Category Archives: FRA-BM

The Fell Runners Association explains race categories in its Rules for competition (pdf) document, but a relevant summary can be found below.

Category B
Should average not less than 25 metres climb per kilometre.
Should not have more than 30% of the race distance on road.

Category M
A category “M” (medium) race is over 10 kilometres but less than 20 kilometres.

Viking Chase, Lord Stones Country Park, Carlton Bank, Cleveland, Sunday, July 14, 2019

BM/12km/572m

Nick Latham

Courtesy of Clive Thornton

When is a race not a race?  When it isn’t on Strava?  That’s one opinion…

Jan Young asked on the Striders Facebook group if anyone wanted a lift in the week before, otherwise I would have missed it.  After convincing the family to come down and have a walk while the race was on, I rejigged my weekend’s runs to fit in.

I wasn’t planning to race earlier in the week and as I stood in the starting bunch of 91 runners, I came to the decision I wasn’t going to run it as one.  I’d been working on building some consistent aerobic mileage and didn’t want to ruin that with either an injury from an enthusiastic descent or just over-exertion.  I would take it relatively easy on the ascents and not over-egg it on the level and downhill.

I set off gently from the back half of the pack and was really chuffed to reach the trig point at the end of the first climb (stone track all the way) without having walked but not pushed into the red either.  There’s a first time for everything.  The descent back to the start was steeper and paved, which made it tougher, having to keep my eyes on my footing at all times, but at least this is where I’m at my most comfortable.  The paving was a theme on a lot of the path along the ridge to the turn at the far end.

That was only the first climb and I knew there were three more to come before the turn.  I ended up leap-frogging several other runners, them either being stronger than me on the ascent or descent (or me being stronger on the descent or ascent, whichever you prefer).  The views from the top of the ridge were spectacular, when I could lift my eyes off the path to take them in.  I decided to pause to take a snap on my phone, that’s how hard I wasn’t racing.

After a “scramble” through the Wainstones and the final ridge section, I came down to the third checkpoint at Clay Bank and turned for home…only to be faced with a fifth steep climb.  Minor planning fail, I hadn’t spotted this one on the elevation profile.  Once up this shorter climb, the forest track turned more undulating, without any more serious ascents and a net descent of about 50m.  An extra bonus was being back on earth rather than rock.  I still wasn’t pushing to the max and it was a good job I’d held back on the first half.  I was tiring but it seemed most of the other people I’d been swapping places with were struggling more as they fell back.

I say most because as I passed through the final gate off the fell I could hear footsteps behind me and one runner, from NYMAC, was close behind.  Rather than slam it in his face, I decided to hold it open and as he passed through I fell in behind him.  We turned onto the finishing field (unwelcomely slight uphill) and I already knew I wasn’t going to push him; if I was racing I would have dug in and given it some beans to the line, as it was I was content to follow him home.

Looking over the results, I was astounded to have come in around mid-table.  Nina Mason finished second lady and Camilla Lauren-Maatta was Striders’ other finisher, with Jan acting as sweeper for the day.

So when is a race not a race?  When you decide it isn’t.

Click here for the results

 

(Visited 145 times, 1 visits today)

Tom’s Bransdale Fell Race, North York Moors, Tuesday, July 9, 2019

BM/12km/400m

Nigel Heppell

Heading for the last bit now, late in the day; head down, knees hurting, breathing heavy, heart pounding; arms sore from swinging back and forth; someone coming up behind me, give it one last push into the final straight, and yes, – that’s the granddaughter off the swing and into the arms of her dad after another day of child-minding is over!
Now, where was I?


