February Roundup

ByHelen Stevens

February Roundup

February might be our shortest month, but it’s given a lot of great racing which has inspired a bumper month of race reports. Thanks so much to our contributors (in no particular order) Alan Dorrington, Richard Stevenson, Donna Airey, Sarah Helliwell, David & Jill Scott, Michelle Abbott, Craig Nicholls, Lisa Ellis, and David Belshaw. Wow! If you enjoy reading race reports, please consider writing your own for inclusion here – with a couple of photos if you have them.

This month, sadly Mick Hughes and Luke Turner have stepped down from their roles captaining the Men’s Cross Country and Road/Trail Teams. I’m sure everyone in the club would like to thank you both for all your hard work and dedication over the time you’ve been in post.

As ever, if I’ve got anything wrong or missed anything out, please contact me and I’ll try to correct it.

Helen Stevens


Introducing our New Road/Trail Captain – Richard Stevenson

Richard Stevenson. Photo by Deborah Stevenson

Richard Stevenson. Photo by Deborah Stevenson

Most of you will know me but if not let me introduce myself – I’ve been a Clayton member for 5 years now and a member of the Clayton Juniors coaching team for the last couple. Over the years I’ve tried my hand at a variety of races from flat 5K’s to Trail marathons and pretty much everything in between. I’ve also represented Clayton in numerous team events including XC, road relays, Ian Hodgson Fell relays and the Calderdale Way relays. So I’m hoping these experiences will help me in my new role. My first task as captain is to get a team together for the Northern 12 Stage road relays so if anyone is interested in joining me this month give me a shout.


Ladies’ Cross Country Report

by Donna Airey, Ladies’ Cross Country Captain

Mid Lancs XC Leigh Sports Village
The 5th Mid Lancs XC race was held at Leigh Sports Village. Not an ideal XC course, flat and a fair bit of trail. The usual pre race topic of conversation was a must for this fixture, spikes, fell, trail.
The ladies had a great race, Rebecca Rimmington our 1st lady back in a cracking time and position. Followed some way behind by myself and Michelle to make up our A team, which finished 8th and our F35 team which finished 4th
Our V45 team, Jane Hyland, Rachel Gilmore and Helen Harrison finished 11th
V55 team, Yvonne Wickham, Christine Leathley and Sue Allen finished 5th.
Thank you to all the 12 ladies who represented the club and well done!

The National XC Championship, Harewood House
I’ve never done the Nationals before, I have never seen so many club tents and flags in one field before. By far one of the best experiences I’ve had whilst running. The atmosphere and buzz around the start was amazing and they could not have picked a better venue with a cracking course. Even the sun made an appearance!
Cassie Smedley was our first lady back. Followed by myself, Rebecca Bradshaw and Helen Harrison who made up out A team.
Also representing the club once again, Christine Leathley and Sue Allen. These 2 are an inspiration.
A very enjoyable day out for the team and well done to all that ran.

Some of our Ladies At National Cross Country Championships - Donna Airey, Rebecca Bradshaw, Cassie Darling-Smedley, and Michelle Abbott. Photo by Dave Woodhead

Some of our Ladies At National Cross Country Championships – Donna Airey, Rebecca Bradshaw, Cassie Darling-Smedley, and Michelle Abbott. Photo by Dave Woodhead


Junior Roundup February 2019

by Alan Dorrington

The Lancashire Schools Championships  on 2 Feb was the first big race for our Juniors in February. Held at the traditional Witton Park venue, a good number of our Juniors were in unfamiliar vests, representing their local authority teams and aiming for selection to represent Lancashire in the English Schools.

Selection went to Helana White with a fine 8th place in Inter Girls (Yr 8 and 9) and to Nicola Moynihan and Briony Holt with 4th and 8th in the Senior Girls race. Nick Hennessey was 13th in Senior Boys and Amelia Halstead had a fine race for 2nd in Yr Girls with Eleanor Edwards in 8th. Good luck to our Juniors in the Champs race in March.

U15 Clayton Girls running together in different schools vests - Imogen Ferguson and Hannah Eccles (Burnley Schools), Helana White and Sianna Smith (Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Schools), and Ella Dorrington (Rossendale Schools)

U15 Clayton Girls running together in different schools vests – Imogen Ferguson and Hannah Eccles (Burnley Schools), Helana White and Sianna Smith (Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Schools), and Ella Dorrington (Rossendale Schools). Photo by David Belshaw

Amelia Halstead running for Blackburn Schools

Amelia Halstead running for Blackburn Schools. Photo by David Belshaw

Nick Hennessey running for Burnley Schools

Nick Hennessey running for Burnley Schools. Photo by David Belshaw

Nicola Moynihan running for Burnley Schools

Nicola Moynihan running for Burnley Schools. Photo by David Belshaw

The following week, The penultimate Mid Lancs XC at Leigh was the usual flat fast affair and stand out results came form Helana White in 2 win the U13G race and on-form Nick Hennessey who was 4th in the U17B race. Importantly, the U13G and U15G teams continued their good run setting them up for team medal positions after the final Mid Lancs round at Cuerden

The English National Cross Country Championships held at Harewood House at the end of the month was the usual grand affair – over 8000 runners competing and the backdrop of an English stately home as you sprinted for home.

