Muddy miles, pacy parks and fast fells

ByAdrienne Olszewska

Muddy miles, pacy parks and fast fells

A real mixed bag this week as our members have been racing all over the place; at the National Cross Country Championships in Nottingham, on the fells of Yorkshire and Cumbria, the parks of Lancashire and Cheshire with some tricky trail running thrown in as well.



Three Clayton men took part in the first of two 10 races organised by Fylde Coast Running in Stanley Park, Blackpool. Terry O’Leary was the first finisher in 26th place overall and with a time of 41:06. Stephen Biscomb was 36th overall and 2nd V60 in 42:45 and Craig Nicholls was 71st in 46:21. There were 312 runners.

Pos Name Category Time
26 Terry O’Leary M 41:06.5
36 Stephen Biscomb MV60 42:45.0
71 Craig Nicholls MV40 46:21.4

Full Results


Two club members took part in this challenging, moorland fell race. Ryan Wilkinson was our first finisher in 11th place overall and Katy Thompson was 55th.

Ryan Wilkinson at the Midgley Moor Fell Race. Photo by Woodentops

Ryan Wilkinson at the Midgley Moor Fell Race. Photo by Woodentops

Katy Thompson at the Midgley Moor Fell Race. Photo by Woodentops

Katy Thompson at the Midgley Moor Fell Race. Photo by Woodentops

Pos Name Category Time
11 Ryan Wilkinson M 49:20
55 Katy Thompson W60 1:09:56

Full Results


Report from Pete Browning

The Big Weekender Away Day Racing Trip

Anyone who runs any cross country at all, must do the National at least once in their life. Not only is it the biggest and best XC event there is, it also gives a true picture of your ability. If you are used to a top 50 place in the Mid Lancs, prepare yourself for a massive wake up call. The standard is so high and the pace of the leading runners is so quick; small fish and big ponds come to mind! The 2017 race was held at Nottingham, not too far away really, so disappointing that only Danny Collinge and myself were on the start line for the Senior men’s race.

Pete Browning at the National Cross Country Championship

Pete Browning at the National Cross Country Championship

As I warmed up the under 13 boys race was taking place, and it was fantastic to see four Clayton youngsters competing so well, and Jackson, Robbie, Dexta and Lennon all got stuck in. The Senior ladies only had two Clayton runners also, Sue Allen and Christine Leathley flying the flag for us. The start of the Senior men’s race is something to behold with around 2000 runners charging uphill to the first corner, and after a quick thumbs up to Danny, off we went. The course and venue were really good with a challenging route and numerous mud baths available for the unwary. Just look at the photos of Danny on the internet to see how hard he was trying to get 468th position. For me, a lot slower and 1626th place, but still a lot behind me, and a really enjoyable day and a great sporting atmosphere.

Danny Collinge at the National Cross Country Championship

Danny Collinge at the National Cross Country Championship

After all that effort, a stop over in the East Midlands was in order for Sandi and me, so that’s what we did. Sunday morning saw us back on the road heading for home, via Dewsbury to do the Hoppits Hill Race, an old fashioned local fell race organised by long distance queen Nicki Spinks with a minimum of fuss. A lovely 5k course awaited us, well flagged throughout, with me the only Clayton runner in the senior race. Two good climbs and some testing muddy fields gave us plenty to go at, and a finish position of 58th. The biggest contrast between the two races : 2885 entries for the National, 94 for Hoppits Hill.


A full team of U13 boys took the trip down to Nottingham to test their mettle against the best in the country.  Some great running from our boys was on show on an extremely muddy and tough course with a much bigger field than they are used to.

Jackson McKay at the National Cross Country Championships

Jackson McKay was our first boy with a top 100 position; a really great performance from Jackson. Robbie Smedley managed to inch past Dexta Thompson to make second team counter after snapping at his heels all season – there’s sure to be an extra element of competition at the last Mid Lancs fixture in Leigh!

