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Thursday 11th May – Danefield Handicap

A superb turnout of 50 runners on a perfect evening for running and the bonus of no midges. It was also good to see several of the juniors running.  Tash Whittaker came home a clear winner a minute clear of Hannah Place.  Gary recorded the fastest time on the night, 16:47 also extending his lead at the top of the handicap table to 12 points ahead of President Billy.  See the full table here.

The next handicap is a ‘sealed’ one using the Knaresborough Harrogate League race on the 20th June.

As it is such a big race table see more details of…. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wednesday 10th May – John Carr Race 2

Report from Robin Outtersides

Ok so here we go again. Race two and once again I set off down Bradford Road with my legendary warm up. I was wearing headphones which gave me a “zoned in” look, which I was really quite impressed with. When I got there I got caught up in the hurly burly of pre race chatter and the atmos ( short for atmosphere ) was electric. I chatted to Tom Lynch, fresh from last week’s PB and Billy Rayner. The course was once more a belter and I spotted some famous faces, including John Hobbs of Valley Striders, Mike Burrett of Leeds City and the mighty Dan Garbutt was also taking part.

The start was the usual blur of legs and arms, and one poor soul fell as the runners found their positions. I ran well again and saw Mark Hall along the way, cheering people on. He told me I was in 14th position which was cool by me. I found the hill this week a bit of a chore but once I came round the bendy bit ( technical jargon, and last unnecessary use of brackets I promise ) I was racing to the finish. I rattled through the finishing tape in 16:45 with Tom Lynch finishing in 18:06, Billy in 23:43 and Tom Paget in 19:56 and maybe a PB? Not sure. Tom Cornthwaite won in 15:40. and the female winner was Danielle Hodgkinson in 17:07.  The results were out quickly and check em ‘art. One more to go in the series, cunningly entitled Race 3.

Results are here

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Tuesday 9th May – Jack Bloor Fell Race

Report from Caron Ralph:

Tuesday brought the inevitable midge biting start of the Jack Bloor Fell Race on Ilkley Moor.  Having picked up 2nd claim member Sean O’Halloran on my way and Andrew in the back (in a supporting not racing role tonight) we headed off on a beautiful spring evening.  We watched some of our Juniors competing- Skye Fuller and Charlotte Rawstron doing especially well, among other Otley Juniors ( whom I’m not sure of names) Lining up to enter we saw Matt P, Tom Paget, Antonio C, Carl Walsh, Colin and our only other lady Mary Hampshire.  The race starts at Darwen Gardens and follows the very steep ‘ski slope’ up and over to 1st checkpoint at the Badger Stone then a bit of undulation and descent to the next checkpoint at the Swastika Stone- by this stage I managed to pass fell gazelle Colin who seems to lope up the hills.  Turning back up the hill I then had to tie my shoelace and was passed by a smiling Carl Walsh and Colin not far behind, on past the checkpoint at Cowpers Cross,  Matt and Tom out of sight by this time, I trudged on to the top and along the paving slabs still keeping Carl in my sights,  passed the Trig checkpoint then off into the infamous Jack Bloor bogs….this year only ankle deep rather than calf deep due to some lovely weather-I might add they’re still leg sappingly slow to run through, then onto the last killer descent, depending on your local knowledge this down can take 2 or 3 different directions.  Having caught up to Carl I decided to go down the steep heathery side of the steps with Carl opting for the stone steps. Managing to pull away from him due to the ‘shortcut’  its then a blast down the track, up and over the next checkpoint and a sprint home.  Everyone seemed to have a good race but Colin did mumble something about taking the wrong route down and Mary said she thoroughly enjoyed it and doesn’t know why she’s never done it before!

1st Man- Jack Wood, Ilkley Harriers 38:57, 1st lady- Lucy Haines, Ilkley Harriers 48:20.

