Blog Archive

ByHelen Stevens

October Roundup

It’s been a while since the last roundup. I’m using October as a practice, and I’m sure it will improve as I get more used to it. But remember, this is your club – you are a diverse group, racing on road, hills, trail, short races , long races, every month – I need your race reports!! We would all love to read about it. All you need to do is send a few words, and perhaps a photo, and I can include it in our round-up so everyone can read about it. The next generation of runners are also reading – so go on and INSPIRE THEM!!!

Special Fell Running Report

Sarah Helliwell, Ladies Fell Racing Manager

As many of our members know and for those who do not! I am the ladies fell manager. My role over the last 2 years has been to increase participation (especially female) on the fells locally and further afield! As a club Clayton Harriers has a long history of fell running, many a running legend (still winning national age categories this year!) and many experienced fell runners who are more than happy to share their knowledge and encourage are younger contingent into an amazing side of our sport. The beauty of fell running is the constant changing scenery and terrain, with the majority of races being in some of the most beautiful areas of our country, the Yorkshire Dales, Lakes, Snowdon, the Highlands and not forgetting our doorstep of the Pennines.
October is the month when the fell running calendar reaches it pinnacle with the Hodgson Brothers Relays in Patterdale and the British Relays, which was hosted by Ambleside AC in Grasmere this year. Both events usually include the top fell runners in the country, who thrash it out on the fells to be crowned the best teams. For anyone who has not run in a fell team relay event, the majority of these events are run as pairs. Therefore the pair needs to have a variety of experience between them. From being able to map read and navigate, support each other over some tough terrain and interesting weather conditions and to finally appreciate some spectacular scenery!

Hodgson Relays
The ‘Hodgson Brothers Mountain Relay’ is the longest-running mountain relay in the country and is one of the toughest relays to get an entry into. As a club we have supported the relay for many years with the ladies team and what is now known as the Z team and are lucky enough to have 3 teams consisting of a men’s open team, a men’s vet team and a ladies team. The race is a tough one, with 4 legs each throwing up their separate challenges, including hard climbs and steep descents on difficult terrain.
It was a fresh and mainly dry day as the Clayton teams assembled on the playing fields in Patterdale with the other 70 teams. Running the first leg was Richard Stevenson and Calum Holmes, Chris Funnell and Ivan Whigham and finally Rhiannon Wickham and Briony Holt. All 3 teams took the sensible option and left the field in a comfortable pace as nearly the 1st half mile on road and track to the foot of the climb, before making its way over to Angletarn which can mean suffering later on if you have gone too fast on the flat bit. It was great to see 3 young fresh faces of Briony, Rhiannon and Calum doing their first Lakeland fell relay, with all of then having a great run on leg 1 alongside Richard, Ivan and Chris. It was also an excellent start for the ladies as Rhiannon and Briony nearly beat the men’s vet team to the changeover point at Hartsop. Next time girls, we’ll have them

Leg 1 Runners

Leg 1 runners – Briony Holt, Rhiannon Wickham, Calum Holmes, Chris Funnell, Ivan Whigham & Richard Stevenson. Photo: Tina Holt

Leg 2 – starts off with a monster of a climb from the valley up onto High Street before eventually edging back round to Kirkstone over the craggy section before the decent back down to the pub. From what I heard there was a good view from the top of High Street, however quite a bit of suffering occurred as the young legs of Andy Laycock and Dave Bagot gained places for the men’s team. Whilst Z-team stalwarts Mark Nutter and Ralph Baines put distance between themselves and the ladies team with Anna Kelly and Claire Vincent running a solid leg for the ladies team.

At the end! - Katy Thompson, Tara Robb, Jean Brown, Chris Brown, Wendy Dodds, Barbara Savage & Mike Wallis

At the end! – Katy Thompson, Tara Robb, Jean Brown, Chris Brown, Wendy Dodds, Barbara Savage & Mike Wallis. Photo: Sarah Helliwell

Leg 3 – kicks straight up from Kirkstone Pass onto Red Screes with runners deciding to either take the path or off piste option. Once on top the wind was starting to pick up as runners started to take a variety of options. In the words of Barbara she wasn’t going to argue with Wendy and once Wendy has her bearing on her compass there is no changing her 😉 no matter the terrain. Andy Firth made young Simon Stansfield work hard for the vets team, while Will Hardman and Chris Snell gained more places as they descended hard into Sykeside, where quite a group of team Clayton were now supporting and cheering the runners on. Young Chris Brown did a cracking job as a spotter and coming back down to the change-over to give the next leg runners some prior warning.