Robbie Smedley and Dexta Thompson at the National Cross Country Championships

Robbie Smedley and Dexta Thompson at the National Cross Country Championships

And Lennon Jackson completed the team.

Lennon Jackson at the National Cross Country Championships

An excellent 24th out of 48 complete teams.

Pos Name Time
69 Jackson McKay 0:13:27
150 Robbie Smedley 0:13:59
152 Dexta Thompson 0:14:00
354 Lennon Jackson 0:15:21

Senior Races

Four senior runners joined the junior boys.  Cross country stalwarts Sue Allen and Christine Leathley represented our ladies. Danny Collinge and Pete Browning represented the men.

Women’s Race

Sue Allen was our first lady in 777th place and Christine Leathley was 783rd.

Sue Allen at the National Cross Country Championships

Sue Allen at the National Cross Country Championships

Christine Leathley at the National Cross Country Championships

Christine Leathley at the National Cross Country ChampionshipsFull Res

Pos Name Time
777 Sue Allen 1:02:29
783 Christine Leathley 1:06:01

Men’s Race

Danny Collinge was our first Clayton man in 468th and 48:40.  Unfortunately, there appears to be an error on the results sheet and no positions are given for a number of athletes including Pete Browning who finished in 1:08:25.

Pos Name Time
468 Danny Collinge 0:48:40
1626 Pete Browning 1:08:25

Full Results



James Williamson and Andrew Firth made the trip to the Lake District to take part in this 7.5 mile fell race with 2221ft of ascent

Report from James Williamson

Hosted by Ambleside AC, the Badger Bar Blast is a cracking little out & back lung buster, taking in the summits of Loughrigg Fell & Silver How. After a slow start to the year due to injury, it felt great to be finally donning the famous orange & white vest for the 1st time since my move from Trawden.

Conditions were typical of the Lake District for this time of the year – cold, windy and very wet! This didn’t dampen the spirits of the 110 hardy runners and the numerous marshals and spectators who lined the route. The race started at 12.00 prompt and I set off around mid-pack with a view of just going with the flow given the rustiness, having not raced since the Tour of Pendle in November. Early doors I felt good so decided to push on a bit & found myself amongst a good group of 5 or 6 as we summited Loughrigg. A fast & slippy descent off the fell was a great relief to the quads for a short time before crossing the road & on to the ascent of Silver How. The trod leading towards the rocky outcrop of Silver How was saturated and it became a game of Russian roulette with foot placement!

The summit of Silver How was a welcome site as I was confident of gaining ground on those ahead with the fast descent back to the road crossing. The longer the race went on the better I felt, and I tagged on to a couple of Keswick vests, working well together to push up the final sting in the tail on the return to Loughrigg. A quick touch of the summit cairn & then it was pure joy as I let the legs loose on the rocky descent back to Rydal Water, thankfully taking a couple of places on the way. A final push over the finish line left me in 22nd  place in 1hr 11mins – a nice 8 minute improvement on the last outing on this race route in 2015.

A well organised, cheap & cheerful early season Lakeland lung buster was just what I needed to get the racing mojo back. Always helps when they chuck in soup, bread & cake at the finish. It’s time to knuckle down now & focus on the new fell season, one in which I’m Looking forward to being part of with Clayton.

Pos Name Cat Time
22 James Williamson M 1:11
91 Andrew Firth MV50 1:41

Full Results


Five Clayton Harriers took part in the second 10K of the weekend at Stanley Park in Blackpool.  Jacob Watson had a great run and finished in 2nd place with a time of 35:08. Mick Hughes continues to race well and was 29th with a time of 42:02.

Mick Hughes at the Blackpool Stanley Park 10K. Photo by Mick Hall

Mick Hughes at the Blackpool Stanley Park 10K. Photo by Mick Hall

Our first Clayton lady was Elizabeth Mullan who was 29th overall in the race and 5th lady.  Adam Stephenson was 48th with a time of 44:22.2 and our cohort was complete by Joanne Perry who was 145th with a time of 52:55.  There were 353 runners in total.

