 3 Beinn Shiantaidh at. 757m. .

Another photo showing the gradient typical of the Paps

We forgot about navigating on a bearing and follow each other, take the wrong line off and lose about 10m finding right line. Same kind of scree/ big rocks descent. Down to 350m and back up the final climb to 562m. By now getting close to cut off times, on descent my gps watch battery died and Virginia got bad cramps, we stop to help with gels and salt. These had no beneficial effect on the watch so gave them to Virginia. Still made last checkpoint inside the cutoff and we jogged the 5k to cross the finish line together. I make light of the last 5K but it felt like 10K uphill.

Relief, exhausted, elated, emotional

Happy to hear all friends safely finished.

More Miles fell shoes worked perfectly and in one piece. Inov8 waterproof trousers now full of holes!.

Shortest walk back to hot shower from any race ever. Lots of tea and cake. Lovely friends looking out for me.

Evening meal another big social gathering. Then off to the ceilidh with Matt, John, Alex, Dave, Lins, and Julie. Usual mad enthusiasm, managed about an hour then bed for me. Missed out on supping the winners whisky from the trophy.

Sunday morning weather blustery showers.  Fine my helly top!.  Gang of us went for a walk up the coast to Corrin Sands where John H was half scattered and drank a wee dram to his memory.

Caity and I decided to head home Sunday noon as weather was rubbish. Packed up and walked to minibus pick up point. Man and bus turn up at 1am but as nobody else there he wanted £25 to take us 8 miles to ferry. We decided to wait 50m for the next one. Turns out it’s the same bloke and bus! He grumbles about still not having a full load but about 11 of us load our kit in the luggage compartmen and climb on board. We set off. After a few miles the driver has cursed out load a few times at cyclists holding him up and we realise he’s in a bad mood. We come up behind a slower minibus and he sighs and mutters. After a while the slow bus stops at a passing place and our driver curses and tries to go past him. The other driver honked so Grumpy stops and shoots back to argue with him, full scale road rage is ensuing. A minute later he storms back into our bus and breaks the news that “one of youse passengers didn’t close the luggage door properly and some bags have fallen oot on the road”. Honestly he blamed us. Several voices pipe up that it his job to check the bus is ready to drive.

Lots more muttering as we pile out to see whose has gone and mine is one of two gone! So he finds a way to turn round and starts driving like a nutter back towards Craighouse. We quickly meet another car that flags us down and says he has picked up one rucksack, not mine. So onwards and backwards, eventually meet another car that picked up my sack just outside Craighouse. Fortunately nothing broken, no tyre tracks over it.

Another u turn and back to the ferry. Bugger wouldn’t offer to waive my fare and I honestly feared for his blood pressure if I refused to pay.

On the upside of human nature, we befriended a fellow racer on Jura called Seb who needed a lift back to Lochgilphead. In return he bought us tea /coffee in Port Askaig and on the ferry, I did my best to nap during the sailing as I was driving.

Drive home was mostly uneventful, couldn’t promise I was fully alert by midnight but we made it safely.

So I completed the Jura Fell race, and really wish I had done so sooner with John H present and in good form. Will I ever do it again, watch this space but don’t bet on it.

The “it’s the start of June it’s not meant to be raining” report

Aaaah summer time in Glossop is a glorious thing! OK, maybe not….but rain definitely doesn’t stop play round here. After a relatively quiet week on the racing front last week, normality resumed and you lot were out in force this week – rain never stopped anyone (ok maybe it stopped us coming to Castleton but hey, pizza and prosecco won over). Big thanks to everyone who has contributed to this week’s report, and great to hear from folk we haven’t heard from before – keep em coming guys, it’s great hearing what races people have been doing.

So this week kicked on in style with Monday Madness at Trunce

Thanks to Ian Crutchley for the sending in this report of the race, no …just a run…ok then, a “race”.

“At fairly short notice (about 15 minutes) Will Mather and I headed East to go break our Trunce ducks.  After spending the drive over complaining of our various niggles and general tiredness, we agreed to just take this as a recce run, and to race it properly at a later date.  Of course, we both knew that was never going to happen.

The field was massive, almost 400 people, and we’d been warned to get a good start as a few bottlenecks early on.  The start line is a loose affair, being clearly present, but completely ignored – to be fair there was so many people it was backed up to the main road.  Keeping up the relaxed façade, Mather and I situated ourselves about 1 third back from the front and we were off.  The first mile was a bit slow in the throng, but we threaded our way through the pack best we could.  After a bit of queueing at the bottleneck stiles it opened up a bit, we were now doing some serious overtaking and the race was on.  I finally edged past Mather at some point, and just about managed to hold that till the end, but it was very close, both finishing within 10 seconds of each other.

