Category Archives: Will Horsley

Swaledale Marathon, Reeth, Saturday, June 14, 2014

23.2M / 4,128'

Anita Clementson, Will Horsley

Anita Clementson …

Elvet Striders – Tour de Force at Swaledale

My third attempt at this gem of a run. Rolling hills, fabulous views, checkpoints which would give any WI cake stall a run for their money and of course the cracking company.

A really well organised event from start to finish, on its 35th year so I guess they have had lots of practice. They even had a nice shiney new shuttle bus to take smellie runners back to the car park just outside Reeth post race.

Swaledale Sunshine. Great to see such a good turnout and mix of striders, from the very experienced Will, Dougie, Maggie, Andrew T and Mandy to striders taking the plunge for the first time on a longer distance fell event namely Camilla, Lucy, Kerry, Denise & Helen. A few striders choosing to take the walking option were Roz, Barry & Christine. Also Angela teamed up with Sue who was pacing herself salvaging energy for the Rosedale marathon on the following day!

Swaledale Selfie. The morning started off feeling quite warm with the clouds giving a slight promise of the sun making an appearance at some point. Runners and walkers gathered for the ‘grande departe’ at the foot of fremington edge. We were off but no mad dash with elbows out, no, this was a walk and a queue up the hill with runners politely by-passing the walkers. In reality this only lasted about 5 mins then we were making good ascent up the edge and once on the top the race really began as there is a lovely long stretch slightly downhill to Langthwaite. I was running with Camilla and Lucy and it was their first Swaledale. My aim was to get under 5 hours and better last years time of 5.21. Pacing was on plan as we hit the next climb upto Punchard, felt good but bloody hot! The miles just seemed to tick by really comfortably, running with company was really enjoyable and we passed quite a few other striders on our way having a quick chat and also chit chat with other fellow runners. This is one of the absolute highlights of this type of event, it is relaxed and everyone’s out for a good days run taking on the challenge soaking it all in.

Climb out of Gunnerside. A cake fest at checkpoint after a bit squelchy Punchard, pass through ‘moonscape’ then a grassy descent to Gunnerside with a couple of really cheeky steep banks thrown in (unfortunately cramp set in for Camilla at this point). Re-fuelled with more cake and tea here for the last stretch. Was fab to see Jan Young & hubbie next cheering us all on (hope you will be running next year Jan), this was a real boost. Lucy was running really strong as she had plenty left in the tank for a good finish so at the next checkpoint Surrender Bridge she bounced off into the distance. I’d forgotten the last section, even though it’s mostly downhill it is quite stoney so requires a fair bit of concentration and effort to not fall flat on your face! I was still on track for achieving my desired time, the rocky path finally came to an end and a Marshall shouted ‘300 metres to go’. Dodging the throng of cyclists doing a reccie of stage 1 of the TDF, I ran as hard as I could, past the crowd outside The Buck Inn and all the finished runners lying on the grass, cheering everyone in, what a finish! Will was first strider home and 4th male, Jon A , Mike H & Aaron all gaining PB’s. Mandy & Jules 1st strider ladies home with Lucy 3rd. David Brown, David Selby & Rachel strong finish times on first Swaledale. Ladies team 2nd overall, Men’s team 4th.

Aye, a grand day out in all.

Panoramic Finish.

… Will Horsley

Swaledale from near the front

From the very start a couple of fellas made their intentions clear and were pretty much out of sight by checkpoint 1. Did catch one last glimpse of them on the climb up Punchard Moor and they were still on each other’s heels. It looks like they pushed each other to very quick times. For the chasing pack we settled into a steady rhythm and took turns in leading, with me usually leading the climbs. Eventually me and a lad from Newton Aycliffe, Dez, pulled a small way ahead and pushed each other round for good finishing times. Indeed Dez acted as a superb guide when it came to the descent to Gunnerside. We both slowed up badly in the final few miles with Dez staying just that little bit sharper than me. Conditions were very humid at the start and dehydration was clearly going to be a concern. It stayed warm all day but conditions dried out. It was cool and very damp underfoot on the top at Punchard Moor. This was a fantastically organised event with cheerful marshals and supporters, nice conditions, beautiful surroundings and a huge number of striders. It was also great to see Jan, Tony and Pam out on the course cheering on the striders and others. I gave this race everything and am still recovering now but it was worth it. So proud to be a part of this club, which looks like we had the greatest number of entries and took 4th men’s and 2nd women’s team positions. Stride on!