Adam Stephenson Reports

It was a gusty afternoon at the Stanley Park 10K but chuffed to have broken the 45 minute mark and got a PB; chip time was 44:22. Don’t know what I can do to run any faster so some hard work ahead! Well done Jacob who finished in 2nd, Mick who ran an absolute stormer, and proud of Elizabeth as always.

Pos Name Cat Time
2 Jacob Watson M 35:08.1
29 Mick Hughes MV40 42:02.0
38 Elizabeth Mullan L 43:22.8
48 Adam Stephenson M 44:22.2
145 Joanne Perry L 52:55.9

Full Results


Jenson Bentham and Ella Dorrington ran in the Blue (U13s) and Green (U15s) races respectively. Both of them took the win.  Jenson won his race outright and Ella was 2nd overall and 1st girl in her race. They were presented with their prizes by Nicky Spinks.

Jenson Bentham and Ella Dorrington at the Hoppit Hill Races

Jenson Bentham and Ella Dorrington at the Hoppit Hill Races

Enjoying a weekend of racing, Pete Browning was our sole runner in the senior race having taken part in the National XC Championship the day before. He finished in 58th place in a field of 94 runners.

Report from Alan Dorrington

Now in its 5th year, this lovely little race held in memory of David Bell is organised by amongst others, Nicky Spinks. Perhaps given her input, the various courses for Juniors and Senior 5km race make up what they lack in distance with some good climbing in an area near Dewsbury known for its rolling hills rather than outright fells.

Jenson Bentham and Ella Dorrington travelled over on the M62 to compete in the 2.3km U13 and 3.2km U15 races respectively (note the new FRA age categories). Jenson was the winner of the U13 race with a solid climb followed by some super-quick descending and Ella used her climbing ability to take a clear lead before the 2nd big climb on her course, taking first U15G and 2nd overall in the U15 race. Medals and chocolate prizes presented by fell running royalty in the form of Nicky Spinks made for a memorable day out for both of them.

Full Results


Three Clayton men were spotted in the provisional results for the AS category Ilkley Moor Fell Race. The race is a 5 mile race with 1316ft of ascent.  Sadly, times are missing from some of the provisional results.

Chris Snell at the Ilkley Moor Fell Race. Photo by Woodentops

Chris Snell at the Ilkley Moor Fell Race. Photo by Woodentops

Report from Colin Woolford

The Ilkley Fell Race is a firm favourite of mine, which is odd as its short and fast  thus appealing to all my weaknesses as a runner!

That said I’d describe it as a good first fell race, it’s at a testing time of year, and the weather usually plays its part:  I’ve run this in horizontal sleet/snow before, but the course is marked and well marshalled.  The route is everything a fell race should have in my opinion, tough terrain – rocky, muddy etc,  steep climbs, runnable descents and good views. Ilkley has all that in squeezed into 5 miles that feels much longer!  It has some punishing climbs that really sap your energy – but are over quickly, it has some testing terrain – both mud and rocky/technical stretches, but again they don’t last so long and all these parts are linked by a network of trods and paths, which give the race its speed.  The mud made for some slippery descents and I nearly went over a couple of times and saw plenty that did!

I clocked three other orange hoops altogether on the start line, Snell, Hirst and Briscoe and two Clayton spectators – thank you your support was very much appreciated!

Not seen any results as I write this, but according to my Garmin I was faster than last year.



Report from Amanda Duffy

It was one of those days where I felt like staying in bed! I had already pre entered for the Asics Oulton Park 10k so off we went! The conditions were very windy which made the race feel a lot tougher than last year. The course itself is on a race track which is undulating so not a PB course but great to run on. I finished 7th female and won the v35 category so it was worth getting up for!

