Clayton Harriers have been very busy racing not just all over the country (from fell to road and even the London Marathon – well done Colin White and Elizabeth Stephenson), but internationally too – see Donna Airey’s report of her fantastic Boston Marathon. It would be great to hear more from you about your race experiences – I hope this month’s report will inspire you to contribute. Email your words and pictures to email@example.com
As usual, if anything is missing or incorrect, please email to let us know then it can be corrected.
Donna’s Boston Marathon
Report by Donna Airey
So I, if you haven’t heard already…..
I did a 132 day running streak, ran Jamaica Pond USA parkrun then ran a few miles in Boston. Boston Marathon, held on Patriots day and is the oldest marathon going in its 123rd year.The only way to get in is run a good for age time at another marathon or “buy” your way in.
Desperately trying to calm my nerves the night before, I came across the following quote. Boston is the cream of the crop in the marathon world, it has such history that you feel such honour to be part of it. The days leading up to marathon were treated like a holiday, cocktails, burgers, sightseeing and a lot of walking. Not ideal prep which also added to my pre race nerves.
As a point to point race, runners were transported to the start on American yellow school buses which I thought was well cool. At this point the weather was horrific. Thunderstorms and heavy rain. Athlete’s village was like a bog. Although I did smile thinking there was more mud there than I saw all XC season. By time we started it had fined up but was extremely humid.
I set off well, way faster than my “plan”. 10 miles in and the sun decided to show. By 14 miles I felt like there was no way I would finish and I hadn’t even hit the hills yet!l. Dropping the pace felt worse. The last 12 miles I decided I’d have to run/walk, best decision I made. This gave me chance to chat to other runner’s, high five dogs and every child willing and soak up every single second of it. The spectator’s were truly awesome, every single part of the route was deep with people. You could hear constant cheering, people offering all sorts of goodies, including beer (which I thought was mean). Those miles flew by.
Donna with a huge smile after finishing the Boston Marathon. Photo by Alan Airey
Big races have never appealed to me, Boston may just have changed my mind.
Proud to see me in my Clayton vest on the finish line on Boston Marathon!
Donna with her Finishers Medal. Photo by Alan Airey
Race Report by Will Herman
I’d been chasing an Ambleside AC vest for what seemed like hours. He’d slipped out of sight going over Whin Rigg. I’d caught him, nearly, traversing beneath Illgill Head, bare arms freezing in the bitter wind despite the sun. I’d lost him in the tussocks north of Burnmoor Tarn. And now he was on the skyline above – still running somehow – towards the summit of Scafell. It was a gap I could close if I could just keep pace. I slipped and landed heavily before clawing up and on to reach a faint trod and better ground, forcing the legs, breathing hard.
“Keep it going lad.”
I’d heard those same words, that accent, before. Unmistakable. Joss Naylor.
I smiled. It probably didn’t look like it. And ploughed into the steep slope above. Sensing a better line, a Pennine vest was traversing towards me, spurring another short burst to keep ahead. I cut across more boulders, off the loose path towards equally steep but grassy runnels leading an intricate but direct line to the summit. We topped out together, on opposite sides of the cairn, confusing the marshals with our sudden appearance from north and south. The Ambleside runner was nowhere to be seen. The Pennine vest followed me for a while and then disappeared too. I saw no other runners until the finish, still thousands of feet and several miles below.
There can’t be many, if any races in the calendar that generate the same level of debate about route choice as the Eskdale Elevation. It all starts in the usual way – the opening charge leading up a steepish track onto the moor above Boot. But within minutes the field disperses. Not just the odd runner – the entire field. In every direction. This, and the rough ground that the route covers – from old forestry plantations to thick gorse, boulder fields and bottomless bogs – is what characterises the race. And what makes it special.
There are only three checkpoints. And even to the untrained eye, there are very obviously some decisions to be made about how to reach them. In the clag it’s a course that will require real competence with a compass. In clear weather, it is still remarkably easy to go wrong. In short, it is a race that requires mountain sense. It is everything a fell race should be. And if you thought it was all downhill from checkpoint 2 at the summit of Scafell, you would be right. But more than one faced a long climb back to Eel Tarn and checkpoint 3.