Is there something else happening soon?


Pos Name Club Cat CatPos Time
1 Tony Lambert Swaledale R M 03:00
4 William Horsley M 03:18
19 Jane McCarthy Ilkley F40 03:35
48 Jon Ayres M 04:07
60 Michael Hughes M 04:16
78 Aaron Gourley M 04:28
96 David Brown M 04:34
97 Mandy Dawson F40 04:34
98 Juliet Percival F40 04:34
127 Lucy Cowton F 04:49
135 Anita Clementson F40 04:53
142 Rachael Bullock F 04:59
143 David Selby M 04:59
152 Paul Foster M50 05:02
183 Camilla Lauren-Maatta F40 05:18
189 Andrew Thompson M 05:20
196 Dougie Nisbet M50 05:21
271 Phil Layton M50 06:18
275 Margaret Thompson F40 06:20
302 Sue Jennings F40 06:39
303 Angela Proctor F 06:39
360 Christine Anne Farnsworth F40 07:21
361 Barrie John Evans M50 07:21
370 Roz Layton F40 07:30
372 Denise Benvin F40 07:31
373 Helen Allen F40 07:31
374 Kerry Lister F40 07:31

436 finishers

(Visited 67 times, 1 visits today)

Sedgefield Harriers Summer Handicap, Fishburn, Thursday, July 19, 2012

7 miles

Will Horsley

Strider’s present: 3; Mel Hudson, Will Horsley and John Greathead. Conditions: Wet, muddy, warm, overgrown, lots of stings and scratches and mouthfuls of flies. Feel: Friendly but competitive, small number of participants. Plenty of anticipation building up at start due to the handicap system so later runners can see those who start ahead and know who they have to chase as well as seeing who is left and knowing who will chase them. I set-off on the maximum handicap at about 7:30pm with two other runners both from the organising club. I managed to pull out a small lead over them which I extended a little bit over the course. I have done this race two or three times before both winter and summer and usually start picking off the back markers in Bishop Middleham at about 3 miles.

Not this time. Didn’t start overtaking until the home straight at about 4 miles and never caught my fellow Striders. I did manage to hold off the two lads who started with me. I was convinced they were right behind me all the way and this meant I worked harder than I had really wanted to but at the line I had a comfortable margin. I duly secured the fastest time on the night and a bottle of wine. Still two minutes slower than when I did the race in January in absolutely freezing conditions. I was not surprised to be slower due to general lack of running and racing, but also because the ground was incredibly boggy and slippery in several places. I don’t mind this, being a fell runner at heart and I reckon it slowed my rivals down more than it did me. Mel was ahead of her handicap time, a great effort especially considering she did the Clamber the night before. John must have been pretty much spot on his handicap, also a good effort in the sludge, whereas I was about two minutes over but I got a bottle of wine. For a free race there were surprisingly few Striders present, but I guess that’s the Clamber effect. Sedgefield were also right down on numbers as it clashed with a local party for one of their soon to be departing members – I would have thought a friendly club handicap race would have been the perfect send-off.

Looking forward to the next Winter edition. Also, Sedgefield Serpentine race on 9th Sept, not free though.