Russell Clarke & Carl Helliwell descending back down to Patterdale at the end of leg 4

Russell Clarke & Carl Helliwell descending back down to Patterdale at the end of leg 4. Photo: Jo Perry

The wind was channelling down the valley as the leg 4 runners made their way up onto Fairfield then St Sunday. Old man Helliwell was made to work as Russell set of fast; however Carl came into his own on the climb making the younger man work hard. It was then back to Russell on the descent as he and Carl pushed the men’s team back to Patterdale and the men’s team came in 20th position. Next it was over to the vet’s team as Mike Wallis and Paul Thompson gained places back for the vet’s team and even cruised past Team Hodgson on their way back to 45th position, as Chris Hodgson said “they flew past us”. Lastly Tara Robb and Jean Brown made each other work hard and picked some good lines as they brought the ladies team home in 62nd position.
One thing that I feel I need to mention is that there was a 50 year age gap between Briony Holt (16) and Wendy Dodds (66) both running for the ladies team. I bet no other club could match that!

Vets team – Chris Funnell, Simon Stansfield, Andy Firth, Ralph Baines & Mark Nutter

Vets team – Chris Funnell, Simon Stansfield, Andy Firth, Ralph Baines & Mark Nutter. Photo: Sarah Helliwell

Well done to everyone who ran and it was fantastic to see some new younger faces running in the relays teams. If this is something you would like to have a go at next year, get yourself onto the fells and especially up into the Lakes for more experience. This is a fantastic team event and one the club is proud to do.

Men’s Team – Will Herman, Russell Clarke, Carl Helliwell, Chris Snell, Andy Laycock & Dave Bagot

Men’s Team – Will Herman, Russell Clarke, Carl Helliwell, Chris Snell, Andy Laycock & Dave Bagot. Photo: Sarah Helliwell

British Relays – Grasmere
All week the weather had been perfect, mild, clear and great running condition. So it was sods law that when Saturday morning arrived it was grey, overcast and when we turned off the M6 at Kendal the rain started! 250 teams had entered the championships and we had fielded 5 teams into the different categories. On a personal note I have been trying to encourage more women from the club onto the fells and especially up into the Lakes. So I was extremely pleased that we fielded 2 ladies team into the event. The British Relays has a different format to the Hodgson. Legs 1 and 4 are run as individual legs, with leg 4 opened to 16 years plus. Leg 2 and 3 are run as pairs, with leg 3 as a pure navigation leg, where the runners are only given the map for their route as they set off. They then have to find the best route to the different check points before making their way back to change over at the event field.
In the week up to the event Mark Nutter and the Z-team set the challenge of the ladies team trying to beat them, I put it towards the ladies and they said “yes, game on!” All the routes went up onto the fells north east of Grasmere, covering a variety of classic fells and climbs from Fairfield, Seat Sandal, Great Rigg, Stone Arthur, Heron Pike and Rydal Fell. The rain was coming down hard as the leg 1 runners set off, Carl Helliwell was running for the men’s team, Andy Stubbs for the men’s vet team, Chris Funnell for the Z team, Rhiannon Wickham for the ladies and Vicky Heys for the Ladies vet team. Carl came in first in 47th position giving the men’s a good start and lead over the vet’s team. Chris had also put the Z-team into a good position, however Rhiannon came in not too far behind (151), keeping the pressure on them, with Vicky bringing in the lady vets in 204th.

Carl after finishing leg 1, me trying to organise and worrying about numbers and dibbers! with 6 month old Fergus having a snooze on my back.

Carl after finishing leg 1, me trying to organise and worrying about numbers and dibbers! with 6 month old Fergus having a snooze on my back. Photo: Ralph Baines

Next was the paired leg with young Laycock and Bagot battling it out and pushing each other once again with a fantastic run by both and 32nd on their leg. Paul “I’ve forgotten my hat” Hesketh and Alan Dorrington ran for the vets, Andy Firth and Andy Howarth for the Z’s, Claire Vincent and Donna Airey (first timer) for the ladies and vet stalwarts Linda Lord (vet 70 and still putting many of us younger ones to shame!) and Kath Wallis all battled the elements and tough terrain leg 2.