Amanda Duffy in the 10K race at Oulton Park

Amanda Duffy in the 10K race at Oulton Park


Report from Jon Cleaver

There was a 10km and Half Marathon at the Oulton Park race track in Cheshire. I opted for the half as part of my London Marathon training preparation. The race was 6 laps round the track with quite a substantial head wind working against you for half the way. The first few laps flew past, but going round the same route over and over got a bit tiresome towards the end. It was really undulating, windy and over measured, so I was reasonably happy with just a shade over 01:27 & 33rd  place for my first HM of the year.

Jon Cleaver at the finish line of the Oulton Park Half Marathon

Jon Cleaver at the finish line of the Oulton Park Half Marathon


Katy Thompson was our sole runner in the Sedburgh School fell race, the latest race in the Kendal Winter League series.

Pos Name Cat Time
88 KatyThompson L60 46:28

Full Results


Three Clayton Ladies took on the muddier than expected Stockport Trail Half Marathon. Donna Airey was our first lady in 112th place, Lisa Ellis was 250th and Jane Hylands was 317th.

L-R Donna Airey, Jane Hylands, Lisa Ellis

L-R Donna Airey, Jane Hylands, Lisa Ellis

Report from Donna Airey

Lisa and Jane having already signed up and me wanting to get more off road made the Stockport trail half marathon ideal for a longer distance training run. A bit of research showed more hard paths and canal than “trail”. Slightly disappointed, we turned up in road shoes just like the majority of other runners. How wrong we were! It seems storm Doris had other ideas. Recent weather made it a very wet and very muddy run. A poor guy who ran alongside me kept having to keep me upright until he eventually got fed up and pushed on. A well organised race with lots of goodies at the finish. Route was out along the Middlewood way and back along canal. Not the most thrilling route so personally I was glad to have the mud there to make it a more interesting race. Overall it was a good day made even more so by Lisa getting a PB on that course.

Report From Lisa Ellis

Donna Airey, Jane Hylands and I did the Stockport trail HM today. It was a promising start as it wasn’t raining so we all decided to wear road shoes rather than trail as we thought we were running on dry paths, but instead were met with the muddiest paths ever even on the canal.

However we did our best and I even found myself getting a new PB.  Donna did amazing and came in 13th  female and 6th in her category,  Jane 15th  in her category and myself 29th in my category. Altogether 413 runners took part with 409 finishing.

Pos Name Cat Time
112 Donna Airey F 01:44:24
250 Lisa Ellis F 01:59:09
317 Jane Hylands F45 02:09:50

Full ResultsF


Jeffrey Pickup was our sole  runner in this challenging 10 mile race on the trails, roads and paths of Ringley. He was 74th overall and 1st V65 in a field of 244 runners.

Pos Name Cat Cat Pos Time
74 Jeffrey Pickup M65 (001/004) 1:18:47

Full Results


Burnley parkrun – A total of 322 runners took part.

Pos   parkrunner   Time   Age Cat   Note  
2 Laura HESKETH 18:20 SW30-34
5 Nicholas HENNESSEY 18:56 JM15-17
6 Jonathan PYE 19:15 SM25-29
8 Dave MOTLEY 19:37 VM35-39
10 Kevin DAVIES 19:41 VM55-59
13 Alex CRAN 19:57 VM45-49
14 Simon WILSHAW 20:01 JM15-17
15 Reece Adam LAWRENCE 20:06 JM15-17
17 Michael HOGAN 20:33 VM45-49
28 James BOULT 21:16 SM20-24
32 David MOYNIHAN 21:53 VM50-54
36 Matthew JACKSON 22:05 JM11-14
47 James HICKIE 22:37 VM55-59 New PB!
53 Chris LAWRENCE 22:52 VM50-54
58 Aaron LUNDIE 22:59 JM11-14
59 Stephen AINSWORTH 23:05 VM60-64
63 Martin BRADY 23:14 VM55-59
69 Michelle ABBOTT 23:33 VW35-39
85 Nina KEWIN 24:10 VW35-39
100 Jean KNIGHTLEY 25:08 VW55-59
110 Carl CAREY 25:22 VM45-49
121 Heidi KEWIN 25:56 JW11-14
122 Sarah ANGELONE 25:58 SW30-34
131 Annabel WILCOCK 26:38 JW15-17
132 John WILCOCK 26:38 VM50-54
148 Richard LAWSON 27:23 VM75-79
203 Nick ROSCOE 29:47 VM45-49
204 Christine Jennifer EGERTON 29:48 VW65-69
211 Judith CAREY 30:06 VW35-39
222 Ron CHAPPELL 30:30 VM65-69
226 Robert HIRST 30:34 VM65-69
235 Marion WILKINSON 31:10 VW75-79
256 Darcey HIRST 31:53 JW10
288 Wayne MCINTOSH 35:03 SM30-34
321 Julie DAWES 43:00 VW45-49