Really enjoyed the route – fast running, good climbs, nice descents and 3 river crossings.  But I can now attest, get a fast start!”

Have come to realise start lines are somewhat like mandatory routes, and people can take a somewhat flexible approach to them. No, no, I’m not bitter at all about the girl in front at Goldrush 2017 who scrapped the switchbacks and took a shortcut…

Anyway, how many more of these Trunce races are there then? Anyone know? Hopefully plenty more for folk to have a go at.

Will keeping it low key in black shorts

Boars Head Fell Race

A few of you headed over to Lyme on Weds for some midweek race fun. Tracey R did a grand job of trying to rally the female GDH contingent but we all put in our excuses of saving the legs, keeping the kids company, and errmmm….yeah that was it. So thanks Tracey for doing it for the gals and sending in this report:

“In my line of work getting a weekend off is like gold dust! So I’m making the most of these mid week races . After failing miserably to persuade any other babes to join me … I thought bugger it the boys can wait for me …. and off I popped with Matt C , Paul Skuse, Alex.C and Rich White who gets a special mention for not only being on time but rather early in fact!!! Even had time for a quick warm up . 
So we set off and I waved goodbye to my fellow male comrades “see you at the finish boys “ so the ascent started I was doing ok I’m running for longer now without having to stop in desperate need off an Theurooutic oxygen bottle . Next minute everyone darts off in different directions choosing there own route ….. I just followed the person in front and hoped for the best . I’m still plodding along  UP huge emphasis on the UP bit🤪…. heading towards that cage and what now looks like a scene out off Pride of prejudice … I had my eye out for my Mr Darcy!
Exciting times the downhill bit here ….. err no cancel the excitement it’s a tiny field before the biggest climb of the entire race …. what a treat!! Fun times ahead …..
So I’m taking in the breath taking  views as I’m Crawling up this rather steep hill . From behind me a women’s say “ come on Glossopdale what would you be doing if you weren’t here” errrr where to I start!🤣 . At this very moment I made my first friend on a Fell race . I was getting overtaken .. ALOT …. so I latched on to these two guys and my competitive head kicked in! I wanted to catch up with my little friend …. no one else is overtaking me!!! “Donde esta La Decent!!”
6 Km 42 mins later the Decent was here!!
Whoo hoooo so I said adios amigos to the two guys I’d been hanging out with , and took off on a mission to catch my little friend in white and green …and I did ….. I over took her ….. she over took me …. etc etc . At the start of the race I got excited when I saw style  …. now at the end of the race I was crying the styles had god bigger and seemed like mini mountains , me and my little legs weren’t happy . I’m back in front of my little friend as I go through a gate first Im not going to lie I tempted to slam it shut and turn around and blow a raspberry like a mischievous 7 year old , but I’m a professional athlete so I never 🤣. Checked my watch 6 miles in 2 to go so I let my little friend get in front  ….. only to realise as she made a little spurt the finish line was around the longer and was only 7 miles not 8!I demand a refund! All in all I had a good night out and that’s another race to add to my collection 🙂 

Gotta say, I’d love it if you kept up a running commentary of what was going on in your head during your runs Tracey J this is brilliant!  Not sure we’ve ever had Pride and Prejudice mixed in with a bit of Spanish! Sounds like a great race, we never did find out if she met her Mr Darcy…I’m guessing Cecil would have a thing or two to say about that mind.

Results as follows, Paul S 18th, Richard White, 62nd, Matt C 73rd, Alex Critcher 110th, Tracey R 167th. Great running y’all out of a big mid week crowd of over 200.

Otley Chevin

Now FB tells us that Mary Jeal ventured a bit further afield on Wednesday and did the Otley Chevin Race. Fellrunner tells us that this is a gnarly little race – of just 4.5km but an awful lot of up! 210m to be exact!

Sounds leg-aching and lung-bursting really. Unfortunately can’t dig out any results for this, but nice one Mary for doing it!

So seems we have a contender for our “as many races as you can cram into a week in Wales”! Joe Travis wasn’t to be outdone and was flying the GDH flag (and leaving his mark on the rocks) across the border this week. Thanks to Joe for sending in these reports!

