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Calderdale Hike 2016

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I’ve now got the Calderdale Hike results, and they’re now included in the Runfurther leaderboard here.  The race results are now up on the race website.

To everyone’s amazement there was a window of good weather just long enough for us all to have a good run.  The slower runners and the walkers will have got caught by the rain, sleet and snow that followed, but most of the runners got away with it, dry from the knees up.  Yes, it was a bit muddy!

First to finish was Edward Davies in 5:36 (2nd last year), second Steven Radcliffe 4 minutes behind him, and third was Keven Hoult in 5:51.  Nicky Spinks was first woman in 6:18.  Chris Davies kept Nicky in sight for most of the way but lost sight of her in the end to finish first V50 & V60 in 6:27.  Karen Nash was 2nd woman in 7:04, with Beverley Holmes 3rd in 8:43.  Numbers overall were down on 2015, although there were a lot of Runfurther members there.

Karen Nash has written up her run, and you can find that on her blog here.  Sport Sunday were there taking photos, and you can find them here.  Nick Ham was taking photos too, as he ran, and they are here.  He took the photo above, which is on the first climb out of the valley.

See you at the Fellsman!

Andy’s run

A week before the Calderdale Hike I came down with a cold.  Leading up to the race I was feeling pretty awful, coughing and spluttering, and the last thing I felt like doing was running 36 miles.  The only reason I was on that starting line was that I’d entered all the other Runfurther races already, and there was no way my Grand Slam attempt was going to be abandoned without a fight.  If not for the Slam I’d have stayed at home in bed.  So at 8am I dosed myself up with paracetamol and codeine, the objective being to suppress the coughing enough to get through the Hike without doing so much damage to myself that I wasn’t in a fit state to start the Fellsman.

At 9am I tottered off along with everybody else, and to be honest didn’t feel too bad.  Left out of the gates and down the greasy path and steps to cross the valley.  It was as soon as we started up the slippery cobbles that I started to feel the state of my body, so I slowed up a bit.  To be honest I didn’t have much choice.  I knew I was going to be much slower than last year.  On the way over the moors heading south to the M62 we didn’t get last year’s sleet, and I was enjoying the run out.  I fell in with a loose group of runners, including Carmine and Andy and a team of 4 from Bolton wearing red spots, and we kept more or less in touch all the way to Lumbutts.  I took the main road option to Windy Hill, as it does save a few minutes, and then the sneaky cut across the Blackstone Edge ridge to follow the Broad Head Drain path, which is much faster than the Pennine Way.  I overtook Nick Ham here, as he cut off left earlier on a slower route to the Drain.  I then led a group of about 8 on the Hey Head Lane route up to the Stubley Cross Hill turbines, rather than the recommended route – I don’t think it’s quicker, but it’s the route I know.

Down to the “stepping stones” footbridge, and then we had to find the new checkpoint location below Coolam, but that turned out to be straightforward enough.  Andy and I then headed up to the top of Trough Edge End to follow the footpath down, while the spotty boys contoured round to the right.  They’d have probably got away from us here if they’d got the line spot-on, but they dropped a bit too low and had to climb back up a bit to join us.  By the time we got to the Slate Pit Hill checkpoint I was starting to feel pretty tired.  My legs were OK, but my head wasn’t.  Bob Nash was at the checkpoint, having decided to retire after falling and hitting his head – he also had a cold and had the Fellsman ahead of him, so it seemed the right decision to me, although he seemed unsure later whether he’d done the right thing.

Andy and I headed off across the moor and down to Cornholme, with the Bolton lads sometimes in front and sometimes behind.  They were running faster than us but didn’t know the route and were frequently checking their GPS, so we kept coming past them again.  We all flogged up to Mount Cross together, then Andy and I pushed off ahead of them on the track down to Cross Stone.  I was still able to run OK, but I was starting to feel more wobbly all the time, concerned I might pass out while I was running.  We crossed the valley and headed up to the Lumbutts Church checkpoint, and here I made the decision to take the safest option and walk the rest of the way.  Andy, Carmine and the Bolton runners disappeared into the distance as I ambled along under Stoodley Pike, chatting to the walkers.  Nick Ham and Mick Cottam came by shortly after as well.  Somehow I managed to overtake all the walkers I saw without actually walking faster than most of them.  I think it was just that I wasn’t stopping and wasn’t hesitating over the route.  The climb up out of Cragg Vale was really hard, and then the rain started as I walked the last couple miles along the road to the finish.  I was trashed.

So, the only sensible thing to do was to go home and take it easy until the Fellsman.  Instead I headed over to Scarborough for my brother’s 60th birthday bash on the Sunday, then home for dental work on the Monday, then into Manchester on the Tuesday which is why I haven’t been able to write this until today (Wednesday).  I’ve still got every intention of running the Fellsman – although I’m still coughing a bit, and I’m still feeling pretty wiped out.

