Rainy days don’t get us down!

ByAdrienne Olszewska

Rainy days don’t get us down!

It’s been a week of long races, short races and plenty of mud! Even with a night of revelling and celebrating success at the club awards night at the weekend, there was still plenty of action around. Our talented juniors have been competing for their schools and in triathlons, there’s been seriously muddy fell running, marathon practice at the Trimpell 20 and some speedy PBs at all kinds of distances.



Junior runner, Grace Root, took part in the Keighley and Craven XC League representing her school and came 19th in the year 7/8 race.  Well done Grace!

Grace Root in the Year 7/8 girls race. Photo by Woodentops

Grace Root in the Year 7/8 girls race. Photo by Woodentops



Three Clayton men took to the muddy trails around Cartmel for the first race of the ever-popular Lakeland Trails Series. All three put in tremendous performances with top ten finishes for Christopher Holdsworth and Dave Walker and a top twenty finish for Breton Holdsworth .

Report from Christopher Holdsworth

Myself, Breton and Dave Walker took on the boggiest and muddiest Cartmel Trail Race in years. I really can’t begin to describe just how waterlogged it was, other than ‘Witton Park XC on sterioids’.

Christopher Holdsworth at the Cartmel 18KM race.

Christopher Holdsworth at the Cartmel 18KM race.

I felt surprisingly okay after last week’s race, though the fatigue did set in towards the end of the race, along with a lovely stitch that coincided just in time for the downhill section with 3 miles to go. Happy to swim my way round to a 2nd placed finish, behind Tom Adams who didn’t even seem affected by the mud.

Dave Walker at the Lakeland Trails Cartmel race

Dave Walker at the Lakeland Trails Cartmel race

Next home for Clayton was Dave Walker, a stranger to the trail scene but put in a great performance finishing in 6th. Breton, after another start battling with his flimsy lungs, managed to get himself round in 18th position – his first race finish in months. There’s life in the old invalid yet!

The unmistakeable Breton Holdsworth!

The unmistakeable Breton Holdsworth!

Pos Name Cat Time
2 Christopher Holdsworth M 01:11:47
6 Dave Walker M 01:20:32
18 Breton Holdsworth MV40 01:26:46

Full Results


A dynamic duo of Harriers took to the fast and flat cycle track at Barrowford to run the Podium 5k.  Jonathan Pye was our first man in 10th place overall and Jack McGuire was 38th.

Pos    Name    Cat    CatPos    Time   
10 Jonathan Pye MS (005/011) 00:17:31
38 Jack McGuire M60 (003/003) 00:28:38

Full Results



When race organisers woke up on the race morning to the sound of rain hammering against the skylight they wondered if anyone would bother turning up. After all, no-one wants to go outdoors in conditions like that, particularly when it means slithering around on the South Pennine moors. The record turnout came as something of a surprise.

A packed out start despite the inclement weather at the Heptonstall Fell Race

A packed out start despite the inclement weather at the Heptonstall Fell Race

So, well done all who ran for making this rain-sodden bog-fest the race that it was. Congratulations to all the runners for making the most of some very difficult conditions and a huge thank-you to all the marshals who not only did a great job but managed to do so in remarkably cheery spirits.

Cleaning off the mud after the Heptonstall Fell Race

Cleaning off the mud after the Heptonstall Fell Race

Report from James Williamson

Originally I had planned to head over to the Lakes for Carrock fell race, but a last minute change of heart saw me making the short journey over the tops to Heptonstall for this gruelling 15 miler. A solid 8 days of running and hiking in the Lakes last week had certainly woke my climbing legs up and i was feeling good as I registered at the Cross Inn. The plan for today was to go off hard and just see how long I could hang on, and pray that i didn’t bonk given the tough training of late.

How very apt that the local vicar started this race off given the biblical conditions – the heavens were well & truly open and it didn’t stop at all during the entire race. A record number of 260 turned out for the race with a healthy clayton showing, the cobbled lined street were rammed tight and at the sound of the vicar’s horn (i’m sure there’s a joke there?!) we were on our way….or at least i thought…..my 1st steps were akin to Bambi on ice as i slipped on polished wet flagstones and collided with the side of a cottage! Well it can’t get much worse than that i though.

