So what did we do this year? Well…You have raced 2K, 5K, 10K, 4 milers, 5 milers, 7 milers, 10 milers, half marathons, 20 milers and full marathons. You’ve raced in ultras from a mere 32 miles up to 105 miles with thousands of feet of ascent thrown in just for fun. You’ve run in different continents; Australia, Africa and Europe. Fell races number in the hundreds for the year with too many to reel off but covering Lancashire, Pennines, Lake District, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Peak District and Yorkshire. You have got down and dirty in Cross Country Leagues and championships. You have competed in team relay events on the roads, trails and fells. You’ve joined Ben Smith in his 401 marathons campaign when he was in the area. And top it off some of you have just completed a 31-day running streak in December.
We’ve welcomed 46 new members and had to say farewell to a handful as well this year. We were especially sad to hear of the passing of Tony Aspin, Mick Raine and Valerie Lawson.
When you are not running you are organising races, marshalling races, helping out at parkruns, helping out with training sessions and supporting your club mates in all kinds of ways. There have been 52 roundups this year with contributions and reports from 75 club members over the year. That’s an amazing number and something to be really proud of as I don’t think many clubs can boast such a huge amount of participation from its members. In the words of Ron Hill: “Clayton; what a club!”
MONDAY 26 DECEMBER
Whinberry Naze Fell Race
Report by Alan Dorrington
Cancelled last year during the horrendous Boxing Day floods, the Whinberry Naze Dash fell race was back this year with its usual eclectic mix of hangovers and fancy dress. Austerity seemed to have caught up with the dress code and there were no multi-occupant Chinese Dragons or Egyptian pyramids this year, but nonetheless the individual fancy dress on show wasn’t too shabby. A multitude of Elfs, some sexy, some not so, a couple of huntsman complete with dogs, Zorro, a bike carrying cyclist and Where’s Wally were among the outfits I caught sight of.
Whilst it was a crisp dry day and water engress would pose no threat to the many costumes, the vicious wind up on the tops would cause difficulties for some competitors with less than skin tight costumes (see Zorro’s cape for example).
A classic straight up and pretty much straight down route which makes up in climb what it lacks in imagination, the race starts up a very steep tarmac track and just keeps on going. Luckily they persuade Santa to do just one more gig before putting his feet up and he is always at the trig turn at the top with a tube of Smarties for each breathless runner. Those who are either less competitive or more foolhardy, attempt to eat them whilst breathing heavily and trying to descend a short greasy path to a long boggy run back for home. I’ve been running a charity challenge every day in December and had run 170 miles in the previous 2 weeks so was less than sprightly up the first steep climb, getting going up a bit more up to the trig at Cowpe Lowe before enjoying the scenic views (for once) over the Rossendale Valley on the way down.
Once finished down the steep and now slippery tarmac track, everybody was able to compare how well their outfits had fared up on the hill, and enjoy any wardrobe malfunctions as a consequence. A great way to run the Christmas fug off without getting too serious.
Worden Park 10K
374 Runners ran off their Christmas dinners at the Worden Park Boxing Day 10K in Leyland, amongst them were four Clayton runners. First past the finish for the club was Mark Wightman in 48th place. Next in was Stephen Biscombe in 68th. Battling it out right to the end were Robert Morrison and Colin White in 78th and 79th respectively with Robert claiming a 3 second lead.
TUESDAY 27 DECEMBER
Ribble Valley 10K
There was a whopping turnout of Clayton Harriers in the Ribble Valley 10K with over 50 tangerine stripes on view. This popular road race attracts a quality field and the finish times are always fast. Danny Collinge was our first man home in 33rd place overall with a time of 32:26. Dave Bagot and Jacob Watson made the top 100 with sub 35 minute times. It seems that despite the excesses of Christmas, this race has brought out the best across the board with our runners as too many of them to mention ran a blinder and smashed their PBs.
Well done Team Clayton!
Race Report from Dave Motley
Race Report from Nerina Gill
My husband says every time you get a few runners together all they talk about is injuries. So I don’t want to make my report on the Ribble Valley 10k all about my dodgy ankle. But it was my first race in almost six months thanks to a nasty attack of tendinitis that put paid to my running for all of August and most of September. It’s been a long hard road back.