Haworth Hobble 2016

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The weather at the Hobble was pretty good this year, and I think most people really enjoyed themselves – I know I did.  It was warm enough for shorts, there was little wind and no rain.  It was still a bit muddy of course, but not nearly as bad as it could have been.  As always there were a lot of very strong runners – this is a difficult race to win high Runfurther point scores in!

We handed out plenty of Romney’s Kendal Mint Cake at registration, and there were prizes from Pete Bland Sports, Injinji and Ultimate Direction given out later, along with the bottles of wine supplied by race organiser Brett.  Many thanks to Brett for his generous donation to Runfurther as well.

I’ve updated the results spreadsheet for 2016, complete with the new Under-25 category, although there were no under-25 Runfurther members at the Hobble – they were out injured!  Here are the Hobble results.

Ian Symington and Ken Sutor ran as a team and came in first in 4:16:01 – good lads!  They’re running abroad later in the year as a team so wanted to get some practice in.  Both of them are strong contenders to win the Runfurther trophy this year.  Kevin Hoult was 3rd in 4:22:38.  First woman was Lucy Colquhoun in 5:10:14, 2nd was Lina Mardall of Deeside (5:25:42), who was running in a pair with Alan Smith.  3rd woman was Josie Greenhalgh of Horwich RMI Harriers, just behind Lina in 5:27:15.  I took 5:37:45, which was my fastest since 2012, so I was happy with that.

Karen Nash, Nigel Aston and Brian Stallwood (Stolly) have all written up their experiences of the day – just click on the name to get linked to their reports.  Karen was in a serious amount of pain with her foot, but she still wouldn’t let me beat her.

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Quite a few photos were taken on the day.  Nick Ham was wielding his camera on the way round as usual.  Quite why he persuaded someone to take the photo above I’m not sure, and perhaps we’d better not enquire…  He took the photos I’ve borrowed for this webpage.

Mike Sellors took a load of photos, and he’s posted them to the Runfurther Facebook page, so you’ll have to scroll down that to find them (three sets).  I’ve no idea how to link to them directly.

Scott Leach was out taking photos, and they’re on Facebook too.  You can find them here and here.  He’s been doing this to raise money for blood cancer charity Bloodwise, so please give generously:  his Justgiving page for making donations is here.

Lastly (so far) SportSunday were also out taking photos, so check theirs out too.

The next 9 races in the Championship are already open for entries.  That only leaves Rotherham (which should open for entries shortly) and Warrington, which opens for entries on 1 April.  Usually Rotherham doesn’t run out of places quickly if at all, but the Warrington Way Ultra may fill very quickly, so if you want to run you should be ready to get your entry in as soon as they open for business – the other two ultras in Cheshire both filled up in no time this year.

Next race is the Calderdale Hike on 9 April, with the Fellsman just a week later.  See you there!

2016 Races Announced

We are delighted to be able to announce the races that will make up the Runfurther Ultra Championship 2016.  We think we’ve got a great year’s running coming up, although we can’t guarantee we’ll be as lucky with the weather in 2016 as we were this year!  Five races have been retained from 2015:

  • The Haworth Hobble
  • The Calderdale Hike
  • The Fellsman
  • The Marlborough Downs Challenge
  • The Long Tour of Bradwell

Three races are returning to the Championship after a 1-year break:

  • The Northants Ultra (Shires and Spires)
  • The High Peak 40
  • The Round Rotherham 50

There are four new races:

  • The Pennine 39
  • The St Cuthbert’s Way Ultra
  • The Clif Bar 10 Peaks Brecon Beacons
  • The Warrington Way Ultra

You can find the dates and lots more information about all the races here.  We’ve continued the approach of mixing old favourites with new races, with a spread across the country that should suit existing members and attract new runners too.  We’re off to Wales again, with what will be a pretty hard race in the Brecon Beacons.  We’ve got just half a race in Scotland this time: the St Cuthbert’s Way race starts in Northumberland on Holy Island, and finishes at Melrose, which should be a spectacular run.  The Pennine 39 crosses the highest mountain in England outside the Lakes, and the Warrington Way race should suit those who enjoy the Round Rotherham, which is also back for 2016.

Five of the races are already open for entries, and we’d advise entering as soon as you can: some of them will fill up quite quickly.  I’ve already entered all of them (he said smugly).

We didn’t manage to fit in some races we’d really have liked to include, but date clashes prevented it.  We’d have liked to have gone back to the Hardmoors 55 and the Evesham Ultra.  We’d really liked to have included one of the Beyond Marathon races, such as the Apocalyse or the Gritstone Grind, but we couldn’t fit them in either.  And there’s nothing in the Lakes for 2016.  We’ll do our best to remedy all these in 2017, and if any of you have any other suggestions for 2017 races, just let us know.

Enter those races, and we’ll see you there!