Kath Wallis and Linda Lord (see if you can spot her) on leg 2: Photo Beau Day Photography

Kath Wallis and Linda Lord (see if you can spot her) on leg 2. Photo: Beau Dog Photography

The navigation leg can cause a problem for some clubs as having good runners who can read run fast whilst reading a map, navigate and reach the checkpoints is a hard skill to do well. This is what led to Keswick AC down fall who were winning the relays by roughly 2 mins at the start of leg 3. The navigation pair got lost and lost nearly 32 minutes and 71 places! I feel that this is an area where we have been fortunate to have some very experienced runners. It was then over to Will Herman, Russell Clarke, Mike Wallis, Neil Hardiman, Ralph Baines, Mark Nutter, Jean Brown, Tara Robb, Wendy Dodds and Barbara Savage as they all set of into the clagg (fog) to find their checkpoints. All 5 teams had very strong runs on this leg and picked some good if different route choices between them all.

Mike Wallis and Neil Hardiman getting ready for the navigation leg

Mike Wallis and Neil Hardiman getting ready for the navigation leg. Photo: Ralph Baines

The last leg was a tough lung buster with a great steep descent, which was perfect for our young Briony Holt who completed the leg for the ladies team. This is what Briony had to say about her first experience at the British Relays:
“This year’s relays were held in Grasmere; well known for its brutally steep climbs, I’m pretty sure we all knew it was going to be tough (Andy Stubbs proved us right when we saw him hobbling back to the car upon our arrival – obviously being beaten by the better man – Carl)!
I was on the last leg which is run on your own, similar to leg 1. The weather was wet and foggy which made the already tough courses even harder. With runners finishing and some setting off, it was hard to know when to get ready. I started to warm up and soon after we got called over to the starting pen. The officials said to set off whenever people were ready to give people plenty of time to get to the top of Heron Pike. So off we went.
The uphill was 30 minutes of brutal climbing, with the check points acting as a rest spot. Then you went on a runnable path that took you from the top of Heron Pike to the third check point before the fast and technical descent to the finishing field. Although the uphill went on for ever, I loved the course especially the part just after Stone Arthur!
Thank you to the team managers for organising the teams for this event, and hopefully I’ll be able to run some more Lakeland relays in the future!”
The other runners on leg 4 were Chris Snell, Tim Edwards, Tracey Mitchell and the mythical legend of Peter Dugdale, who all brought the different Clayton teams home safely.

Paul Hesketh and Alan Dorrington running for the vet’s team: Photo Beau Dog Photography

Paul Hesketh and Alan Dorrington running for the vet’s team. Photo: Beau Dog Photography

Andy Walmsley, the very experienced and wise manager for the Z-team has kindly passed on some words from the Z-team, this is what he had to say about the day:
The Z team were able to field a strong and very [in some cases very-very !] experienced team.
In the weeks prior to the event, being short of work, we had managed to do some recces and all agreed that each leg was tough in its own way. Ambleside had devised a test even for the best.
The gauntlet was thrown down and the challenge accepted by the ladies! Perhaps our special lines would give us an edge?
Leg 1 a long fast climb steepening to the summit of Seat Sandal then a long fast descent with a sting in the tail climb and fast run in. Chris [Funnell] took it in his stride running a superb leg in1:04:19 setting the tone for the rest of the relay and putting us in 124th place!
Two Andrews [Howarth & Firth] set off on the Queen leg 2: big climb and long technical descent. The Ladies snapping at our heels …could we make experience count? Another great leg covered in 1:39:29 increasing our advantage over the Ladies but still close.

Ralph Baines running for the Z-team

Ralph Baines running for the Z-team. Photo: Andy Firth

Over to the navigators ! Anything can happen on a navigation leg. We needn`t have worried, Mark and Ralph [Nutter & Baines] revelled in the challenge making good route choices to run into the finish comfortably before the mass start for leg 4 [which had been brought forward to protect the marshals ] having nailed it !
Leg 4 : big climb and fast hair raising descent ! Peter [Dugdale] who had been fired up for a fortnight and warming up for half an hour set off like a scalded cat. Surely all would be well?
Briony [Holt] set off two and a half minutes later in the mass start in hot pursuit! At the finish we didn`t know the true gap and waited a little nervously for leg 3 Ladies to arrive. Peter didn`t know how much advantage he had and just got on with it. Briony was on a stormer and passed Peter at Alcock Tarn. Peter did more “getting on with it.”
Briony for the Ladies arrived at the finish minutes before Peter but crucially he had enough of a buffer from previous legs to give the Zs a 3 min 45 sec advantage and a finishing position of 125th.
A good team performance, no mistakes and strong on each leg. Well done to the Ladies it was close! As for next year we will need to cling to the slender hope that the young and talented Ladies don`t make any progress before then!”

