140 runners, including 6 juniors, set off from Cliviger on a warm, cloudy morning. Mercia’s Simon Bailey led the procession out of the start field – a lead he was never to relinquish. After just under 31 minutes of racing, Simon crossed the finish line with more than 2 minutes in hand over Calder Valley’s Alex Whittem, runner up for the second year in succession. Simon’s winning time, 30.56 was only 12 seconds shy of the course record (set by Rob Hope in 2006 when the race was an English Championship counter and Rob was pushed all the way) – a superb performance, 10 years after his first victory at Thieveley. Ian Conroy (Horwich) took third place ahead of another previous winner, Todmorden’s Andrew Wrench. Jordan McDonald (Clayton) showed great potential to finish in 6th place, first MU18.
Equally impressive was Lindsay Brindle’s 10th place overall to win the ladies’ race by 4 minutes from Honor Thompson (Skelmersdale Border H), with Horwich team mate, Suzanne Budgett in third position. Along with Sandra Kelly (5th lady), Lindsey and Suzanne took the ladies’ team prize for Horwich, while the Clayton men just pipped Horwich in the men’s team competition.
27 Clayton members took part in the senior race – some attempting their first fell race – and another 11 in the juniors. It was great to see the smiles, support and encouragement being given to all, around the course and at the finish. As well as Jordan’s great run, Vicki Heys (F40) and Linda Lord (F65) won their age categories, as did juniors Curtis Holt (BU16), Thomas Bradley (BU14), Eleanor Root (GU14), Natasha Olszewska (GU12), Ella Dorrington (GU10) and Milly MacCabe (GU8).
At the prize giving there was a special mention (and a bottle of wine) for Clayton’s Dug McCallum to mark the fact that Thieveley had been Dug’s first fell race – fifty years ago! Well done Dug. I wonder if any of today’s ‘first-timers’ will still be competing 50 years on.
Well done also to the team of Clayton members who volunteered to help with registration, time-keeping and marshalling. The race organiser is only as good as the support he receives. My Sunday check of the course revealed no tape – or litter!
Thanks to all.