Oh yes; Tom’s Bransdale Fell Race: – cursory glance at the FRA calendar a few days earlier and I saw this race coming up soon; not been there before; opportunity to explore another part of the NYM; no previous reports on the Strider’s website; let’s have a go at it; sensible to car-share, any takers? Mike B and Simon D respond so I take a glance at the map and see that Bransdale is only a little east of, but at the same latitude as, Chop Gate with which I am familiar and have run a number of Dave Parry’s NYM races from: so, that’s 1hr 20 mins travel from mine; factor in extra minutes for Mike to get to me after work and then collect Simon down the road; add 15 min to get across into the Bransdale valley, and if we leave at 5.30pm we’ll get there for 7pm with 15mins in hand for traffic/parking/registering contingencies. That’s the plan then, all agreed by email, albeit at relatively short notice for those intending to take part.


Scroll on to Thursday, the day of the event: now I would normally do a bit of extra research into entry requirements, race routes, navigation issues, travel problems, etc, but I’m definitely time-poor in the run-up to this race; anyone with a work or care commitment will recognise the situation, and, as I breathe a sigh of relief when grand-daughter disappears 10 mins before Mike B is due to arrive, I realise I have not properly checked the route to Bransdale where parking may be a problem so I have a quick Google and am suddenly faced with the stark realisation that yes, the head of Bransdale valley where the race begins is ‘near’ Chop Gate, but the only way to get to it by car is by a long journey south to the limit of the NYMs, straight through Chop Gate and on to Helmsley, east to Kirbymoorside, and north on very minor roads along the full length of Bransdale itself. 75miles or so, and a minimum of 2 hrs if we are lucky!


Rapid re-appraisal; unless I drive like a maniac/idiot, this event is not going to happen for us tonight; no way could we get there with enough time sensibly to park up, register, race prep’, etc (even if I don’t do warm ups!) and stop vomiting from the drive up narrow country lanes. Oh yes, the A19 south is also closed due to a collision between a lorry and a car! Nothing about a running event is worth driving like a maniac/idiot to get to and so- that’s it – cancellation!


Quick email to Simon who has only just realised the enormity of the journey for himself and is happy to let it go, but too late for Mike who arrives and, not entirely disheartened, we have a cup of tea and a chat.

Moral of the story? –
Do your homework – not just about the race route, but how are you going to get there (and back: – for example, personal experience suggests that motorbikes do not combine well with leg cramp after a stiff fell race – can still be fun though!) – Health and Safety lecture over
And so, Tom’s Bransdale Fell Race remains untouched by Elvet Striders – anyone available in the early afternoon for a trip out next July?

(Visited 62 times, 1 visits today)

High Force Fell Race, Sunday, June 23, 2019

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. King/Queen of the Mountain Race - click flag for more information. BM / 18km / 500m

Dougie Nisbet

I was tempted to run today. Cronkley Fell is an old Strider favourite and a traditional GP fixture. But 14 days after Comrades I knew it’d be unwise. Many times I’ve run a favourite race, felt fine for the first mile, then not so fine for the remaining 90% of the race. Lessons learned.

So Roberta and I wandered up by High Force, flasks and flapjacks packed, bumped into Jan, and settled down beside the Tees. This is a fine course. There were moments when I wished I’d been on the other side of the lens, but a man’s got to know his limitations.

But it illustrates the wonderful fickleness of the GP. The GP is the Elvet Striders all-rounders race. It’s open to all. And if you had been a lady Strider today, and ran, and finished, you’d have scooped 15 GP points.

results

posgenderagenametimecat
111Callum Hanson (Pudsey & Bramley)01:20:29MO
553Graham Watt01:31:51M40
12121Geoff Davis (NFR)01:41:44M60
232311Robin David Parsons01:48:31M40
28263Allan Renwick01:54:28M50
333014Simon Dobson02:00:20M40
3853Susan Davis (NFR)02:01:29W50

GP Note: Geoff and Susan are not eligible for GP points as they ran as NFR. If I’d run today, as DFR, as I’d planned, I would’ve been ineligible too. To be eligible for GP points you must run as a Strider.

(Visited 74 times, 1 visits today)

Nine Standards Fell Race, Kirkby Stephen, Tuesday, January 1, 2019

BM 8mile; 549m climb

Nigel Heppell

A straightforward out and back again fell race starting from Kirby Stephen marketplace.
Hosted by Howgill Harriers.

