January 2020 Roundup

ByHelen Stevens

January 2020 Roundup

Welcome to the new decade and the January 2020 Roundup.

We had sad news this month of the death of Michael O’Donnell. His running friend Alex Cran has paid tribute to Michael shared some wonderful memories of him below.

We have a new regular feature penned by a representative of the Committee explaining what they do. We look forward to hearing more from them in the following months.

The Roundup is nothing without the many contributions from our members. Please consider writing a report for your next race – maybe you could review the entire Cross Country season? All contributions, including photos where possible, should be sent to roundup@claytonlemoors.org.uk

As usual any omissions/errors, please let me know on the above email address.


Michael O’Donnell – A Tribute

No matter what happens some memories can never be replaced

by Alex Cran

It feels like I’ve known him for a life time but it was back in 2002/03 when I first met Michael O’Donnell, who would soon become known as Forrest.

Michael aka Forrest

Michael aka Forrest

Believe it or not Forrest was a quiet lad when he first started at Clayton. We both joined within a couple of weeks of each other and were like rabbits in the spotlights of some of the clubs best runners, and Neil Worswick!

We quickly formed a friendship as we were very evenly matched, until it came to a descent. Forrest had the motto ‘in order to descend well you had to disengage your brain, and that was easy for him as he didn’t have a brain’. His words not mine.

I have many fond memories of Forrest, and thought it would be good to share a few.

The first, I assume is how he got the nickname Forrest. No one can really remember but I like to think it came from one of John’s training groups. John has a habit of holding back on a run going in a different direction to the person at the front. Most people only fall for this once and quickly get back in the group. Not our Forrest, he fell for this time and time again and always disappeared off into the distance before anyone called him back. Of course the shouts of ‘Run Forrest Run’ came and stuck. This is when we started to see the true Forrest and some of his colourful language as he got himself back in the group.

Training was always fun with Forrest around. His language was determined by how fit he was feeling. If he was feeling a bit over weight and slow, you would always hear him cursing behind you, but if he was feeling fit and he was ahead of you, he made sure you knew about it.

It wasn’t long before we got into racing, whether it be road or fell racing. I had to be very lucky to catch him on a fell but on the flat I had a chance. Overall we were fairly evenly matched though and ended up running a lot of the relays together. One that particularly comes to mind was running the first leg of the Mary Towneley relay as a pair. We were both feeling fairly fit at the time and as luck would have it we were running against Sean and Heskey, who were running for the vets team. I have never been in such an evenly matched race. All the way round we were neck and neck until the final climb. Forrest offered his words of encouragement to Sean and Heskey then promptly shot off up the hill. Whether he got to the pair of them I don’t know but it worked and we just pipped them to take the Clayton honours.

Forrest was always a grafter and always wanted to get better. He even had a bet with me that he would do a road marathon if I would run Ben Nevis. Needlessly to say he faired far better in the road marathon than I did on the Ben.

Whilst training for the road marathon, we both entered the 12 stage road relays as part of the Clayton team. Those of you who have done these relays know the course is well flagged and marshalled, so how Forrest managed to get lost on a road relay is beyond me! He said he thought the course was a bit quiet and it wasn’t until he met some runners cooling down that he realised the error of his ways.

Forrest was a great lad with a huge heart and would do anything for anyone. He brightened up everyone’s day with his friendly banter, his smile and laugh. His passing came way too early and as a huge shock to everyone. I think, like me everyone was lost for words. It just goes to show that you don’t really know what is going on in someone’s mind. We have got to look out for each other and ask ourselves the question how can we help people who are struggling.

Forrest had a great send off, both and the funeral and the training session in his memory. He will never be forgotten. I hope as many of you as possible will make it to the Run Forrest Run trail race.

RIP Fast Lad.


Committee News

The first in what is intended to be a regular listing in the Round Up concerning what the committee have discussed in the latest meeting. This was a regular column in the old printed newsletter and its hoped reviving it here will help inform our membership what it is we as a committee do and perhaps offer a view on the different facets of our fine club!

The committee is made up of volunteers from within the clubs membership and they agree to sign up for a year (usually 12 meetings and an AGM) Most of us make 10+ meetings over the course of the year and our primary aim is to oversee the running of the club to promote and facilitate our members actual running.

