July’s Waxing Gibbous Weekly report

So every week there is more and more stuff going on at the moment. I’m slowly learning that being patient is a good idea, and that starting the report in the mid afternoon and panicking about making stuff up about EVERYTHING isn’t actually needed seeing as all you lovely people are sending loads of things into the email address. Thanks so much! As it is, I have left in my random asides just for old times sake. This week we have short runs, long runs, weekend runs, weekly runs, runs with lots of ascent, runs with ridiculous amounts of ascent, and runs with *insane* amounts of ascent, obstacle racing, parkrunning and all kinds of other stuff. This one truely is an epic- it’s currently clocking in at more than 4000 words which makes me VERY glad that I didn’t write it all. Keep it up campers….

Aldermans Ascent

Paul Skuse has been prolific in his racing this week- and as I hoped, he has also been prolific in his writing – here is his first…..

This is the race that I really pushed to be included in the 2019 fell champs. It’s one of my absolute favourites because it feels like what a fell race should; not only is it easy on the wallet and tough on the legs, it has a route that is will test you like no other.

Along with quite a few other Harriers, I did the race last year and rightly remembered it as being a good but really tough run. 2019 was able to produce a whole new level of suffering. Think back to Thursday evening and you may remember we had a spot of rain. The downpour (that finished only moments before we got to race HQ) was biblical. Thunder roared and lightening flashed. Had it carried on in its full, malevolent fury, I really doubt the race could have gone ahead (and if it had, I would have certainly bottled it). But stop it did so about a dozen GDH arrived to get vested up and ready for action (including a very last minute Joe Travis). My nerve had already started going as we walked down some flagged steps into the rugby club. With the X talons I had near zero traction. I wasn’t alone in this but all I could think was ‘If I can’t walk down here without wanting to use a handrail, how will I cope on the long(ish) path in and out of the village?’ Wendy tried to put me at ease but she should have known better; pre-race I’m as twitchy as a caffeine addled bunny rabbit being circled by a fox.


Wendy Trelease

We wandered over to the start which is a few minutes away from the club house following a bunch of lads who, it turned out, didn’t know where the start line was.  After a minor detour or two, we managed to find the start and had a little warm up. It was only then that it hit me just how humid it was. Do you remember the opening scene of ‘Apocalypse Now!’?  That will give you a pretty good idea of the conditions on the rugby field. My vest was sticking to my back before the race had even started and all of us had left our water bottles back in the clubhouse. I did manage to scrounge a quick sip of water from the R.O. but I think we all knew that we were going to suffer over the next 5 or so miles. The race started at a good pace (not the standard ‘full beans’ but enough to question if you’d left it long enough since you’d had your tea) and you quickly knock out a lap round the rugby field before starting the climb up some paths, tracks and roads before getting some proper grass under your feet. Si Watts made a good start just behind Stevie K’s little pack. Jackson pushed past me on the climb and got between Si and Steve.  Alice was up at the top cheering us on but I was so far gone at this early stage I don’t know if I even acknowledged her. If not, I do apologise. It’s a bugger of a climb and I still hate it when Chris overtakes me. On the plus side, air conditions up here were far nicer than in the village, almost pleasant. At this point, the route flattens out a little and is probably very runnable with fresh legs. Mine weren’t. Gaps between me and the lads ahead were getting wider and wider. At the end of the flat, there’s a short, sharp ramp up to the trig at Alderman’s and then the race just went mad. I’ve never heard so many fell runners swear at a descent. It was just unrunnable: slick, wet grass concealing slick, wet stones with ruts, lumps and bumps thrown in for good measure down a gradient you normally associate with the most dangerous elements of the Winter Olympics.


