Sponsors for the 2018 Series:










 

Northants Ultra 2018

The results are up on the Go Beyond website.  Despite what must have been a very hot day, Andrew Siggers of Kenilworth Runners lowered the race record by 13 minutes, finishing in the amazing time of 3:59:29.  That meant Runfurther points were hard to come by for the handful of male members who ventured down for the race.  Second was Stephen Marks (Rugby & Northampton AC), winner in 2016, in 4:23:18, and Ed Fisher was 3rd in 4:31:11.  First woman was Julie Pickering (Mornington Chasers) in 5:29:54, 2nd was Rachel Dench in 5:50:57, and 3rd Sarah Challans (Lincoln & District Runners) in 6:00:03.  There were 164 finishers, and a relatively high number of DNFs: 14.  That was probably down to the weather.

No Karen again for this race, so no race report.  I’m hoping Nick Ham will find the time to write something, & if he does I’ll post that when I get it.  Nick’s photos are up on his Flickr page here.  As usual I’ve borrowed some for this post.  The Runfurther leaderboard has been updated, but hasn’t changed much.  David Chetta still heads up the men’s side, but as he didn’t run the Northants Ultra that means there will be no Runfurther Grand Slams in 2018.

Marlborough Downs Challenge 2018 – updated 10 May

There were 90 finishers in the long race this year, in pretty warm weather – there were a few people who needed to retire due to the heat.  It looks like there was a race to the line for the first two finishers, who put in very fast times.  Edward Knudsen (Avon Valley Runners) finished in 3:58:11, with Rob Ford (Cirencester AC) just 25 seconds behind.  Rob Brown (also Cirencester) was 3rd in 4:30:07.  Not sure what happened to David Chetta, who finished 8th in 5:10:46: I’d have expected a faster time from David, but maybe the heat was too much or he got lost.  Hope it wasn’t injury anyway.  In any case David is now the only contender left for a Runfurther Grand Slam of all 12 races this year.  Alwyn Nixon finished 11th in 5:15:45, a very fast time, and first V60 by more than 90 minutes.  Alwyn’s written up his race, and you can find that below.

First woman was Ciara Blackstock (Calne Smartt), 17th overall in 5:31:46, 2nd was Rachel Bennett (White Horse Harriers) in 5:37:17, and 3rd was Rachel Stanley-Evans (Witney RR) in 5:46:13.

The race results are up on the Marlborough Running Club website.  I have now updated the Runfurther leaderboard as well.

No photos this time, as Nick Ham was at home sick – hope you’re feeling better now Nick!  And no Karen either, so no point in checking her blog.  Alwyn’s come up trumps though…

Alwyn Nixon’s Marlborough Downs Challenge Report

The Marlborough Downs Challenge is a pleasant, undulating route with some good views, and not too far from my home in South Wales so much more convenient for me than the majority of Runfurther races. It was only a week after the Fellsman, so I wasn’t sure how recovered I would be. However, the Fellsman had gone pretty well in my book (notwithstanding Karen’s colourful version of my trials and tribulations beyond Cray – after all, I finished 3 hours quicker than the previous year, and despite my eating/energy problems took 1 hour less from Cray to Yarnbury).
The weather was warm, but not scorching, and there was plenty of fluid to drink at the checkpoints and throw over head and body to keep cool. The ground was dry, but not baked hard. I started steadily; although I knew that I was fitter than 2 years previously, I was not feeling fresh. My plan was to try and maintain a steady pace for as long as possible and avoid losing time at checkpoints or through having to walk.
The first 13 miles or so over the first section of downs went smoothly; some runners in front of me went wrong at Gopher Wood, but came past again soon after checkpoint 2. Although I managed to hang on to them for a while I lost ground along the canal towpath to the edge of Devizes and my legs were feeling leaden by checkpoint 4 (15.2 miles). However, after the next hill I started to pick off runners, and was feeling OK and running on my own by checkpoint 6 before the Wellington Monument (20 miles). I managed to keep running up to the monument and made good time to the checkpoint before Avebury (25 miles). The next section to the final checkpoint is a grind, slightly uphill for much of the way, but I was still running. A quick final drink, and then push the final 3.5 miles down to the finish. Pleasantly surprised to find that I was 11th overall (1st MV60), and my time of 5 hr 15.45 was nearly 20 minutes quicker than in 2016. Time to relax, shower and socialise!
89 runners completed the 33 mile route; Edward Knudsen (Avon Valley Runners) was the overall winner in a quick 3.58.11. First lady was Ciara Blackstock (Calne Smartt) in 5.31.46. Runfurther members alongside myself to successfully complete the route included Ned Lammas (6th/2nd MV50 in 5.06.08); Dave Chetta (8th in 5.10.46); event (apologies if I’ve missed anyone). Dick Scroop (MV70) had the misfortune to go wrong and lose significant time in West Woods after checkpoint 1, and so missed the cut-off time and checkpoint 3 and was diverted onto the 20 mile route.
To those who haven’t tried the Marlborough Downs Challenge yet, it’s well worth the travel; the course is interesting and varied, whilst the event has a friendly and relaxed atmosphere and is excellently organised.
Alwyn Nixon