The first half mile or so was chaos trying to negotiate my way through countless bodies, ducking and weaving my way through to try and make some space. Once I’d escaped the initial mayhem I settled nicely in to a good rhythm & continued to work hard on the 1st few climbs and found myself as part of a small group as we crossed the open moorland towards Standing stone Hill – this was a real slog with knee deep bogs, thick tussocks & plenty of mud. I was glad to see the back of this section as i finally hit some fast running on more trail like terrain over Walshaw Dean Res then down the grouse butts, i was able to pick a few people off here just before the fun part of the route through the woodland….”careful lad it’s slippy through the woods” said the marshall….he wasn’t kidding either, i spent the majority of my time in here on my backside which was probably the quicker way to be fair!

A steady middle section of the run was uneventful, until a lad from P&B took a nasty tumble on a concrete tunnel and landed awkwardly on his shoulder, thankfully he was ok. And so to the grand finale….i’d heard the odd rumour about a sting in the tail at the finish, & it didn’t disappoint. A steep, almost vertical at times, and extremely muddy climb led us up through Hebden Wood, the steps at the top felt 8ft high and my quads were on fire! I was delighted to reach the top of this climb , a joy which was short lived as i tried to lift my legs and get going again through the final fields towards the finish. I literally couldn’t lift the buggers, i’d ran out of diesel! I had to dig in deep at this point, i had spent all my energy. As I crossed through the wall at the top of the field the finish funnel came in to view, what a sight! I knew there were flap jacks and hot drinks in the marquee so i got a bit of adrenaline flowing which saw me over the line in around 2:12 and in 12th place. Hot on my heels were fellow Clayton team mates, Peter Coates, Carl Helliwell, Kirt Livesey & Chris Snell.

This was a fantastic race route, which i doubt will be run in much tougher conditions, it’ll take the legs a few days to get over this one – only to be flogged again at Long Mynd Valleys next Saturday!

Report from Peter Coates

The Heptonstall Fell Race on Sunday was a 15.4 mile fell race with 966 metres ascent setting off from Weavers Square in Heptonstall. The £7.00 entry fee included an incredible amount of pain and suffering as days of rain had left much of the route a muddy, boggy quagmire. The poor weather conditions had not put runners off as a record field of around 260 runners including a good Clayton turnout set off in pouring rain and driving winds to tackle the course. This was proper brutal fell running at its harshest and in places was more akin to bog snorkelling. First Clayton finisher was James Williamson with a great run to finish in 12th place followed by myself in 22nd with Carl Helliwell just behind although Ryan Belshaw was ahead until an ankle injury forced him to retire. A very tough but enjoyable race and good preparation for the 3 Peaks race next month.

Pos Name Cat Time
12 James Williamson M 02:13:01
22 Peter Coates V40 02:16:48
28 Carl Helliwell V40 02:19:34
36 Kirt Livesey V40 02:23:24
49 Chris Snell M 02:26:53
63 Neil Hardiman V40 02:32:01
96 Chris Whiteoak M 02:40:41
102 Chris Funnell V50 02:41:52
113 Jean Brown FV40 02:45:15
203 Stephen Ainsworth V60 03:19:49

Full Results


Katy Thompson was our sole representative in the latest race of the Kendal Winter League series organised by Helm Hill. She was 71st overall and 1st LV60.

Pos Name Cat Time
71 Katy Thompson LV60 01:04:54

Full Results


Five Clayton Harriers took part in this 20 mile race with some great performances from them all!

Report from Jon Cleaver

Jon Cleaver

Jon Cleaver at the Trimpell 20, Photo by Sprint Finish Photography

Five Clayton runners competed in the Trimpell 20 this weekend. It’s a reasonably flat course 99% off road with only 300ft of elevation. I went on full on attack mode from the start and held onto a top 15 position by half way but after running the half Mara in near PB pace my legs started to suffer on the way back to the finish, not helped by a strong headwind. It’s a great race for Marathon prep with normally quite a sunny day. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t with us today but it could’ve been worse. Special recognition to Dan Plant with his 20 mile PB.

Report from Lynsey Birtwistle

After barely sleeping the night before due to nerves and also the horrendous wind and rain Lisa and I set off for Lancaster to run in the Trimpell 20. I have never raced that distance before but I felt as if I may as well get a medal for one of my marathon training runs! The weather in Lancaster wasn’t as bad as home and we had wind and a bit of light drizzle throughout most of the race. The heavens opened once we had finished!!!