Wendy Trelease

For many of us, this became a masterclass in mincing (my chance to shine!). I opted for the arse slide over the rockiest of bits. Other’s did the same but not through choice. The worst bit for me was when I thought we’d levelled off only to see the path continuing down the hill. It takes a lot of energy to psyche yourself up for another pant wetting descent when you’ve just got your head back into running mode. So you push on down, level out and then start to climb up all that height you’ve only just lost. This is a tough climb, a real marmite moment. I think I’m in the minority cos I love it. It is runnable but that’s pushing the definition to its limits. When you crest that final climb it’s a good fast, descending line all the way back re-joining the path you started on. At least it should be. After a teeny, tiny little ankle roll, my bottle went so just eased up on anything that I considered a potential trip hazard (puddles, pebbles, clumps of grass, you name it). It turned out I was right to be cautious about the state of the paths and tarmacked roads. Like the lads around me, I braked hard on a lot of the final descent, the primary goal being staying up right and in one piece. Hopefully there’s no video footage of this, it wasn’t my finest moment. Steve Page went for the speed option and got a good dose of gravel rash on his leg and back for his troubles. Kudos. It was great seeing the Harriers come in in various states of physical and emotional distress. Lance clearly loved it, Joe was frightened by it and Pete W is now in counselling.

The prize giving is back at the club where a free mug of chunky soup and a very welcome pint awaits. The after race social is another reason I pushed for the race to be a champs race. Sadly all the Harriers had to dash off home but I really wanted a pint so hung about with the Chris and Stevie K. It is a great little venue with plenty of prizes so it’s worth hanging around for those that can. This is especially true when they mess up on prizes and either forgot to do a separate V45 or just ignored Stevie K and gave me the V40 prize! Don’t worry; I gave him the prize when he started sobbing. And because the winning team had gone home, GDH won the men’s team prize by default so beers again for the boys (Si Watts, Steve Page and me)!

Pete did it, honest

See? He did run it!

Results approx:

7 Simon Watts
10 Paul Skuse 10th (1st 40)
20 Steve Page
22 Joe Travis
24 Will Mather
27 Lance Hamilton-Griffiths
?? Rob Sheldon
???Wendy Trelease
????Pete Wallroth was defo there- I saw the pictures but I couldn’t see him on the results list coz of the slightly dodgy photo.

Hathersage Gala race

Rob Sheldon was across at Hathersage, looking at Well dressings and running races….. he picks up the story: I asked Paul ‘anytime, any race, anywhere’ Skuse what I should expect….”Fast…..” he said “it’s all runnable, so give it full beans” – this included our recce of the hill back down to the finish line “definitely, give it full beans down here….it doesn’t matter if you fall-over as it’s near the end”.  I wasn’t completely convinced by Skusey’s plan, so I proceeded to nod, agree and do the opposite.  Back at Race HQ, Mary ‘two races in two days’ Jeal avoided the crowds by sauntering in to registration just ahead of the 7.30 start time (fair-play to Skusey and Mary for taking on Hathersage Gala straight after Up the Nab the day before, which is a brutal short race – kudos to both of you [I was busy on Sunday, so couldn’t make Up the Nab……ahem……anyway, moving-on)].

The race starts on a blind bend on the main road out of Hathersage, then left up a hill, through some woods, then a flat bit, then a hill, through some woods, then a flat bit & repeat….just when you think you’ve got over the worst of it, there’s a Tor to scramble/climb up (at this point, I had a vivid recollection of Skusey’s ‘it’s all runnable’ advice & realised that he would have the same advice about any running related question “Q. Irish Sea?”, Skusey: ‘all runnable’; “Q. Everest?”, Skusey: “all runnable” ….).  The Race Director had mentioned that there were some cows up at the top and to give them a wide berth if they were still there, but they should be gone by the time we got up there…..predictably & in true fell-racing tradition, they weren’t.  Luke Holmes’ nemesis’ were (menacingly) ambling down/sitting on the racing line….danger was narrowly avoided as they were completely disinterested in the mass of fell-runners who had just staggered over the top of the Tor.  From there, it’s over the top, break left and then a fast descent into Hathersage on tracks, trails and a bit of road (with a couple of small climbs thrown in for good measure) before a really fast final descent into the village.  There was a great crowd outside the Scotsman’s Pack cheering every runner to the finish line before a final dash up a hill through the field and home.

