August news

Running news

Matt Dunn took on another Lakeland Classic on 1st August. Taking on the challenging 17 mile route which includes 6500 feet of ascent, Matt did a stirling job to come in 24th MV40 and 116th out of 266 finishers.

The next outing of the month was a midweek affair, which saw 3 Harriers on the testing Whittle Pike race along with 108 other hardy souls. It’s a cracking good short fell race with plenty of good climbs and a few steep slippy descents to keep the mind focused. John Appleby was first home in 55.23 closely followed by Steven White in 55.57 followed by George Critchley 1.04 26.

Pilgrim’s cross was the next event of the Rossendale midweek series, and another local race for our claret crew. Matt Dunn, who never seems to tire, was first back in 44:53 – 17th overall and 2nd MV40. Tim was next back in 47:18 – 27th overall and 4th MV40. Carl must’ve had him in his sights as not 30 seconds later he stormed home. Steven White came in next- 51:07 in 18th MSEN, and John Appleby who was 10th MV50 in a field of stiff competition. George Critchley bobbed in under the  hour in 59:09,  10th MV55.  Yasmin was 23rd Lady home, and 10th LSEN. Carole Critchley was next in in 1:06 and 10th LV50.

A fantastic result for all, with the men’s team finishing joint 4th with Rossendale.

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Carmen and Renee took on another 3 day this month. Carmen writes:  ‘3 days of short fast racing to keep Renee O’Mahoney and I amused for the weekend. Seriously a great 3 day event from cannonball events which you should all check out for next year (it’s the law!).  Friday was a 7k hilly road which started us on a downhill before hitting us with an uphill which made me think steam was coming out my ears, before we flew along a flat fast stretch before climbing back up to the finish. Saturday was a 4.55 mile trail race- starting on the uphill before a lovely grassy climb to the reservoir and a flat fast section- in my head moving elegantly through styles and across bridges (but likely more like a demented fraggle). The last sting in the tail was the climb out of the res before we ran like lunatics on a long cobbled path down to the finish. On Sunday we had a short 3 mile fell race and holy moly that was a killer- straight up and down on a mainly nice runnable path.
so how did we do… brilliantly!
Overall Renee on her very first 3 day series came 8th woman and 25th overall with fast finishes on all 3 days – especially today with the lovely little Sasha as chief cheerleader. A really consistent batch of times across all three days with 36.18 on the road, 41.41 on the trail and 30.38 on the killer race today. AND we even got first ladies team with just the two us !
I think I’m slightly addicted to these 3-dayers! I was 1st woman and 8th overall having finally rediscovered some speed into my ultra legs- again consistent across the 3 days with 28.20 for the road, 32.08 for the trail and 22.55 for the fell. Mr Byrne rocked up for the fell race and set off like a demon so we had a right battle on the way up- I caught him at the summit and then managed to hold him off until a very little technical section- he took full advantage and zoomed past leaving me to try and close the gap on the next better section… didn’t quite make it though and he finished in a speedy 22.48 with me 7 secs behind on 22.55.
Great fun’

And a great write up Mrs Byrne!

Greg Webster took on a classic race in the fell calendar. Burnsall, one of the oldest races in the fell calendar  is famous for it’s crazy up and down-ness – 1,5 miles of terror. He carried it off with aplomb, however, coming 81st/156

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Carolyn Burney and Yasmin Boodhun took a jaunt out to the Rochdale roads. Yasmin took on the 10k and Carolyn the half marathon. Both did brilliantly, however a results mix up means we may never know the truth of how they did! Nevertheless, they took a great photo!

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Wednesday 19th August saw the final event in the Rossendale Harriers Midweek Series. Carl writes ‘Three brave Holcombe Heroes, Boland, White and Byrne lined up in the beautiful balmy Lancashire weather of low cloud and drizzle. The Golf Ball no-where to be seen.
After a ridiculously fast start the race settled down for the long grind up to Hambledon.  Very wet slabs through the quarry gave a good few heart thumping moments with fell studs skidding all over the place, followed by a never ending series of climbs back up to the moor.
Very fast grassy fields saw the last part of the race with again poorly placed flags difficult to see at speed. A short, sharp uphill finish saw the three honourable heroes finishing as follows:

Boland 34th in 46.10
Byrne 35th in 46.55
White 60th in 50 minutes dead

Carl did a great job, and won first Vet 40 for the series.