Jackson Mackay at National Cross Country Championships. Photo by David Belshaw

Jackson Mackay at National Cross Country Championships. Photo by David Belshaw

Well done to all our Juniors who got valuable big-race experience, and hopefully had a great sunny Spring day out in Yorkshire:

U13 Girls.
Amelia Halstead

Eleanor Edwards
Helana White
Sianna Smith.

U13 Boys.
Guy Whalley
Robbie Smedley

U15 Girls.
Imogen Ferguson
Hannah Eccles
Ella Dorrington – Levy
Bethany Wheatcroft

U15 Boys.
William Nicholls
Jackson McKay
Lennon Jackson

U17 Girls.
Nicola Moynihan

U17 Men.
Michael Stevens
Peter Stevens


Kong Mountain Marathon  – 3 February 2019

Report by Alan Dorrington

The Kong Mini Mountain Marathons are a series of 1-day 4 hour score events, held in mountain or moorland locations and spaced through out the year. The 2019 series started on 3 February in Snowdonia, with an event HQ at Capel Curig. Heavy snow in the days beforehand were always likely to make things a little more interesting, and sure enough the organisers took out some of the higher controls in the Carneddau with reports of thigh deep drifts at higher spots and in sheltered features.

It snowed! Photo by Alan Dorrington

It snowed! Photo by Alan Dorrington

A heavy cold that sent me to bed the day before wasn’t the best preparation but I vowed to get out and have a good day on my feet without too much hard running. Armed with a race vest full of extra warm kit, and plenty of food, I figured that despite the reduction of controls at higher altitudes, there was still fun to be had picking off controls over Galt Yr Ogof and Y Foel Goch and over toward Tryfan and the Ogwen Valley. Unfortunately, a howling wind and near zero visibility above 700m meant there was little to see, but the extra navigational challenge of finding the small controls in a huge whited-out mountain landscape stopped it from being too tedious…
Dropping off into the Ogwen Valley it all suddenly cleared revealing stunning views of the neighbouring mountains. With 2 hours left on the clock and a long but straightforward run back to the finish, I set about picking off controls on the lower reaches of the Carneddau picking my way between alternating patches of iced up bog and stream to slide around on and deep drifts to fall in. The temperature had risen fast late in the morning, and the melt was in full swing leading to heavy going in softening snow, aided by a big shower that blew in from Lyn Ogwen.

The sun appearing over the mountains. Photo by Alan Dorrington

The sun appearing over the mountains. Photo by Alan Dorrington

Another final drenching on the tracked run back to the finish control, and I was back with 8 minutes left on the clock and having had no major navigational errors. The Kong MMM events are great social affairs afterwards and put on great food for tired and weather beaten runners and it was over some fab pea and mint soup I was pleased to discover my approach of very steady running and concentrating on navigational accuracy had put me 5th in my V50 class. Up and off to the Lakes for the next round – if you fancy some mountain navigation in a very low key but well organised event then come and give them a go.

Winter Warmer 10K – 3rd February 2019

Report by Craig Nicholls

Following on from my success at the Ribble Valley 10K (the write up rather than the actual running) I thought I should perhaps have a crack at another low cost local 10K and stumbled upon the Blackburn Road Runners Winter Warmer.
To my delight (and then disappointment) I found that this race was (and then wasn’t) part of the Team Clayton Road Championships. I needn’t have worried though as this race doesn’t need to be a point scoring event to be worthwhile entering.
The weather in the run up to the event was absolutely brutal. Not quite the ‘beast from the east’ that we had to endure last winter but an arctic blast nonetheless that covered all the roads with a treacherous layer of ice. Fortunately the Blackburn Road Runners had a plan and not only were the roads and pavements cleared in time for the race but they had also done the athletics track at Witton Park where the race would start and end.

The starting line-up at the Winter Warmer

The starting line-up at the Winter Warmer

If we thought the weather was brutal then the course was even worse. A gentle trot round the running track was followed by a seemingly never ending climb to the Clog & Billycock at Pleasington which gave meaning to the tagline #beatbuncer that I’d been reading about all week. Fortunately it was pretty much all downhill after that and aside from one last climb after about 6.5K there was plenty of opportunity to get your breath back and then attempt to pick up the pace back to the finish line.

