Sunday 20th October saw the 25th running of the British Fell Relays in Llanberis (Snowdon), Wales. The conditions were interesting with strong winds and heavy showers; maybe a snorkel & flippers should have been a mandatory part of the kit check! Clayton Harriers were out in force with 4 teams entered: A, V40, V50 & Ladies and in total over 200 teams entered.
Leg 1 – The relay got underway with a mass start and covered 7.4km and over 350m of climbing through a quarry and up onto Cein-du and back. The A team led by Tom Brewster and V40 team led by Paul Shackelton had a real tussle throughout this leg changing positions 4/5 times as the terrain changed, Tom getting the better of his more experienced counterpart on the climbs but Shack coming strong on the descent and rough terrain. The leg eventually finished in a sprint finish along the last 200metres of tarmac with Tom Brewster, on the promise of a double meal, finishing seconds in front of Shack bringing the A team home in 41st with Shack in 42nd(9th V40). John Wilcock on his relay debut ran really well for the V50’s finishing as 4th V50. The ladies led off by Sue Burns finished in 16th (out of nearly 40 teams).
Leg 2 – The first of the pairs legs led the teams over 14km and 1000m of terrain climbing onto Moel Cynghorion & Moel Eilio before descending back into the event field. All the teams found this leg tough being battered by the elements. After Leg 1 the Clayton A & V40’s set off as a quartet, the A team of Matt Perry & Dave Walker getting the better of ‘the old boys’ Paul Thompson & Garry Wilkinson bringing the team back in 27th, the vets not far behind finishing still as 9th V40 and only running 1 min slower than the ‘young uns’. The V50’s led by Ste Whittaker & Martin Terry had a good run finishing in 5th in the V50 category. The ladies led by Capt.Jean Brown & Anna Kelly finished the leg in 17th.
Leg 3 – The dreaded navigation leg ran in pairs. On this leg runners set off not knowing the route, given a map with checkpoints marked on just as you’re tagged by the Leg 2 runners! This means you can’t pre plan or recce the course in anyway. The ‘A’ team were led by Capt.Motley & Dave Bagot (who stepped into the team on 48hr notice) and you’ll be surprised to hear that they didn’t get lost and managed to run the leg quicker than both V40 & V50 team, which included the experienced navigators Hardiman & Wallis. The ‘A’ team improved their position into 23rd. The V40’s Neil Hardiman & Paul Hesketh finished the leg with the team in 9th V40 and Mike Wallis & Geoff Gough finishing in 6th V50 position. The Ladies with Katy Thompson & Kath Wallis finished the leg with the team in 20th.
Leg 4 – A really tough leg leading the runners over 8.5k and 600m of climbing up and down Moel Eilio. Spencer Riley had a stormer on this leg after returning from injury in May (broken foot) bringing the Clayton ‘A’ team back home to finish the relay in 19th. The V40’s led by Sean Clare came home finishing as 13th V40 team and Dave Naughton ran really well bringing the 50’s home in 6th. The ladies with Wendy Dodds running the last leg finished the day in 22nd place which was a fantastic result against much younger teams in the category.
Again my Thanks goes to all the runners that ran for team Clayton. This is what club running is all about and I’m already looking forward to selecting the teams for the Calderdale Relay in May.
Full results are available HERE