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Calderdale Hike 2018 – updated with results

The race results are now out, and you can find them on the Calderdale Hike website.  There were 45 finishers in the long run: 6 didn’t finish including Dick Scroop and John Vernon, who couldn’t make the cutoffs.  Rory Harris finished first in 5:54, and Ken Sutor was 2nd just behind him. Christopher Goddard was 3rd in 6:38.  Karen Nash was 7th and first woman in 7:58.  2nd woman was Beverley Holmes in 8:09, with Kim Ashworth 3rd in 8:56.

I’ve updated the Runfurther leaderboard, and you can find that here.  8 runners have finished all 3 races – I’ve no idea whether any of them are aiming for the Grand Slam this year.  Ken Sutor already appears to have pencilled his name on the men’s trophy for 2018.  Horwich RMI Harriers are currently leading the team competition, which is the first time that’s happened, as far as I know.

Karen has written up her race, and put it on her blog here.  I’ve copied Karen’s blog entry below as well, and the photos in her report are her own except where she credits Nick.  Nick has posted his photos to Flickr, and you can find them here.  As usual I’ve borrowed some for here too.

Karen’s race report

Kick starting the NT training – or too little too late perhaps

I knew I was going into the Calderdale Hike badly under-prepared. My legs would at least be well rested and perhaps I would be haring to go (perhaps). We had been abroad for the whole block of time since the Haworth Hobble. I had been active with over a week of hard skiing and then over a fortnight of rock climbing in Spain. Hours on my feet but not the same as running. I was climbing harder (for me) this year and was too shattered mentally and physically to run on those days. I did manage a long run on a day we did a via feratta, plus a long run/walk that evening and then a 2 hour run as we broke our journey up through France. Not enough.
The Calderdale Hike is 40 this year and to celebrate they devised a 40 mile route that went back to some of the very original sections.  They were a few options to reduce the distance by using roads and an awful lot of route choice options. I decided The Hike would just have to count as some hours on my feet and to tough it out. I had been over some of the route but it was months ago and I was struggling even to remember it. The other bits I would just have to sort out on the day, or hope that I had company.
Before bed on Friday evening we had met up with Kevin and put up all the flags and banners. The penalty for parking on the start line was being disturbed by the organisers arriving from 5.30am onwards. By 6am Bob had given up and got dressed to go and switch to the short route (sore knee and not fit enough) and by 6.30 I was up and erecting display boards and handing over mint cake. Interestingly all the walkers on the early start left down the driveway whereas we knew we were heading out the back gate. There was plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast, several toilet trips and a chance to catch up with friends and mull over the route options. The forecast was good with only a breeze, no rain and not too warm (actually it got rather hot).

Walkers on the early start

Linden couldn’t quite stretch his speech to wait for the church bells at 9am so we set off a couple of minutes early. The men running the short course blasted off at something like my 10K pace or faster.

Didn’t need the long sleeves for long- Thanks Nick Ham

After a mile of rather steep and slippery descent we arrived at CP1 on the canal bank and settled into easy running to Sowerby Bridge and then Copley.

Runners on the long route were now settling into a pace and I was with guys that I would spend a fair bit of the day with on and off. I fortunately found a better route up through the woods than on my recee and was soon in Greetland. I left the CP with Chris and was pleased to know the route through a couple of muddy fields and onto the path to Sonoco Mill. We arrived at the CP to find we had been overtaken by Daz, John T, Linda and others who had taken the road option.Distance and time was passing fairly comfortably at this point and we stuck together for a while. At Ringstone Reservoir the group broke up again. I decided that as a local Daz would know the best route and so abandoned my planned route.

It probably made little difference as by Ripponden Chris who had gone ‘my way’ met up with us again. I grabbed food here knowing I could eat on the climb out of town. Again I decided to stick with Daz, although this time I am not sure his route was better.

What did work was being with Daz and Chris and so keeping up the pace. On one narrow path suddenly there were two runners flying back down? They had got confused and decided they had missed Ripponden or were making a 180 error. They hadn’t and weren’t. Simon quickly accepted this and ran with Chris and I for much of the day. The other guy must have run many more miles than me because he kept popping up behind us, overtaking at some speed etc. I would be very interested to see his garmin trace.

As we hit the moor I started to struggle and lost contact with the group. I wasn’t too bothered and I knew several ways to get to Cragg Vale and the next CP. I arrived there and topped up my water and Mountain Fuel.

There were no other runners about but as I neared the top of the climb up to the reservoir and Stoodley Moor I spotted Daz up ahead. Again we went different ways and I lost him again.

I had a short break at Lumbutts and even stole a quick sit down to eat my sandwich and then left with a banana.

