Searching high and low

ByAdrienne Olszewska

Searching high and low

Even on a quiet week there is still plenty of action to report. Our junior runners are busy taking part in triathlons, representing their schools in cross country and testing their navigational skills in orienteering events. What a talented bunch they are! The seniors have been finishing off the season in the FRA champs in Langdale and the BOFRA race at Wasdale as well as half marathons, local fell races, orienteering and road races.

North West Junior Triathlon Series

Congratulations to Ellie Root and Helana White. Ellie came 4th overall in the Youth Girls category and Helana came 4th in the T1 girls category.

Ellie Root at the NW Junior Trialthlon Series

Ellie Root at the NW Junior Trialthlon Series

Final Standings



Well done to junior runners Bronia and Natasha Olszewska who took part in the ESAA Cross Country Cup completion running for their school, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Blackburn. Natasha was the first counter for her team (Inter Girls)and they finished in 3rd place overall in the Lancashire competition. Bronia was second counter in her team (Junior Girls) and their team also finished in 3rd place in the Lancashire competition.




14 Clayton-le-Moors Harriers took part in this classic Lakeland Fell race that is the final race in the 2016 FRA English Championship. Ryan Belshaw was our first finisher in 91st place overall and with a time of 02:38:47. Wendy Dodds was our sole lady runner. She finished in 275th place overall and 1st FV65. There were 380 finishers in this year’s race.

Ryan Belshaw at the Langdale Horseshoe. Photo by Sam Watson

Ryan Belshaw at the Langdale Horseshoe. Photo by Sam Watson

Report from Andrew Armstrong – Lessons learnt in Langdale

Lesson 1 – You can race with a cold (but don’t expect to be any good).

I’d had a cold for over a week, I’d slogged round a cyclocross course with it and I knew that attempting a tough Lakeland fell race was, at best, unwise. However, as a famous Scot once said,  “I’d paid for the tickets” so Saturday morning found me cadging a lift off fellow Clayton runners and arriving to perfect running weather in the Langdale valley.  I kept my cold to myself to avoid accusations of getting my excuses in beforehand!

The start is typical of fell races; narrow tracks with lots of jostling, eventually leading to a prolonged slog up to the first real peak of the day at Thunacarr Knott. The pre-race briefing had advised us that the marshalls would be ‘up against it’ at this checkpoint and we were requested not to shout numbers or even to say thank you. As it happens the checkpoint was fairly calm; they must have thought we were a right miserable bunch!

Lesson 2 – You can’t follow someone if they’re behind you.

Discussion in the car was mostly about the best lines off different peaks and I’d made copious mental notes. Visibility was pretty good so I was happy to navigate round most of the course but was keen to follow either Mark Nutter or Jon Sharples at the ‘Bad Step’, a notorious bottleneck on Crinkle Crags. I’d passed Mark just after Ore Gap but resolved to latch onto and  follow Jon’s unusual route choice towards the next checkpoint at Long Top. I lost faith when we seemed to be moving too far away from the pack; more fool me as I finally arrived at the checkpoint to see Jon disappearing into the distance! A big queue at the bad step saw Mark catch me up, we navigated an alternative route fairly quickly but Jon was long gone.

Lesson 3 – You can always find yourself alone in a fell race.

Around 400 runners started this relatively short (12 mile) fell race in good clear weather yet I still found myself alone coming off the final peak, Pike O’Blisco. Reluctant to get the map out, I did some hasty dead reckoning by the sun and managed to recover a poor exit line from the Pike to slot into the final descent. A fast and furious charge into the finish past bemused walkers (always good value) saw me finish in just over 3 hours.

Lesson 4 – The best races finish at a pub.

Langdale had a new organiser this year and Dan Duxbury was keen to thank everyone at Ambleside AC whose commitment had made the race possible. To para-phrase Dan; In an era where new trail races/challenges are popping up every week some costing £50, £60 even £80, to be able to put on a race of this calibre for only £10 (including a free pasty at the end!) is a testament to that commitment. Standing in the sun, outside a Lakeland pub, with a pint in one hand and a pasty in the other it was hard to disagree.