Unable to keep him out of the hills, Carl took on the Pendle 3 Peaks on 20th August. 151 runners took on the tough 10 miler, and Carl finished 8th M40 – superb running!

On 26th August Tim decided to try a new race at Harrock Hill. Not your usual fell race for us from the moors, Tim still brought in a great result on the flat lands of 39th out of 202 finishers, and 11th M40. Then in the Tour of Norland Moor he brought in a bother storming result…15th overall and 4th M40, proving he doesn’t have to hunt another Harrier to bring home the goods. Well done Tim!

Also out racing solo was Matt Driver in the Crowden Horseshoe out in the Peak – an 8 mile race with 1700ft of climb. A brilliant result of 10th overall for Matt – well done!!

Team Critchley were also at it over the bank holiday weekend taking on the the Rab mini mountain marathon. George says ‘Quite a difficult course and rather interesting with a few cheeky dibber positionings. A few cuts and bruises to show for our efforts but still very happy with our placing of 3rd in our category. We both did the keswick parkrun yesterday and both came top in our age categories.’

Amazeballs Critchleys!!

Meanwhile, ultra aficionado Matt Dunn took on the Grand Tour of Skiddaw. He wrote a cracking race report…’The Grand Tour of Skiddaw – what a cracking race!! A well organised event with a friendly atmosphere and even the weather stayed kind!
The race started from Lime House School in Dalston at 8am prompt, following a short pre race brief. Initially we followed a scenic trail route, alongside the river Caldew. There were a few kissing gates and stiles to cross and this led to the pace being a little fast for an ultra, as no one wanted to get caught queuing. I pushed on close to the front of the field and covered the 8 miles to CP 1 at Caldbeck parish hall in 1hr 15mins.
A quick refuel with fluids and flapjack, then onwards as the scenery opened up and we made our way onto the fell. We headed up the first proper climb and over high pike summit, following the Cumbria way past Skiddaw House YH and round to CP2 at Latrigg car park (mile 20). I ran a steady pace with a group of 5 for this leg and we exchanged ultra stories, talking gear choices and aspirations from this and future races. We all arrived at CP3 around the 3hr40min mark.
Once at Latrigg I didn’t hang about & got into the zone as my mountain was waiting! Following a quick refuel, it was time to crack on up Jenkin Hill and towards Skiddaw summit – taking care not to veer off up little man. There were a few walkers on the route and their encouraging comments and looks of bemusement also spurred me on…
On the runnable path that passes little man, I caught up with the guy in front and we had a brief chat before the final assent. The weather was moving in and it was chilly on the top, so added a layer that was quickly removed following the initial decent. I didn’t hang about at the trig, just dibbed in, rang the bell and then set off on the descent to carside tarn, then turning right towards ullock pike and along the edge and descending down through some tricky paths to CP3 at Peter House Farm (27mile).
This was definitely the best part of the day for me, a fast decent and once below the clouds, you could appreciate the stunning views. I moved fairly quick on this section and caught up with the 2 runners in front, arriving at CP3 in 5hrs 22mins.
The 3 of us set off from Peter House Farm at the same time on the tricky to nav section back to Caldbeck – CP4 (36miles). I had my route notes to hand for this bit and between us we made our way across farmland paths to the road to Orthwaite & back onto the Cumbria Way towards Clay Bottom Farm and into Caldbeck. The pace remained steady and 1 runner dropped back during this leg, leaving me and 1st lady in 9th/10th position.
On arriving at the final CP, we saw 1 runner leaving the village & 2 runners coming out of the hall, who told us 3rd place had just left. After a quick refuel we set off for the final 8 miles, retracing the route we started on 7hrs 1min earlier.
We pushed on, in the knowledge that a sub 8hr finish was beyond us. About 4 miles from the finish, we spotted the guy we saw leaving the village as we arrived, he had been dropped by the other 2. Into the next field then we saw them as well. At this point I was asked by my new found running mate if I wanted to push on to take 3rd male. ‘I’ve not got it in my legs’ was my response, but as she picked up her pace, I was surprised by the force of the ‘getting chicked’ phenomenon. I picked up the pace & reined in 2 of the guys in front. We caught up with the 3rd and the 3 of us ran in together, until less than a mile to go when I somehow managed to take a wrong turn! Nothing major and was able cut back across a field to fall in behind the other 2.
I completed the 44mile (46mile by my Garmin) in 8hrs 26mins, finishing ‘chicked’ but very happy with 6th overall!!’

