Donard Challenge 2014 & The Rest of the Weekends Action

ByChristopher Holdsworth

Donard Challenge 2014 & The Rest of the Weekends Action

Donard Challenge 29/3/14 – First British Championship Race of 2014

Reported distance varied from 8-10km (and probably close to 10km?) with 850m of ascent

‘It was only when finding a group of twenty or so in a huddle on the featureless bit that I got my compass out.  At first I thought that there had been an accident or that it was a group of hill walkers as the ghostly silhouettes stood around in a circle ‘chuntering’’

Six veteran Clayton-le-Moors Harrier stalwarts crossed the Irish sea for this event. We arrived by various means, the leisurely having a week’s holiday (Katy T and George-who was reputed to have travelled just to fit in a different Park Race), Jack H combining this with a working visit, Barbara and Neil going the long way round via Holyhead with their ‘mobile’ home, Jean flying out after a busy working week and Wendy flying out for a 24hour appearance.

Jean and Wendy were able to join the Wharfedale ladies in a luxurious apartment, along with two MV60s from Harrogate (interesting night for Wendy, sleeping on a couch in the lounge to find a bare chested man with a duvet wrapped round his middle rapidly leaving the lounge at 6.45 having moved to the couch in the night to avoid his roommate’s snoring, BUT there were two couches! (Perhaps ‘the chase’ was still on during the race but you would need detailed knowledge of the results to find the answer!).  Katy and Jack had more up market accommodation to share with their spouses.

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 10.35.45

The organiser of the NI British championship race and his large band of merry helpers always makes everyone welcome and for the second successive year fed us with home baking after the race.  As has often been the case it was a newly designed course, (although previously the Slieve Donard race has been a championship counter), this year having a different approach and departure to and from the summit which proved challenging.

There was a quick few km on forest trails from Donard Park before climbing 200m into the cloud to the forest edge to the first CP.  Then it was a steep 160m climb to a minor summit CP at which point compasses were VERY useful to head across a short flat featureless few 100m before the 400m climb to the highest peak in NI taking CARE to watch the compass at all times as visibility was often close to zero. (It was only when finding a group of twenty or so in a huddle on the featureless bit that I got my compass out.  At first I thought that there had been an accident or that it was a group of hill walkers as the ghostly silhouettes stood around in a circle ‘chuntering’)

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 10.36.30

From the summit it was an about turn descending past the subsidiary summit cairn that we passed on the ascent, (at this point, unexpectedly seeing some fast runners ascending it was evident that there had been some interesting ‘route choice).  Then it was a rough descent on another compass bearing for almost 2km, (again great care required to avoid dropping into the wrong valley as some did), until hitting the marked route almost before we could see it.  This led us safely round the rim of a huge quarry to the final CP.  It was then a fast muddy, winding descent through the forest for almost 2km to the finish.

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 10.37.22

Anyone finishing did well in the ‘interesting’ conditions and the full waterproof cover required for the race was sensible and for some the compulsory emergency food, unusual for a ‘short’ race, might have come in useful (and was generously supplied by the organisers).

The tales from this event will continue all year with at least one person covering 10 miles as a result of a ‘walkabout’.  It illustrates the value of navigation when there is no visibility.

Results (full details on )


1st Allan Bogle                                        1-05-25       City of Derry AC

2nd Ian Whiteside                                    1-05-35       Carnethy

3rd Neil Northrop                                     1-05-57       DPFR

1st U23 (19th place) William Neill             1-11-57       Mercia FR

1st MV40 (10th place) Morgan Donnelly   1-06-33       Borrowdale

1st MV50 (27th place) Stuart Whittle         1-14-06       Carnethy

1st MV60 James Patterson                       1-28-59       Newcastle AC


1st Jackie Lee               1-24-14      Eryri Harriers

2nd Emma Gould           1-26-42      Mercia FR

3rd Claire Green            1-27—33    P&B

1st FV40 Mel Price         1-29-31     Mercia FR

1st FV50 Aly Raw           1-36-25     Bingley Harriers

1st FV60 Wendy Dodds 1-30-59     Clayton-le-Moors Harriers

Clayton-le-Moors Harriers Results

All returned with some points in their category (except the two FV60s for whom the rampant sexual discrimination of UKA only provides a category for MV60, despite it being the 30th anniversary of the woman’s Olympic marathon when the fairer sex were considered, for the first time (!) to be able to cope with this challenge, but obviously the older females are still considered to have their limitations!!!)  Fortunately our brothers in NI, along with the organisers of British championship races from the other Celtic nations, choose to recognise this category so it can still be a competitive class.

70th & 28th MV40   Neil Hardiman     1-28-38

97th & 5th FV40      Jean Brown         1-34-20

116 & 6th MV60     Jack Holt             1-37-11

198 & 5th FV50       Barbara Savage  1-58-51

216 &4th FV60        Katy Thompson   2-07-21

(and Katy Thompson would have been 2nd FV60 had it not been on tired legs from Edale Skyline 6 days earlier as there were only 62 seconds between 2nd and 4th FV60)

It was great to have Barbara scoring points for our FV40 team, though my brain has difficulty computing team points so we shall have to wait for the team positions (but we may have beaten Ambleside!?).

Where were all the other Clayton-le-Moors Harrier men?  Are they tough enough?

Still time to complete 3 counters for the 2014 British championships, remembering Ennerdale is a double counter (ie. Also English championship counter) and entries open 31/3/14

Thanks to Wendy Dodds for this weeks Race Report!

The Rest of the Weekends Action

This weekend saw two significant races take place. Firstly, on Saturday the Heptonstall Fell Race was undertaken by four Clayton-le-Moors Harriers. A superb race was had by V40 Garry Wilkinson finishing 18th and in a time of 2:15:42. David Baggot also had a great race, finishing 33rd overall and 2:22:54Nigel Hodson also had a great race, finishing in 2:50:02, whilst Marion Dixon crossed the line as the 7th lady! Full results here.


Secondly, the inaugural Ron Hill Accrington 10k took place on a sunny Sunday Morning. Plenty of Harriers made their way to the streets of Accrington for what was a splendid race course. Clayton-le-Moors Harriers managed to secure the time prize through 2nd placed Christopher Holdsworth, 3rd placed Breton Holdsworth and 6th placed Nick Gaskell. We were represented well with an astounding 19 Harriers racing, one of which was Ron Hill himself who managed an excellent time of 00:59:27. Other brilliant performances came from Marion Wilkinson achieving a time of 00:57:08 and securing her categories prize, as well as V70 Ted Orrell who also secured the top prize in his category. Well done to all who ran, making this a special first race for the Ron Hill Accrington 10k, Here’s to many more!



(Keighley 10k results to follow)

About the author

Christopher Holdsworth