Burnley junior parkrun – A total of 83 runners took part.

Our junior runners were out in force to support Burnley junior parkrun and showcase their running talent at the same time. 20 junior runners took part with the top ten dominated by our runners. Jackson McKay, fresh from a great run at the National Cross Country Championships in Nottingham the day before, came in first and Robbie Smedley who also had an outstanding run at Nottingham grabbed a PB and 2nd place. There were also new PBs for Alfie White, Charlie Plant and Darcey Hurst together with debuts from Adam Stevenson, Charlie Barnes, Keira Stevenson and Rachel Stevenson.

Clayton Juniors out in force with coach Marion Wilkinson

Clayton Juniors out in force with coach Marion Wilkinson

Pos   parkrunner   Time   Age Cat   Note  
1 Jackson MCKAY 7:22 JM11-14
2 Robbie SMEDLEY 7:35 JM11-14 New PB!
4 Adam STEVENSON 7:58 JM11-14 First Timer!
6 Matthew JACKSON 8:05 JM11-14
8 Helana WHITE 8:18 JW10
9 Aaron LUNDIE 8:22 JM11-14
14 Alfie WHITE 9:11 JM11-14 New PB!
15 Heidi KEWIN 9:19 JW11-14
16 Charlie BARNES 9:26 JM10 First Timer!
18 Joshua MCKAY 9:39 JM10
19 Bethany WHEATCROFT 9:45 JW11-14
20 Keira STEVENSON 9:46 JW11-14 First Timer!
21 Imogen FERGUSON 9:54 JW11-14
22 Rachel STEVENSON 10:06 JW10 First Timer!
23 Charlie PLANT 10:09 JW10 New PB!
29 Darcey HIRST 10:51 JW10 New PB!
56 Ellisia SMEDLEY 13:00 JW10
58 Emily JOHNSON 13:12 JW10
60 Olly PLANT 13:22 JM10
75 Jessica MCBRIDE 14:39 JW10

Lytham Hall parkrun – A total of 173 runners took part

Pos   parkrunner   Time   Age Cat   Note  
54 Philip NAYLOR 25:35 VM35-39 New PB!

Pendle parkrun – A total of 88 runners took part.

Pos   parkrunner   Time   Age Cat   Note  
1 David WALKER 19:11 VM35-39
10 Susan BURNS 23:26 VW55-59
23 John HARTLEY 25:04 VM60-64
26 Barry MITCHELL 25:56 VM70-74
35 Dawn TERRY 27:08 VW50-54
62 Yvonne WICKHAM 31:34 VW50-54

Peter Pan parkrun – A total of 165 runners took part.

Pos   parkrunner   Time   Age Cat   Note  
77 Eileen JONES 29:25 VW60-64 First Timer!

Skipton parkrun – A total of 170 runners took part.

Pos   parkrunner   Time   Age Cat   Note  
35 Roger James BREWSTER 23:42 VM60-64

Witton parkrun – A total of 97 runners took part.

Pos   parkrunner   Time   Age Cat    
20 Nerina GILL 25:52 VW45-49
24 Julia RUSHTON 26:13 VW50-54


About the author

Adrienne Olszewska