This first contribution to the round up is intended to show what a regular meeting looks like. Each month we discuss the following agenda as well as other matters which arise:

  • Apologies – who isn’t there!
  • Minutes of the Previous meeting – is what has been discussed accurately recorded. These minutes can be circulated for those that want them and will likely form the basis as to what appears here each month
  • Matters arising – as it says! Usually referring back to the minutes and the actions which were required, who has done what etc.
  • Secretaries correspondence – received from club members and various third parties or members of the public such as other clubs, governing bodies etc.
  • Treasurer – Any money matters.
  • Membership – We are a club and as such have the right to approve (or otherwise!) applications to join. Any other membership matters are discussed here.
  • Team Managers and Juniors reports – Information from the relevant people is discussed here.
  • Training and Coaching – Any updates, new sessions etc. We have some news to release here imminently!
  • Media and Branding – as it suggests, kit also falls under this heading.
  • Race Promotions – anything race related.
  • Any Other Business

These meetings typically last between 60 and 90 minutes. This Agenda can be described as “usual business”. Any member can submit an item to the agenda for discussion, it will fit in to one of these headings or carry its own title and point on the agenda.

Our focus is on discussing items which promote running and/or facilitate the memberships running.

You can email the Secretary (Judith Carey) directly or indeed message or talk to a committee member as you see them at training and races:
https://www.claytonlemoors.org.uk/president-and-committee/secretary/ or secretary@claytonlemoors.org.uk

The Committee and their roles are listed here: http://www.claytonlemoors.org.uk/contact/

thank you

The 2020 Committee


The first Clayton race of the year is fast approaching – the Moorhouses Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round, run from Barley Village Hall on March 7th. The race starts at 11.00am, registration is open from 9.00. It is a 10 mile jaunt around Pendle, where some navigation experience can be handy!  It is also a good race for those stepping up in terms of fell racing and running.  It would be great to see a big orange turn out of both runners and those willing to help out on the marshalling side. With jobs needing doing from about 8.45 am both in the hall and on the hill please contact Colin Woolford (race organiser) to advise what you could be available for in terms of helping out either through Facebook, the website or on stanbradshawrace@yahoo.com

Other News

Wendy Dodds – the End of an Era

by Kathy Thompson

Wendy in her Clayton vest

Wendy in her Clayton vest

After 37 years representing Clayton-le-Moors Harriers, Wendy Dodds has
changed her allegiance to Dallam Running Club, based near her home in

Wendy has been a stalwart of Clayton ladies fell teams in relays and
championships and her navigational skills will be greatly missed. Many of us
will have partnered her in Calderdale, Ian Hodgson and FRA relays, or tried to
keep up with her in fell races.

Over the years she has won numerous medals in the English and British Fell
Championships. Her enthusiasm is endless and we have all been in awe of her
determination, especially in the face of injury and broken bones. I remember
her running Blackstone Edge with a broken collarbone and last year she ran the
Grisedale Horseshoe with sore ribs and a broken arm, both to keep her in the
running for Fell Championships. She just seems to come back stronger than


So we say goodbye to Wendy and wish her all the best in her new red and blue

Race Reports

Marmot Dark Mountains Report

by Alan Dorrington

Clank, clank, clank, clank…..rattle, clankclankclank. Expletive.

So developed the regular soundtrack to our night as I, laden with 5+kg of mandatory kit, attempted to run on ground barely suited to walking before yet again falling noisily yet down another hidden hole. At least Greg my partner for the night knew I that I was still in contact with him. He was also falling over too but did so more silently as he wasn’t carrying a Ti mug containing a gas cannister, stupidly not wrapped in something soft to prevent clanking. And rattling. Lesson learned.

Welcome to Marmot Dark Mountains, the eponymously and slightly breathlessly self-styled ‘overnight winter mountain marathon with a dark twist’. It’s a simple format really – start running (in pairs) when you might be thinking about a nice Saturday beer followed by bed, and keep running and navigating all night and into the morning, cramming what might be considered sensible for a normal 2 day mountain marathon into one big night’s running. Except without the usual over-night camp but nonetheless still carrying all the gear for that eventuality in case you get caught out by weather or tiredness and decide to go to bed after all. Simples.