I’ve no idea which way the Pennine runner descended though he finished just shy of four minutes behind me. The Ambleside runner it transpired had finished some three and half minutes ahead in 6th place, while I was more than happy to note only seven runners gathered at the end as I passed the finish, 2nd V40 and 8th overall, with a time of 2:17:01.
What a brilliant race! And great to run it in the company of Clayton’s Ralph Baines and Andy Armstrong as well as friends from Pennine FR and Buckley Runners. So if you haven’t already, put this in your calendar for 2020. And make time for a recce beforehand.
Manx Mountain Marathon
Report by Katy Thompson
In the 1990s a small contingent of Clayton runners made the trip across to the Isle of Man each Easter to run the Manx Mountain Marathon, but in recent years only my son Paul, Simon Halliday and Jean Brown have represented the club in the race. Paul has been across every year since 1996 and this year I decided it was time to go back. Having run the full distance in 1996 and 2002, I knew I wasn’t fit enough to do that, so decided to do the Half Mountain Marathon over the last 13 miles of the race. Having survived the Howgills Fell Race two weeks earlier, a similar distance with twice the climb, I was feeling quite confident.
After a 20 minute flight from Liverpool on Good Friday we were met by the friends we were to stay the night with. Next morning Paul set off early for the coach to his start at Ramsay at 8am. My race didn’t start until 1pm at St Johns where Paul had gone through in 6th place a couple of hours earlier.
Paul Thompson (in the middle, to the right of the man in grey). Photo by Katy Thompson.
The view from the coastal path towards the end. Photo by Katy Thompson
It was very hot as 60 of us set off on the steep climb up Slieau Whallian, followed by a long slog up South Barrule. From here the climbs are shorter and sharper, ending with a lovely run along the coastal path and down to the finish at Bradda Glen. I had passed a lot of runners in the second half, and was pleased with my position of 28th, second Lady Vet in just 3 hours. Paul had finished 6th in the full 30+ mile race in just under 6 hours.
It was lovely to sit in the sun outside the Bradda Glen café, but we had a plane to catch, so we walked into Port Erin for the bus to the airport. I would love to go back again next year, and to stay longer to see more of the island. Although the full race might be a bit too much for some, the Half is definitely one for the diary.
Teenager with Altitude
Race Report by Will Herman
I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many 1,000 yard stares at the end of a race. Many had run the Newlands Memorial rather than Teenager with Altitude, but regardless, everyone suffered in the sun that day – most being a good 20 minutes down on expected or past form.
Clayton Runners at Newlands Valley Races
From the off, Teenager was brutal. The climb up Causey Pike went well enough – in fact everything was going well until starting ‘that descent’. If you have never stood on the summit of Whiteless Pike and looked down on Bleak Rigg, there is no other way to describe it but stupidly steep. And it just keeps on coming. After which a relentless climb up Robinson leads to easier ground.
This second half of Teenager is fast runnable ground. Strangely enough, I passed more than one runner having a sit down. I had to have a word to stop myself doing the same. Coming off Maiden Moor I took a daft line, one which I knew was wrong, lost me a top 20 place, and saw me pass several Newlands Memorial runners more than once. All very confusing. And I still wanted to have a sit down.
On Catbells I simply lost the plot. I remember drinking the last of the water I’d scooped up beneath Dale Head after which the last descent was a blur of blisters and mild sun stroke.
Will Herman on a brutal Teenager with Altitude. Photo by Stephen Wilson
Not a race to underestimate and with 7,000ft of ascent, it’s up there with the longer lakes classics in more ways than one – thanks to Jean and others who cheered me on at the finish. A great turn out for the club and great to see so many Clayton vests on the hill ‘enjoying’ the sun.
Pendle Fell Race Report
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Report by Mark Nutter
In my second year of organising this fell race (the very first fell race I ran way back in 1984) I was pleased that it had again been chosen as the Lancashire Championships. I was pleased that the farmer had allowed me to retain the same route as last year, which involves cutting up through his fields to Buttock farm – a favourite of all runners as it takes out 1 mile of tarmac but only reduces the overall race route by ¼ of a mile. I was pleased the sun was shining and conditions underfoot were dry, making my flagging of the initial route through the farmer’s fields a breeze. I was pleased that Moorhouse’s Brewery was sponsoring the race, with bottles of beer for all finishers. I was pleased that 233 runners turned up too (50 more than last year), despite there being an English championship race being held on the same day, and clashing with other popular races. I was also pleased the Pete Bland’s van was on the car park. You can guess it, yes I was pleased!
