Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round 2014
‘The further we climbed, the more the backdrop of Lancashire began to recede into a thick haze. Immediately we seemed to find ourselves in a sort of runners purgatory..’
Sitting here with bag of frozen onions on my knee, aching thighs and a sense of both achievement and defeat, I contemplate apathetically to the challenge endured. Initially only arriving to spectate and photograph the new Clayton-le-Moors Harriers vest, I took one look at the nebulous fog that nestled over Pendle and yielded, I could not deny myself the lure of the Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round.
After a brief photo-shoot, runners from all clubs with an abundance of Clayton-le-Moors Harriers vests gathered on the bridge. A speedy send off sent us on our way towards the first of the hill climb challenges ahead. The ever ominous ascent to the Trig loomed, a staple Pendle fixture but not for the fainthearted. Feeling a lack of energy that would usually propel myself up the early climb was not there that day – I knew I was in for tough race, though I could not envisage how tough it would be until at the summit. Firstly however, the further we climbed, the more the backdrop of Lancashire began to recede into a thick haze. Immediately we seemed to find ourselves in a sort of runners purgatory, lost on a barren, foggy wasteland. Up ahead we began to discover waypoints in the distance, though it was difficult to distinguish whether they were marshals or mirages.
At this point I had begun running with another, with the both of us as the only reassurance that we hadn’t got lost, we decided to run together. However, our pace had considerably dropped as we navigated precariously over the first signs of the boggy mire that was soon to come. Behind us, like a sherpa from the fog, Matt Perry emerged to guide us on the correct paths. Had he not come along, the group of now five would probably still be up there.
Courtesy of Woodentops
The track ahead was like no other I had ever experienced. For all the accomplishments I’d achieved so far in my short time at Clayton-le-Moors Harriers, they fell insignificant to the endurance needed to traverse over this unimaginably difficult terrain. The recent highly placed finishes and the ascending of the ranks in the club felt like a falsehood in these moments. I simply could not keep up with these true hardy fell runners, I felt like a flash in the pan – an impostor among the fells. The gales blowing away any air you clutched in your lungs, to the deep sticky bogs pulling you down into the earth and ceasing any pace you had, this was the toughest experience I’ve had so far. I was sure to keep up with this group though through mostly in fear of going astray. Finally, we began to descend out of our ‘runners purgatory’.
With Matt successfully navigating our route, I had to make up on lost ground. Despite the loss of feeling in my legs, I had managed to catch up and re-overtake the group charging down the hilly banks to Churn Clough Reservoir. Here is where the soul sapping significant moments occurred in our 10 mile race. Every time one of our group members found ourselves in front, Matt Perry would be on hand to re-overtake with his advantageous route choices. Clambering up a hill bank? He knew a better way. Left or right side of the fence? He knew the correct way. This theme continued right until the end, where in similar fashion to Windy Hill, I charged down Ogden Dam only to miss the turning back up the hill and onto the finish. With Matt taking this route and cementing his place as the first Clayton-le-Moors Harrier, I was broken.
I slowly made my way back to the correct route having almost give in. That is until I spotted Dave Motley careering down onto the top of Ogden Dam, where my legs soon found a second wind. The final stretch of land underfoot towards the finish was simply to get back home. No energy, no strength, legs gone and all over the place, I finished in a time of 1:16.13. Matt Perry had finished 7th with an impressive time of 1:15.31 and Dave was close behind in an excellent time of 1:17.21 finishing 11th. Matt and I had a great battle taking over one another across this course and his consistency, unlike my erratic run, deserved him the win in the first Clayton-le-Moors Harriers Fell Championship in 2014. Well done Matt!!
Other top performances included newcomer Ryan Belshaw coming in a fantastic 21st place. ‘MV50’ David Bagot arrived back in at 36th place, whilst Jean Brown finished 64th overall. Full results can be found here.
It was an outstanding course, and every Clayton-le-Moors Harrier performed so well. Congratulations to all our runners who took part on one of the toughest races around!
The Rest of the Weekends Action
It was a difficult weekend for many Clayton-le-Moors Harriers as there were copious amounts of races to choose from. Firstly, at the Roddlesworth Roller Nick Gaskell had a brilliant performance achieving 5th in a time of 34:45. With his impressive performances as of late, he could be the one to beat at Ron Hill’s Accrington 10k. Also finishing 5th and across the finish in a very fast two hours was Jonny McKenna at the East Hull 20. Breton Holdsworth was the sole Harrier at Dentdale Run 2014. Although he didn’t match up to past achievements, he still managed a solid 19th placed finish in a time of 1:29:48.
Our very own Ron Hill competed at Trafford 10k this weekend, completing the race in a time of 53:59 and coming 645th overall. Well done to Spencer Riley for competing in the Lancashire Cross Country team and completing the course in 39:00 and coming in at 166th! Spencer was participating among the best of the country at in the Inter-County Championships at Birmingham this weekend.
The juniors were out in force at the Daffodil Doddle this weekend. Thomas Bradley was the first Clayton-le-Moors Harrier around the track in 8:04. Millie Stubbs, the first female around the course and 18th female overall completed the race in 9:13. Ella Dorrington, and Daniel Bradley also had excellent races for the juniors. Full results found here.
Well done to all who ran at the weekend. The weather promised us better but it didn’t deliver, unlike you and your fabulous efforts. Keep up the good work Clayton-le-Moors Harriers!