I got to the start expecting little. I felt flabby, a tad hungover, and full of Christmas stodge. But marathon training starts this week, so the hard work has to start somewhere, and racing is still the best way I know to get fit. I had several John Roche sessions under my belt, but nothing beats the pressure of a number on your chest.
I set off thinking I was taking it fairly easy, but within minutes I was out of breath. I tried to hang on to the people I knew, but even though the course was more undulating than hilly, I couldn’t keep up the pace. I dug in, and soon the 5k marker was in sight. Mr and Mrs Roche came up in my shoulder, and instructions were issued. I tried to relax, keep breathing etc, but tagging on just wasn’t an option. Within a few hundred yards they were gone.
Soon the road started heading downhill, and I picked up the pace, but I was frustrated. Downhills are usually my forte, but my legs were refusing to follow instructions. I hit the bridge, and remembered the outward section. Oh God, it was going to be uphill to the finish. Argh! No chance of a sprint for the line, my legs were dead. I clumped over the finish, vowing to stop eating and drinking instantly (yeah right) and looked at the time.
What seriously? A PB feeling like that? Not sure how, but I’d love to do that course properly fit. Plenty of hills await in January and February, but what a great race to do in that awkward period between Christmas and New Year. PBs were claimed by loads of people we passed, so it was a race very forgiving of Christmas excess. I usually work over Christmas, so it’s the first time I’ve been able to run it, and I can’t wait to give it another go. Next year, I’ll be fitter, lighter, and less hungover. No, really…
Race Report from Lisa Johnson
Having not run the Ribble Valley 10k (or any 10k) for some time it was with some trepidation that I lined up on the start line with my mum. It wasn’t helped by the fact that at this race, you are allowed to collect your t shirt before you race – temptation to grab it and go and sit in the car was quite strong! It was good to see so many familiar Clayton faces on the start line and on the course and the atmosphere was, as usual, very friendly and encouraging. I kept up with the legend that is Dave Scott for a while but then the inevitable happened and he overtook me.
Slight mishap at the water station where I chipped my tooth opening the water bottle but perhaps that took my mind off the running as I managed to beat my previous 10k pb set probably about 15 years ago. Seeing Mr Belshaw and his camera outside the pub was welcome and then it was just the small matter of slogging up the hill to the finish line to wait for my mum and cheer her in.
Race Report from Danny Pilkington
After a trial run (and swim) before the 2015 race got cancelled due to the horrific floods I was really eager to get going on the race this year. Although cold and foggy, the weather in the morning was good.
I already had my race number through the post but no safety pins (I have made a note to start my own collection) so was ready to go early on. There were plenty of Harriers around registration on the morning which was good to see.
The race started on time and off we went, straight over Edisford bridge and up a hill. I started off well but after 4k of an undulating (and picturesque) route, The food from Xmas day and boxing day forced me to slow down.
I finished 1:19 behind my PB (which was set at Lytham so I will take this) and despite my struggles half way round, I thoroughly enjoyed the route. The stewards were spot on, encouraging people round and I don’t think I was the only one suffering from
Eating and drinking too much. The online times came through quite quick and as ever, the friendly feel of the Clayton family was on show throughout. There were lots of PB’s around too which, considering the undulating style of the course is a massive achievement.
Well done to all those hitting their PB’s.I can’t wait for next year’s race and will do my best not to overindulge over Christmas and boxing day.
Report from Judith Carey
We did a recce of the route a few weeks ago so that we felt prepared on race day and I was surprised at my pace, so I was gunning for a PB at this race. Although I was nervous because I’d run everyday in the Marcathon challenge and wasn’t sure how I would hold out.
Around 6k I started to flag and then I heard the shouts and cheers from the Birtwistles which were gratefully received and lifted my pace! Then with 1k to go and an uphill finish I pulled out my fastest 1km split out of the 10! Knocking 6 minutes off my 10k time and coming in at 1:00:31. It was great to see so many Claytoners get PB’s too include Carl ?
The marshals were great and the km markings were really helpful.Definitely a race to do again, help run off the turkey and mince pies!
|357||REECE LAWRENCE||M JNR||00:43:39|
|562||TERESA DE CURTIS||FV45||00:48:23|
An out-and-back route, this race starts with an unforgiving short, sharp ascent of Stock Ghyll Lane to the fell gate/ stile. A runnable section to a 2nd gate leads on to a thigh burning section of steep stone steps which head directly upwards. A short section of open fell follows, over rough grass and onwards to the rocky summit. This is the only check point and although runners can take their own preferred route, most competitors ascend to the right of the summit, descending down the left or northern side, crossing back onto the main path near the bottom, creating a circular route.