Pos Name Category Time
91 Ryan Belshaw M 02:38:47
109 Andrew Orr MV45 02:42:18
167 Andrew Mcfarlane MV45 02:56:29
168 Neil Hardiman MV45 02:56:35
184 Ivan Whigham MV50 02:59:38
190 Jon Sharples MV60 03:02:07
209 Andrew Armstrong MV45 03:06:33
216 Geoff Gough MV55 03:07:29
220 Ralph Baines MV45 03:08:17
237 Richard Bellaries MV60 03:12:05
239 Mark Nutter MV50 03:13:27
256 Andrew Firth MV55 03:17:15
257 Chris Whiteoak M 03:17:33
275 Wendy Dodds FV65 03:23:41

Full Results


Report from Stephen Fish

Two Clayton runners, Richard Briscoe and myself, made the long trip to compete in the Wasdale Show Fell Race, which can only be described as a beast. It was perfect for the final race of the 2016 BOFRA season, with a warm, fine, bright autumn day and good underfoot conditions.

Stephen Fish at the Wasdale Shoe Fell Race. Photo by Stephen White of Granddayout Photography

Stephen Fish at the Wasdale Shoe Fell Race. Photo by Stephen White of Granddayout Photography

The event starts easily enough in the flat field next to the show ground. However, once runners have climbed the stile over the wall and out of the field, the relentless and steep climb up Kirk Fell begins. After first negotiating a rocky track, before reaching the fell base, the runners now have a grassy ascent that only seems to get steeper the further up one progresses. Ever upwards to where the terrain now changes to become loose scree until the first false summit, where it becomes rocky and remains like this until the actual summit is reached. The top is 2,631 feet above the start line, which is rather reassuringly marked by a Wasdale Mountain Rescue volunteer. If the ascent wasn’t hard enough, the very tricky descent, through the loose scree begins, not before some stunning views of Western Cumbria, Great Gable and Scafell Pike were to be enjoyed. The race returns via the outward route to the finish funnel, where any attempt of a sprint finish, after the jump off the steep stile, is thwarted by jelly legs and wrecked thighs.

This has got to be the best and toughest race in the excellent BOFRA calendar, a 2.4 mile race, with 2400 feet of ascent, that I couldn’t believe left me so ‘wiped out’ at the finish and for the rest of the day….It was a long drive home. One for the diary next year though.

Report from Richard Briscoe

The Wasdale Show is a classic fell route and a brilliant country show. I had to do it to get the 8 races in to qualify for the BOFRA season. The race is a tough one straight up Kirk Fell, a 4 mile race with 2500 feet of climbing. I did well on the climb dodging the rocks from other runners. Got to the summit and the views were amazing all over the Wasdale area. On the way down was interesting, full of boulders and a scree, and the last section was a grassy slope which was hard to keep on the feet.

Richard Briscoe flying down at the Wasdale Show fell race. Photo by Stephen White of Granddayout Phototography

Richard Briscoe flying down at the Wasdale Show fell race. Photo by Stephen White of Granddayout Phototography

At the end was a good day and it was great to catch up with friends who do the race every year. The end of the day finished at the Strands Pub, an annual folk event.

Pos Name Cat Time
37 Richard Briscoe M 00:57:11
54 Stephen Fish MV60 01:11:10

Full Results



Kevin O’Brien was our sole competitor at this 5 mile trail race organised by Astley &Tyldesley Road Runners.

Pos Name Cat Time
205 Kevin O’Brien M70 00:51:43

Full Results


Some fabulous weather on the day (and fairly accurately predicted for once!) brought a bumper turn out for this orienteering event organised by Pendle Forest Orienteers. Set in the Nick ‘O Pendle area was always going to be a popular area with some of our navigating runners.

