October 2019 Roundup
October has brought us colder weather, more rain and …mud…. lots of it at the various cross countries this month, as my washing machine can testify! As ever, we’ve had runners representing the club in many races from road, cross country, trail and fell. I’ve tried to list all of these in the results roundup. If I’ve missed anything, please let me know and I’ll correct any omissions ASAP.
Many thanks to our roving reporters Chris Funnell, David Edmondson, Carl Carey and Will Herman for providing us with insights into the races they have taken on this month. It is appreciated so much!
If anyone would like a bash at writing a race report, please don’t feel shy. Email me at email@example.com.
The British Fell Relays 2019
by Chris Funnell
Saturday 19th October was the British Fell Relay Championships which this year was being hosted by Dark Peak Fell Runners in the stunning Upper Derwent Valley. A total of 242 teams from the best of British Fell running was taking part in this 6-man relay run over 4 legs.
Clayton managed to put out 4 teams, a Men’s senior team, a Ladies team, a Men’s Vet 50 team and the enigmatic Clayton Z team. All the team captains (Peter, Sarah, Mark and Andrew) did a superb job of planning, organising, chivvying and providing general pastoral care to make sure we had 4 strong team entries on the day.
In order to secure permissions for the relays to take place in this sensitive area of the Peak District National Park it was necessary to restrict the numbers of vehicles arriving to the nearby village of Bamford and from there the 1500 runners were shuttled to the event centre at Fairholmes by a fleet of coaches.
At this highlight of the fell running calendar there is a real buzz of excitement with anticipation of a great days racing and for many the chance to take in some unfamiliar and breath-taking scenery. The backdrop to the race start and finish area was the impressive Derwent Dam famous for being the practice area for the RAF Dambusters as this closely resembled the Ruhr Valley dams. The continuous noise of the water pouring over the dam wall contributed to the magical atmosphere made up of a mixture of pre-race adrenalin and tantalising waft of bacon butties.
The distinctive Clayton tent was staked in the midst of the event field heralding the presence of CleM Squadron. The tent provided shelter, mess and a spiritual rvp for all our teams runners throughout the day. Z squadron leader Andy Walmsley (DSO, DFC) as ever had a calming influence on the team as we were each handed our sortie briefing packs and operational equipment (race numbers, maps and pins). I was on the navigational leg (leg 3) with seasoned navigator Mark Nutter so there was no map provided for us.
Before the race start we had time for a quick reccie up the hillside flanking the side of the reservoir to get a feel for the type of terrain we would be running on. The hills were steep sided and densely covered with a combination of tussocky grass, knee-high heather and wimberry bushes and chest high bracken. There was nothing remotely resembling any sign of previously trafficked routes by even so much as a weight conscious grouse let alone any form of established sheep trod. Choosing routes and racing lines carefully, particularly on the Nav leg was going to be paramount.
At 1100 hours after assembling on the top of the dam wall it was chocks away for all the leg 1 runners. Simon Stansfield was first off for the Z team and was soon soaring into the distance. The rest of us waited nervously in the ops room for any news and just after 1200 we could see Simon making his final approach into the finish area and handing over to leg 2 Z Team stalwarts Andrew Firth and Richard Bellaries. Whilst both Andrew and Richard have established reputations for their “brain off brakes off” technical descent capabilities for those of us left at base we couldn’t help but wonder if our boys would make it back without any Motley HBMR style undercarriage failure of their landing gear on this difficult terrain. Throughout this period of uncertainty Sqn Ld. Walmsley managed to maintain his unflappable demeanour and at 1445 hours a distinctive flash of orange could just be seen, and Selwyn Wright’s voice crackled over the loud speaker announcing their arrival towards the changeover pen where Mark and I waited to start leg 3.