1st back for Otley was Tom Paget, 54th 49:23,  followed by.. 149th Matt Podd 1:00:40,  161st Caron Ralph 1:02:06,  173rd Carl Walsh 1:03:15,  185th Colin Best 1:07:33,  193rd Mary Hampshire 1:10:07,  2nd claimer Sean O’Halloran 219th 1:15:48,  227th Antonio Cardinale 1:46:06.

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Runner of the Month

As it couldn’t be decided who should be male runner of the month for April it was decided to award it to both Tom Lynch & Stephen Boddy. Tom for getting sub 3hrs at London and Stephen, who although not quite as quick in London at 3:39, managed an impressive 4:48 at the Three Peaks just a week later.

The ladies runner of the month went to new member Charlotte Boardman who has moved up from the beginners. Charlotte recorded an impressive 1:31 at Vale of York 10.

TomLynchStephenBoddy_LeedsTri

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Sunday 7th May – Bluebell Trail Halifax

bluebell_trail

Report from Richard Hamer

At the end of January 2016 I was a broken man; knees, ankles and feet, so I stopped this running lark. Twelve months on and the niggles had mostly gone and the love was returning, so I dug out my plimsolls and started having another go with my only ambition being to run for an hour on Saturdays; and to never race again (although I don’t think not doing something can be classed as an ambition).

And then Hannah Lupton got me drunk and offered me her Bluebell Trail place. I couldn’t say no, and that’s how I found myself just a few miles south of Halifax on Sunday with Sara Elliot, Sara Richard, Nicky Gifford and John Davies.

The Bluebell Trail is a 10-mile event put on by Stainland Lions, and it has a river crossing at the end, plus a goodie bag complete with a Lion bar – clever! The HQ is at Heath Rugby Club with the start across the road in the grounds of Clay House (a fine example of 17th century vernacular architecture).

I’d already agreed to run with Nicky and to start near the back, and to walk the hills. If I was going to do 10-miles I wanted to enjoy it and to not start any niggles again.

From Clay House the race wound its way for about half a mile through some woods and then on to a main road towards Halifax before joining the Hebble trail canal almost into the town centre. Off the towpath and then up the notorious Trooper Lane, 570ft of ascent in just over half a mile; ouch! At the top we were just under halfway, and aside from the section in the woods at the beginning it had all been tarmac.

From the top of Trooper Lane, Halifax was looking lovely in the sunshine; apart from the huge carbuncle that is the Halifax bank building. From here it was farm tracks and fields, and short sharp uphill sections with fast descents before reaching Elland Park Woods, which is where the bluebells were.

Out of the trees and back for about a mile it was road and towpath before reaching the river bank. The water was only three quarters of foot deep, and at the other side the finish lay about 50 yards away.

Nicky and I came home in just over two hours, Sara Elliott in 1:32:30, John Davis 1:47:44 and Sara Richard 1:56:54.

Full results here

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Sunday 7th May – North Lincs Half Marathon

