In my report for last year’s race I promised ‘Mist over Pendle’ for 2019. How wrong I was! Despite having freak hailstorms the day before the race whilst I was putting out some of the controls it was, yet again, a case of factor 50 suncream!
103 runners set off following the flagged section through flat fields taking in the lovely aroma of bluebells from the neighboring woodland of the Downham Estate. Appearing to lull the runners into what they might have seen as an ‘easy day out on the fells’ they soon realized the severity of the race as they reached the fell gate and met the climb up Burst Clough – the first of eight climbs. With bumbags laden with full ‘FRA Kit’ and the sun blazing down it was going to be a tough day on Pendle.
After around 45 mins the leading four were within seconds of each other at CP3 at the bottom of the ‘Big End’, but by CP6 at Ashendean Clough this was reduced to the trio of Iain Embrey (Bowland), Nick Leigh (Horwich) and record holder Tom Brunt (DkPk). Iain and Nick were pushing strongly into Ogden Clough and then up Boar Clough to the summit of the hill, whilst Tom was struggling to maintain the fast pace set by the leaders. Once reaching the summit it’s a 2 ½ mile downhill dash to the finish, but not forgetting the check point at Robin Hoods well (which some struggle to find!) on the way. It was a sprint to the finish line, which comes into sight for the last 200 meters, and it was Iain who managed to just hold off Nick by 1 second. Tom finished in 3rd place just over 3 minutes behind, although he managed to hold onto the course record of 2.04.20 which he set in 2012.
In the ladies race it was Sarah Littleman (DkPk) who showed an early promise with a lead of nearly two minutes by CP3 at the bottom of the ‘Big End’. But Jean Brown (Clayton-le-Moors) had her in her sights by CP5 at Stainscomb and managed to overtake her en route to CP6 at Ashendean Clough and powered on to win with nearly a two minute margin. Full results.
The top 20 were the lucky finishers who managed to get changed before the unforecasted downpour, with the remaining runners finishing wet, but still happy!
As usual the finishing area was crowded with runners pouring over their maps discussing their routes, or deciding which bottle of Moorhouse’s beer to choose, which all runners received as the race was sponsored by Moorhouse’s Brewery.
Many runners commented how much they enjoyed parts of the route which lacked footpaths and took them to places seldom visited on Pendle. Despite it being tougher than some expected, they all promised to be back next year.
A huge thank you to the marshals and helpers, the landowners and farmers and you, the runners, for making this race a pleasure to organise. Tell your mates about how much you enjoyed it this year and bring them back with you next year for a great race and some more Moorhouse’s beer.
One year we will have ‘Mist Over Pendle’ so you’ll be glad you found your route in clear weather this time! Next year’s race will be on Saturday 9 May 2020. See you all there!
Mark Nutter, Race Organiser