Although short and sweet this race should not be underestimated. The route is very steep and extremely rough underfoot. Slippery, wet conditions can make the descent treacherous and if the mist is down the ability to navigate is essential.
Four Clayton Harriers took part with Mark Nutter finishing first for the club in 75th. He was joined by Andrew Firth and Simon Stansfield. Wendy Dodds was our sole lady competitor.
SATURDAY 31 DECEMBER
Report from Alan Dorrington
In a bid to ward off the long winter nights, the tendency to stay on the couch and avoid going out, let alone the Christmas excess, December is now the month for running challenges – Streaky December, Run Every Day, Marcothon and now the 256 Challenge.
The 256 is the idea of ultra writer and photographer Ian Corless and involves a pyramid of 256 miles for the month, running every day in December. You run 1 mile on the 1st, 2 on the 2nd up to 16 on the 16th and then, luckily, it goes back down to a final 1 mile on NYE. Not so bad you would think, until you look at the cumulative mileages – middle weeks of 56 miles followed by 99 miles followed by 70 miles. Nearly 10 marathons for the month, 4 in the hardest week and days and days where the previous 7 days mileage hovers close to 100. For some runners, big mileages like that are a regular feature but being fairly new to regular running, it was definitely a step in to the unknown for me.
Fortified by the knowledge that I never really run more than 20 – 25 miles a week, I decided I would run the challenge to raise money for M3 Project, the charity I manage that works with homeless young people. How hard could it be?
The answer was hard but not impossible. Worries over niggles and aches persisted in the first 7-10 days before my body simply accepted that it had no option but to run every day, for an ever increasing mileage. The aches went away, and whilst fatigue started setting in, it never really became desperate just hard mentally to go out day after day and run the required mileage. I was tired, spectacularly so, and with an appetite the likes of which I have never known. The Big Week of 100 miles (99 just wouldn’t do) came and went ok in a Groundhog Day of long runs, but it was the week after the Big Week that was the hardest – a bad day physically and mentally on the 19th when I had 13 miles to run was the lowest point. Christmas Eve Eve (9 miles) and Christmas Day and the 7 miler were turning points where I knew it was done, in the bag.
A final mile on NYE seemed almost an anti-climax but the knowledge that I had run through and well beyond what I ever imagined I could do will stay for a long, long time. For me personally, the biggest takeaway was the sense of surprise that if you ask your body to do something huge, look after it diligently and feed it, it can and will do it. With the support of 2 other friends who also completed the challenge at the same time, over £4000 has been raised to help homeless young people in East Lancashire. Who knows, I might even keep on running every day for a while longer yet…
If you would like to donate please follow this link
Auld Lang Syne Fell Race
A baker’s dozen of Clayton Harriers ran in this hugely popular festive fell race. Christopher Holdsworth was celebrating his birthday in style by finishing in second place. Conditions were good if a bit “wuthering” (that’s a cold, biting wind if you are a southern softy). Louisa Powell-Smith was 2nd lady in the race.
Coming on New Year’s Eve, fancy dress is very much a part of this race and Neil Hardiman and Barbara Savage certainly got into the swing of things in a most ecclesiastic fashion!
Bowstones Fell Race
The Bowstones are a pair of ancient Anglian cross shafts situated beside the old ridgeway between Disley and Macclesfield overlooking the gorgeous Lyme Park, with extensive views across the Cheshire Plain, to the city of Manchester and the hills of the Peak District.
The run starts from the Boards Head Pub in Higher Poynton and winds its way uphill, crossing the Macclesfield Canal, into Lyme Park, joining the Gritstone Trail up to the Bowstones themselves, before passing Lyme Hall and the deer sanctuaries near Lyme Cage, eventually winding back down to Higher Poynton.
It’s a tough challenge, but the views (and the free bottle of beer to all finishers) make it more than worthwhile.
Chris Snell was our sole representative in this year’s race. He finished 16th in a field of 389 runners. A cracking finish to his running year.
