Archive for May, 2015

Saturday 9th May – Stretton Six Summits

Report from the Hon. Handicapper

The Shropshire town of Church Stretton & Mercia Fell runners hosted this 2nd race in this year’s English Fell running champs.  It was an AM fell race category, ‘M’ for medium in distance, (6 – 12 miles), and very much an ‘A’ grade for steepness with the 6.3 mile route climbing just over 3200 ft of ascent to the six summits.

The severity of the route was probably best represented by the fact, bonus prizes were on offer for all runners to finish in less than 60 minutes. For a race a smidgen over 10k, which on a flat road the leading runners, could do in a minute or two over 30 minutes, if they ever had the inclination too, which is extremely unlikely.

Not being on full form my expectations were not set too high, more a case of enjoying a hard run out and if I could, take in a bit of the scenery!  I think I managed that, although I was flagging a bit on the last couple of summits, but I don’t think I was the only one there.

Tom Addison was first back getting his race bonus with a time of 59:01, followed by Rob Hope, Morgan Donnelly, Simon Bailey and Rob Jebb all under the hour.  First lady with a fantastic 33rd place finish and time of 1:06:55 was Annie Conway.  I was reasonably ok with a ‘Nelson‘ finish in 1:17:41.   The weekend was rounded off the next day with a gentle walk along the Shropshire union canal and the privilege of seeing a Kingfisher, & no, not Ian!

Full results on Mercia’s www here and a couple of Youtube videos here, look carefully & in the second one you may spot Caron watching in a red top on the final climb. Luckily I was far too slow to appear in either.


Saturday 9th May – ParkRuns

Woodhouse Moor parkrun

Position Gender Position parkrunner Club Run Time
1 1 Niall STEWART Unattached 00:17:32
21 1 Rachel BOURNE Hyde Park Harriers 00:20:17
41 40 Richard A CLARKE Otley AC 00:21:11
62 58 James KETTLEBOROUGH Otley AC 00:22:19

Andover parkrun

Position Gender Position parkrunner Club Run Time
1 1 Alice EVANS Unattached 00:19:33
2 1 Jason STARES Tough Terrain Race Team 00:19:35
84 14 Toni Midgley Otley AC 00:26:50

Bradford parkrun

Position Gender Position parkrunner Club Run Time
1 1 Will KERR Saltaire Striders 00:16:59
4 1 Hannah OLDROYD Airedale Dodgers 00:19:02
178 120 Reid Haddow Otley AC 00:29:24

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Wednesday 6th May: John Carr 5K

Report from Stephen Boddy and some impressive results from Otley runners at the sharp end

A nervous quiet at the start line is quickly replaced by a breathless charge for position. 400 hundred runners heading away from the picturesque village towards the sewage works, the route appears to have been designed as one big metaphor.

Starting near the back I quickly find myself frustrated as I weave through the pack expending un-expendable energy. ‘Your marathon training won’t help you here’ shout my lungs mockingly.

Out-fast-and-hang-on is my (foolhardy) tactic, ‘I’ve seen the Brownlees do it on tele’ I told friends as way of justifying an obviously suicidal strategy. A quick rewrite of the strategy leaves it as Out-fastish-then-slow-down.

I pass a few foolish lads running the wrong way back to the start and stop myself chiding them on being late for the race. A few shouts from around me show that a few fellow runners have mistaken these lost souls for the lead group. I helpfully point out that it is totally unfeasible for anyone to run that quickly.

I’ve now been in my discomfort zone for 15 minutes and I’m hanging on for dear life, my previously amenable legs are now being openly insubordinate and my left hamstring is teetering on the edge. Flat my arse.

I carry out quick but difficult negotiations with said legs and we come to an uneasy agreement that should last until the finish. The truce is quickly broken by the climb at 4km which lead back up to the sewage works which appears to be passing its own silent judgement on my now ragged form.

Finally, the silver lining around the black lactic cloud comes in the form of the rolling downhill finish for which myself, my legs, my lungs, my shoulders(!) and my morale would like to express thanks to the organisers for. I come into the finish with relief and even a hint of a flourish.

The effort I have extolled leads me to one conclusion; I’m bound to have won. Or at the very least a trip to the podium… 162nd!!. One hundred and sixty bloody second.

Who are you all and how are you so fast?

Results are here: Jamil leading the field home in an outstanding 15:03 followed by Scott in third at 15:35, Zack Whitehead 15:49, Tom Midgely 16:52, Mark Hall 17:11, Stephen Boddy 20:26, Tony Walker 20:54, Don Buffham 26:57

And from Jamil:

The first race in the John Carr 5k series incorporates the veterans’ championship so Mark Hall and I returned to defend our category titles from last year. Mark is a remarkable runner and there few V50 or V55 runners in the country who can match his performances. Tom Midgely was another Otley runner in a rich vein of form following his personal best at the London Marathon.

