All in all another great month for the Harriers.
Opening the month was a championship counter – the famous cake race. First back for the Harriers was John Appleby in 1:24:01, and not far behind were Claire and Tim in 1:24:50 and 1:24:51 – Claire’s hover shoes giving her a turbo boost over the line in a photo finish. Berin was next in in 1:36:12, George chasing him in 1:38:56 and Carole 6th in her age group in 1:45:37. Brilliant performances reflected in the Championship table. Not scoring in the champs, but a winner nontheless was Tim’s amazing cake – winner of the best tasting cake award in the race which waives it’s entry fee in return for a slab of the sweet stuff. Prestigious award to be sure, and a decision backed up by the Harriers who sampled it in the clubhouse!
Matt Driver took on the epic Keswick to Barrow on 9th May. A 40 mile course which can be walked or run (guess which Matt chose…) saw Matt tackle the course in an outstanding 5:41 coming in in 21st place. Awesome effort!
In spite of an ankle injury picked up on the course, John ‘unstoppable’ Appleby did the Foe Edge fell race, coming 22nd overall in 44:28 – the only Harrier to enter this fledgeling fell race, only in its second year. Well done!
Carolyn Burney beasted the Manchester 10k in 46:03 – a great result in any conditions, but with that amount of runners, very very impressive.
Back on the big stuff, Carl Byrne and Matt Dunn took on the Old County Tops on 16th May. 36miles/10000ft of ascent in 9hrs 47mins. Over to Matt for a great race report; “I’ll do it with you,” was my reply to Matt over a pint in our clubhouse one Thursday night. Matt had been looking for someone to do the Old Counties Tops with him for a while and it was on my list of Lakeland Classics.
I had had a few nagging concerns about keeping up with Matt after seeing his strong performance at the LDWA 2 Crosses (don’t mention the golf course), and his brilliant performance at Manchester Marathon. But, this spurred me on to man up, and as Matt was recovering from the marathon, I was putting in last hard training runs before tapering. I even gave up ale on the 1st May!
On the way up in the car, we were comparing our carbo loading regime on Friday night. As well as no ale for me, it had been lots of red meat, rice, spinach, milk and beetroot. For Matt, he had had a chippy tea and a beer. After seeing Matt storm up and down Helvellyn and Scafell Pike, I am now a fully fledged convert to the ‘Dunn Diet’. It’s a bit like the Atkins. Only different. And I will be kneeling at the altar of Chippy Tea and Ale in the future.
The atmosphere at the start was really friendly and Achille Ratti (the organisers) had done themselves proud. 8 a.m. sharp, off we went. Matt and I soon realised that after all the hours recceing the route we had recced the wrong bits. We had looked at the checkpoints and done the obvious thing, but didn’t take into account the Ambleside AC runners’ trods which over the race cut 2 miles off the course. Luckily, it was a beautifully clear, dry day and we were able to pick up the trods and follow the pack.
Langdale to Helvellyn summit took just over 2 hours which we were both happy with, then came the brilliant, grassy descent towards Thirlmere, flying down to steeper, rockier ground and one or two slips. We’d both been dreading the next section – The Bog. Does what is says on the tin and saps lots of energy climbing towards the back end of the Langdales and round to Angle Tarn nestling under Bow Fell. This took longer than we’d expected and took a lot out of my legs. A quick 5 minute break to stuff a bit of food in, then off towards Scafell Pike. There are not many days of the year the Pike is clear, so we were really lucky to have pristine visibility, although, to be honest we spent most of our time looking at the ground. The advised race route off Scafell Pike is to return to the col between the Pike and Broad Crag and drop off there. The shorter route to Great Moss is straight down off the summit. Thigh burning stuff, but good fun if you like that sort of thing.
On the run down Mosedale to Cockley Beck I was surprised my legs still felt good. Matt’s legs must’ve too as again he set the pace. But then the laborious, relentless, boring, boggy, high knee stepping, soul destroying, crappy ascent of Grey Friar to gain the ridge line to Coniston Old Man, took whatever energy we had left out of our legs.
Two navigational errors (one being mine, the other by us just following the pack) added about 20 minutes onto our time, but we were now homeward bound.
Three Shire Stone, quick nip down Wrynose Pass, past Blea Tarn, through Stickle campsite and before we knew it, running down the road to the finish.
We both had doing sub 10 hours in our heads, but only admitted it to each other coming through the campsite half a mile from the finish, when we knew we would be in under 10. Both myself and Matt are really chuffed with our performance and glad we had a crack at it. As Matt mentioned on Facebook, it is a lovely, well organised event. Achille Ratti certainly do look after you, and the amount of food waiting for you in the marquee at the end was the reason both of us looked so happy on the photo.
If anyone is interested next year, we’ll be happy to show you the race route and for only £25 per team of 2 is well worth the money.