Report from Howard Jeffrey

Despite pulling up after two minutes of speed-work last Wednesday morning with a weird sharp twinge on the lower inner thigh I managed another busy weekend of racing (I like to race). I applied Volterol for three days and applied the ubiquitous KT tape which has unfathomable magical qualities and felt confident to do the parkrun at Cross Flatts on Saturday. I did this because I have entered the Leeds race series and consistency is one of the keys to potential success and I like to think I am pretty consistent (I came 2nd in the Leeds Grand Prix in 1988!) My racing is geared to Sunday races and I had entered the North Lincolnshire half marathon (based at Scunthorpe) which I was prepared to give a miss to as it is the Leeds half next weekend (an Otley target race and one of the Leeds series) and I want to perform well there. The parkrun was to get a finish time, however slow and to test out the effectiveness of the remedies. I set off gingerly and was able to stoke up to a satisfactory 20.59 without apparent problem so a steady half at Scunthorpe was on the cards.
The conditions were good on Sunday, a perfect temperature with overcast sky and maybe a slightly stronger wind than I would have liked and the course pancake flat apart from two bridges across the motorway. I can recommend the race as it was well organised, with closed roads and ample pacers with finish time flags. I kept a T shirt on under the vest and selected calf guards again today as I have experienced calf cramps in the latter miles of flat halves in the past which I do not recommend. Today my target was between 1.30 and 1.35 depending on the wind and how I felt. I set off at a distance behind the 1.30 pacers and slightly in front of the 1.40 pacers and eased into a comfortable pace once the field had opened up a bit. The 1.40 pacer overtook me but as I have previously observed it is my own judgement in these cases that I prefer. I went past them fairly quickly and clocked the first mile at 7.05. Comfortable and no ill effects. I gradually overtook maybe a hundred or so runners and got into a solid rhythm with a youngster who was happy to alternate the pacing with me. The danger today was actually going too fast as the zip that I had been lacking last week was delightfully present in the legs and I was able to surge at will to close gaps in order to get shelter from the relentless if not particularly severe breeze. 10 mile marker past in 70.55 and plenty of gas in the tank so was able to sustain the effort to the finish on the athletic track in 1.32.48 (chip time) in 178th place out of 1579 finishers. The race was won by Mohammed Ahmed in 1.07.31, first lady Natalie Burns of Lincoln Wellington AC in 29th position in 1.19.54. Thought I spotted fellow Otley AC when speed scanning the results but one was Totley and the other was me! Down in the results as James Jeffrey (James actually being my first name). Hope to see a few at Leeds next weekend, all being well.

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Sunday 7th May – Sedbergh Fell Race (BOFRA)

Report from Tom Lynch:

I decided to have a go at the BOFRA championship this year, and so headed to the first champs race at Sedbergh. Taking advantage of a lift to such a distant short race, Steve Robinson and Colin Best joined me. Sedbergh feels really tucked away in a corner of the Dales – unless you come from the M6 – which we didn’t. It feels like a slightly unusual place, dominated by the buildings and tweed jacketed hordes of children of the sports mad school in the centre, we lost count of the number of tennis courts and other sports pitches. The weather was perfect for a race, and we took advantage of this to have a recce of the course and then lounge around in the show field (minus the show this year), we had mistakenly turned up about 2.5 hrs early for the race, forgetting to account for the series of junior races.

The race is a typical BOFRA race, a short steep slog up a hill (3.5 km/2.2 miles and 350 m/1150 feet ascent) and a giddy descent, mostly viewable with binoculars from the show field, we watched the junior races, and tried to get a sense of the challenge facing us. The race is pretty unrelenting, a climb from the very start up a track, across a field, more tracks and then the open fell, there is a brief flatish contour, before a very steep climb up the face of Winder, and then a very steep descent back down almost immediately. I felt more or less OK on the climb, but there were so many false summits, including an extra 100m above the U17 turning point, which looked like as a good as the top to us from the show field. My descent started off a little cagey, without having had much practice this year, but I got into it a bit more on the lower slopes, my target on the way down was to try and not lose too much on Darren Fishwick who is recognisable from his ubiquity at most fell races, and is always well ahead of me, although I fairly quickly lost sight of him. I had a good run in on the track back, and just managed to pip 1st female Kirsty Hall (Wharfedale Harriers) in the show field to get 20th place in 23.23. The race was won by Ben Mounsey (Calder Valley) in 19.48. Steve and Colin both had good runs, and I think enjoyed it, Steve came in 41st in 27.53, and Colin in 65th in 32.21. Full results.

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Sunday 7th May – Nidd 20

Report from Laura Hind

On the back of the euphoria of completing a long distance event that didn’t involve a sense of humour failure like Rombald’s Stride 2016, I decided to enter the Nidd 20, traditionally a long distance walking event which was to admit runners for the first time. Liz Fawcett had already signed up, so whether she liked it or not, I volunteered to run with her.

Slightly nervous about my substandard navigating skills and amused by Liz, who thought we were completing the course in an anti-clockwise direction up until 20 minutes before the start (it wasn’t), it was a relief to learn that the whole course was carefully marked out by the Rotary Club of Harrogate.