A speedy finish from Craig. Photo by David Belshaw

A speedy finish from Craig. Photo by David Belshaw

The Marshalls were outstanding and there were literally dozens of them along the route to provide words of encouragement and keep everyone motivated on the way round before we entered back onto the athletics track for a rousing finish. Anyone thinking they might ease off for a gentle finish was in for a shock as hundreds of supporters lined the track to spur you on and make sure you pushed yourself right to the line.
With pacers on hand to help you keep on schedule, Marshalls and spectators spurring you on and a cake stand in the main hall to fuel you up for the race this race is an excellent opportunity to get a really solid time on a lovely, scenic, challenging course and I fully intend doing it again next year.

Mr Sparkle’s Dark Un

Report by Alan Dorrington

There aren’t many night time fell races around during the winter, perhaps for obvious reasons! However, Mr Sparkle’s is a gem with its well marked course, large numbers of marshalls and moorland disco attracting a diverse crowd of runners from whippets to fell-fun runners (that’s an official sub-group of fell runners from now on…).

Photo by Alan Dorrington

Photo by Alan Dorrington

It’s a madcap dash through the dark woods above Roddlesworth Reservoir before a long drag and stiff final pull onto Darwen Moor. Heading toward Darwen Hill and the Tower the runners are treated to a suitably lit moorland disco scene with S Club 7 on the sound system bringing back the memories for us oldies. It was all very surreal but there was no time to party as there was then a helter-skelter descent back down to the pub to finish. My eyesight is rubbish at the best of times so I run with an industrial searchlight strength headtorch, causing one of the runners I caught on the descent to moan that it was ‘like being chased by the sun..’ Hopefully he got a tan as I swept past on the way to the finish and my first (and probably last) top 10 fell race finish – 9th overall and 2nd V50.

Bleasdale Circle Fell Race

Report by Sarah Helliwell

Unusually, for this time of year and especially for this race the sun was shining and visibility was great, with the ‘Brucie Bonus’ of both myself and Carl being child free and both being able to race. There was a great turn out for the first club championship race as runners warmed up in the warm February sun. It was a record turn out as we all congregated outside the village hall and started to head up the lane towards the fields and Fair Snape fell.

The line of runners made their way through the farm as the climb started to gradually rear up before getting harder and finally into hands on knees as we gained 300m in a lung busting ascent. It was then a good mile of runnable paths along the tops to Parlick before the grassy descent down to the farm and the tough slog back through the fields to Bleasdale. There were some good runs with Peter Coates as first Clayton home in 5th place followed closely by Carl Helliwell and Will Herman, missing out on the men’s team prize to Bowland by 3 points. Also well done to Michelle Abbott, first Clayton lady home followed by Vicky Heys and Teresa De Curtis to win the ladies team prize. Jack Holt won the V70 and Ivan Whigham was given some birthday cake.

Personally I was chuffed as I had nearly knocked 5 mins off my previous time and. Well done everyone who ran on a glorious day and near perfect conditions underfoot. Let’s hope the weather is just as good for the next championship races in May, Hameldon followed by Pendle Cloughs. See you then Sarah

Oulton Park 10K

Report by Lisa Ellis

So Jane & I felt we had some 10k unfinished business so decided to do the Oulton Park 10k. After preparing for what we thought was going to be a warm run forecasted to be 12-15 degrees for the race, it was a very cold & very foggy 4 degrees & I had dressed for summer! It was difficult trying to judge the direction of the track when you couldn’t see far enough in front especially when all the other runners spread out. Regardless, it didn’t stop our determination to achieve our PBs and as a bonus we both won our age categories. All the winter training has paid off, thank you JR and the rest of the Clayton family.

Lisa Ellis. Photo by Asics Race on Track

Lisa Ellis – 1st Female V35. Photo by Asics Race on Track

Jane Hylands -1st Female V45. Photo by Asics Race on Track

Jane Hylands -1st Female V45. Photo by Asics Race on Track

Lisa and Jane celebrate together on the podium. Photo by Asics Race on Track

Lisa and Jane celebrate together on the podium. Photo by Asics Race on Track

Ilkley Fell Race

Report by Michelle Abbott

Right. Well the day after the Leeds XC and my first ever DNF due to injury and my compartment syndrome flare up. I thought – I’m not going to be beaten and let it get me down so I went onto to try out out the Ilkley fell race the following day. I arrived and met up with fellow Claytoners who, may I add, are proper fell runners. I made my way to the start, but stayed at the back as didn’t know what to expect – bit of a bottle neck start straight onto the climb which was hills within a massive hill,lots of technical climb and a bit of descent then more climbing till we finally got to the top. Then, with a rocky run along the top of the hill and after inhaling a massive fly, I finally reached the descent back may I add only about 1 k of it with another hill thrown in for good measure then the finish sprint back into the field. The views are amazing, Marshalls were fantastic, runners were fab as they had to put up with my nattering all way round, and the supporters which of one who my I add I don’t know approached me we had a chat said I was such an inspiration and bought me a hot chocolate , lovely ,a very tough little fell race but will be definitely doing again.