The Austwick Amble was next on the list – Amble being a deceptive description to say the least. With championship points at stake, we were out in force. We had ten senior Harriers competing and one junior making his debut to fell racing. Results for the Harriers:
Charlie Jones U14 5th in 16.39
John Raho 4th 51.51
Matt Dunn 24th, 8th MV40 56.59
Jonny Nicholson 30th 58.12
Tim Bowland 45th, 15th MV40 1.01.17
Berin Jones 118th 36th MV40 1.13.35
George Critchley 121st, 24th MV50 1.13.51
John Kirkham 132nd, 8th MV60 1.17.11
Carole Critchley 143rd, 26th LV50 1.22.09
Jo Stevens 158th, 35th Lady 1.26.58
One Hound had to get pet rescued, John Appleby, with that dodgy Foe Edge ankle. The course itself was a lovely 8 miler, limestone undulations (hills) and open moor, with a killer of a finish down a track/road t sort out the tired legs.
While we were out on the hills, another Harrier was putting in a massive performance in a 24 hour race. Carmen, our most hardcore ultra runner with there 24 hour epics. Another report by wordsmith Carl gives you a flavour of it:
If you knew nothing about running and witnessed the start of a 24 hour track race, you would think it was a bunch of slow runners out for a bit of a jog.
In reality, to people who have witnessed what ultra distance runners are capable of, you stand in awe of their bloody mindedness, stamina and acceptance that the next few hours are going to hurt. A lot.
Having crewed for Carmen on four 24 hour races, it is the moment I dread. For the next 24 hours I have to be nasty to her. The equivalent of constantly telling her to ‘tough it out’, ‘ignore the pain’ reminding Carmen that she is tougher than the race. Even lancing blisters that engulf entire toes to her screams of pain, sticking Compede to them and literally pulling her out of the chair and telling her to get on with it are hard things for a husband to say to his wife. But in ultra distance, there is no room for loving compassion. Be there, support, feed, make sure they have everything they need, but no sympathy. That is a rule we both agreed on when we started to do ultras.
With a field of only 18 in the inaugural Foxton 24hour at UCLAN’s sports arena, it was a small, but friendly field. Good venue, with a local Scout troop on hand to help out. Carmen had mooted the idea of 200 km and she is well capable of that. It must be tempting in 24 hour running to put the effort and mileage in early because you know the wheels will fall off later on, that is a given. So finding a balanced pace, where you are not breathing hard or sweating, but keep a good cadence is vital. Carmen managed this and paced the first 6 hours beautifully.
Unfortunately, historic toe trauma came back, in Carmen’s words to her Mum, ‘early on in the race’ (6 hours to an ultra runner is early). And 4 toes became wrapped in blister, with one of her little toes turning through 45 degrees. As nice as it sounds. After the aforementioned screams, Compede and 2 walking laps, Carmen found running was less painful than walking. I had doubts her feet would hold up for another 18 hours and after a 2 lap conversation, we decided best course of action would be to go for 100km in 12 hours. 6 more hours on mangled feet; told you there needed to be tough love.
If Carmen was in pain, she never showed it and spent the next 5 hours clocking up the laps, having a running escort from 3 Scouts and chatting to the other runners including the legend Sharon Gaytor who holds an amazing array of records including John O Groats to Lands End in just over 12 days! Personally, couldn’t do that in a car.
After one last stop for food and a calf rub at 11p.m. she had 100km in her sights and set off at a phenomenal pace, clocking up 27 laps in 45 minutes. The lead bloke even stating her pace was ‘obscene’. Finishing at midnight with 96km under her belt, a massive achievement.
Carmen – you rock!
Also that weekend, Yasmin went back to her Yorkshire roots in the Ilkley trail race – a testing up and down moorland run. She put in a great performance in 66:52, and was still smiling at the end…
In the final fell race of the month the Harriers turned the hills claret and blue. An amazing set of results at Edenfield saw out our month’s running in style. John Raho took first place by a country mile, followed by Chris Holmes in 8th and Matt Dunn in 9th (1st V40), which results also saw them taking the team prize. Carl Byrne, Tim Boland, John Appleby (2nd MV50), John Holt, Roy Rowlands, Renee O’Mahoney and Yasmin Boodhun made Edenfield into a race dominated by excellent Harriers performances.
Two Harriers completed Horwich Triathlon on 3rd May. John Raho came 28th overall in 2.06.09 and John Holt came 18th in his category in 2.33.34
Full results here: http://www.epicevents.co.uk
Meanwhile it feels like we should have an extra category for Harrier Hannah Lambert’s full on month with a spright of 5 triathlons in as many weeks (phew!)
The first one was Pendle sprint tri on 10th May which saw her come in 5th overall, and 4th in age group. Good going!
The following weekend she took on the Wilmslow sprint triathlon, bagging herself a cheeky age group win to boot!
John Kirkham 1.40.08 – 1st MV 65
George Critchley 1.41.25 – 2nd MV 55
Carole Critchley 1.43.45 – 1st FV 50
Berin Jones 1.45.08 – 14th MV 45
Sally Burgess 1.59.52 – 3rd FV 50
In other news…
John Raho overcame a broken bike with a last minute replacement from Holty to get a big fat tick in the events to do once in your life category.
The Fred Whitton Challenge is one of the most popular sportives in the UK and is also famed as being particularly difficult. Riders rank it alongside European events such as the Marmotte in terms of difficulty. It consists of a 112 mile sportive around the Lake District, starting at Grasmere and taking in climbs of Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott & Wrynose passes. Epic.
John took this on and finished in an impressive 7:54.
Well done John and all the amazing Harriers this month!