Race report from Chris Snell
I booked on to Bowstones race due to Auld lang syne becoming full almost immediately and my Brother (Stockport Harriers) had booked to race and mentioned there were a few places available. Registration was between 8-930 in Cheshire so early start for myself and coach Gemma.
On the start line I didn’t recognise any faces but vests from Pennine, Dark Peak, Horwich, there was a decent turnout. I set off from the front and felt good for the first mile steady bridleway climb, I slipped behind from the leading group but as usual thought head down run hard and see how it goes. The rest of the race after the first mile climb is forest track and grass paths within Lyme Park and has 3 bs climbs so not too bad and great practice for less experienced fell runners.
The route finishes with the same 1-mile bridleway so a fast finish.
I finished in 16th place and my brother 38th so I keep bragging rights for another race.
FESTIVE PARKRUN ROUNDUP
It may have been Christmas but that hasn’t stopped you from running in multiple parkruns on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve in locations as far flung as Penrith, Whitley Bay, Swansea and even South Africa.
CHRISTMAS EVE PARKRUNS
Clayton-le-Moors Harriers love parkrun. So much in fact that rather a lot of you did the double on the Christmas weekend and ran on Christmas Day as well.
Burnley parkrun – A total of 271 runners took part.
|12||Simon WILSHAW||19:37||JM15-17||New PB!|
|267||Martin TERRY||39:27||VM55-59||First Timer!|
Dewsbury parkrun – A total of 108 runners took part.
Pendle parkrun – A total of 99 runners took part.
|29||David Ian SCOTT||26:16||VM70-74|
|75||Christine Jennifer EGERTON||33:44||VW65-69|
Skipton parkrun – A total of 154 runners took part.
|125||Eileen JONES||30:48||VW60-64||First Timer!|
|127||Jon SHARPLES||31:09||VM60-64||First Timer!|
St Albans parkrun – A total of 482 runners took part.
Whitley Bay parkrun – A total of 243 runners took part.
|70||Wendy DODDS||25:04||VW65-69||First Timer!|
Witton parkrun – A total of 88 runners took part.
|1||Louisa POWELL -SMITH||18:47||VW35-39||First Timer!|
CHRISTMAS DAY PARKRUNS
Dewsbury parkrun – A total of 109 runners took part.
Pendle parkrun – A total of 62 runners took part
|1||Jonathan CLEAVER||20:04||VM35-39||First Timer!|
|6||Daniel PLANT||21:55||SM30-34||First Timer!|
|11||Reece Adam LAWRENCE||22:37||JM15-17||New PB!|
|23||Donna AIREY||25:21||VW35-39||First Timer!|
|24||Chris LAWRENCE||25:24||VM50-54||New PB!|
|33||Carl CAREY||28:15||VM45-49||First Timer!|
|49||Christine Jennifer EGERTON||33:41||VW65-69|
|51||Judith CAREY||34:01||VW35-39||First Timer!|
Witton parkrun – A total of 82 runners took part
NEW YEAR’S EVE PARKRUNS
Burnley parkrun – A total of 291 runners took part.
|14||Reece Adam LAWRENCE||20:01||JM15-17|
|19||Adam QUINN||20:41||JM11-14||New PB!|
|27||Mick HUGHES||21:36||VM40-44||New PB!|
|53||David Ian SCOTT||23:23||VM70-74|
|63||Alison DUGDALE||23:47||VW45-49||First Timer!|
Dewsbury parkrun – A total of 108 runners took part.
Fell Foot parkrun, Newby Bridge – A total of 319 runners took part.
Finsbury parkrun – A total of 224 runners took part.
|183||Eileen JONES||31:03||VW60-64||First Timer!|
Heaton parkrun – A total of 486 runners took part.
Knysna parkrun – A total of 352 runners took part.
|173||Deborah GREENWOOD||33:00||VW45-49||First Timer!|
Lytham Hall parkrun – A total of 280 runners took part.
|136||Philip NAYLOR||28:14||VM35-39||New PB!|
Pendle parkrun – A total of 90 runners took part.
|5||Briony Josephine HOLT||21:25||JW11-14||New PB!|
|62||Christine Jennifer EGERTON||33:35||VW65-69|
Penrith parkrun – A total of 172 runners took part.
Swansea Bay parkrun – A total of 292 runners took part.
Witton parkrun – A total of 99 runners took part.