.

Unusually warm, dry and sunny conditions meant this was a very runnable race.

See if you can work out where the summit lies on the chart below –

Results

1st J Cox (Eden runners) 00:53:17
62 Geoff Davis (NFR) 1:09:08 1st V60
70 Penny Browell 1:10:17
145 Nigel Heppell 1:22:55
166 Dougie Nisbet 1:29:16
196 finishers

(Visited 121 times, 1 visits today)

Simonside Cairns, Sunday, December 10, 2017

11 miles/540 m

Scott Watson

Beautiful day for a fell race – but icy cold! So cold that I immediately regretted leaving my gloves in the bumbag as we ran up the tracks towards the fells. My fingers were absolutely numb though everything else felt perfectly OK.

As far as I can remember, this was my first fell race since my Bob Graham in July although I’ve trained on them (the fells) a couple of times. I felt really good after having two unplanned days off and just swimming yesterday (still quite a hard session though).

I started right at the back (also unplanned) as it’s a really restricted start in an alleyway and I turned up on the line later than I would have liked (last I think). However, the race very quickly reaches a road so there’s loads of opportunity to overtake without burning too many matches. If you’ve no chance of winning then starting at the back is often quite a good strategy because it makes you feel like a bit of a god, striding imperiously past mere mortals – until you hit the point where you belong.

Before then I passed Geoff Davis quietly going about his business in his own unmistakable style then further up onto the fell I passed Mark Davinson from Derwentside, so I felt that I was going quite well. In fact, I was running quite strongly up the initial slopes passing many who were already walking – and feeling much more relaxed than I’d expected.

When we hit the fells it was apparent what the theme of the race was going to be: ice! It was everywhere, often in wide sheets, very slippery and HARD! All of the water channels that typically run along and across upland paths had frozen solid in the minus temperatures and wind chill and to step on a smooth piece was always going to end in tears. I hit the deck a couple of times but with no damage other than to my pride.

My particular problem, as soon as I got onto the fells, turned out to be a basic error: I hadn’t put the all-important extra twist in my laces and both immediately came undone when the heather began tugging at them. By this time I was running competitively with a couple of guys from NFR and others and because my shoes still felt fairly secure (Inov-8 X-talon 200s – I love them) I decided to see how far I could get. If it had been boggy I’d have had to stop or I’d literally have lost them. Remarkably, whilst they certainly didn’t feel secure, neither did they feel like we were going to part company and so on I went.

By the time we got round to the back of the course and the climb over the cairns with its stunning views (which I never saw) three of us had broken away though it turns out that there was somebody behind me that was closer than I thought. I was going much better than I’d anticipated and whilst the other guys looked like they were basically faster than me I was right behind them on the climbs, still comfortably running where they were walking, although I had to continue likewise as it involved too much effort to get past in the heather. However, when we reached the tops they very gradually pulled away and that was that.

Much of the long descent to the finish is now on very good, constructed paths obviously put there to prevent further erosion to, what I remember as being, almost muddy tunnels when I last did this race. Now my quads really began to protest. It was simply lack of specific condition but it was more uncomfortable than I would have thought possible. To make matters worse I could hear this guy closing on me so it was going to be fast to the finish and bugger the quads – I’d have to find some other way of walking afterwards.

I pulled away a bit on the last major undulation where I passed a lone walker at the top of the descent of the final fell who for some reason felt the need to tell me that both shoelaces were undone. Blimey, I hadn’t realised! I was actually a bit more uncharitable than that (in my mind) but I’m sure she thought she was helping. Then, almost immediately afterwards, charging down the descent, I hit the deck again when my legs just shot from under me on unseen ice. I was back up almost immediately, shaken and stirred after uncomfortably wrenching a couple of bits and pieces. It was all the guy behind me needed to squeeze by but as we weren’t too far from the finish he must have realised he was going to have to put a shift in.