Superb write up and fantastic running by Matt.

Other sporting news

Our unofficial captain and club secretary, John Kirkham,  spent the month wowing us all with his Land’s end John O’Groats epic. He should had written a blog, but instead kept us posted via Facebook – giving those of us not brave or strong enough to take on this classic an insight into what it takes. In case any of you Harriers missed what was a brilliant write up of a an amazing achievement he writes;

Day one of my LEJOG challenge completed in fine sunny weather with a pesky NE breeze. Fantastic route over ‘rolling’ countryside with 102km and 1700m of climbing completed.

Day 2 completed and arrived in Mortonehampton after 91k and 1856m of climbing. The day started off fine but turned to heavy showers as we rode accross Dartmoor. Dartmoor is a fab area with superb climbing but hoping that things flatten out a little soon.

Today was very warm an sunny as we travelled from Moretonhamsted to Glastonbury. 120k completed with 1200m of climbing. However, the ‘peskie’ NE breeze proved to be more challenging but provided a cooling effect. Tomorrow we travel into Wales

Another great day as we cycled from Galstonbury to Monmouth. Good to be in Wales as this feels like progress. The weather has been kind today, warm and sunny with a following southwesterly. Highlights were crossing the Clifton Suspension Bridge, The Severn Bridge and cycling along the beautiful Wye Valley on superb Tarmac

Day 6 completed in quite fine weather. 136k with 860m of climbing provided a relatively easy day. Shropshire is a fine rural County with mile upon mile of traffic free lanes. Heading close to home tomorrow!

Day 7 has been a challenge. Warrington to Stainforth consisting of 105k and 1000m climbing. The first half through urban sprawl in heavy rain and rush hour traffic arriving at Oakhill College to a tremendous lunch and a change into dry kit ready for a rural route through the the Ribble Valley in much welcome sunshine. Crack On!

Day 8 is a serious contender for the best day yet. Beautiful weather and fantastic countryside. We travelled 96k and climbed 1200m from Stainforth to Penrith through the Yorks Dales, North Lancashire and the fantastic Howgill Fells. A high point was reaching the village of Casterton, close to Sedburgh which marked the half way point of our journey at 475.5 miles!
I include the attached photo as, most of you will appreciate made me feel at home.11836707_10206131828767700_3405266218290088560_n

Another significant stage in my tour as I entered Bonny Scotland today. 112k and 900M of climbing from Penrith to Moffat in glorious sun sunshine but into a challenging head wind which proved tedious. Can’t believe that we are slowly grinding this rascal down!

Arrived in Luss on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond after 140k and 1000m of climbing. The weather is okay with just a hint of Scotch Mist. The day was a mixed bag of pleasures with fine cycling through the Tweed Valley which then presented with a slow, laborious grind across Glasgow and on to Loch Lomond. Hoping for fine weather tomorrow as we press on into the highlands.

Day 11 Luss to Glencoe proved to be a double edged sword. The route was amazing along Loch Lomond to Crianlarich and awesome through Glencoe. We suffered in appalling rain throughout and were glad to arrive at the Glencoe ski lodge for a bowl of warm soup and a partial dry out. The descent of Glencoe was was amazing, made more dramatic by the prevailing conditions and were very wet and and cold by the time we arrived at the beautiful Invercoe campsite. Today we covered 106k with 1300m of climbing. Hoping for better conditions tomorrow for our journey through the Great Glen. Crack On!

Despite setting off in miserable drizzle from Glencoe the weather started to to turn fine by the time we took morning coffee in Fort William. On to Fort Augustus where the 450m climb out of the town on the military road proved to be challenging but satisfying. After a total of 131k and 1150m of climbing we have arrived in Inverness. Almost there!
110k and 1100M climbing made up our trip from Inverness to The Crask Inn. Today is definitely a strong contender for ‘Day of The Expedition’. The Crask Inn is set amidst mile after mile of desolate moorland in Sutherland and powered by a generator. I think we are in for an interesting evening. The forecast is set fine for tomorrow for the last leg of our adventure.
All done and dusted with a last leg of 135k and 1100m of climbing from The Crask Inn to John O’Groats. The weather was very fine but we had to work haed into the teeth of a tough easterly for the final 60k. Yesterday, I wondered why The Crask Inn was for sale and has been for a long time? This morning I found out as a zillion midge wanted me for their breakfast! So, that’s it.
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