It’s a great race and was great to benefit from Skusey’s race-advice and to cheer Mary home as she blasted down the hill at the end – would be great to see more GDH at next year’s race so you can tick a rare Monday night fell-race of your list.  It also got me thinking about last year’s GDH social at Hathersage Lido with the inflatable assault course – I don’t know whose idea that was, but it was a belting day that we should do again.  Hopefully we’ll have a load more GDH at next year’s race as it’s a great night (when nearly 300 people turn up to a field on a Monday night, it must be good).


Thanks to Chris Webb for the update on how Wasdale went this year:

The next Lakeland Classic of the year was the final ‘super-long’, Wasdale. A beautiful yet hard route around one of the most remote valleys in the country; 21 miles with 9000 feet of climbing and a long standing record dating back to 1982 (Billy Bland, obviously, in an insane 3hrs25mins). After nearly 3hrs in the car with big Roy Gardner from Saddleworth, we arrived to ideal conditions of high cloud and some sun. I assumed I was the only Glossopdaler but I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Andrew and Robin Hoffmann who were entered and had recced the route! The start up Illgill Head is a runnable affair and a strong field meant the pace was pretty full-on despite the miles and climb to come. After Whinn Rigg you drop down the the southern end of Wastwater – you can’t even consider what’s to come at the point, Esk House seems miles away (it is) – before crossing to Joss’ house at Greendale before the first proper climb up a grassy Seatallan.


Chris with eventual Ladies winner Sharon Taylor

Robin and Sarah were finding it hard going at this point they told me and they decided to call it a day, saving themselves for 2020?! I was feeling good knowing the race doesn’t really start until Pillar where mercifully the flag was down as it had got hot by this point. Sticking with local mountain goat Scoffer I followed his excellent lines until I had a meltdown in the heat over Great Gable and down to Styhead. A full-body dunk in Sprinkling Tarn revived me and I picked up again up to Scafell Pike summit. Staving off the cramps on the steep decent off Lingmell nose I finally made it back in 4hrs44mins in 18th place. There’s plenty of room for improvement but just getting round this beast of a route is satisfying enough! Another certificate in the bag (you get a certificate if you finish sub-5hrs, signed by Joss Naylor) and more hard miles in the legs for the summer. Thee are 3 Lakeland Classics left this year; Borrowdale, Three Shires and Langdale. Entries are open for all and are just ‘long’ rather than ‘super long’ those considering entering will be pleased to hear!

Lakes Sky Ultra

Kasia was over in the Lakes doing the Sky Ultra. Essentially that’s 60k and 5000m of ascent and descent which is a fair old way with a pretty significant amount of up and down. She settled into a decent pace and crushed the course in 11:06:40 coming in an excellent 20th and 2nd Lady. Excellent work there!

Sale Sizzler

Thanks to Matt Crompton for the Sale Sizzler info… Just in case no one has sent in a report about Sale Sizzler from last Thursday, here is a brief one!

Five Glossopdale runners out of a total of 603 finishers for a flat, fast 5km around Wythenshawe Park.

Matt Crompton 21.47
Nick Ham 23.29
John Stephenson 24.30
Tony Hillier 24.34
Kaylea Haynes 25.31

Grand Trail Courmayer

Steve Knight has been a bit quiet recently, apart from some pretty decently long runs in various low key ultras. Now we get to see why. He snuck off to the Continent to have a bit of a blast around the 110k 6000m Grand Trail Courmayer and ended up 61st of 312. Amazing effort- with some excellent views if his strava profile is anything to go by. I still can’t work out how to copy photos from Strava onto here, other than take a photo of his photo with my phone and then upload it, but I’ll spare you that tech disaster.

Mossley 10k

Tony Hillier was out doing his 10k thing in Mossley. I have little else to go on apart from the fact it was Tony, he was probably up there in the top 3 V70’s, and it was around Mossley.

Piece of Cake Half

Joe Travis, after his warm up at Aldermans ascent, had a hankering for either a) a road race or b) some cake. As it was, there was the very thing! The Piece of Cake half… at least, I assume it was a road race and there was some cake involved- if neither of those things happened, I’d be writing to trading standards. As it is, Joe came in 8th overall- or at least that’s what I think I saw on Strava. Rumours that he ate 8 cakes as a reward are uncorroborated, and as yet are merely an unfounded smear made up by 3rd parties.