So, on to the race. Conditions were ideal and times were going to be fast. Chris Holdsworth from Ribble Valley Harriers led the field from the whistle and maintained his clear lead to the finish, winning by nearly 2 minutes in a new course record time of 30.19. U23 Matthew Knowles from Lancaster & Morecambe AC was in 4th place on the first main climb, but his descending skills paid off and rewarded him with 2nd place overall in 32.04. The winner’s clubmate Thomas Corrigan finished in a creditable 3rd position.
Photo by Woodentops
In the ladies race it was last year’s winner Catlin Rice from Ribble Valley Harriers who took the win again, this year in 22nd place overall in a time of 37.18, with half a minute to spare over Nik Tarrega from York Knavesmire Harriers in 2nd place. Victoria Mousley enjoyed a fast run too, finishing just over a minute behind.
The vets categories produced some great competition too, with winners in every category up to V70 for both men and women – a creditable feat to the longevity of our sport. Full Results.
Prizegiving was held in the village hall, with all category winners receiving Pete Bland vouchers, a presentation pack from Moorhouse’s Brewery, T-Shirts and bottle openers. And that’s in addition to the free bottle of Moorhouse’s beer for all finishers!
The marshals and timekeepers all did a great job, as did John Schofield’s team on the results and the ladies in the village hall for putting on soup, tea and cakes. Many enjoyed their ‘post race debrief’ in the Pendle Inn where more Moorhouse’s beer was available in the form of Clayton-le-Moors Blonde.
The race has historically been held on the first Saturday in April, so next years’ race will follow suit on the 4th April.
Get the date in your diaries for more FREE MOORHOUSE’S BEER – oh, and a good blast up Lancashire’s greatest hill!
Clayton Harriers enjoying their post-race Moorhouse’s beer. Photo by Woodentops.
Lancashire Junior Fell Race Championships
Report by Alan Dorrington
A record turnout of 230 Juniors accompanied the sunshine at Pendle on 6th April for the traditional fell season opener up our local hill. As last year, the race doubled as the Lancashire Fell Champs for Juniors (and Seniors) with medals available to Lancashire based runners and selection for the Fell Inter-Counties Championships up for grabs too for the U17 and U19 age groups and above.
The Pendle courses all feature steep starts, but with plenty of runnable ground in between (plus some hard climbing for the older age groups) before the final swoop to the finish and the traditional ditch at the end.
Sadly Clayton only had two runners in the U9 and U11 age groups but both Francis Woodruff and Lottie Smith ran really well in big fields to take 6th place in their respective age groups, not far off the front of the race.
In the U13s Charlie Fee took a top ten place in the boys race and Eleanor Edwards came really close to a medal in the girls race.
Robbie Smedley, back from injury. Photo by David Belshaw
Back from injury, Robbie Smedley showed his ability on the fells with a 4th place and Silver medal in the U15B Lancashire Champs. Helana White was the clear winner of the girls race and the Lancashire Champion, also coming in 4th overall.
Clear winner of the U15G Race – Helana White. Photo by David Belshaw
The U17 boys showed real strength in depth with 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th – well done Jackson, Peter, Michael and Will. It was also great to see Theo Burfield back racing after quite a long break with injury.
Jackson Mackay. Photo by David Belshaw
Ella Dorrington was 2nd (and Silver) in the U17 girls race and gained selection for Lancashire for the Inter Counties in June. She will be joined by Briony Holt who finished 4th in the U19 girls and earned selection too.