Andy Laycock and Dave Bagot on leg 2: Photo Beau Dog Photography

Andy Laycock and Dave Bagot on leg 2. Photo: Beau Dog Photography

The club had a fantastic day, with some very strong performances from a number of different runners. It was great that we could field 5 teams into the event consisting of 2 ladies teams. As Jean commented it has been a long time since we have had such a young ladies team at the British Relays and is hopefully a sign of good things to come. We ended up 4 minutes behind the Z team and made them sweat at times. We are getting closer ladies. There were a number of runners who ran the relays for the first time and it is important that we keep getting new and fresh blood onto the fells to carry on the Clayton legacy.

Team Time Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Leg 4 Overall
Men’s 4.33.33 47 32 57 71 42nd
Men’s vet 4.55.02 98 130 69 38 72nd
Z- team 5.29.12 124 191 82 166 125th
Ladies 5.33.57 151 201 112 90 136th
Ladies vet 6.08.30 204 230 145 190 193rd

There are a number of ways to get out onto the fells throughout the year. Barley Badgers (Mark Nutter) run on a Tuesday night from the Pendle Inn at Barley at 6.30pm over the winter months. There are the Normads (Keith Prosser) who do steady off-road runs on a Tuesday night. John Roche takes his group off-road over the summer months. The ladies group meet every Thursday across East Lancashire and the Great Harwood group meet at 6.30pm every Thursday at Memorial Park. The juniors have great access to the knowledge and guidance of Alan Dorrington and Andy Armstrong who can give them vast experience and great training tips. Then over the summer months there are the PBGR races, the Rossendale series, the Darwen tower races and many of our own club events. However, to race in the big relays you need to get some Lakeland experience, there are always a variety of races over the summer and usually the Grasmere and Ambleside Sports races are always a good starter. The BOFRA races are always a good introduction and also have junior races.
One thing that can be said about fell running is that you cannot meet a bunch of people who are so down to earth, love eating cake (or ice-cream in the summer months) after a race and where you will see the winner of the race enjoying a pint of real ale with the last person of the race in the pub afterwards, sharing each other’s adventures.
Hope to see you on the fells soon.
Sarah Helliwell

3rd October – BOFRA 2018 Championship Presentation

Helana White was crowned the U12 Girls BOFRA Champion 2018 (British Open Fell Runners Association) at the BOFRA awards evening. These traditional, challenging fell races vary in location including Alva, Coniston, Burnsall and Farleton Knott. – Each different venue offers new terrain and challenges.
The best 8 scores from a possible 15 races are counted for the overall series scores. Helana only needed to complete the minimum 8 races to secure the victory, as she won her first 7 races , scoring maximum points, and came 2nd in her 8th race (she had had worked out she only needed to come in the top 6 to secure the series, so decided to save her legs as she had a triathlon in Blackpool the following day). The BOFRA win comes on the back of being awarded Joint 2nd place in the FRA League, and finishes off a successful year on the fells, a discipline she loves to race.
A BIG thanks goes to Alan, Andy, Richard and Jean for organising and supporting the Junior Fell training throughout the Spring and Summer, without their support & help Helana would not have this award. – Helana had targeted this series at the beginning of the year as her main goal, and is thrilled to have won it.

Helana running

Grit and determination on Helana’s face. Photo: Dave Woodhead


Helana with her shield and trophy. Photo: Rachael White

7th October – Withins Skyline Results

13th October – Leigh (Red Rose Cross Country League) Results

This is the XC race that our juniors prioritised. Helana White came a close second in U13 Girls, overtaken on the line. Our Teams achieved 2nd U13 Girls’ Team, 3rd U13 Boys’ Team, and 2nd U17 Men’s Team.

13th October – Ulverston (Mid Lancs Cross Country) Results

Donna Airey (Ladies’ XC Captain)

Ulverston was the 1st fixture in the Mid Lancs league and was the last fixture back in March. I remember the course well cold, windy and undulating but missing mud. Glaxo Hoad Hill must have read my complaint and decided for this fixture to give us some mud, and lots of it. It was also cold, windy and extremely wet. Great XC conditions! We had a good turnout considering the travel time. 10 Ladies and 14 men, with the ladies gaining a vital 5 points to help our start to secure our league 1 status. The men had a great start too with Mark Magee being our first male counter on his 1st XC race. Well done to all those that ran.