Here is his side of the story…

Hiya! I’ve been representing the blue and orange down in Shropshire again this week:
I took part in the Piece of Cake Half on Saturday, which is a trail/fell half marathon in the Shropshire Hills. Absolutely cracking route with a couple of climbs and descents totalling around 650m elevation gain. Despite struggling on the climbs after racing at Alderman’s Ascent on Thursday I was happy to get around in under 2 hours which was my aim on the start line. Would have been good enough for 3rd last year but only good enough for 8th this year! Great fun and contemplating coming back next year to do two laps and the full marathon that was also on offer!

Snowdonia Trail marathon/10k

The Trail marathon over and around Snowdon had a bit of a decent showing from the Blue and Orange this week. Greg Wasinski was there as an impartial observer (and instigator?!)…. I’m not sure if any of those who actually ran it will get a chance to put in a report for this week, but just in case a fair few GDHers were in Snowdonia for the ON Snowdonia Trail Marathon (10k/Ultra)…Lucy W, Luke H, Pete N, Rebecca S, Kate B, Marie W, James K, and other will no doubt come forward…While they were putting the effort in I spent the time pootling Beddgelert with the dogs so can’t really say too much about the race except that the course was apparently amazing, the sun was out, Kate B looked on good form when I saw her at Beddgelert, and everyone finished in the various stages of brokendom that you expect at the end of a marathon. Lucy has explained to me that I would love the course and should do it next year. Not sure if that’s revenge for me telling Lucy that Snowdon isn’t that high and once you get to Pen y Pass it’s all done. The next hour and 50 minutes to the top probably resounded with my name and certain highly descriptive adjectives…

I have managed to find some stats, so for the stat conscious amongst you:
60 James Knapper 4:42
154 Lucy Wasinski 5:34
236 Luke Holme 6:26
333 Pete Nicholson 6:30
338 Becky Smith – 6:31
374 Kate Bowden 6:40
517 Marie Williamson 7:35

Claire Campbell was doing the 10k and was 53rd in 1:04

All times may or may not be chipped, fried smothered in mayo and served with additional optional garnishes.


Luke, Marie, Emma, Kate and Lucy

Holme Howler Obstacle Race

John Pollard was enjoying himself at the Holme Howler Obstacle race. Um. It’s an Obstacle race in Holme? Maybe?….

aha! a report….

Holme village, tucked away off the A6 near Carnforth, were holding their annual festival including a 10k ‘Howler’ obstacle race, which piqued my interest, to do a different sort of race.
It was indeed. Over 30 obstacles, including much submersion in filthy water, log balancing and crawling under nets and through tunnels, water slides and inflatable castles to scramble. Was a fair bit of running through lanes, canal paths and fields, which sorted the fancy dress/fun runners from the regular tough mudder types, but full credit to the organisers, it was challenging and fun.
Definitely recommended, are there other similar events anyone knows of ?
Results don’t matter of course ;/ which is why I wasted over 5 minutes at the water slide trying to get a photo with a waterlogged phone. It’s knackered….


Charlesworth and Chisworth Carnival

The Skusinator is on a roll at the moment….. here we go with C&C…

I wandered over to the race to sneak in a quick recce of the route. I always forget how beautiful it is over by Coombs Edge. The sun was out despite some pessimistic weather forecasts and the carnival was in full swing. GDH put out a good showing with Lance, Steve F, Rob S, Stephen H, Pete D, Alex C, Joe G and (not sure who the other lad is, seen his face before but don’t know the name).