After tagging our teammates Mark and I started up the track for 500m where we were handed the map showing our 6 check points to be visited in order. We quickly made good progress passing 5 teams on the first climb whilst simultaneously processing the map information. Mark formed a plan for the first 2 check points which quickly paid off and we passed several more teams. The route from CP2 to CP3 was long and involved crossing the steep sided Abbey Brook valley. Unlike most of the runners we could see ahead of us we opted to run towards the head of the valley to maintain our height and minimise the amount of descent and subsequent climb back out. Whilst this involved much further distance than the direct line, the running and gradient was much better, and we felt we had made a good choice. CP3 to CP4 required the unavoidable crossing of Gravy Clough and we were very nearly taken out by a K&C lady with a very effective backside toboggining technique hurtling down the steep sides. CP5 was difficult to find and although we were close its location was hidden from view in a re-entrant which cost us time and several places. Rather than take the wider route around Far Deep Clough to CP6 we opted for a more direct line which at first was good running but eventually we had no choice but to drop into the steep clough and try to scramble back out the other side. The vegetation on the far bank was impenetrable ad unforgiving and we both came out bloodied and knackered. Having reached CP6 we had the final and very enjoyable descent back into the race start through a flagged route which had become sloppier and slippier than the Cresta run and was not surprisingly a place where a large crowd had gathered ready to cheer at the performing acrobatics. Mark and I both opted for a bouncing technique barely skimming the surface of the mud which Barnes Wallis would have been proud of. Ivan Whigham brought home the Z team bacon with a faultless leg 4 run and the pride of the Z team was held intact amongst the best in the country.
The Men seniors team and Ladies Vet team also had storming runs but the honours of the day and victory roll went to the Men’s Vet 50s team who picked up the medal for Vet 50s third place. A fantastic day out thanks to all the race organisers and volunteers who made it possible and especially to all the Clayton team captains and runners who took part. We salute you.
The British Fell Relays
by David Edmondson
The format of these relays is roughly the same each year.
- Leg one. Distance: 7.65 kilometres; climb: 360 metres; expected winning time: 40 minutes
- Leg two. Distance: 12.3 kilometres; climb: 484 metres; expected winning time: 65 to 70 minutes
- Leg three. Distance: 11.2 kilometres; climb: 520-570 metres; expected winning time: 70 to 75 minutes
- Leg four. Distance: 7.85 kilometres; climb: 375 metres; expected winning time: 40 minutes
Legs 2 & 3 run in pairs.
Open Team – 22nd Open Team out OF 80
Ladies Team V40 – 7th V40 Womens out of 11
Z Team 29th out of 34
V50 Men 3rd out of 18
Driving down in the motorhome on my own the night before the relays proved to be surprisingly exciting as I figured I’d been targeted for a hijacking by a car full of “wrong uns” who took a great interest in it as they drove slowly past and then waited up the road for me and tailed me for a while. Long story short I managed to shake them off; not easy in a motorhome!
Neil and Babs arrived on the campsite and wisely chose a pitch along way from me and the train line. I assured them over supper and a beer that the trains wouldn’t disturb me; how wrong I was, they did.
Transport to the relays had been under the spot light as you weren’t
allowed to get too close to the race headquarters so a fleet of buses was
laid on to get runners form Bamford. A few of us figured cycling was a
better option. It was a beautiful ride but took a lot longer than I thought
with quite a bit of climb. Once at the venue I think everyone was impressed with both the location and the organisation. Mark and team had also got all of teams sorted out
with numbers, dibbers and the tent placed nicely between many of our
local rivals clubs.
Ralph Baines was our leg 1 runner and had a really solid start despite
something of a bottleneck as all the teams got underway. He handed over
to myself and Craig, we worked together really well and stuck to the
flagged route. You didn’t have to follow the flags as long as you visited all
the checkpoints, a few teams had decided to try radically different routes
and a few teams decided to follow them, a risky strategy! We managed to
pass 32 team and get up to 6th in the V50. Almost as satisfying was
beating the much younger Trawden lads by 4 seconds!
We handed over to the Led 3 lads Neil and Andy. This is the real pressure
leg, the navigation section, I’ve done it a few times myself and it’s hero or
zero. If you get it wrong it’s difficult or impossible for the team to do well.
Ask Barlick, 3 of their teams were timed out! Our lads had an absolutely
fantastic leg, keeping calm and making all the right decisions. They took us
up to 4th in V50s and within sniffing distance of medal ( or mug ).
Final leg, leg 4 and the last minute stand in was Geoff, not wanting to
divulge his age but he’s 12 years older than the youngest V50 runners.
Could he get us onto the podium? We had Helm Hill in front of us in our
category and Geoff absolutely bottomed himself, when he finished he
didn’t know up from down, nothing left at all. He’d managed to get past
their runner and leave us clear of third place by almost 3 minutes. A
massive well done to Geoff!
Myself and Geoff hung on until the presentation to pick up our medal.