(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)

Will’s Ridiculous Howgills Run, Nr. Sedbergh, Sunday, February 19, 2012

40 miles

Will Horsley

Want to see pretty much the entire Howgills in one day? Well, the Harvey Howgill Tops round will lead you to just that. This route involves visiting all the tops of more than 400 metres marked on the Harvey’s map of the Howgills plus one other to make a round number of 40. Yes, it is that silly. I had spotted this some months ago on the gofar website and thought I might have a go … one day. And that day came around sooner than I had expected as by coincidence Nigel was planning a club weekend in the Howgills. My first thought was who else could I rope into such a ridiculous outing and Tom Reeves immediately sprung to mind. Alas, he was not available. I had briefly mentioned potentially doing this run to Nigel, who had taken it as confirmed and from there it began to build a momentum all of its own so that I could not back out without losing considerable face. I had some concerns – firstly, it comes in at about 40 miles perhaps a bit less depending on navigation, secondly it also soaks up 10,000 feet of ascent, and thirdly most of the territory would be new to me and I would have no time to recce. As the date approached other concerns emerged; a persistent cold, the return of a long standing knee injury, general lack of fitness and training for the event, and the weather. I then had a late change of date imposed upon me by Mrs H but this proved most fortuitous as Saturday 18th February proved to be pretty awful even by Howgill standards, and Sunday 19th February, my new date, delivered brilliant weather by anyone’s standards.

After a terrible night’s sleep and a pretty dodgy breakfast I departed Fell End Bunk House at 8am for Cross Keys on the Cautley Road. After an inadvertent detour I set off from my car for Wandale, top #1, at 08:20:00 exactly. I was following the suggested route and direction, which was anticlockwise. Was aiming to complete in 8 to 10 hours, but felt it would be nearer 10. Felt crap even on the first hill and it wasn’t until the third top, Knott (1 – the last top is also called Knott), that I began to get some decent momentum going. I was having GPS problems right from the start and this was a concern as I was counting on this as my primary means of navigation, to verify I was on the right ‘top’ and to record my route and times. I had to give up on the damned thing entirely after Green Bell (top #5) and it now appears dead. So, it was down to me to navigate using an OS 1:50K map print-out.

The Howgills! Fortunately there was not a single cloud in the sky and it was so cold and clear that I could navigate the entire thing by sight. A couple of times I did get my compass out just to check I had the map the right way up. The cold held another advantage; large tracts which would normally be boggy were frozen solid and I could glance across them swiftly and keep my feet dry. Towards the end of the day I did hit a bit more bog, on lower and more sheltered sections, but by then I was beyond caring. Slight cock-up with top #8, Hocksey, after hitting #9 first, Randygill, but reckon that only cost me a few minutes in total. Got to Simon’s Seat, top #16, in 3h30, so I was 30 mins up on my imaginary schedule. One of the problems with OS 1:50K is that useful detail is missing, such as whether a blue line is a stream or a river. A few turned out to be rivers. It’s also not as easy to judge how steep something is; the descent off Langdale Knott, top #14, was very steep. Many of the ascents were also a lot steeper than I had thought. The section out to Rispa Pike and Hare Shaw, tops 19 and 21, was a drag but I consoled myself knowing that I had already taken in my most easterly, northerly and westerly tops now. Blease Fell, top #22, actually the most westerly, was by far the least inspiring place. The top was unmarked so I picked the highest bit of bog around and claimed that. In fact, several of the tops were unmarked, most were marked by pathetic little piles of stones sometimes only four or five in number, but around the Calf, top #31, things got a bit more impressive with trig points, cairns and monuments. On to Uldale Head, #23, was pleasant going and I had done that section quicker than expected, so was feeling confident. Round to Lingshaw, #24, came up nicely but I was now exposed into the stiff and very cold breeze. At Brown Moor, #25, I had to remove a sock (was wearing two pairs) as it had disintegrated and was beginning to cause a blister. Glad I didn’t leave it any longer. The next climb up to Fell Head, #26, was by far the hardest of the day being very cold, steep and on rough ground. I had to pause a few times but I knew that once on the top I would only have one proper hard climb left (Crook, #38, to Sickers Fell, #39). Cobles, #28, was an unwelcome detour off the obvious line and a loss of 100m which promptly had to be regained. Much colder and stronger winds on the hilltop ridge so I changed to a proper waterproof which did the trick (had previously been wearing a pertex windproof). Clouds forming overhead now too but they didn’t look threatening. The hilltop highway from The Calf, #31, to Sedbergh was a welcome relief from tussocks but most of the tops required diversion off this to find yet another small pile of pebbles to claim as a top. Spirits were really high now and I hit Bram Rigg, #32, bang on 7h. Great Dummacks, #33, was also quite a detour, but was onto good paths again and could smell the finish line. The Nab, #36, round to Winder, #37, was tough as it involved a long and steep traverse and the aforementioned injured knee was getting very sore. Crook, #38, which I hit just before 5pm, to Sickers Fell, #39, was much harder than it appeared on the map with the dissecting stream further set in a steep sided gully. Had to head back up the gulley quite some way before I found a good crossing point but the top came up easy. Now it was all downhill via Knott (2), #40, to a bridleway to carry me home. But this was to be the most frustrating part of the day. Firstly, getting onto the bridleway itself was a challenge worthy of Bear Grylls and then once on it I had to contend with an undulating mud-fest churned up by mountain bikers and repeatedly interrupted with gates. Not what you want at the end of a run like this. Progress was slow, jog 10 – walk 10, and that blasted Cross Keys Inn just didn’t seem to be getting any closer. ‘Oh how sweet that beer will taste’. [As it happens, Will, the beer would have been entirely absent! The place is a ‘Temperance Inn’. Ed. ] Got to car at 17:44:50, total time of 09:24:50 (so we’ll call it 9h25 then). Phew. Changed, topped up with full sugar coke and the remaining uneaten bun (still tasted awful), and off to pub … to find it was closed! The ultimate insult after all of that. Oh well, £5 saved. Back in car, James Brown on the stereo, and ‘Hello, what’s this?’ A KitKat and a cereal bar under my wiper blades. Nice touch.