Personally, unless I was absolutely sure of the situation, I’d have waited until the last descent and raced to the narrow bridge over the river because there’s not much opportunity to pass after that and so you can shorten the race by a hundred metres or so. As so often happens though, once he’d come past it was relatively easy to sit in but I couldn’t help passing him on the last short climb. So I just thought, “get it all out and see what happens”. Nothing – was the answer. That’s the way it stayed until the bridge when the game was effectively over. I was perfectly ready to accept being pipped but was pleased to have only lost the two places after the race had begun in earnest.

Despite the vast amounts of nervous concentration required it was a really good event made all the more enjoyable by the conditions. Not sure where I came but I think I did OK and made third V50, beating the first V45 in the process (I was 13th out of 87 competitors & 3rd V50 in 1:38:51)! Came away smelling of Roses (the Cadbury’s variety).

PositionNameCategoryTime
1Matthew Seddon
Pudsey/Bramley
M Sen1.24.00
23Emma Holt
Morpeth
F Sen1.42.56
13Scott WatsonM 501.38.51
31Geoff DaviesM 601.45.38

(Visited 30 times, 1 visits today)

Simonside Fell Race, Saturday, September 16, 2017

BM / 11km / 350m

Anita Wright

Anita, Anna and Catherine (neatly in alphabetical order!)

This race is of particular significance for me. My parents started the race as a memorial to my brother, Mark, who was killed in a road accident in 1981. It is the reason why I run.

In 1982, as a thank-you to the villagers of Thropton for all their support and for turning-out en-masse for his funeral, my parents thought it would be a fitting memorial to organise a fell race as part of the village show. The show committee agreed to his request provided that my parents took on the entire organisation – all the marshalling, timekeeping, route marking etc. Every friend, acquaintance and relative was co-opted.

My Dad wrote recently that he remembers all of the names of the runners who participated in that first race in 1982. The names kept cropping up again and again over the years. Runners really loved and supported the race over the many years that the family were involved with it – many of those runners were Striders.

A few years after the race started up, I was co-opted into ‘computerising’ the entries and results. Being the only person with access to a ‘portable’ PC in the mid ‘80s (a Toshiba that weighed approximately the same as a small lorry) and knowledge of spread-sheets, I got ‘stuck’ in a caravan adding entries and times for the entire day.

Having done that for several years, I decided that there was nothing in the world that could be worse, or more stressful, than dealing with up to 300 fell runners banging on the caravan door pestering for results. It was time to take up running.

When Thropton Show moved to its present site in 1992, despite an extra mile and a road crossing being added, there was a bonus – the addition of the river crossing (out and back), which immediately became a feature.

In 2008, after 25 years of managing the race, my parents handed over the organisation to Morpeth Harriers and, more recently, the very capable hands of Phil Green from Heaton Harriers.

Fast forward to 2017 – The Return….

I arrived on the show-field early on Saturday and paid my £2 entry fee for the race.

Arrival of the Strider Posse!

The weather was atrocious, I was nervous and was just about to ‘turn tail’ and head for home, when the Strider posse, in the shape of Catherine, Anna, Geoff and Susan ‘rode over the horizon’ to save the day. I’ve never been so happy to see purple in my life.

Phil Green delivered the safety briefing and announced that the river crossing was ‘off- limits’ as the river was 4 to 5 feet deep. The announcement was greeted with much disappointment by all but one runner (me).

As the race started, the clouds parted, the rain cleared and we were blessed with the most tremendous views.

The first mile was steady and relatively flat with me driving Catherine on at an unsustainable Park Run pace (nerves got the better of me). Any time benefit gained from my Usain Bolt start was quickly lost as we started to climb. Accompanying the climb was an increase in the angle of incline, the number of obstacles and the mud.

The pièce de résistance of the 3 miles of steep uphill running, came in the form of a scramble up the crags to the summit. The path is much improved from the days when our family initiated the race, but nonetheless is topped off with a final pull up with both hand and knees.

On reaching the summit, it was wonderful to be greeted by my Dad who’d set off earlier to cheer us on.