However, the V50 isn’t a British Fell Relay Category so no medal but we
did get a mug each and thanks to Dark Peak who provided those. We were
a bit taken back as you can see!
A great day, tiring, especially once I’d cycled back to the campsite only
just getting back before it went dark. Thanks to Dark Peak for a fantastic
event, a beautiful setting and great atmosphere.
by Carl Carey
Having realised I had only done 2 of the 3 races required for the club trails championships, I decided to enter this, not knowing what to expect, but having fond memories of running some of the Bronte way in the Grand Prix races. Turns out I was wrong about that. I also found that I was wrong about the distance, thinking it was 9.2k instead of the 13k it eventually was!
Anyway, after having quizzed Donna Airey about it, I decided to book the race and the bus which was to take me to the start in Wycoller. After trying in vain to find some information on the route, I managed to find a strava route that again, Donna had done. This was the night before the race, where I also discovered the actual distance of it!
The day of the race came, and pre race nerves were there in abundance, as was the rain. The most stressful parts was finding somewhere to park in Haworth where you didn’t need a permit, and what rain coat to wear lol! After finding a place to park, all the time I thought I had to meet the bus had gone and I had to leg it quickly to get there. Turns out my fears were unfounded as the bus turned up 20 mins later then the 9:30 time as it had already left to make one trip to drop the first group of runners off at the start.
Finally, the bus dropped us off at the car park where we made our way to the start, and nearly got lost on the way as the path split in two and me and Lisa Ellis (fresh back from her Disney holiday) hadn’t took any notice which way the people in front of us had gone! We guessed the right way fortunately, picked our numbers up and waited with other fellow Clayton runners and a warm up run. After a nice warm up run on a nice trail, I decided to leave my rain jacket on as the weather was still wet.
The race starts, and we’re off, up the nice trail which went to an incline and I started to enjoy it, and get into my stride. Jason Pier and Ryan Bradshaw had already left, so I settled mid pack and started to find my feet. Eventually, the weather cleared and the sun came out, so on the really steep bit about 2 k in, it came off and went in my pack. Eventually I found out how ill prepared I was for this race not knowing it, so just had to get my head down and dig in. At one point, I was absolutely shattered so thought, we must be nearly finished! A quick check of my watch confirmed I had only gone half way! After clearing my head, I carried on, and soon it was me and two others who kept passing each other for the rest of the way, although one of them was quite vocal in telling some other runners to stick to the marked route instead of crossing over the fields the easier way. Annoying!
Anyway, eventually it settled to us 3 again, and as I looked up, I spied who I thought was Jason Pier in the distance! Surely not! It turns out it was, a combination of us three pushing each other and Jason having done the cross country the day before! Eventually I got the better of the 3 of us for a while, until I was on my own and had to stop and wait for them to catch up as I didn’t know which way to go! This was the last uphill and the battle resumed with the 3 of us, until eventually we came down into Haworth where the tarmac became my friend and I managed to leave the other two! A finish up the cobbles where there were lots of people watching and cheering and I actually felt fresh as a daisy, in stark contrast to what I’d felt 6k before. Eventually I’d finished about 30 seconds behind Jason in a time I was pleased with. But I hadn’t done XC the day before! 3rd claytoner in, 6th in my age category, and 39th out of 133 made for a good day for me!
After the well earned beer and soup and roll (all in that order!) I decided to go find my truck and give one of our Claytoners a lift home. Bonus! It was just down the road from the finish, which wasn’t planned as I didn’t know where the finish was! Into my truck, heated seats and home, having enjoyed the race, camaraderie and the scenery! Well done to all the Claytoners who did the race, and all the support from those who didn’t run (my heroes!) and a special mention to Lisa Ellis who came straight from the airport courtesy of Jane Hylands to do the race after her Disney holiday!
by Will Herman
I doubt any who ran the Langdale Horseshoe in 2018 will forget it. The weather was interesting. As were the river crossings, the first of which was completely impassable and the course altered. The bogs of Martcrag Moor swallowed several unfortunates and at least one runner was blown clean off their feet while crossing Crinkle Crags. 2019 conditions were benign by comparison. No need to carry the additional clothing, food and bivvy bag stipulated the previous year, though Martcrag Moor still swallowed a few unfortunates.
