Pendleton Fell Race 2014 & The Rest Of The Weekend’s Action

ByChristopher Holdsworth

Pendleton Fell Race 2014 & The Rest Of The Weekend’s Action

Pendleton Race Report

“Back down the fields now and every year I lose at least 3 places on them, it’s fast running – good for cross country & road runners, I look round & see a tall lad in green – No ! Not this year pal…”

I arrived at Pendleton a little late for me, 1.35pm – slight motivational issues but thought nothing “ventured nothing gained – so let’s try my luck”.  A decent Clayton-le-Moors turn out & 98 race competitors in total on a surprisingly warm sunny day. A fellow Clayton runner says to me jokingly “Have I come out of retirement” – I’ve been training enough but racing? – hmm not been focused on it – We shall see…


Courtesy of CSHoldsworth Art & Race Photography

We are checked into the starting field by our numbers – new this year & are all chatting mainly about what position we are going to come in the club. I’m expecting to be around 6th or 7th   because  some fast Clayton lads are running that race a lot more than me. I work on “you’ve got to put it in to get it out”, but I’ve turned up to represent the club so I’m happy enough.


Courtesy of CSHoldsworth Art & Race Photography

We all start to line up 3, 2, 1…. we are racing! Around the field behind the Village Hall & I’m nearer the front than I expected to be, wondering if  I’ve set off too fast but feel okay as I haven’t ran for two days. I trained from the Sunday to the Wednesday to the point my legs were extremely tired & achy – I figured to run this race well, I need to be really fresh.


Courtesy of CSHoldsworth Art & Race Photography

We hit the main street & it’s a slight incline, time to work only being a 5m race. I push myself hard from the start, no taking it steady yet. Having done the race before I am well aware that the hard part is keeping going when it starts to climb steep; that is yet to come. As we go through the gate on to the fields, I’m aware of one or two of my Clayton club mates jostling with me for position, so I push harder and a Dark Peak lady runner, who is really strong & determined, was on my shoulder.


Courtesy of Dave Potter

The first little descent was down Swardean Clough. Through the fern & up the other side, this is where the race starts for me, as it’s keeping going when your legs are telling you “I want to walk”. We are heading up to the road & one of my mates is walking. He’s over-trained – he would usually run me into the ground. I decide to give him some words of encouragement even at the risk of losing a place but I like to play nice so why not?


Courtesy of Dave Potter

We keep climbing, and I’m aware of the  Dark Peak Lady runner behind me – she’s not losing ground on me but I won’t let her gain any either – she will have to earn it.


Courtesy of Dave Potter

We cross the road & gets lots of support off other Clayton members watching, but to be honest,  I’m just aware of not wanting to walk and get to the top of the hill. The climb drags up & I can see the leaders in front reaching Apronful Hill – the  first climb but still know my Dark Peak “friend” is right behind me, my head drops and I make a conscious effort to lift it up again & “dig in”.


Courtesy of Dave Potter

We turn to go down to Ashendean Clough, I should be able to make a gap now between me & Dark Peak but as we cross the Howcroft Brook  she’s just behind me.


Courtesy of Richard Taylor

I’m making my way through the fern to find the path up to the climb to the “memorial“ cairn and my new dark peak “friend” puts a few little runs in when I’m walking & comes past me. I’m trying to get my legs moving again &  I decide to follow her lead, I’m not letting her beat me quite so easily, so  every time she runs I do too.


Courtesy of CSHoldsworth Art & Race Photography

I turn at the cairn, take a look to see runners  coming up the hill –  there is good gap –  but I’m aware I always lose a few race places on the way back as it gets faster, but I’ve been doing a Monday night speed session so hope it’s going to pay off. I’m trying to catch the Dark Peak runner as we run down the long descent, which gets steeper down to cross Howcroft Brook again. The gaps closing but not as much as I wanted, but by the time we cross the Brook I know I can get past her with the support of fellow Clayton members as we cross the road.


Courtesy of CSHoldsworth Art & Race Photography

As I run past her I give her some encouragement, as she dragged me up to the cairn,  & say to her in a few words I don’t mind her beating me but I don’t want anyone else coming past me now. We are running the race in reverse so back down and out of Swardean Clough – this is the moment “my wheels” may not go quick enough. Back down the fields now and every year I lose at least 3 places on them, it’s fast running – good for cross country & road runners, I look round & see a tall lad in green – No ! Not this year pal.


Courtesy of CSHoldsworth Art & Race Photography

I dig in. My thought is, “If I’m wanting to slow down so is everyone else” but tell myself “half a mile to go”.


Courtesy of CSHoldsworth Art & Race Photography

As I’m about to go through the gate onto the main road I turn round again, the tall runner in the green vest has  gained on the Dark Peak runner & as it happens, goes past her, I tell myself quarter of a mile to go and “push, dig”  – a  little mantra I say to myself over and over when I want to stop as I run down the road,  getting nearer to the finish. I try & sprint, daring not to look round as I know the tall lad in green is not far behind me. I turn to the finish, my lungs feel like they want to explode but I’m very happy.


Courtesy of CSHoldsworth Art & Race Photography

My race position was much better than expected, and happier still that my Monday evening road speed training paid off and no one came past me on the run back in.


Courtesy of CSHoldsworth Art & Race Photography

Pendleton is a superb short race and I’m very pleased I made the effort to get myself to the start as I knew I would be if I did.

Thanks to Michael O’Donnell for this week’s excellent race report! Full results can be found here.


The Rest of the Weekend’s Action

Plenty of races to discuss this week. We’ll start at The Burnsall Classic Fell Race, where we three Clayton-le-Moors Harriers competed. The first of our runners through the finish had an excellent race. Andrew Robinson completed the fell race in 20:55 and was also the 1st V60 too! The next two men across the finish should also be highly praised, as both of them went on to race at Pendleton a few hours later. Ivan Whigham completed his race in 22:37, whilst Mick Dobson finished home in 22:50. Well done all three men!

Lot’s of Harriers putting in double shifts this weekend! Like Mick and IvanMartin Brady also competed at another fell race besides Pendleton. He competed at The Tour of Noorland Moor Fell Race, and completed the second race of his weekend in 51:50. Another Harrier took to Noorland Moors in Chris Funnel, who also had an excellent race finishing in 46:30.

More double duties to discuss yet… Jacob Boyle competed in 2/3 of the fantastic Cannonball Events that were held this weekend. The first of which was the Watergrove Trail Race in Shore, Littleborough. Competing against some of the top runners in the country, he managed to finish in 6th place, in a time of 18:48. The day after, he race at the final Cannonball Event Sheep Fell Over Fell Race, again having a great race, finishing a place higher than the day before in 5th, and in 18:48. Also in this race to compete twice this weekend was Christopher Holdsworth. Also one of the many Harriers to take to the hills of Pendleton, he achieved a 3rd placed finish in 18:02. The 3rd Harrier through the finish, and securing team prize for Clayton-le-Moors Harriers was Garry Wilkinson in 7th and under the 20 minute mark in 19:43. This happened to be Garry’s first win in the V50 category, though he was also the 1st Vet across the finish. Well done!!

In this race, Adam Hamer competed in his first ever fell race. He had a tremendous race, finish not far off his 5k pb (not bad for a hilly course) in 32:05. Expect to see his name cropping up more often on the results for fell races soon! Jack Mcguire put in a stirling effort as always, bringing home the Clayton men in 38:03. Well done everyone!







About the author

Christopher Holdsworth