Rodney’s Pillar

First race was on Wednesday at Rodney’s Pillar. The race was supposedly 6.3km long (probably more like 5.5km based on other people’s strava, my watch died during the race) and all off road, mostly on rugged trail rather than the fell it was billed as. Standard midweek race, run up a hill and back down. Managed the former alright, struggled with the latter… Managed to catch my toe on a rock whilst going full pelt down a rough trail and sent myself flying. Ended up bleeding from my shoulder, back, elbow, hand, hip, knee and ankle (I don’t do things by half measures!). Cracking little route and a good test.

Gregynog Trail Race

Today (Sunday) I ventured a little further across the border for a trail race organised by Maldwyn Harriers, and you could tell as they probably made up around 3/4 of the field. A 7.5km undulating route through woods and fields and I managed to not embarrass Glossopdale too badly coming back in 7th place and the first runner not from Maldwyn.

Sounds like you did GDH proud Joe! Great running- Hope you aren’t too battered and bruised after Wednesday, ouch.

Castleton Fell Race

Friday saw a few of you man up and embrace the rain over in Castleton. Even Steve Page ditched his road shoes for some fell fun and put himself in the running for nabbing Luke Holme’s biggest nav balls-up crown 😉

Thanks to the local mid week racing scene’s ever-present, Paul Skuse, for this report.

“Not sure if this one’s being written up so here’s a few thoughts about it. It was quite a small GDH contingent that rocked up to this one which is a shame as it’s a great local race. I’m guessing the wet weather put a few of you off. (Get a grip; it’s only a bit of water!) First of all parking is a bit odd. If you use the designated race car park, it’s miles away from the start line so would be a right pain for the normal kit faff that I like to indulge in. Thankfully, Luke parked up in the main carpark which is much closer to the start. We wandered up to the race HQ We all got squared away in the crushed but dry confines of the race HQ with the usual debates about what to wear. Some went for waterproofs, others for vests and I, being my normal indecisive self, went for the middle ground of Tee, vest and woolly hat. Beccy Smith almost started in her waterproof jacket but stern words were given. I think all the other GDH were disciples of Crutchley with the “Vest or death!” approach to race wear.

The race started differently to last year. No running round rugby posts this time but a fast dash through a gap in the hedge and onto the tarmac up to the path that climbs up to Lose Hill. It’s a good runnable climb and worth putting in the effort here. Once at the top, it’s a long, lumpy run mixing up flags stones, deep ruts, stoney tracks and the ever pleasant grassy verges up to the trig at Mam Tor (I love the race but I really do hate the descent down Back Tor or whatever it’s called!). Conditions were warmer than expected but wet underfoot so traction was reduced as was the visibility due to the clag. From the trig, it’s a quick 180 to head back to the base of Back Tor and down the technical descent back to the tarmac and the finish line. No results are up yet but James Knapper gave a sterling performance and came in as first GDH. Oh and as a final thought, if it’s wet, bring a towel. Nobody wants to see your arse Pete Nicholson!”

Can’t see any other results still for this but sure someone will post them up when they been published.

Ladybower Trail Marathon

Not exactly the weather one expects early June but Kate B was ready for whatever the elements were going to throw at her! Thanks for sending in this report!

“On Saturday I ran the Ladybower Trail Marathon: 26.2miles; 600m ascent; 4:29:19 (unofficial Garmon time) . Considerable rain, wind and unseasonably cold. Lots of undulating roady miles for a trail marathon: once round Ladybower and twice round Howden resers with an interesting foray into the hills between miles 14-17, including a stiff climb and treacherous muddy descent. Would probably make a good first trail marathon for anyone more used to road running and wanting to have a go at trail running – or for a trail runner wanting a PB, which I smashed by over half an hour! (Thanks Jeroen for the last minute tips, and everyone else for the encouragement). As usual the organisers were helpful and I met lots of lovely new running people.”

Wowzer – that’s a huge PB! Well done Kate! Having spied Kate enjoying some post-run rehydration in Glossop’s favourite brewery, can safely say that this didn’t look like someone who’d just run a marathon! I’d be snoozing on the sofa with my feet up scoffing all the carbs I could find – no, not her, fresh as a daisy socialising with her mates!