The start was as mad a dash along the rough track as ever – a frantic few minutes of dodging rocks and runners in an effort to escape the bottleneck before the steep climb to Stickle Tarn. I found myself pacing up alongside Ambleside’s Paul Tierney – clearly his record round of the Wainwrights had not had the debilitating effect it did on Birkinshaw – who later slowly pulled away from me approaching Esk Hause.
I slowed coming off Bowfell in thick clag, making sure of my line before attacking the loose descent. A crowd had gathered at the tarns below, cheering passing runners. It spurred me on. A little too much as I ran straight past the trod to bypass Crinkle Crags. But there is little in it when the clag is down and I pushed on, still chasing Tierney and the small group I knew were a few hundred yards ahead.
Descending to the Bad Step I was lucky to pass a group of walkers just before they committed to the short down climb and picked up the pace on the long descent to Red Tarn. There is little to say about Pike of Blisco – just a head down stomp to the summit followed by one of my favourite descents on any Lakes race. Flying through the campsite, I was still chasing hard but never quite caught the group in front. But in 46th, the field including more than a few of the best from Finlay Wild who only just missed the long standing record, to Ian Holmes, I was happy enough. I’d also taken 22 minutes off my 2018 time, to finish in 2hrs.35mins.
First home for Clayton was Andy Laycock – what a year he has had – and it was great to see so many Clayton vests at one of the tougher Lakes ALs. Roll on October 2020.
6th October – Hodgson Brothers Mountain Relays – Results
6th October – Chester Marathon – Results
(Photos by Linda Ensby)
12th October – Leigh (Red Rose Cross Country League) – Results
2nd U15B Team (Robbie Smedley, William Woodruff, Connor Jones); 1st U15G – Helana White; 3rd U15G Team (Helana White, Ella Dorrington-Levy, Sianna Smith); 2nd U17M Team (Jackson Mackay, Jack Villiers, Peter Stevens); 2nd U20M – Charlie Parkinson; 3rd L60 – Julia Taylor; 3rd V55M – Mark Aspinall; 3rd M Team (Mark Magee, Ryan Bradshaw, Daniel Fleming, Charlie Parkinson, Simon Smith, James Dunderdale); 3rd VM Team (Carl Helliwell, Chris Funnell, Jason Pier, Craig Stansfield).
12th October – Langdale Fell Race – Results
3rd M60 – Jon Sharples.
13th October – Andrew Heywood Memorial Windgather – Results
19th October – British Fell Relay Championships – Results
3rd V50M Team – Ralph Baines, David Edmondson, Craig Stansfield, Andy Armstrong, Neil Hardiman, Geoff Gough.
19th October – Heaton Park (SE Lancs Cross Country League) – Results
3rd U15B – Robbie Smedley; 1st L20 – Nicola Moynihan.
19th October – Northern Athletics Cross Country Relays – Results
20th October – Green Drive Five, Lytham – Results
1st F – Laura Hesketh; 1st M55 – Kevin Davies; 2nd M65 – Stephen Biscomb.
20th October – ASDA Foundation Yorkshire Marathon – Results
26th October – Leverhulme Park (Red Rose Cross Country League) – Results
3rd U15B Team – Robbie Smedley, William Nicholls, William Woodruff; 3rd U15G Team – Helana White, Sianna Smith, Ella Dorrington-Levy; 1st U17M Team – Jack Villiers, Peter Stevens, Jackson Mackay; 2nd L20 – Briony Holt; 3rd L20 – Nicola Moynihan; 1st L60 – Irene Roche; 2nd L65 – Katy Thompson; 2nd L60 – Julia Taylor; 3rd L60 – Louise Stevenson; 1st L70 – Christine Leathley; 3rd V55M – Mark Aspinall; 3rd VM Team – Carl Helliwell, Chris Funnell, Jason Pier, Gareth Berry.
26th October – Race You to the Summit – Results
27th October – Accrington 10k – Results
1st M60 – John Roche; 2nd F45 – Janice Davies; 2nd F50 – Alison Dugdale; 3rd F35 – Joanne Motley;
27th October – Bronte Way Fell Race – Results
A look at our runners’ latest PBs at our local parkruns.
|5th October||Burnley||Carl Carey||VM45-49||21:06|
|12th October||Hyndburn||Alan Life||VM50-54||22:30|
|19th October||Burnley||Sianna Smith||JW11-14||20:49|
|Clitheroe Castle||Joanne Motley||VW35-39||25:38|
|6th October||Burnley||Darcey Hirst||JW11-14||09:24|