We started with the usual firing of the musket. This is a short, fast race so by Harrier law it demands a full beans start. Not sort of, partial, let’s leave some in the tank for later full beans but real full beans! Get down the road turn right and push on up the hill, across the bog and up the hard climb up onto Coombes. Don’t slack off here. It’s runnable. Suck it up and get on with it. Once on the top you get a brief chance to take in the view. Then crack on along the top, you’re half way done now so stay competitive and push hard for the descent. It is a great runnable descent and this is from someone with a deep seated aversion to all things that slope downhill. There is a nasty little style that just wrong foots you every time before crossing the track and turning right into the field. Alex failed to do this so he carried on the track for a scenic tour of Charlesworth (Look at his face at the finish line. Priceless!). Then, if you manage to go the right way, it’s a little hop over a narrow style and cross the finish line. As always, I’ve no idea about results. I was well chuffed with getting 3rd overall but the race doesn’t do 2nd or 3rd  so no prizes, nor do they do teams which is a shame as the Harriers absolutely nailed it. Lance is now a full on race fiend. Rob ran brilliantly –the route  clearly suited him. Steve F came in with a huge grin having seen Alex balls up his race only metres from the finish line. I didn’t see the others come in as went to get a well-deserved drink of water.

Next year Sean Philips, Jessica and Fast Harry need to have a crack at this. It’s barely a fell run and if you’ve got some speed in your legs, it’s one of the best races you’ll do.

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Peak Forest

I have no idea… not about the race, nor about this photo… but it is probably indicative of the race….peak forest

Kidding…. Will Mather sent this in:

The day started with the idea of 4 of us running to the the race from peep o day following the Bullock smithy route, after arriving just in time to register, Paul Skuse and I (Will) ran past the massive selection of cake and registered but Lance Hamilton-Griffiths and Steve France couldn’t resist the cake so didn’t race. Arriving at the start line we spotted the the race photographer Nick Ham and the one who can’t be named, Voldemort Pepper.
It was a 10k race that started and finished in the middle of Peak Forest it was a “full beans” kind of race as it was all runnable and when the the gun went “start” Skuse was off like a mad man was chasing him, again you decide who that was. It went back the way we had just come up the limestone way and over Ox low hill then coming off the limestone way we headed for Eldon hill avoiding the old disused mine shafts and not falling into the Quarry we then had an 1 mile fast downhill where Skuse ballet danced his way down I waddled down,both of us with legs not wanting to work anymore and Nick skipped down dreaming of the cakes.
No official results so it’s all ish time.
Skuse 48mins, 3 cakes
Voldemort 51mins, 2 cakes
Me 55mins, 3 cakes
Nick 60mins, lost count on how many he had.

The Nick Ham Corner

Nick Ham did something this weekend…. It looks like it was a 26 miler, so pretty short for him. The White Peak Walk… so it was either a slow run, or a fast run… I’m a little confused either way. 5:39 and 17th of nigh on 400…. but not a selfie amongst his photos!

Dufton Away Weekend

A bevvy/gaggle/skean/generic group noun of Glossopdalers mooched on up to Dufton this weekend to enjoy a bit of a time outside of the Shire. I can’t go into everything that happened or this might end up being another couple of thousand words long… grab someone at a race/run/pub and ask them… here is a potted version….. We took over the YHA there, Sheelagh cooked some AMAZING food- and was assisted wonderfully by various sous-chefs from the junior ranks. Routes were run. Games were played. Dogs were exercised (none got lost in ravines), babies were cuddled. New acquaintances were made, and a grand time was had by all. (sorry- these were the only pics I could lay may hands on at this time….).  Look out for the next one in a place somewhere, somewhen. The more the merrier.

Parkrun corner

Well well well. I understand we have another serial Parkrunner on our hands. David Chrystie-Lowe ended up doing his 250th this week. Flipping heck! Will Mather went and got himself a PB at Glossop, there were a mass of Harriers at Penrith Parkrun- all? most? of whom forgot their barcodes, yet still managed to get their names recorded…. Julie Eyre broke 28 mins for the first time and was pretty flipping happy about it.

If you made it all the way through to here, well done! If you’ve done a race and it wasn’t in the report, send in a few words, a picture of whatever to gdhweeklyreports@gmail.com and it’ll get put in the next weeks report. Without you guys sending things in we have to resort to making stuff up, and we know where that leads….. We don’t? Oh- well read some of the random ones from 2 years ago- it all got a bit strange.

Im going to have to stop now, or you’ll all be reading this half way into next week.


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 maybe..in 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! GDHweeklyreports@gmail.com 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 gdhweeklyreports@gmail.com. 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 gdhweeklyreports@gmail.com


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 more..er..enjoyable?

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.