On a personal note I had been training well, fitting in sessions between picking up Daniel and Jacob from Beavers, Cubs and Jujitsu, recompense to Debbie for being allowed to run every day. I have been particularly fortunate that my training chums have been prepared to train around these times for which I am very grateful. Two such people have been Zack Whitehead and Scott Harrington who also took part in the race last night. For Scott it was unfamiliar territory on the road, a race with a distance that would normally constitute his warm up, but he has been keen to work on his speed so the John Carr series is a perfect opportunity to target that. Zack coming back from a stress fracture still has much to offer and is keen to return to his previous best over the 10k.

The conditions were a little blustery but the rain from earlier in the day had thankfully stopped. After a mile or so I found myself jostling with Tom Adams for the lead. During the last mile I decided to go for it, but my heart sank a little with 400m to go as a gust of wind pushed me backwards and Tom overtook. Thankfully Racheal Bamford on childminding duty for Scott’s children and her coach Mike Baxter were watching and this must have inspired me to find the extra gear to retake the lead with 100m left. So I won my first road race and against a quality runner in Tom Adams of Ilkley Harriers finishing in 15.03 which is big improvement on last year. I think this is also a V35 5k club record a category which Otley AC don’t seem to recognise but I will claim it anyway! Scott finished 3rd and Zack bettered his pb from last year by 1 second, a great effort after his travails with his foot. Tom should buy a lottery ticket this weekend. He finished with another pb and dipped under 17 mins and Mark on his return from injury I believe will be pleased with his performance with a new V55 club record. Well done to Stephen (great write up, you beat me to it!), Tony and Don as well. Times are on Stephen’s report.


Saturday 2nd: May: Coniston Fell race

Report from Tom Lynch

Coniston Fell Race – 8.7 miles/14 km and 3494 ft/1065 m ascent

This fell race is a classic Lakeland AM fell race following a horseshoe route in the hills behind Coniston. The route follows a steady climb up Wetherlam, a descent and then a climb up Swirl How, and then some undulating ridge running to reach the Old Man of Coniston, followed by the final descent back to the start. Just as in my first big Lakeland race at Coledale, snow was forecast, and it also became obvious from the start that much of the race was also going to be run in thick low cloud.

The start on the road near the Ruskin museum in Coniston quickly turns into a sharp uphill, before a long drag to Wetherlam, the weather set in just before the first checkpoint on Wetherlam, and this is where the fun started. The weather deteriorated into windy blizzardy conditions, with snow/hail being pelted into the runners, and a significant covering of snow on the ground in places. Visibility was only a few meters ahead due to the cloud. Several groups of runners got lost in between Wetherlam and the Old Man, although all managed to recover and find their way. I had recced the course, and managed to latch onto a group of experienced locals, (who I made the effort to keep up with!), so I had a fairly trouble free middle section to the Old man. The main tactical part of this race is the descent choice off the Old Man, the long winding tourist path vs a more direct steep route(s) through crags and quarry workings, and this is where the recce comes in. I had already chosen the direct route and my planning really helped out allowing me to pick my own route, although I ended up following some locals for the last part of the route, and slightly regretted not sticking to my original plan. The last part of the race is a straightforward return to the start/finish along miners tracks, and this is the only place I managed to fall over in the race – face first in a pool of mud! The race is followed by a ceilidh in the evening (which I sadly missed out on) and despite the weather was a really enjoyable race, I will definitely go back next year and hope for some sunshine!

I was the only Otley representative as far as I know, although several people mistook me for a Coniston runner with their single hooped black and white shirts. Still awaiting full results, but I came in somewhere around 1 hr 39 minutes and was 78th out of 230 runners, the winner on the day was Tom Addison in 1 hr 12 .32.


Tuesday 5th May – Harrogate League – Race 1

Report from the Hon. Handicapper.

Richard chasing hard

Richard chasing hard

First of all, thanks to Harrogate Harriers for staging the first race of this year’s summer league, although the conditions were far from summer like. We had a good turnout of 43 and it was good to see new members, old timers and returnees taking part, but we were missing a few of the ‘A’ teamers on the night for a variety of reasons.

First home from the host club was Mike Burrett, in exactly 33 mins, 1st lady & 33rd overall was Seonaid Thompson, Wetherby in 39:28. On my calculations, (Official team results to follow) the 10 to count open team category is 1st Wetherby 952.26, 2nd Harrogate 938.77, 3rd Otley 897.11, 4th Ripon 864.81.