Mark Nutter and Mike Wallis took on the Brown level course which was the most demanding technically and, assuming no major mistakes, around 7km with 370m of climb. Mark finished in 18th place with an overall finish time of 91:35. Mike Wallis was 19th with an overall time of 96:22

Katy Thompson took on the Blue course, which is approximately 6km with 320m of climb, finishing in 15th place with an overall time of 94:04

Colin Woolford was 3rd on the Light Green course, approximately 3.5km with 130m of climb, with an overall time of 46:05.

Report from Colin Woolford

Sunday’s PFO event on the Nick O Pendle was a tough call between that and the Withins Skyline race over in Haworth but having enjoyed a glass or few on Saturday after some epic chores I decided the more local Orienteering event would be a good trot out for 45-60 minutes.  My plan was to arrive early, do the “short blue”  – which in technical difficulty terms was at the highest end, but with less climb/distance and be back in time for an early lunch before the Withins Skyline runners had even crossed the start line.  Well that was the plan.

Unfortunately the chores spilled in to Sunday morning so I arrived later than anticipated and due to unprecedented demand, the PFO team had begun to call time on several courses as they had run out of maps!  (an important tool in orienteering!) So my choice was either the full on Brown course (7km, 350m climb and top level difficulty) meaning for me a good 90+minutes or the Light Green course (3.5km and a civilised 130m climb) or the really easy stuff.  Orienteering has five levels of Technical Difficulty – referring to the navigation skills required factored in with distance/climb 5 being toughest, 1 being simplest.  I had wanted a TD5 short blue, but settled for the TD4 Light Green, which in the perfect running conditions on Pendle that day was a good call.  I came a comfortable third in the end from 17 and had I not made an error right at the start reckoned I could have got 2nd.  Note to self – warm up brain as well as legs before next orienteering event!

Several Clayton noted on the results

Report from Adrienne Olszewska

Hot on the heels of a challenging 20 mile challenge, our magnificent seven junior runners decided to try their hands at orienteering. Aaron Lundie, Lucy Stevenson, Adam Stevenson, Keira Stevenson, Rachel Stevenson, Natasha Olszewska and Bronia Olszewska started with the Yellow course.

Show us your dibbers! The Juniors at the finish of the Yellow course. Photo by Deborah Stevenson

Show us your dibbers! The Juniors at the finish of the Yellow course. Photo by Deborah Stevenson

This is the easiest course and is around 2.1km with 85m of climb. The terrain was no problem to the group and they flew round in just over half an hour. Always up for a challenge, they took on the orange course as well. This was a more demanding course of around 2.8km and 115m of climb.

Another control found. Keira Stevenson dibs in.

Another control found. Keira Stevenson dibs in.

Splitting into two groups, the older runners completed the course in around 75 minutes with the younger group following about 5 minutes later. A fantastic effort from a group of youngsters who remained cheerful and enthusiastic despite getting lost and struggling to find the second checkpoint for quite a while!

Coaches Richard Stevenson and Nicholas Olszewski consult the map to try and work out where on earth they are!

Coaches Richard Stevenson and Nicholas Olszewski consult the map to try and work out where on earth they are!

They were accompanied by Adrienne Olszewska, Richard Stevenson, Deborah Stevenson and, unofficially, Nicholas Olszewski who may have lent a hand with some of the navigation.

Full Results


Report from Adam Stephenson

Myself and my partner in crime, Elizabeth Mullan, set off over to Lytham for the West Coast Half Marathon on a beautiful Autumn morning. An early start as it was a point to point event with a bus service included as part of entry fee.

Adam Stephenson and Elizabeth Mullan at the West Coast Half Marathon

Adam Stephenson and Elizabeth Mullan at the West Coast Half Marathon

It was only my second attempt at this distance having done the Darwen Heritage earlier in the year but I was very confident of bettering my time of 1 hour 55 minutes. Liz was too as her PB over 13 miles stood at somewhere around 1 hour 47 minutes again from Darwen…

Although the race was described as “flat”, which it mainly was, there was definitely some uphill involved, even though they might have been minimal my legs were definitely feeling it as I got towards the seven or eight mile mark, when I lost sight of Liz as we approached the promenade…

She battled past a couple of ladies to earn an impressive third in under 1 hour 39 minutes whilst my tired legs carried me to a 1:42:06.