Best climb of the day was Yarlside, #11, which delivered quite unexpected drama from reading the map. I consumed six energy gels, a handful of Kendle Mint cake and one and a half small cheese-spread rolls during the whole thing. That’s less than I would normally have for lunch just sitting at a computer all day and perhaps I could work on food consumption if I do another ultra run in the future. I do wonder what these sorts of challenges do to the body; the joints (my knee is very sore), the heart and the kidneys. I only hope the mental benefit outweighs the physical damage.

Although I am an active member of Northumberland Fell Runners, and it is through them I usually end up doing daft things like this, I claim this run for my other club, Elvet Striders, as they are the team which gave me the opportunity and support for this particular challenge. Thanks Elvet!

(Visited 215 times, 1 visits today)

Sedgefield Winter Handicap, Sunday, January 15, 2012

6.5 miles

Mike Elliott …

At 1000 on a cold and frosty morning, a grand group of 14 Striders mustered in Fishburn’s Workmans Club along with 51 others to pick up their numbers and race briefing for the Sedgefield winter handicap. Kick off was just down the road on a white covered hill, started with Sue, Angela, Joanne, Jayne, and Joanne following in the footsteps of the race director who had walked the course earlier and reported no problems.

Will receives his prize.
photo courtesy and © David Mitchell

Picked up the old railway line which had some uncomfortable ruts especially where the gates crossed the track. A 1.5m stretch along this sheltered cutting it was easier to run on the frost covered grass than the well worn track, passed Holdforth Farm and Bridge [could have been ‘Drop Five Farm’ oh dear country humour], to the marshalls showing us to turn right along the farm track passing dog walkers on the way who were muffled up to the eye balls as it was -2°C, the dogs were sensible and had their fur coats on.

Then it was a loup ower the farmers barricade and between the two cars and on up the hill to the next set of marshalls, mam with 2 little kids who were encouraging us to keep warm saying we should run faster.

Across the farmers field missing what looked like frozen sausages [it was dog crap], sharp right and on up the hill passing Town End Farm into Bishop Middleham were we were spied on by the local photographer. A short stretch of footpath down to the next marshall who pointed left up the tarmac hill only to go down again. Another left turn onto a track taking us passed a little lake or big pond up the steps across the bridge up the steps more friendly marshalls pointing left onto the track and the way home. Further along the track we came to a cross roads, not to worry this time big kid marshalls pointing straight on through the sheltered cutting and then I was passed by Will Horsely going like a steam train [see why in the results], on to the bottom of the starting hill, all the way to the top [of course] with a little 100 yards down hill to the finish.