The 60 runners set off along what is the first mile and a half of the Guy Fawkes 10 route, before we headed across a field. We were quite bunched up for the first couple of miles (speedsters apart) but then as people missed markers, the group became more strung out and we were able to enjoy our own race.

Surprisingly, a fair section of the route was on the road – fine by me – although it also took in beautiful riverside paths along the Nidd, fields, woodland and the moors from Brimham rocks. There were a few checkpoints along the way, but after being spoilt during the Blubberhouses 25, it was disappointing to find only water – NO CAKE! Thankfully, I always pack my own supply, suspicious type that I am.

Within the last 3 or 4 miles heading back to Ripley, we passed quite a few of the runners who had taken flight earlier but had run out of gas on the home straight. A good feeling and we headed back to the Hotel de Ville (or Town Hall, as most of us might call it) in a very satisfying time of 4 hours and 3 minutes, looking forward to our hot meal. The goody bag was also pretty decent, so for £12, in spite of cake shortage, we fared well. I’m sure this will become more popular next year and be opened up to greater numbers too.

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Saturday 6th May – Over The Odda 10K

Report from Joanna Hobson

I found myself sitting in Hawksworth this morning waiting for the start of the Over The Odda race which I last did 2 years ago and swore never to do again! Described as “A challenging trail race with stunning views over both the Aire and Wharfe Valleys”, it doesn’t fail to live up to its name. Strava showed 899ft elevation gain which for a 10k is not bad!

Having arrived I knew I had to run so started looking for other Otley ACers. I  began to think I was the only black and white there until Andy Webster popped up as Alice had been running in the juniors race earlier.

The start point is Hawksworth Primary School and we set off together (although Andy soon became a dot in the distance to me) as the course takes a long and winding route downhill through fields for approximately 1.5k until you turn and start to ascend steeply until you arrive at the 3k mark right back where you started!  After this is a steep climb up through the woods and up and over the Odda, for a welcome descent through gorse bushes to the woods behind Highroyds. A very pleasant stretch follows through woodland until you start the ascent back over the Odda again. Thanks to Stephen Boddy for his very welcome support and words of encouragement. By this point I realised that I was actually really enjoying the run so I started to relax and it somehow all became a little easier. After the final ascent over the Odda a lovely fast downhill through the woods (avoiding tree roots) takes you back to the road and finally back up to the primary school for the very welcome finish line. I finished in 65:56 (over 2 minutes faster than 2 years ago) and Andrew Webster in 55:16. The winner was Tom Adams in 35:45 and 1st female was Jeanette Holmes-Thomson in 48:44

This race is a fund raiser for Hawksworth Primary, is very well organised and a really fun event. I suspect at some point there will be some horrendous photos as the photographer seemed to pop up all over the place!

Otley juniors also did very well in the junior races so hopefully someone can report on them.

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Saturday 6th May – Buckden Out Moor and Back Again Fell Race

Report from Matt Podd

A new race from Buckden up the pike and down by the mines with a descending loop towards Starbotton turning to finish in Buckden. 5.1 miles.
Unfortunately Brave heart had to go to a baby fair, so it was only me and Dave Tait who ventured up wharfedale for this race. I’d failed to get in Over the Odda so decided to do this. A small field, with a lot from Skipton AC set off up the tourist path from the NT carpark. No walk up the hill, its runnable by this route so we all weezed our way to the top which was just touching the cloud. Along the top south for a short while before plunging down to the old mine to be greeted by a herd of belted galloway cattle. We then contoured round the slope on a level path before turning and descending fast back to the start – which was now the finish. I managed to pass a few on the descent, but couldn’t catch Dave. I was 16th in about 56 minutes.
This was the best race I’ve done for ages, friendly folk, good competition and a fantastic route. I won a chocolate orange which made it even better.
Someone from Skipton won. I hope the National Trust put this race on again.

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