Quite happy and I would definitely give it another go next year. Overall well organised and well marshalled for the majority with plenty of support and encouragement along the way

Pos Name Cat Time
34 Elizabeth Mullan L 1:38:58.45
45 Adam Stephenson M 1:42:06.52
51 Geoff Smith MV40 1:43:49.80

Full Results


Report from Sarah Helliwell

It was the first time I’ve ever raced over “Haworth” way and I will definitely be back to do some more over there over the winter. It was a lovely sunny day with a slight cool breeze as nearly 300 runners huddled together in the famous “quarry”. There was a brief joke that we shouldn’t get lost as long as we could keep up with Tom Adams – he broke the course record and the next runners were 4 minutes behind him!

It was a fast start out of the quarry as we headed down the track towards the road with about 4 different routes being taken, before we hit a track that led onto the moors. Once on the moor it was hard to pass anyone and vice versa as a long line streamed out in front of me up the hillside. The steeper the climb, the muddier it got and the more I enjoyed it, as I slowly got into a rhythm and passed a number of runners. Once on top myself and a another female runner started picking a route through the mud, ruts and heather, which liked to take your ankles out. We then hit the flag stones as we started a fast descent that eventually crossed a slippery stone bridge before climbing back up onto a track and back to the finish. It was here I started to tire (unfortunately I lost touch with the female runner I’d run with – she beat me by 14 seconds) and I knew it would feel a long mile and half climb back up to the finish. As I came in to the finish I got a high five from Eva and a “mamma” shout from Ralph…

It is a great route to definitely give the legs a good muddy, boggy workout on the first half before a fast return.

Well done to all Clayton runners who ran.

Pos Name Cat Time
11 Tim Edward MV50 46:17
12 Peter Coates MV40 46:40
33 Paul Hesketh MV50 49:48
84 Paul Brannon MV50 54:45
127 Jeffrey Pickup MV60 58:08
137 Jean Brown FV40 58:54
219 Sarah Helliwell F 66:57
265 Michael Frost MV60 75:50
278 Robert Hirst MV60 80:17

Full Results


Report from Alan Dorrington

Organised by the indomitable Woodentops over at Penistone Country Park, the Curly Wurly Rat Runs are the kids’ version of the popular end of season Withins Skyline race. Looping in and out of the familiar quarry, with added Halloween fancy dress options and lots of chocolate flying around, this event is a lovely low key finish to what can be a busy fell season for our juniors.

The under 8s were off first, with Felix Thompson enjoying a headlong rush up and out of the quarry, rapidly followed by a steep greasy descent back into it, only for another steep climb back out and up to the finish. Felix stayed upright on the descent, which produced a few comedy faceplants, but no injuries and came home in 16th, being rewarded later with extra chocolate for his fancy dress outfit.

Chris Brown at the Withins Curly Wurly Run. Photo by Alan Dorrington

Chris Brown at the Withins Curly Wurly Run. Photo by Alan Dorrington

Hot on the heels of the under 8s, 150 runners from all the other age groups started with the same mad dash to the single track climb out of the quarry, heading off for a fast narrow track across the moor before the rollercoaster drop and climb from the quarry to finish. U10s, 12s and 14s did one lap with only the U16s doing a second round. It all made for fast, chaotic racing but out of the melee, Dexta Thompson found some clear space in front and headed off in his usual determined fashion for 6th place overall and 3rd U12B. He was chased by Christopher Brown in 20th, Ella Dorrington in 32nd, Helena White in 64th, Alfie White in 109th and Kady Thompson in 120th. It was great to see Helena back racing after her impromptu surgery.

Ella Dorrington at the Withins Curly Wurly run. Photo by Alan Dorrington

Ella Dorrington at the Withins Curly Wurly run. Photo by Alan Dorrington

Notwithstanding the fact that finishers got a stacked goody bag with chocolate and sweets, many waited till the chocolatey prize giving for the infamous ‘chocolate throw’, a sure-fire winner amongst the kids and adults alike.