The short stretch of path across the summit was particularly breath-taking; to the right are views all the way to the Northumberland coast, to the left, expansive views of the Cheviots (and the show-field 3 ½ miles away).

The scramble back down the crags was a bit hair-raising, followed by a short stretch of track and then on to the forest break (mostly mud and dense heather). More downhill and crags followed before hitting a stretch of forest road.

At this point the marking-up of the course left a bit to be desired and it became clear that many runners had inadvertently struck out their own routes back – fundamentally, however, so long as you keep going down, you can’t go wrong.

Deep Purple

It did, nevertheless, work to the advantage of Catherine and me as we made up a couple of places.

There was a brief ‘discussion’ with 2 hikers on the way down, who accused us of cheating, as we’d not followed the crowd of runners who’d gone in the wrong direction. They were clearly oblivious to just how perilously close they were to being punched in the mouth and being told where to ‘stick’ their advice. Out of all the runners on the route on Saturday, I’m pretty sure that given we’d initiated the race 31 years ago, I know the route!!

I’m very biased, of course, but this is a fabulous race (especially on a clear day), with a huge amount of variation and stunning views. I highly recommend it for next year.

nameagePOSITIONtime
Kurt Heron
(Ashington Hurst)
SM151.18
Karen Robertson
(NFR)
FV402062.55
Geoff Davis
(NFR)
V602864.57
Susan Davis
(NFR)
FV505577.22
Anita WrightFV566891.38
Catherine SmithFV406991.39
(Visited 167 times, 1 visits today)

Saltergate Gallows, Sunday, November 6, 2016

BM / 10.6 miles / 1411 feet

Penny Browell

A typical Dave Parry prize giving, from Saltergate Gallows 2011This is one of the Esk Valley races which I’d always fancied as it starts in Levisham, a lovely village where I’d been on holiday a few years ago. A few weeks before the race it was announced that this year’s would be run as a memorial to Dave Parry, who had been the face of Esk Valley races for years and had recently very sadly lost his battle with cancer. After hearing this I decided that although I’m cutting down on races, this would be one to put in the diary.

As the day approached the weather forecast was not the best – a part of me was quite pleased though as it had been a while since I’d run a race in bad weather and I do always enjoy the extra challenges it can present. However as we drove down I reminded myself you should be careful what you wish for. The rain was heavy and the winds strong and I started to wonder whether I really wanted to run in this. On arrival the rain kept coming and going – I think I must have changed my mind about whether to wear my waterproof about 5 times but when we lined up at the start and it started to hail I realised I had to face the fact that this was going to be a wet one… There was a decent turnout of Striders to pay their respects to Dave and the cheer when his name was mentioned went on for a good long while as was fitting. It didn’t feel right to be running one of these races without him there to send us off..

But off we went and within a couple of hundred metres I felt terrible. The race starts with a hill and I just felt exhausted straight away. I had hoped to try and stay somewhere near Geoff and Tom but they sped away and out of view within minutes… Once we were off the track and into proper fell racing I started to enjoy myself more. OK it wasn’t going to be my best race ever but I could still make the most of being in this lovely part of the world. The race is a kind of figure of 8 and really has a bit of everything – some fairly steep climbs, nice descents and a reasonable amount of track where you can get a bit of speed. As I settled in I started to pick off a few runners and on a long steady climb I spotted Geoff ahead of me and wondered whether I had it in me to make this the race I pay him back for James Herriot earlier this year. To be fair he had run more than 20 miles in the Lakes the day before but still I’ll take any situation to try and get a victory! So at the top of the hill I did indeed pass him, only for him to get me back on the descent…. At about the 6 mile mark there was a steeper climb through knee deep mud. I smiled to myself as I remembered asking Tom whether he thought it would be muddy and he’d given me a look as if to say “Are you mad?”. This was proper mud, rain, wind and everything and I was loving it! On this climb I managed to pass Geoff again who murmured something about it being all downhill from here. I thought that seemed unlikely since we still had more than 4 miles to go but carried on. (It later turned out Geoff had his watch on km rather than miles and thought the race was nearly over!)