Nick Hennessey was back on form in the U19 boys with 7th followed up by Charlie Parkinson in 11th
Francis Woodruff – 6th boy
Lottie Smith – 6th girl
Charlie Fee – 7th boy
Charlie Barnes – 20th boy
Louis Woodruff – 29th boy
Eleanor Edwards – 4th girl
Emily Nicholls – 11th girl
Robbie Smedley – 4th boy and Silver in the Lancashire Champs
Guy Whalley – 19th boy
Helana White – 1st girl and Lancashire Champion
Sianna Smith – 11th girl
Hannah Eccles – 12th girl
Imogen Ferguson – 14th girl
Jackson McKay – 5th boy
Peter Stevens – 6th boy
Michael Stevens – 7th boy
William Nicholls – 8th boy
William Barlow – 10th boy
Lennon Jackson – 11th boy
Theo Burfield – 12th boy
Ella Dorrington – 2nd girl and selection for Lancashire
Sophie Ashworth – 5th girl
Bethany Wheatcroft – 7th girl
Nick Hennessey – 7th
Charlie Parkinson – 11th
Briony Holt – 4th and selection for Lancashire
2nd April – Pete Hartley Memorial Liver Hill Fell Race – Results
6th April – Pendle Fell Races – Senior Results – Junior Results
2nd M40 – Peter Coates; 1st M60 – Mike Wallis; 2nd M60 – Geoffrey Gough; 2nd F23 – Rhiannon Wickham; 1st F70 – Karin Goss.
1st F15 – Helana White; 2nd F17 – Ella Dorrington.
6th April – Howgill Fell Race – Results
1st M70 – Jack Holt; 2nd W50 – Jean Brown; 1st W65 – Wendy Dodds; 2nd W65 – Katy Thomspon.
7th April – Brun Valley Trail 10K – Results
3rd overall and 2nd MJ – Nicholas Hennessey; 2nd Female and 2nd F35 – Michelle Abbott; 3rd Female and 1st F40 – Cassandra Smedley; 2nd F40 – Lisa Stansfield; 3rd MJ – Aaron Lundie; 1st F45 – Rachel Gilmore; 1st M75 – Richard Lawson; 3rd F55 – Geraldine Varley; 2nd F65 – Christine Egerton; 1st F70 – Christine Leathley.
7th April – Darwen Heritage Half Marathon – Results
1st FV35 – Donna Airey; 2nd FV35 Lisa Ellis; 3rd MV40 – Craig Nicholls; 2nd FV50 – Helen Harrison.
7th April – Baildon Boundary Way – Results
7th April – ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon – Results
Kevin Davies – MV55 – 02:57:54 (Chip time).
10th April – Mollie Campbell Cowm 5k – Results
13th April – Eskdale Elevation – Results
2nd M40 – Will Herman.
14th April – Radcliffe 10 Multi Terrain – Results
2nd M60 – Peter Butterworth.
17th April – Billy Knox Cowm 5k – Results
19th April – Salford 10k Road Race – Results
3rd Female and 1st F35 – Laura Hesketh; 3rd M65 – Stephen Biscomb.
20th April – Newlands Valley Fell Races – Results
1st F 50-59 – Jean Brown; 2nd F 60-69 – Wendy Dodds
21st April – Guiseley Gallop – Results–
3rd M60 – Peter Butterworth.
23rd April – Witches’ Clough – Results
24th April – Roger Colson Cowm 5k – Results
27th April – Three Peaks Fell Race – Results
1st Class Awards – Andy Laycock (21st), David Bagot (30th); 2nd Class Awards – Andrew Webster, Paul Hesketh, Avril Duckworth, Chris Funnell,
30th April – Orchan Rocks Fell Race – Results
30th April – Geoff Doggett Memorial 5k Cowm – Results
For more details see the Calendar
- 14th May – Mearley Cough Fell Race
- 14th July – Towneley 10k Road Race
- 24th July – Greenway 5k Road Race
- 24th August – Pendleton Fell Race
- 28th September – Thieveley Pike Fell Races
- 16th November – Tour of Pendle Fell Race
Pendle and Burnley Grand Prix Races
- 15th May – Wholan Nook Trail Race
- 24th May – Burnley Lions 10k Road Race
- 1st June – Kelbrook Fell Race
- 8th June – Weets Fell Race
Rossendale Harriers Races
- 31st July – Lee Mill
- 7th August – Pilgrims Cross
- 14th August – Whittle Pike
- 21st August – Golf Ball
| 6th April
|| Clitheroe Castle
| 13th April
|| Centre Vale
| 20th April
| 27th April
|| Emily Nicholls
Junior Parkrun Roundup
| 14th April
|| Robbie Smedley
|| William Barlow
| 21st April
|| Helana White
|| Louie Woodruff
|| Erin Hesketh
|| Phoebe Jackson
| 28th April
|| Francis Woodruff