Man vs Horse

Seemed if you wanted to miss the rain Wales was the place to be as the sun managed to make an appearance! Wendy T sent in this report:

“As the name suggest, runners race against horse and rider in this 40 year old race. I think it’s only ever be won by a human 3 times and each year the prize pot rolls over to the next year if any GDHs fancy giving it ago  

Having been lucky to get an entry (only 650 places and entries fill up within an hour) I was really looking forward to this one and it didn’t disappoint. North of the Brecon Beacons this 22 mile trail race with 4000ft of climb took in some gorgeous scenery and the weather held off throughout. We even got a glimpse or two of the sun! However the past week of heavy rains and a succession of hooves made for a mighty bog fest of a course (which I loved! Can’t beat a bit of mud!) We did get a regular cleaning off in the many knee deep water crossings. The climbs and descents were of leg sapping quality and by mile 20 the going was tough on the old pins but I managed to hang on for one last muddy climb and a quad busting 400 yds of a hoof rutted down hill finish in a time of 4.01 (7th in my cat) Needless to say I didn’t beat any horses today (apart from the ones that DNF) A horse/rider took 1st place. 1st man back was a Yorkshire lad who beat the bookies favourite to win American endurance athlete Mike Wardian. I’m guessing Mike wasn’t use to the sticky brown stuff!! 

A well organised event with plentiful water stations on course, cheerful marshals and a marquee full of sandwiches and treats at the finish. I might have to do this one again 🙂 “

Sounds a  tough run that Wendy, that’s a great time and brilliant category placing. Keep your eyes peeled folks for when entries open for next year folks! A lot of these races don’t half fill up fast!

Oldhams toughest 10km

Couple of GDHers flying the flag in Oldham this weekend, thanks to Alex Critcher for sending in this “no waffle” race report.

it lived up to its name, good local 10k though. 

Alex critcher 47:23

Tony Hillier, (on his way back from injury) 53 something.

FB tells me that Tony bagged another v70 prize – awesome stuff, that’s a cracking time!

Edale Fell Race

Thanks to Els Swan for sending in this report of the fun that was had over at Edale today following round 2 of the Gritsone Series that took place in Castleton on Friday.

“6 Harriers (5 Seniors and 1 Junior) headed over to Edale today for the Edale Fell Race and Country Fair (Round 3 of Accelerate’s Gritstone Series).  The senior race is a fun jaunt out (up!) from Edale Village under Ringing Roger, along the edge of the Kinder plateau over Grindslow Knoll and then back down into Edale either via the main rocky path or a steeper, more direct line.  The race finishes in the Edale Country Fair in close proximity to much cake, beer, gin, burgers and ice cream all of which are completely justified having raced for 4.72 miles with an ascent of 391m. 

The junior race was 2 loops of the field in which the adult race starts.  This all sounds rather benign until one (and one’s 12 year old) realises that the start is up a 1 in 3 hill and each loop is 1.2 km with some pretty significant contouring thrown in for good measure.  There was an impressive field of approximately 50 junior racers from a wide range of clubs which was great to see.  Caitlin was the 3rd girl home in the junior race (2nd JW U14).

The results from the senior race are not yet available however I suspect that, whilst new club members Sarah and Robin have yet to pick up their race vests, they did the club proud and were well towards the front of the field.  Ever the gentleman, Matt Crompton kept me company mid-pack (and yes, we did have to stop to pick someone up and reunite them with their specs mid-race).  Nick Ham, camera eternally at the ready, was not too far behind us.  Whilst I remain a reluctant racer, this was a fun route and a very well organised event with great racing company and, as an added bonus, it was all over before the rain came. “

So the sun did shine?!

Sounds like a great morning out! Great running Caitlin  – that’s seriously good going in such a big field of junior racers! I’d be tempted over next year – cake, beer, gin, burgers and ice cream?!

Now that’s effort gone into a race!

Scafell Sky 2019

In keeping with her great race placings, Kasia was up in Scafell doing a 35km race with 2400m of climb. Sounded delightful – bog, bog, rock and rain – what more does a fell runner want?! Didn’t stop Kasia though, she romped home as 2nd lady!

Mourne Mountain Marathon

Liam Amos and his dad were off doing the Mourne Mountain Marathon – straight off FB- both finished and alive, hardest thing have ever done!

Blencathra Fell Race (this just in from John Pollard as about to publish so sorry it’s not in order!)