The last part of the race was fairly easy with nothing too steep and less difficult underfoot – although there were some impressive puddles a couple of which had me submerged up to my thighs. As I slowly picked off more runners I spotted Shelli Gordon ahead. For those who don’t know Shelli, she is an amazing runner who wins pretty much all of the Hardmoors races. I tucked in behind her as I didn’t think I had a chance of beating her but as there wasn’t far to go and I still felt good I decided to chance it. Once I was past her I noticed someone else I recognised way ahead of me. With not far to go and a fairly flat last half a mile I thought I should try and catch him. I’ve only ever managed to beat Tom when he fell at Captain Cook’s and it would make my day to manage it today after such a shocking start. However there were still about 6 people between us and a long distance. I started to make ground, passing a couple of people but then he turned and saw me and immediately sped up! I did my best to catch him, passing the remaining 4 or 5 people who separated us and doing my best to sprint the last section back into the village but it was not to be. I did however pick up a prize for third lady and very much enjoyed my cake and tea in the village hall afterwards.

Esk Valley races are always a joy – great atmosphere and for anyone who hasn’t run fell races before they are a perfect introduction. Plus at £5 to enter what’s not to like…

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Catpos Time
1 Harry Holmes York Knavesmire MO 1 75.02
20 Helen Cross Individual FO 1 95.08
26 Tom Reeves M50 4 98.21
27 Penny Browell F40 1 98.39
29 Shelli Gordon New Marske Harriers FO 2 99.22
43 Michael Bennett M60 1 105.50
64 Nigel Heppells* M60 5 118.08
88 Anita Clementson F45 4 148.38
94 Jan Young F60 DNF

93 finishers
*Nigel Heppell. Two Ps Two Ls. And now an extra S as well. You can never have too many Nigels.

(Visited 39 times, 1 visits today)

Weasdale Horseshoe, Ravenstonedale Show Field, Newbiggin on Lune, Saturday, August 20, 2016

BM / 8.7m / 2001ft

Jack Lee

“It’s a wonderful day in the West Dales” I tell myself as the wind and rain slam into my body so hard that it makes me stumble on the final ascent of Randygill Top (624m). The rain feels like needles on my face as I pump my legs up the steep bank with my hands pushing my legs down to help power me upwards. Any fatigue and pain in my muscles hidden by the pain; all my clothing had long since been soaked through.

The day had started with optimism, Mike Hughes and I discussing in the back of the car the likelihood of good weather during the race. As we got closer to Ravenstonedale the weather got steadily worse until it was clear the rain was set in for the day. When we reached the agricultural show, the race was starting from, we found registration in a metal horsebox next to the start line and a couple tents were set up next to the horsebox for runners to hide under. We retired to the car to change with both Geoff and I opting to wear our vests and numbers over rain jackets with Mike and Susan opting to wear theirs underneath and flash their numbers at the marshals as they ran by.

Mike electing for wearing the outside in.After sometime spent hiding from the rain waiting for a married couple from the Howgill Harriers to turn up before the race could begin the race started at a fast gallop and I remember hoping that the pace would drop soon which it fortunately did. The first mile or so felt more like cross country then a fell race with mud and a few streams to cross. I stepped in a puddle that looked shallow but went halfway up my shin. It wasn’t long though until the ascent of Hooksey began with most runners alternating between a jog on the reasonable sections and a quick hike with arms pumping legs on the steeper sections. It took a while after that but eventually Hooksey was conquered and I could set my gaze to Randygill Top, well I would have if rain had allowed me to see straight. In reality I was trying to blink away the stinging drops of rain, running with my eyes half closed. I had started with a compass in one hand and map in the other, attempting to “thumb” the map as I went but I had good idea of the route from looking at it in the car so by this point had shoved the map in my pocket