Spot the photos from my recee when the weather was rather different

I did though forget to top up my water and it was getting very warm. There were several route options here but I stuck with what I knew. It was safer and allowed some fields and soft ground to give my feet some rest from the hard surfaces. I was on my own over Old Royd and down into Todd. I made a slight error here but was soon on my way up to the Edge and the next CP.  Luckily they had water.  On my recee I had not liked the steep, muddy path with slimy rocks so although it was a little longer I took a dog leg and down to the sports centre. Heading up the main road I saw Chris, Simon, John and another cross the road just ahead of me. I hoped to catch them on the steady climb and even though I stopped to fill up with more water and Mountain Fuel as I passed a stream  I did it. Having company again was good. We were all starting to wilt a little in the heat. There was more food and water at Keb Cote but I didn’t stop long.

I jogged slowly down the road eating chocolate flapjack and banana. I knew the others would catch me but it was good to keep moving.

The road section to Great Rock and then on to Jack’s Bridge went on for longer than I liked. There were a couple of very short non road options but only one seemed sensible. We reminisced about starting a relay leg up at Blackshaw Edge and sheltering in a runners garage to avoid the rain. The marshalls at Jack’s Bridge had beer which seemed cruel. Chris, Simon and I were now very much a group and we set off onto territory that between us we sort of knew at least a bit. Unfortunately we were so busy nattering that we forgot we needed to be on the north side of the valley. As it happened we ended up on a much better track although we did have some unnecessary climb up to Heptonstall. We found the little cliff edge path and suddenly the errant runner from above Ripponden appeared again. Arriving from our direction we found the CP near the church spot on and were soon on the Hobble route down to Horse Bridge. A caffeine gel had perked me up a little and we made quite good time up the hill to Pecket Well. We were a little unsure about the CP location but found it without too much fuss. After a false start up a private farm driveway we were headed up onto the final moor. It is a few years since I have run here and I should have receed this bit. We didn’t get it right and couldn’t find the nice trod that would take us across the top at the low point. The ‘extra miles man’ headed off on a contouring route and we did not see him again until we were finished and eating. It seemed daft to waste time and we knew roughly where we needed to be. Chris got his compass out and we searched out as many strips of burnt ground and short grass as we could. There were a few stretched of deep heather and more tussocks than Simon liked. The path along the fence on the northern side of the moor was awful and being impatient to leave it caused our next mistake. We headed off one footpath too early. Our error was soon obvious but it didn’t seem worth going back up. It added 500m and some climb but we were now on tracks that would lead us to Jerusalem Farm. The only food on offer was flapjack and I was done with sweet stuff. I could have murdered a hot pie but that wasn’t on the menu. The next two miles were mostly downhill but the tarmac and long day were taking their toll so we all took turns to walk a short section. We nattered a bit and Chris especially stayed very positive. We were lucky to get a break in traffic as we met the valley floor and found the canal tow path again. One mile would see us back at CP1. Chris now had the bit between his teeth and was starting to pull ahead. Simon stopped to walk when ever I did, but then found he had to jog to keep up with my walk pace. It made us laugh.  Him stopping also made me run and we reached the CP with Chris. One last mile up hill. We had been able to see the final climb for the last 4 miles as St Peter’s church is such a landmark. Chris was now about a minute ahead and I was getting my ‘I can see the finish’ last minute effort. I was determined to try to break 8 hours. I slowed very slightly in case Simon was not sure of the route to the back gate.

By my garmin it was 8:00:20 but the official time on my certificate says 7:58 so I will take that. Bob had finished the short route and was there ready to take a picture. I was very lucky that no fast ladies had entered the long route and so got 1000 Runfurther points as an unexpected bonus.

You can only beat those who turn up

What a great day out. Lovely scenery, great weather, well organised and fantastic company. I owe thanks to Chris and Simon for their company- it really made a difference especially in those last few miles and also to Daz for the middle section.
It was a good half and hour before I could face food but Bob plied me with cups of tea and then I was ready for my wonderful jacket potato and chilli. It was good to sit with a pint of shandy and cheer other runners in. A number of Runfurther members made it round… Nick, Mick, John T, Kevin, Elise, Jamie and more. Rory Harris won in an amazing 5 hrs 54 closely followed by Ken Sutor. David Chetta was 4th I think. Kevin Hoult was nursing an injury and so did the short route which he won with Mike Sellors in 2 hrs 40. It was good to see Mike and Barney again- they are the future and they have persuaded their girl friends to have a go. Sadly Dick and John V retired realising they would not make the cut-off and were probably just not fit enough to finish.

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