In a break from normal service, running news will follow our completely exciting International update!
Oulton park duathlon was the scene for the women to join our Team GB contingent, making the Harriers the proud home of 4 international age groupers.
Hannah Lambert and Laura Horan will be donning the red white and blue for their age groups following storming performances in the sprint duathlon. They will join John Kirkham who has already qualified and Mick Horan who took on the standard distance and qualified easily for the longer distance in 1st place in his age group and 7th overall.
Tim Boland started the month well for the Harriers. In his first run out in the Claret and Blue he pulled in an excellent performance at the Rivington Trail Half Marathon, coming home in a brilliant (and muddy) 1 hour 34mins.
Roy Rowlands, also in his debut Harriers performance, also took on a half on the road in Oldham. Coming in 88th out of a big field of well over 300 in 1:42:02. Good work Roy!
Harrier Jonny Nicholson braved the exceptionally tough Langdale Horseshoe on 11th October.
He writes; “After a fast start I was in a good position towards the front of the field going up Stickle Ghyll. It quickly became apparent the rocks underfoot were like glass with many, including me, slipping. Managing to maintain my position over Pavey Ark we hit the descent through bogs galore at one point going waist deep. It was the steep traverse towards Esk Pike where the treacherous rocks really started to pose a serious risk of injury. Determined to finish strongly I pushed myself to keep on skipping over them until disaster struck and my knee slammed heavily into a rock. I lost track of how many people overtook me from this point to hobble over the finish in 3 hours 20. Back at the field Mountain rescue teams were everywhere and I heard of at least 3 incidents where rock slips had led to serious injury including one airlift off Bowfell for a compound fracture. A brutal day out for all for sure. One small consolation was being called a ‘tough lad’ by climbing legend Dave Birkett as I hobbled past him not far from the finish!”
Jonny looking strong up Stickle Ghyll.
Matt Driver took on the OMM on the weekend of 24th October.
He was well chuffed with a podium finish on the D class after 2 days of rough terrain and questionable weather. He and his partner were 3rd overnight after a navigational mishap on the last control lost him 10 minutes. He says “After a sleepless night in the howling wind we set off chasing down 2nd at 7:45 in the morning with an 18 minute deficit. We managed to make up 13min and secured 3rd. Most importantly I got round with both ankles in tact (just) so massive thanks to John for working his magic this week!”
Great work Matt and a well deserved nod to John Kirkham whose magic touch keeps many of us on our feet!
Matt Dunn took on an ultra marathon in the form of Dusk til Dawn which is organised by Beyond Marathon and involves running/walking 50 miles throughout the night, starting at 1749hrs (sunset) on Saturday 25th and finishing at 0652hrs (sunrise) on the 26th.
“The clocks also went back at 0200hrs, so we had 14hrs and 3 minutes to complete the route, with the Grim Sweeper in pursuit, and if he caught you before you made it to CP 9, then it meant a forced retirement from the race.
The weather had been wet the previous week, so it was soggy underfoot on the trails and fells, but on starting out it was dry and surprisingly warm for October. However there was a sharp wind, especially up on the high parts of the course around The Cat and Fiddle and Cracken Edge, with a slight mist as well, but overall good visibility – you could even see Winter Hill from Shining Tor summit!
The first check point (CP1) was a self clip on Lose Hill and this involved an uneventful 5 mile mixed terrain loop, bringing us back to Castleton and then on the journey through Cave Dale and onto the Limestone Way. By this point I was in a group of four who were moving at a similar pace. I’d been for a previous recce of the route so felt confident at the front, right up to the point where I took a wrong turn – it all looks different in the dark!
Fortunately I realised the mistake quickly and managed to recover without loosing much time. CP2 at mile 9.5 was the first feed station, so I grabbed some water and snacks, and then carried on running mostly on trails, with a couple of tricky field crossings around Miller’s Dale. The tricky parts of the route were marked with reflective tape, so a decent head torch and plenty of batteries helped with spotting any markings.
Reaching CP3 at Earl Sterndale (19.5 mile) was a high point! It was great to see friendly faces and get some words of encouragement. I didn’t hang about though, and just grabbed a few snacks and some water before the 8 mile climb to the Cat and Fiddle pub (CP 5: 27.5 mile), via the self clip CP at Stanley Moor (23.7 mile). At the pub, there was hot dogs and various snacks – the bar was also open, but I resisted – I’ve since heard about a self retirement that involving a pint of Guinness!! Leaving the second highest pub in England to go out into the cold wind was difficult and I was thankful for my gloves.
I was on my own at this point, so I dug in for the next section, visiting a self clip CP 6 on Shining Tor (CP 6: 29 mile). The views from here were great – you could see the lit mast on Winter Hill, which distracted me to the point of falling over. Note to self, sight seeing whilst running at night – a big no!
I managed to find a good pace down Pym Chair to Windsgather and through Goyt Valley onto the road crossing at Taxal. This was a tricky section to navigate where having done a route recce proved useful again. By the time I reached self clip CP 7 at Turnstead Milton (34.9mile), I’d caught up with the runner in front. Following a brief discussion we had during the climb up Eccles Pike, a decision was made to stick together for the final push, to see if we could get a sub 10 hour finish.
The section from Eccles Pike (CP 8: 36.5 mile) through Chinley (CP 9) to Mount Famine (CP 10: 40.5 mile), involved four miles of undulating ascent/descent that challenged tired legs, but there were runnable sections and by the time we met the Road Marshall at foot of Rushup (43.5 mile), we were 20 minutes off first position. Then we had the final climb up Mam Tor, onto Hollins Cross and the final self clip (CP 11: 47 mile). I realised at this point, I lost my self clip tally card during a head torch battery change between CP 10 and the Road Marshall point. I decided to push on regardless, to explain at the finish and offer my GPS file as evidence that I’d visited all controls.
The run down from Hollins Cross into Castleton suited me and I picked up the pace, although the final mile along the road into Hope slowed me down a bit and we walked in to claim sub 10 hour finishes. The next guy home was around 12 minutes behind – his head torch did look much closer than that coming down from Hollins Cross! He’d also found my self clip card which he handed in, so that with witness account of the loss and a GPS file, seems to have satisfied the judges.”
Matt came joint 4th overall in 9 hours 56 minutes. An amazing achievement.
New recruit Sally Burgess took on the Manchester Wheelers CycloX at Heaton Park early in the month. A great ride she says she let herself be talked into has got us all thinking about turning our hands to a bit of CycloX!
According to Mick, Helwith duathlon lived up to its name, posing really challenging conditions. The headwind / crosswinds were testing for the three harriers who were brave enough to take it on. Mick Horan, John Raho and one of our home nations contingent Andrew Raho battled the course and against the odds, both Mick and John got PBs coming in 5th and 8th respectively. Andrew came in 11th in his category. More results here – http://www.ukresults.net/2014/helwith.html
Three Harriers took on the delights of The Calderdale Mountain Bike Marathon from Sowerby Bridge. A great event which can only be described as ‘Tough’ on a mixture of terrain with some big climbs and technical single track.
First home for The Harriers in the field of 312 finishers was Claire Raho in 3-11 and 7th lady followed by John Kirkham in 3.24 taking 4th vet 60. Unfortunately Jo sent her chain into ‘meltdown’ after 30k and was forced to retire .
More importantly all enjoyed this very well organised and well staffed race with lots of feed stations and friendly marshals. Well done to St Paul’s scouts, Sowerby Bridge.
As the weather and the nights draw in, there’s no stopping the Harriers with plenty more to look forward to next month!