Suddenly the land dropped away with a steep descent and an equally steep ascent up a rough grass track with muddy foot holes worn in. Fortunately, however, the climb didn’t last too long and soon I was shouting (the wind was very loud) my number at the marshals while trying to run off in the wrong direction with another runner called Brian, we were soon pointed East towards Green Bell (605m). The wind that had been in my face the whole climb was now at my back and I was able to stride downhill and then was blown the whole way up to the top of Green Bell. After Green Bell the descent started in earnest. It was glorious, a chance to stride downhill over grass and rocky tracks, that were more like fast-running becks. This is where the true fell runners I had been ahead of up to then gained twenty or so yards. When we got back to the mile or so “cross country” section that had been the start I had to stop twice to tie my shoelaces and lost a minute or so and two hard earned places.

Tentus not-erectus.At this point I had been running in tough (to say the least) conditions for over an hour and was beginning to run out of puff. I had been feeling strong up until this point but now was feeling the fatigue set in. Lucky for me it wasn’t far to the finish line, even though the last hundred metres was uphill and I finished in 1hr 16m (and 19s). After a quick jog to Geoff and Susan’s car I grabbed my phone and went back to the start line to see if I photo the other’s finishing moments. There was no point changing clothes as the rain was still heavy enough that anything I put on would have been drenched before I made it back to the car again. I found Geoff had already finished and we waited for the other two. Soon Susan came storming (which seemed appropriate) through to the finish line and at the same time the tent was blown from above myself and Geoff’s heads, narrowly missing a woman with a child in her arms. Mike came over the line half a minute later. Then after warming up, drying off and some food we head for home. The conditions had been a through test of determination and fitness but I never gave up and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of what was my first proper fell race (Swaledale doesn’t count apparently).

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Catpos Time
1 Todd Oates Ambleside AC MOpen 01:05:43
14 Jack Lee MOpen 01:16:19
18 Nina Walkingshaw Howgill Harriers FOpen 01:19:27
29 Geoff Davis NFR MV50 01:23:17
47 Susan Davis NFR FV50 01:36:40
48 Mike Hughes MV40 01:37:11

56 finishers

(Visited 34 times, 1 visits today)

Cronkley Fell Race, Holwick, Teesdale, Sunday, June 26, 2016

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. King/Queen of the Mountain Race - click flag for more information. BM / 16.9km 535m

Penny Browell

cronkley penny cronkley tom Now I’m not the best at navigating but I was pretty sure I’d be ok with this race for a couple of reasons – it’s an out and back race (in pretty much a straight line) and I’d done it last year. So how could I go wrong? This is exactly the question I was asking myself as I stood in the midst of some bracken on the way back which definitely hadn’t been there on the way out. I looked ahead and behind and there were no runners to be seen anywhere. So I got out my map, stopped and looked at it in the vague hope it would magically burst into life and tell me which way to go.

Sadly it didn’t. And it didn’t appear to show any of the fences I’d passed so I decided to go for my usual technique when lost – keep running and hope it’s in vaguely the right direction. After a few minutes of gradually getting more worried I eventually spotted some people running a couple of hundred metres away from me so I headed over to where they were. The marshals looked bemused as I arrived at a checkpoint from completely the wrong direction. I was relieved to see them but the competitor in me had to ask “How many places have I lost?”. “Five” they said “but you’re still first lady”. That was some compensation but I knew my chances of a PB were slipping away.

cronkley winnersAfter a slightly disappointing patch in my running due to minor injuries and tiredness I wanted this to be the race where I proved to myself I could still run well. The first half had gone reasonably well – I felt strongish on the climb and the descent seemed less difficult than last year (recent runs in the Lakes have obviously affected my perceptions of what a steep hill is). But then came the river. The river crossing in this race is really not pleasant. You have to get all the way across the Tees in water up to your thigh (on me anyway) and the rocks are unbelievably slippy. It took me forever to get over to the crocodile and back so by the time I was out of the river I’d almost been caught by the guy behind me and I knew I was losing time.

cronkley susan cronkley stephThe joy of out and back races is that you get to see all of your competitors. Having seen the front runners speed past me prior to the river, it was lovely to see both Susan and Steph on the way back and to be encouraged by the marshals that I was still in the top 10. Looking at my watch I figured I was on for a PB.