Finding myself in the Lakes again I was seduced into testing my fell fitness by the arduous but breathtaking ascent of this iconic northern giant so I drove 40 miles in the apparently clearing late afternoon weather towards Keswick. The route was to begin with an unconventional eastern approach starting in the hidden little hamlet of Mungrisdale, a village hall and a cluster of cottages.
The gradual gathering of runners suggested a pretty hardcore bunch, and those I spoke to were mindful to tell me of the ‘stupid steep’ first climb up Bowscale Fell, and the equally ‘stupid steep’ descent off Souther Fell at the end. In between, some good running until the hard pull up Blencathra’s north face.
One of the marshals from Eden Valley runners(the organising club from Penrith) saw my GDH vest and asked if I’d come up especially for this…not really I told him, just wanted to graduate from the mainly trail runs I’d been doing and get back to the fells. He gave me a wary sort of look, saying he was a trail runner, and had been ‘warned off’ this by others in his club. I wasn’t put off…how hard could it be, it was only just over 8 miles? Even when he pointedly introduced me to the tail sweeper I didn’t see the writing on the wall.
So we all congregated at the Fell gate and I got my first look at the initial climb up Bowscale, hmm…not far off vertical I observed. And the final descent from Souther looked a challenge, but I was all geared up with my kitbag full, kit and after the organiser’s tribute to a runner present who was returning after recovering from a cancer treatment, the assembled record field of 180 set off across the boggy section toward Bowscale. 
I was intending to take it easy but that’s not really an option, and on that maybe 25 min climb all the oxygen was sucked from my brain and I couldn’t think of anything but zig-zagging the gorse and getting onto the ridge.
By this time the majority of the field had disappeared from view and I was in touch only with a handful of runners, with two ladies and the sweeper behind me. So just keep this going was my plan. Runnable until the first checkpoint at Bowscale summit, the sweeper was breathing down my neck, and I glanced at my watch, hoping I’d make the cut off time of 55 minutes at the col before the climb to Blencathra.
“”You’re 5 minutes inside the cut-off” I was emphatically told, but couldn’t tell if he was implying it was close for comfort, as the way ahead was now shrouded in cloud and the clag was down-not what was forecast.
At a route choice below the last big pull to the top I went left and maybe that was the steeper climb but I reached the mountain ridge and had to stop to put layers on and check compass for the summit and CP2. No turning back now.
Passed the helicopter white stone cross so I knew that was by Sharp Edge, and pressed on past the tiny tarn to the wet and bedraggled bunch of marshals at the puny summit cairn. 
I wasn’t sure of the best descent, so waited for the two ladies, who were still some way behind me I figured. Then the crew at the top informed me they were ‘training sweepers’ too, so I was in fact last. The main tail-guy was nowhere to be seen. But hey ho, it was fun now.
The shame was that the iconic view south across the glory of the Lakeland fells was denied by the gloom, but then when do Fell runners stop and admire the view -in a race. I was in a race now to spare the marshals at CP3 on Souther Fell, and at the finish, a burnt dinner. It gets dark by 10 doesn’t it?
But something was left in the legs, and a good technical descent through a mix of paths, bog and tussock led finally to the summit of lonely Souther Fell, (a harder climb than you need at this stage) and the congratulations and relief of the final helpers.
Just the sting in the tail of a knee shuddering, quad-crunching descent to the last bog and the crossing of the lovely Glenderamackin river to the finish.
Time to go home chaps, and chapesses. 
The Eden Valley runner who’d given me the arched eyebrow before we set off, said well done young man.
A first for me. That race..and finishing last! (There was one DNF). My watch even cheated me of 8 minutes while I faffed on the top. 2h 19m they told me.
But it was a gas. Tbh I had forgotten the scale of Lake District races.


So this week’s top tip comes courtesy of Penistone Parkrun – well, those that went to do it, only to find it wasn’t on! Argh!

You can’t beat a bit of parkrun tourism, but check FB pages or the websites before you go to make sure you aren’t disappointed on arrival to find it’s off!

Big turn out of GDHers at Glossop this week, and a smattering of folk all over the rest of the UK – see here for the consolidated report:

In other news

So it might have been a week or so ago, but given the weather at Jura, it’s probably taken this long to dry out and take it all in. John S has written a brilliant write up of his weekend and experience, complete with photos to show it doesn’t rain there all the time. I’m sadly too technically incompetent to add in a word file into the blog, so watch out for tomorrow’s guest blog from John about Jura!

So that’s all for now folks, thumbs up for another week of great racing. Good luck to all this week – plenty coming up with Tour of Tameside, and CyB half/full marathons amongst other things. Tuesday speed/hill/technique session with Jeroen at 6.45 – details of the next few weeks locations are on FB/website.

As ever – please send all reports to Messages sent via whataspp, text, post, carrier pigeon, message in a bottle, facebook, telegram might not be received, or will get eaten by the dogs, they aren’t fussy.