Cross Country League begins again! (A report from Ulverston with the senior men)

Mick Hughes (Men’s XC Captain)

How fast does this time of year come round?! .. Many of us were perhaps only beginning to contemplate digging out those spikes when suddenly the 13th October was upon us and both the Mid Lancs and Red Rose Leagues started with a clash (Ulverston and Leigh the fixtures). Proper cross country conditions too, plenty of rain and mud (slightly more so at Ulverston as I believe Leigh was a little firmer under foot).

I am honoured to have been asked to captain the men and after plenty of networking and rallying the troops I was most happy with a great response and brilliant turn out at each fixture. With the club predominantly concentrating on Mid Lancs, I travelled up to Ulverston to support the teams on as I had a half marathon early Sunday so was not able to run myself (as much as I was tempted!). Over 10 senior men and a great atmosphere amongst both the guys and ladies that made the journey undeterred by the weather and long drive to Ulverston. A similar turnout at Leigh and I believe with good performances from both venues.

The team at Ulverston was a mixture of well seasoned XC veterans and a few first time XC debuts at both the venue and for the club. Mark Magee (one of our excellent new harriers with real talent) was first Clayton to finish his laps and cross the line in 29th position in 38;05, followed by strong performances from Matt Duckworth (38;43) and Ryan Bradshaw in 39;08.

Despite great times and performances, I was more concerned that the team spirit would be great and that inclusion continues within our representation at these events with lads and ladies of all abilities putting themselves forward and having a good ‘away day’ team experience. The main thing is that both our men and ladies remain competitive and doing well in these leagues. I was not disappointed, this proved the case and there were good reports from all ages and abilities within the athletes I spoke to and had feedback from both at Ulverston post-race and at Club training the following week. Ulverston impressed me with its high corners and short steep muddy banks, laps of that circuit looked a great one to do regardless of ability.

I have experience of Leigh and know how despite the fairly flat circuit, the laps can easily wear you down, especially when the wind hits you on the cross sections and wide open sections. Nevertheless a strong Clayton showing and many good race reports and leading performances from the likes of Michael O Donnell, John Wilcock, Alex Cran and Gareth Berry coming in excellent times in the low 40’s(!) with others attending as their first XC fixture and experiencing racing in the mud. I know ever last runner was cheered in at Ulverston and hopefully likewise across the miles at Leigh.

Thanks must also go to Jason Pier and Donna Airey for organisation and support at both venues, Helen Stevens for collating the Roundup and of course those who stand and cheer us on week in week out across the counties fixtures.

I look forward to the next fixture (Red Rose League at Bolton) Sat 10 November, where I will also be lining up alongside the guys and getting stuck in myself!

Well done all our teams on a great start to the season, Keep up the great attendance and team spirit!…. see you in the mud!

Dave Scott

Dave Scott – the rain and the mud can’t dull our mood! Photo: Mick Hughes

Jez Bradshaw & Martin Brady

Jez Bradshaw & Martin Brady looking strong. Photo: Mick Hughes

Mark Magee

Mark Magee on his way to an excellent debut. Photo: Mick Hughes

Ulverston start

Off we go – the season starts! Photo: Mick Hughes

20th October – Standish Hall Trail Race – Results

Richard Stevenson, 1st M40.

28th October – Accrington 10K – Results

1st MJ Michael Stevens (13th overall – 37:20), 1st F60 Irene Roche (50:40)

Michael Stevens smiling to the end

Michael Stevens smiling to the end. Photo: David Belshaw

Irene Roche - 1st F60

Irene Roche – 1st F60: Photo David Belshaw

30th October – Langdale Horseshoe – Results

Wendy Dodds, 1st W60.

 Parkrun PB Roundup

Here are October’s Personals Bests at our local Parkruns (Burnley, Clitheroe Castle, Hyndburn, Pendle, Witton). If anyone achieved a PB elsewhere, please let me know.

Date Venue Name Cat Time
06/10/18  Burnley  Martin Terry VM55-59  20:59
 Guy Whalley JM11-14  21:49
 William Barlow JM11-14  23:29
 Sophie Mcintosh SW25-29  28:33
 Marion Wilkinson VW75-79  29:12
 Clitheroe Castle  Emily Nicholls JW10  28:59
 20/10/18  Burnley  Amelia Halstead JW11-14  22:28
 Pendle  Connor Jones JM11-14  20:36
 27/10/18  Burnley  Mark Magee SM30-34 17:22
 Hannah Eccles JW11-14  23:06
 Rebecca Bradshaw SW25-29  24:31
 Eliena Lusty JW10  25:33

Here is the link to this week’s Parkrun Consolidated Club Report