First home for Otley was Richard Smith, 12th 37:26, passing me about a mile or so from the finish, 13th 37:36.  Jeremy Stewart 18th 37:58, Graham Lake 23rd 38:21, Shane Ewen 32nd 39:11, Tom Lynch 55th 40:57, Steve Robinson 57 41:08, Tom Paget 69th 42:04, Tom Potter 73rd  42:18, Laura Martin 6th Lady 42:55 made up the 10 in the open team category.

Followed shortly afterwards by Tamara Weatherhead 8th Lady 43:09, Gary Cochrane 44:51, John Armitstead 45:05, Michael Pickard 45:15, Andy Webster 45:14, Chris Hosker 46:06, Matt Podd 46:07, Nicola Lee 46:42, Eriks Zvaigzne 46:53, Andy Barker 47:07, Peter Gosling 47:52, Ian Broadbent 47:58, Paul Clifford 48:08, Mary Hampshire 48:58, Carl Walsh 48:58, a sprint finish?

Continuing, Billy Rayner 49:41, David Fox 49:59, Sara Elliott 50:07, Dominic Egan 51:23, Neil Reed 51:36, Gilly Wight 51:43, Sue Tupling 52:19, John Davis 52:42, Colin Best 52:52, Nick Hodgkinson 53:48, Martin Weston 54:40, Joanna Hobson 55:02, Gemma Harrington 55:25, Laura Hind 56:20, Toni Midgley 56:47, Emma Thomson 58:14, David Cattanach 59:30, Antonio Cardinale 1:05:09.

I’m sure these results will be very useful for the sealed handicap for race 5 of the 2015 Handicap trophy for the next race hosted by Dragons on the 21st May.


Sunday 3rd May: Keswick half marathon

report from Howard:

Keswick half marathon is advertised as one of, if not the, hardest half in the UK. I think Great Langdale is much tougher myself but Keswick is still pretty up and downy as you can imagine in the lake district. I drove over through the pouring rain in anticipation of the weather clearing up by the start time, which (hurray) it duly did and turned out to be perfect conditions. I thought I had left plenty of time as you usually have to walk 20 minutes to the start after number pick up. I went to get my number and their system had lost many numbers including mine. I hurriedly filled in another form and was told ‘the bridge was out’ and there were ferries to the start! Unless of course you wanted to walk for 50 minutes! I did not fancy chilling on the water so opted to warm up by jogging to the new start point. It turned out to be the best part of three miles away I guess and meant one of the usual hills was not on the course. Got there in plenty of time though.
Still feeling a bit jaded from last week I thought a nice pace of seven and a half minute miling would be satisfactory and still leave a bit for Leeds half next weekend. Felt OK up the hills and the thighs not complaining and the on the downs cruised easily with plenty in reserve. Went through 10 miles in 1.15 so pacing was spot on and finished in 1.38.07. This is within 10 seconds of the desired pace and over 3 minutes faster than my most recent three attempts at this race so pleased with that. The race was won by Sam Stead of Keswick AC in 1.14.21. First lady was Heidi Dent of Howgill Harriers in 1.26.07, in 15th position. I was 68th out of 440 finishers.
I went to watch a couple of neighbours do the Tadcaster sprint triathlon on Monday and ironically pulled a back muscle cycling there! Ouch! Could barely move yesterday but the usual basket of remedies seems to be working and now, like the proverbial arrow in the back, ‘only hurts when I laugh’!!

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Saturday May 2nd: Park runs

Woodhouse Moor parkrun

Position   Gender Position   parkrunner   Club   Run Time  
1 1 Jack WOOD Ilkley Harriers AC 00:16:32
44 1 Shazia MAHMOOD Unattached 00:19:43
92 82 Andrew Webster Otley AC 00:21:50
104 91 James KETTLEBOROUGH Otley AC 00:22:22
360 120 Imogen Webster Otley AC 00:31:08
369 127 Molly STORER Otley AC 00:31:44

Maidstone parkrun

Position   Gender Position   parkrunner   Club   Run Time  
1 1 Niall STEWART Unattached 00:17:23
7 1 Ellen CROMBIE Tonbridge AC 00:19:15
47 3 Nicola Lee Otley AC 00:22:14

Brueton parkrun

Position   Gender Position   parkrunner   Club   Run Time  
1 1 Unknown ATHLETE Unattached 00:14:58
46 46 Richard A CLARKE Otley AC 00:21:14
60 1 Kathy BAILEY Knowle and Dorridge Running Club 00:21:45

Harrogate parkrun

Position   Gender Position   parkrunner   Club   Run Time  
1 1 Reece DALTON Ripon Runners 00:16:29
2 2 Frank Beresford Otley AC 00:16:54
30 1 Millie GRAY Harrogate Harriers & AC 00:21:06