David’s words of Wisdom…

by David (and Jill!) Scott

Dave Scott, Lancashire Cross Country VM75 Champion. Photo: Donna Airey

Dave Scott, Lancashire Cross Country VM75 Champion. Photo: Donna Airey

Jill asks, ‘Is he an anorak or is it a case of OCD?’
Looking at James Dunderdale’s very muddy running shoes as he pulled them out of his bag prior to the XC run at Cuerden on Saturday, prompted me to pen a few lines to add to Helen’s round-up.
When I started teaching PE in the early 1960’s I wore white Dunlop pumps, that were only EVER worn in the gym, Every Friday night I removed the laces and washed them by hand in warm soapy water. The pumps themselves were gently scrubbed with water before Meltonian Whitening was applied, using a sponge applicator.  Newspaper was pushed inside and they were allowed to dry overnight.
My running shoes still get similar treatment. Soles checked every time, especially after a JR training session in the dark. XC races usually mean 3 pairs of shoes to be cleaned on a Sunday morning.  One pair to walk to the course and jog round/warm up; a pair to race in, Walsh P.B.’s these days; and Jill’s!!!! They are cleaned in cold water using a small scrubbing brush, stuffed with newspaper and if not raining put outside to dry. Sometimes it needs 2 lots of newspaper to dry them out before being put away for the next race.
I’m not sure that OCD was a named condition in the 1960’s, but Jill thinks I suffer from it!!!

Results Roundup

3rd February – Capel Curig (Kong Mini Mountain Marathon Series) – Results

3rd February – Winter Warmer – Results

9th February – Leigh Sports Village (Mid Lancs XC League) – Results

2nd U13G – Helana White; 3rd U13G Team (Helana White, Sianna Smith, Eleanor Edwards);3rd V60M – Brian Horrocks.

9th February – Windy Hill Fell Race – Results

2nd M60 – Alan Archer.

10th February Barbondale (Kendal Winter League) – Results

1st LV60 – Wendy Dodds

10th February – Valentines 10K (Lancaster) – Results

1st MV50 – David Edmondson; 1st W – Laura Hesketh.

15th February – Mr Sparkle’s Dark Un – Results

16th February – Bleasdale Circle Fell Race – Results

1st MV40 – Peter Coates; 3rd MV40 Carl Helliwell;1st MV65 Stephen Fish; 3rd MV65 Andrew Walmsley;1st MV70 Jack Holt; 2nd Men’s Team; 1st FV45 Vicky Heys; 2nd FV45 Teresa de Curtis.

17th February – Great North West Half Marathon (Blackpool) – Results

1st Lady V55 – Avril Duckworth.

17th February – Longsleddale (Kendal Winter League) – Results

23rd February – Harewood House (National Cross Country Championships) – Results

24th February – Oulton Park 10K – Results

1st Female V35 – Lisa Ellis; 1st Female V45 – Jane Hylands.

24th February – Ilkley Moor Fell Race – Results

24th February – Sedbergh School (Kendal Winter League) – Results

1st LV60 – Wendy Dodds.

Parkrun Roundup

Date Venue Name Age Time
2nd February Pendle Helen Harrison VW50-54 30:45
9th February Clitheroe Castle Andrew Priory VM50-54 22:23
 16th February Burnley Daniel Fleming SM30-34 17:54
Peter Stevens JM15-17 18:42
Charlie Parkinson JM15-17 19:23
Helana White JW11-14 19:25
Imogen Ferguson JW11-14 22:20
Eliena Lusty JW10 24:05
Emily Nicholls JW10 24:50
Jane Hylands VW45-49 25:06
Sophie McIntosh SW25-29 27:57
Natalie Nicholls VW35-39 30:29
 23rd February Burnley Mark Magee SM30-34 17:11
Phoebe Jackson JW10 30:10
Clitheroe Castle Andrew Priory VM50-54 22:09

Junior Parkrun Roundup

Date Venue Name Age Time
 10th February Burnley Helana White  JW11-14  07:25
Clitheroe Castle William Nicholls  JM11-14  07:22
 17th February Burnley Francis Woodruff  JM10  09:05
Clitheroe Castle Emily Nicholls  JW10  08:58
Emily Johnson  JW10  11:30
Burnley  Helana White  JW11-14  07:22

About the author

Helen Stevens author