U8 Race

Pos Name Time
16 Felix Thompson 3:23

Main Junior Race

Pos Name Cat Time
6 Dexta Thompson U12B 6:34
20 Christopher Brown U12B 7:20
32 Ella Dorrington U12G 7:38
64 Helana White U10G 8:21
109 Alfie White U14B 9:59
120 Kady Thompson U10G 10:17

Parkrun roundup

Burnley parkrun – A total of 325 runners took part.

Pos   parkrunner   Time   Age Cat   Note  
6 Richard STEVENSON 17:55 VM40-44 New PB!
9 Jonathan PYE 18:18 SM25-29
10 Chris SNELL 18:23 VM35-39
18 Nicholas HENNESSEY 19:20 JM11-14
19 Matthew DUCKWORTH 19:21 SM25-29
22 Dave MOTLEY 19:43 VM35-39
23 Reece Adam LAWRENCE 20:00 JM15-17
28 Mark WIGHTMAN 20:49 VM55-59
30 Daniel PLANT 21:08 SM30-34
33 Simon WILSHAW 21:28 JM15-17
48 Matthew JACKSON 22:06 JM10
57 Colin WHITE 22:35 VM40-44
66 Sophie ASHWORTH 22:55 JW11-14
73 Michelle ABBOTT 23:04 VW35-39 New PB!
74 Martin BRADY 23:08 VM50-54
76 David Ian SCOTT 23:22 VM70-74
81 Nina KEWIN 23:28 VW35-39
83 Aaron LUNDIE 23:29 JM11-14 New PB!
87 Robbie SMEDLEY 23:38 JM10
88 Cassandra Darling SMEDLEY 23:38 VW35-39
89 Carl CAREY 23:40 VM45-49
96 Bethany WHEATCROFT 23:51 JW11-14 New PB!
103 Julie DAWES 24:23 VW45-49
105 Toby BIRTWISTLE 24:26 JM10
108 Chris LAWRENCE 24:36 VM50-54
109 Donna SCOTT 24:40 VW50-54
119 Lisa JOHNSON 25:03 VW40-44
132 Annabel WILCOCK 25:39 JW15-17
133 John WILCOCK 25:40 VM50-54
145 Bianca BENNETT 26:09 SW25-29
179 Helen HARRISON 27:34 VW45-49
192 Justin BIRTWISTLE 28:17 VM40-44
197 Deborah GREENWOOD 28:21 VW45-49
205 Ron CHAPPELL 28:40 VM65-69
215 Robert HIRST 29:14 VM65-69
260 Judith CAREY 32:01 VW35-39

Chadderton Hall parkrun – A total of 42 runners took part.

Pos   parkrunner   Time   Age Cat   Note  
15 Ian HARGREAVES 25:52 VM50-54 First Timer!

Cuerden Valley parkrun – A total of 144 runners took part.

Pos   parkrunner   Time   Age Cat   Note  
13 Alan LIFE 22:21 VM50-54 First Timer!

Dewsbury parkrun – A total of 129 runners took part.

Pos   parkrunner   Time   Age Cat   Note  
111 Robin PRICE 36:06 VM70-74

Marple parkrun – A total of 199 runners took part.

Pos   parkrunner   Time   Age Cat   Note  
177 Ron HILL 33:50 VM75-79

Pendle parkrun – A total of 97 runners took part.

Pos   parkrunner   Time   Age Cat   Note  
6 Paul BRANNON 20:30 VM55-59
7 John HARTLEY 20:42 VM55-59
71 Christine Jennifer EGERTON 32:09 VW65-69
76 Christine LEATHLEY 34:36 VW65-69

Skipton parkrun – A total of 141 runners took part.

Pos   parkrunner   Time   Age Cat   Note  
78 Yvonne WICKHAM 27:32 VW50-54

Witton parkrun – A total of 88 runners took part.

Pos   parkrunner   Time   Age Cat   Note  
88 Julia RUSHTON 49:55 VW50-54


About the author

Adrienne Olszewska