Lisa Ellis and Lynsey Birtwistle at the Trimpell 20. Photo by Justin Birtwistle

Lisa Ellis and Lynsey Birtwistle at the Trimpell 20. Photo by Justin Birtwistle

The course was out and back to Morecambe and then the Lune valley. It was great to have Clayton support from Jon Cleaver, Dan Plant and John Hartley as we passed them on the out and back route. The wind really picked up at about mile 17 and was head on for a couple of miles which was tough with tired legs.

The finish was horrendous! How horrible to have a hill finish from mile 19.5 which included slippery cobbles! We did it though and I was pleased with my time of 2:59:39! A PB at that distance and a nice little push towards my target for this years marathon!

Report from John Hartley

Tough day today at the Trimpell 20 with the weather – gale force winds and rain. Was hoping to run under two hours twenty minutes but just missed out but the time I did will move me to second in the vet60 British ranking over twenty miles so chuffed with that next one Manchester marathon in two weeks see what I can do there!

John Hartley at the Trimpell 20

John Hartley at the Trimpell 20. Photo by Mark Forrest

Pos Name Category Time
32 Jonathan Cleaver M 02:13:04
47 Daniel Plant M 02:19:31
54 John Hartley MV60 02:21:06
258 Lynsey Birtwistle FV35 02:59:53
358 Lisa Ellis F 03:18:18

Full Results


Report from Stephen Biscomb

I decided to do the Waters Wilmslow half marathon at Christmas. So I have been training towards this race for the past 3 months. The atmosphere for these larger races is something special. Over 3000 entries means that for a 10.30 start we needed to get to wilmslow for 9.00. Sure enough when we arrived there were runners everywhere trying to get to their parking. Thoughts before the race were dominated by the weather, the day before was rain rain rain. Luckily the weather eased. It was good to see Jacob Watson before the race. The race itself was flat and all on closed roads which was good. My time was 1 hour 38mins 17secs. I was happy with this, but was just 27 seconds from a PB. Overall this was a good experience, and I would recommend the race, but get there early. Well done Jacob on getting a PB.

Report from Jacob Watson

I signed up to this race with the intention of setting a new personal best for the half marathon, a distance I believe to be my strongest. I ran Manchester Half back in October and managed to shave over a minute off my previous time, however since then I’ve been seeing some improvements in training and took it upon myself to see what kind of shape I was in. While not a flat course, I knew this race attracted a strong field, so all I needed was good conditions to give myself a fair stab of achieving a PB. After checking the weather pretty much every day on the run up to the event I realised this wasn’t going to happen, with 17-20mph winds reported for the eveFnt! I generally allow myself 1 hour to park up and get sorted before most events, however I wish I’d given myself more time for this one! It’s a big event with slow traffic as well as troublesome parking, not to mention a mile long walk to race HQ (from where I parked) which meant I was rushing a bit more than I would have liked. I’ll remember this for next time!

Jacob Watson at the Waters Wilmslow Half Marathon. Photo  by Mick Hall

Jacob Watson at the Waters Wilmslow Half Marathon. Photo by Mick Hall

Thankfully I got warmed up and on the start line just in time! After the starting pistol, the first mile was fairly flat albeit pretty breezy. I tried tucking in behind a bunch of runners from the start, however this didn’t really shield me from the elements! It wasn’t until mile 8 that the wind got really bad and I recorded my slowest mile by far (in fact it was nearly 30 seconds slower than mile 7). The route was undulating which I believe played to my favour. For some inexplicable reason, I tend to set all my fast times on non-flat courses. I guess I just like the variety, plus most of my training is on hilly routes! I ran miles 2 – 10 with a chap called Tom Dart from Spenborough running club who was aiming for a sub 77 time. As soon as we got to the last 5k however, he decided to up the tempo and I couldn’t stick with him! He signalled for me to catch up, but in trying to match his speed my watch registered 5:25\mi, a pace which was just too quick for my liking 10 miles into a race! I feel I managed to run a strong last 3 miles and did manage to knock nearly half a minute off my PB which, considering the conditions, I was over the moon with!

Checking the results online after I also managed to bag myself a 10 mile PB so all in all a successful day out. I just need to break through 77 minutes now, which I hope to do at Manchester in May!