We all finished within five minutes of each other then followed the race directors instructions to go back to the CLUB for the presentation, liquid and solid refreshments. O.K. as we had all ran our guts off we got back before opening time it had to be Tea, Coffee or Water.

First home was 16th Will Horsely in a run time of 37.06 and received a trophy and a bottle of wine [which he did not share] for being the Fastest Man. 26th Mike Elliott 59.05, 27th John Hutchinson 59.15, 31st Sue Jennings 59.51, 37th Angela Protecter 60.11, 46th Richard Hocking 46.28, 49th Greta Jones 56.53, 51st Joanne Porter 62.08, 52rd Jayne Freeman 62.12, 53rd Joanne Richardson 57.13, 54th Alister Robson 49.14, 56th Angela Robson 62.41, 58th Peter Bell 45.49, 62nd Louise McGolpin 55.50 – 64 finishers.

A well organised event by Sedgefield Harriers. Look forward to the Neptune relays Hardwick Country Park on Wednesday April 25, Registration 1800 – 1830, kick off 1845.

Will Horsley adds:

Fourteen Striders turned out for a very cold and frozen Gerry Kearsley Handicap Race, organised by Sedgefield Harriers. Runners went off in two minute intervals depending on expected finishing times. I was last, by myself, so had a lot of chasing to do. I started to pick off runners from about half way in the village of Bishop Middleham, the only section of road on the whole route. The rest of the route is on cycle tracks, farm tracks and footpaths in pleasant countryside around Fishburn. The frozen ground made this race faster than last year as some parts of the route would otherwise be quite boggy. The handicapper had done pretty well as it looked like most runners were finishing within a few minutes of each other.

I won a prize, which was a very big and shiny new trophy, for being the fastest male runner on the day. The winner looked really rather shocked to have won, which is understandable as he didn’t particularly have the physique that you might associate with race winners. This is a very sociable event and quite low-key. It is also free, which probably explains its popularity with Striders! Well done everyone.

(Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)

Sunday Run, Middleton, Sunday, May 23, 2010

miles and miles and miles...

Nigel Heppell

A bright, hot and sunny Sunday found a number of Striders gathering under the Post Office sign on Middleton-in-Teesdale Market Place, mostly for the first time in their lives, before our leader arrived and executed his meticulously planned run based on the concept of ‘there must be a path somewhere along here’, and so we headed off for the river and turned upstream in the direction of Low Force.

Alas, no sooner had we started along a well used track than the man with the map contacted a boulder and went over on his ankle in rather spectacular and gruesome fashion and concluded his exertions for the day bathing his foot in the river Tees; you could say he had petered out but it was a bit more dramatic than that.

After a moment or two consolation/discussion Will stepped forward brandishing an electronic map device and said words to the effect of ‘follow me’ – that’s never an easy option in my experience – so off we went, to find the proper path for the Pennine Way on the other side of the river, and bounded across the the fields through some very interesting and attractive scenery.

Millie and Casper ran twice as far as the rest of us but we humans were kept going by Will with his collection of phrases such as ‘there’s an interesting bit coming up’, ‘if we just go on a bit further’, ‘it’s only a kilometre more’, ‘once you get over this hill’, etc,etc, and before you knew it we arrived at High Force, 5.5 miles from town.

The return route was just as hot under the brilliant sun although we took a different route onto the opposite bank culminating in a short stretch of road with a mysteriously obscured right of way from which we were evicted by someone who suggested it wasn’t there – further enquiries are being pursued!

2hr 45min after leaving, we were back in Middleton and a bunch of hungry runners picnic’d on the village green until in true British style the rain started.

A long and hot run enjoyed by all, thanks to Peter for organising it and we hope there is no lasting damage to your ankle.

Will adds:

To conclude the enquiry about the mysteriously absent right of way on our return journey – this path has been legitimately closed by the council because it has been dangerously eroded by the river Tees. There was a sign there to that effect but I guess it has been stolen. They have told me that they will put a new one up. It made for an interesting diversion and took our minds off our tiredness and thirst at that point.

(Visited 21 times, 1 visits today)