Sewerby parkrun

Position   Gender Position   parkrunner   Club   Run Time  
1 1 Tim NICHOLSON Wallsend Harriers & AC 00:18:01
21 1 Deborah CHURCH Driffield Striders 00:21:55
41 38 Stephen SMALL Otley AC 00:23:54

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Monday 4th May – Coiners Fell Race

Report from John Dade: Coiners Fell Race 7.5miles 1330ft

I returned to Mytholmroyd to have another try at this Mayday Bank Holiday regular. The route climbs onto Moor paths and across to Stoodley Pike and then back via some deep bogs, Cragg Vale and Erringdon Moor.
The last time I ran it in 2010 runners went straight to the monument, but the route has changed and it now drops down just before the Pike to London Road, followed immediately by a steep scramble back up. This made it feel like a proper fell race – the only problem was most of the faster runners missed this enjoyable detour and followed the traditional route – hence the M60 winner and my unusually elevated place in the results.
After the Pike the fun continued. The bogs on this route are wet and deep. An Ilkley runner told me he’d gone upto his armpits in a previous race. I didn’t quite manage that – but did achieve a spectacular thigh deep fall and face plant combination on what seemed a rather innocuous flagged section. Photographic evidence attached. A great day out. I was the only OAC person there I believe. Winner Keith Holmes M60 1:05:47 – I was 47th in 1:16:43.



Saturday 2nd May – Cake Race

Report from Shane Ewen: If I could invent any race it would involve cake. And beer. And fells; that goes without saying. This race is close to realising this dream: a 10 mile romp over the moors and hard trails of Diggle, Stanedge, Black Moss, & the Pennine Way, with visits to Black Moss, Swellands, Wessenden, Butterley & Redbrook reservoirs along the way (I love a reservoir ramble too), followed by as much cake as you can stuff in your face. Bliss!

The only downside was that I had left my legs in Horton after last weeks 3 Peaks. The route is all runnable and I’d stupidly worn Mudclaws when I could have got away with road shoes! Not to worry; this was an occasion to enjoy the Pennine moor’s watery landscape and stretch the legs a little – the cake eating was the main event & I met the challenge head on, demolishing 5 pieces before coming up for air. None of the prize winning marmite cake though – can’t stand the stuff. The vegan chocolate cake was surprisingly good.

I finished in 24th in 1:16:02. Ben Mounsey (Calder Valley) won at a canter in 1:01:04 (not far off the CR) – his wife makes a great sponge cake too. First woman was Hayley Kuter (Salford) in 1:14:27 – she had a strong second half to the race.

Highly recommended to all those new to off- road running as well as those who like a cake or three (that’ll be everyone then).



Sunday 26th April – Blackpool Marathon

Gary Cochrane completed the Blackpool Marathon in 3:35.51:

26th April 2015, whilst the masses were getting excited about running the London Marathon, the more discerning runner was contemplating England’s historical connection with the sea by taking part in the Blackpool Marathon, yes a full 26.2 miles up and down Blackpools (in)famous prom. Starting outside the Hilton, heading down to South Shore, past the Pleasure Beach (really, can it still get away with that name in 2015?) round the bend and back up from South Shore to Bispham, running past all three piers, the tower and the odd hen/stag do stalwart. At Bispham it’s a left turn along the lower prom for a few miles on solid concrete (a bit tough on the feet) before an up ramp back down to South Shore and back again to end on the lower prom opposite the Hilton.

What can I say, 2015 was hot, windy and cold on the up leg, it is mostly flat with some undulation but the last 4 miles are dead flat along the lower prom, and there are even spectators at this stage.

It might not be for everyone but it is a low key low stress marathon that allows runners the chance to aim for a PB without the hassle that comes with big city marathons. 2015 was my fourth Blackpool Marathon and probably the best weather, 2014 was windy and raining, 2010 was blisteringly hot.

To illustrate the pb potential, in 2010 I completed Blackpool in 4:39:24 – and that was my ninth marathon. 2012 it was 3:55:05, 2014 was 3:45:07 and in 2015 (19th marathon) I achieved my pb of 3:36:54 – that’s an improvement of over 62 minutes across my adventures in Blackpool!

Position wise 85th out of 411, 22nd in M-V40 category (no idea how many in category as it has a woefully inadequate website and results capability)

So if you want a low key, no fuss and no free gels, spring marathon then I can highly recommend it, next year I aim to do it again and knock that figure down closer to 3hrs. But be warned – once you have done the Blackpool marathon you will be faced with a dilemma, you will have run hard and long – but still be in Blackpool!

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