Pos    Name    Cat    Time   
42 Jacob Watson M 01:17:08
632 Stephen Biscombe MV60 01:38:17

Full Results


Report from Rachael White

Helana White and Ellie Root competed in the Wirral Junior Aquathlon which was the second race in Triathlon England North West league

It should have been a standard 10 Lengths of the pool, Transition and 4 laps of the field (2K) for Helana, in the T2 (U13 age), however, it is amazing how sometimes, something as simple as putting your shoe on (that you practice and practice) can go do wrong, as the one trainer takes a life of its own and refuses to go on the foot. So she was on the chase on the run, and managed to hunt a few down and overtake them as the run is her strongest discipline.

Helana White at the Wigan Aquathlon

Helana White at the Wirral Aquathlon

All was going well, until I shouted encouragingly “one more lap and you are done”, she looked confused, moved back away from finish straight and headed out to the field again – only to be shouted back when she passed as she had done her laps -so she had to loop back round to get over timing chip, losing valuable time (time = points in triathlon), and got her a telling off from the marshal for not counting correctly ! Finally ended up 10th overall, with me having lessons in how to count to 4 on the way home. Lovely to see her making friends with girls from rival clubs (COLTS) . and smiling once the race is finished!

Ellie Root competed well finishing in 6th place in the Youth category.


Burnley parkrun – A total of 267 runners took part.

Pos  parkrunner  Time  Age Cat  Note 
4 Nicholas HENNESSEY 19:00 JM15-17
5 Dave MOTLEY 19:13 VM35-39
12 Matthew JACKSON 20:51 JM11-14
13 Richard STEVENSON 20:54 VM40-44
14 Martin TERRY 21:06 VM55-59 New PB!
18 Susan BURNS 21:15 VW55-59
24 Lennon JACKSON 22:06 JM11-14
35 Chris LAWRENCE 22:58 VM50-54
49 Aaron LUNDIE 23:46 JM11-14
55 David Ian SCOTT 24:04 VM70-74
58 Nina KEWIN 24:31 VW35-39
63 Dawn TERRY 24:53 VW50-54
68 Jean KNIGHTLEY 25:07 VW55-59
71 Jonathan PYE 25:18 SM25-29
85 Julie DAWES 25:54 VW45-49
89 Bethany WHEATCROFT 26:01 JW11-14
90 Annabel WILCOCK 26:03 JW15-17
91 John WILCOCK 26:03 VM50-54
99 Donna SCOTT 26:33 VW50-54
137 Stuart BARKER 28:54 VM50-54
142 Yvonne WICKHAM 29:11 VW50-54
160 Ron CHAPPELL 30:41 VM65-69
223 Heidi KEWIN 34:13 JW11-14

Burnley Junior parkrun – A total of 49 runners took part.

Pos  parkrunner  Time  Age Cat  Note 
2 Robbie SMEDLEY 07:31 JM11-14 New PB!
3 Finley STUBBS 08:20 JM10 First Timer!
4 Aaron LUNDIE 08:28 JM11-14
10 Charlie BARNES 09:29 JM10
12 Imogen FERGUSON 09:42 JW11-14
15 Bethany WHEATCROFT 10:15 JW11-14
22 Brayden CLARKSON 11:07 JM10 First Timer!
29 Ellisia SMEDLEY 12:06 JW10 New PB!

Dewsbury parkrun – A total of 120 runners took part.

Pos  parkrunner  Time  Age Cat  Note 
106 Robin PRICE 34:27 VM70-74

Hereford parkrun – A total of 152 runners took part.

Pos  parkrunner  Time  Age Cat  Note 
27 Wendy DODDS 24:20 VW65-69  First Timer!

Lytham Hall parkrun – A total of 146 runners took part.

Pos  parkrunner  Time  Age Cat  Note 
42 Philip NAYLOR 24:34 VM35-39 New PB!

Riverside parkrun – A total of 263 runners took part.

Pos  parkrunner  Time  Age Cat  Note 
110 Helen HARRISON 26:54 VW45-49 First Timer!

Witton parkrun – A total of 60 runners took part.

Pos parkrunner Time Age Cat Note
25 Paul THOMPSON 28:38 VM45-49 First Timer!

Woodhouse Moor parkrun – A total of 416 runners took part.

Pos  parkrunner  Time  Age Cat  Note 
2 David BAGOT 17:44 SM25-29


About the author

Adrienne Olszewska