Sadly it was soon after this that everything went wrong. Having lost 5 places and several minutes it was hard to stay motivated; I managed to get past 3 of the 5 but was still a long way off where I wanted to be. The long track to the end seemed to go on forever and when I finally crossed the line I was greeted by looks of “what happened to you???”.

Results aren’t out yet but according to my watch I was about 12 seconds slower than last year. I have to say I was somewhat gutted but the disappointment soon passed with a drink in the pub and a couple of goodies for being first lady (this is a very small race so being first wasn’t a massive achievement!). Tom and Susan also picked up prizes for winning their categories and Steph was given a spot prize for her unusual way of crossing the river… So all in all a fun day out. It’s a great race but for me it has a bit too much road and track at the start and end. And obviously they need to make the route a bit less complicated!

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High Cup Nick, Dufton, Saturday, February 27, 2016

BM / 9.3 miles / 1509 ft

Camilla Laurén-Määttä

This is a race I’ve always wanted to do but somehow it has always clashed with cross country. This year it did overlap with the XC Nationals, so with the number of Striders heading to Dufton this year the Striders XC team was probably smaller than it could have been. We added up to a total of 9 Striders, both runners (Anita, Debs, Diane, Catherine, Nigel, I) and a bunch of injured but enthusiastic walkers/cheer-leaders (Mandy, Joan, Jan). Mandy and I arrived early, but there was already a solid queue building up inside Dufton Village Hall waiting to register – and a cake stall at the back of the hall selling delicious cakes and tea. The other Striders arrived soon after and there was enough time to take a group picture and scuttle round the village green a bit.

traditional group pic (thanks to Catherine Smith)

High Cup Nick is quite a popular fell race so there were around 350 runners setting off from the village hall after a safety talk, where I had to guess the content (don’t get lost/shot/run over by sheep?) as I was standing quite far back. We set off along the village road and then turned left towards Bow Hall Farm. The field was similar to that of Esk Valley Fell races in North Yorkshire – reasonably experienced runners but with a variety of paces. After the farm, we turned left onto a footpath following a stone wall along the fields for about 0.5 mile and then turning left onto a wider track. After a while the route turned right onto a narrow path with Stud Gill on the left and a tarn on the right and onto moorland with a tow of runners heading towards the majestic whin sill rocks at High Cup Nick.

We kept running high with the footpath only gradually descending towards a stone wall where the route turned to follow the wall. Fellrunning and dry feet don’t go well together, so now it was high time to get our feet wet by wading over the water-covered stepping stones. We continued trotting along the path and after crossing a little bridge we ended up ploughing through a field of large boulders. I was concentrating on keeping up with the lady in front of me, as the slope gradually steepened, following the steps in the clay. I had recced the route earlier, with my keen dog helpfully pulling me up the slope, but now I had to resort to a bit of scrambling. I didn’t stop to look round me this time, but I knew from last time that the views were fantastic, with the beck meandering down the valley and with solid wave-shaped cliff formations on both sides.

I was now standing at the top of High Cup Nick and the rest of the route mostly followed the Pennine Way. The lady in front of me had pushed away during the climb, but with the help of gravity I now managed to get away a bit faster leaving her behind, but being overtaken by a man in red who had struggled with the climb. Somewhere along the way there was some cheerful shouting from Jan, Mandy and Joan which kept me going. After a few miles of descent it was time to turn off to the right, away from the Pennine Way and across some muddy farmers’ fields and past a rather frozen marshal. I had worried about getting lost at the last bit which went over private land and I therefore hadn’t recced, but with all the coloured flags marking the route I couldn’t have got lost even if I had tried. The route led up in between a few houses and finished off near the village green. Nigel had already arrived and the rest of the Striders’ pack was not far behind. The soup and roll included in the £7 entry fee made this a good value

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