Given that the event was to take place at the end of January, and the location was somewhere in Snowdonia, I was glad my normal mountain marathon partner Greg provided the added security of him being a Mountain Rescue Team member and Mountain Leader student. It’s good to hang out in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere with someone sensible. The potential mandatory kit items of ice axe and crampons did bring a certain focus to the task in hand.

Alan's Kit

Alan’s Kit

The event location ‘somewhere in Snowdonia’ turned out to be the far eastern corner of the National Park, the Arenigs, and an area I had never been to before. Thoughts of wandering around the classic big mountains of the Glyders or Carneddau were banished and replaced by slightly dark warnings of lower but remote and very difficult, rough terrain, with sections of particular gnarliness marked on the custom event map by ‘Here be Dragons’ which also had amongst other things, contour heights and power lines removed from view. A somewhat de-tuned map then to make things a little harder. The warnings of the rough terrain proved prophetic, and in the end largely ruled the whole experience for better or worse. We had opted adventurously for the full-fat 12 hour score course, where we had a whole glorious 12 hours to accurately find around 50 small control kites hidden in the dark and clag of the slopes of the area dominated by the 2250ft summits of Carnedd y Elliast and Arenig Fach. Off we went into the night at 6:34pm armed with loads of warm  kit including clanking cookware, spare headtorch batteries and a little trepidation. Potentially very high winds and some heavy rain later on were forecast to keep us on our toes.

Did I mention rough terrain? Neither of us, and I gather most of the other competitors too, had been over ground which in places was as rough and un-runnable as this. No, make that un-joggable. Even walking was difficult at times – the strangest tussocky and  bouncy/spongy ground absorbed any energy from your foot strike that could be used to push off, and was littered with hidden holes that meant you either sank a couple of inches with each step or a full 12 inches or more. Hence the regular stumbling and falling. Both our hip flexors were battered after a few hours of this. Where there wasn’t tussocky hell there was heather, which even outside of the ‘Here be Dragons’ area from which we were discouraged, was still pretty aggressive. Luckily the anticlockwise loop that we opted for to hoover up controls on the highest points before the weather turned, eased in terms of the ground conditions and we were able to make better progress after the first few hours of stumbledom, though by then we were more tired and less able to run anyway.


Despite all of the terrain challenges, it was all still hugely enjoyable. Navigating on open fell at night is a very singular and immersive experience and given that in the dark and clag higher up, the visibility was down to a few metres at times, made for an absorbing and fascinating run out. When conditions were clear, usually lower down on the course, we were treated to stunning starscapes, in keeping with the Dark Sky Reserve status of the area. Throw in little spots of light from the other teams scattered all over the competition area and it made for a great spectacle. Our navigation for the most part was accurate and we only missed a couple of low value controls early on. However, the terrain was taking it’s toll, along with our body clocks which seemed to want a more sensible bedtime than was on offer, and we took a decision after around 6 hours that we wouldn’t venture into the western half of the competition area and risk an even more prolonged  battle with the very physical terrain, get caught in probably worsening weather and end up chasing the clock to get back. It was a conscious decision to go for more Type 1 fun (yay!) than Type 2 (s’alright after) and avoid the distinct possibility of plenty of Type 3 fun (never again) which neither of us really had the stomach for at the time.

And so after 9 ½ hours of deep icy bog, flail-inducing bouncy heather (weird), some nice open fell and reassuringly proper mud we rolled into Event HQ at around 4am. As one of the first back, we enjoyed nicking the hot water in the showers and had first crack at the big breakfast on offer as the other teams on the linear and shorter score courses began returning. We were satisfied that we had navigated accurately and strategically in some pretty challenging conditions, only getting properly lost on one occasion in almost zero visibility on a featureless hill top, and had ended with a reasonable score for the time we had out. As all of the other teams on our 12 hour score opted to stay out for most of the time allotted and potentially picked up more points, we ended up toward the bottom of the results, though we noted with irony that if we had been less ambitious and opted for the 10 hour score our 470 points would have placed us 7th overall. Nothing like hubris eh? However, by opting for a more comfortable and less ‘driven’ plan, we had had a great night out in an amazing and challenging area. Sadly, this is likely to be the last Dark Mountain event unless a new owner/organiser for the event can be found. It would be a shame if a true mountain test like this disappeared for good.

Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships

Report by Helana White

This is the Northerns XC at Bedale. Representing the Juniors were Imogen Ferguson and Helana White from U15 girls (4.6km), Robbie Smedley from U15 boys (4.6km), Peter Stevens, Michael Stevens, Theo Edmonson and Jack Villiers from U17 boys (6.2km), Bethany Wheatcroft from U17 girls (4.7km), Nicola Moynihan from U20 women and Charlie Parkinson from U20 men.

The weather was almost perfect conditions with no rain, and very light wind. The course was majority flat with hardly any MUD! The starts to all the races were very fast as expected. Every junior performed to their best standard coming in excellent positions.

A quote from Robbie Smedley “The start was faster than I expected which left me in a difficult position, I pulled it back though throughout the long race of three laps.”

A quote from Michael Stevens “ The course was very boring as it was flat and long as it was continuous laps”

Results Roundup

1st January – New Year’s Day Awakener, Whitworth – Results

3rd M50 – David McMullan; 1st M65 – Stephen Green; 1st F70 – Christine Leathley; 1st M70 – Ron Chappell.

4th January – Lancashire Cross Country Championships – Results

5th January – Scout Scar Fell Race – Results

3rd U17B – Jack Villiers.

11th January – Towneley XC (Mid Lancs XC League) – Results

3rd U15G – Helana White; 2nd U15G Team – Helana White, Ella Dorrington-Levy, Sianna Smith; 2nd U15B Team – William Nicholls, Connor Jones, William Woodruff; 2nd U17M Team – Jack Villiers, Jackson Mackay, Michael Stevens; 3rd Ladies’ Over 35 Team – Rebecca Rimmington, Michelle Abbott, Cassandra Darling-Smedley; 1st Ladies’ Over 55 Team – Irene Roche, Julia Rushton, Dawn Terry; 1st V70 Men’s Team – David Scott, Richard Lawson; 3rd Senior Men’s Team – Adrian Cheetham, Mark Magee, Ryan Bradshaw, James Dunderdale, Daniel Fleming, Carl Helliwell; 2nd V40M Team – Adrian Cheetham, Carl Helliwell, Chris Funnell, Scott Cunliffe.

12th January – Giggleswick School Fell Race – Results

1st U17G – Ella Dorrington; 2nd LU21 – Briony Holt; 1st LV70 – Linda Lord.

18th January – Heaton Park Cross Country (South East Lancashire Cross Country League) – Results

19th January – East Lancashire Hospice 10k – Results

3rd M45 – Craig Nicholls

19th January – East Lancashire Hospice 2K Fun Run – Results

1st – Helana White

19th January – Lamb’s Longer Leg Fell Race

Mark Nutter at La,b's Longer Leg Fell Race. Photo by Frank Golden Photography

Mark Nutter at Lamb’s Longer Leg Fell Race. Photo by Frank Golden Photography

25th January – Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships (Bedale) – Results

Clayton Ladies at Bedale - Julia Rushton, Donna Airey, Michelle Abbott, Cassie Darling-Smedley

Clayton Ladies at Bedale – Julia Rushton, Donna Airey, Michelle Abbott, Cassie Darling-Smedley

25th January – Marmot Dark Mountains – Results

25th January – Hoofstones Fell Race – Results

26th January – St Anne’s 10 Mile Road Race – Results

26th January – Birkrigg Fell Race – Results

2nd U17B – Jack Villiers

Parkrun Roundup

All the latest PBs from our club members in the local Parkruns.

 1st January 2020  Hyndburn  Andrew Orr  VM45-49  21:59
 4th January 2020  Burnley  Neil Whalley  VM45-49  20:16
 Francis Woodruff  JM10  26:22
 11th January  Hyndburn  Kevin Davies  VM55-59  19:51
 Pendle  Jeffrey Pickup  VM65-69  25:36
 18th January  Hyndburn  Charlie Barnes  JM11-14  21:54
 25th January  Burnley  Francis Woodruff  JM10  25:02
 Hyndburn  Jonny Hall  SM25-29  19:40
 Pendle  Jeffrey Pickup  VM65-69  25:05

About the author

Helen Stevens author