The Fellsman 2018 – updated 3 May with photos

Ascent of Ingleborough: photo by Nick Ham

The Fellsman results are up, and you can find them on the Fellsman website.  If you get to a list of the past few years’ results & think 2018 isn’t there yet, just scroll down & click on “2018” on the right hand side.  Sounds like it was a great race this year without some of the appalling conditions that hit it some years.

Neil Talbott was first to finish in 11:16, new Runfurther member Stuart Walker was 2nd in 11:44, and Lawrence Eccles was 3rd in 11:56.  First woman was Jessica Richardson, 18th overall in 14:01.  2nd woman was Carol Morgan in 14:19, and 3rd was Rachel Slattery in 16:35.  Karen Nash was just 3 minutes behind her.

Special mention for Mike Sellors and Barney Nikolich, both in the Runfurther under-25 category, who ran their socks off to finish in joint 9th place (12:36).  Our photographer Nick Ham only got as far as Dent, so we’ll have no photos after that!

All the results have been incorporated into the Runfurther leaderboard, and that’s on the 2018 results page.  Three runners have completed all four races so far: David Chetta (Mercia), Steven Jones (Dark Peak) and Ian France (Bowland).  David is currently at the head of the leaderboard, but is unlikely to stay there if Ken Sutor runs one of the remaining Long races.  Karen Nash is still first woman, but if Carol Morgan ends up running four counters she’ll probably overtake Karen, on current form.  Josie Greenhalgh could catch her too.

Sarah Jones, Mike Ernill and Jim Maxfield have each run three counters, but haven’t joined Runfurther yet.  If you know any of them, please try to get them to sign up and join us. (Update: Karen’s already in touch with Mike E)

Karen’s written up her blog & I’ve copied that below, and Nick’s photos are here.

Ingleborough summit: photo by Nick Ham

Karen’s race report:

The Fellsman

I love the Fellsman. The route is superb with wonderful hills, views and countryside (almost no road). The organisation is great and so friendly and it just seems a really good value weekend and chance to catch up with so many friends.  I felt rather under-prepared but decided to think of it as my last long run before the NT.

Thanks to all our Runfurther sponsors

By Friday tea time all the flags and banners were up; a task made much easier this year thanks to the sturdy new school fence. More importantly the rain had stopped, the clouds had cleared and the sun had come out. The forecast was good- cold but dry, well maybe not dry from the shins downwards!
The display boards were up inside and I used that as an opportunity to sneak in and be first for kit check. It meant I was able to hand out mint cake and sign up a couple of new members. Suddenly it was gone 7.30pm and time to drive to Ingleton to eat, put up a couple more flags and banners before an early night. I didn’t sleep well which was annoying but not all that unusual. Bob met up with Alison and Jo before heading off the man the Whernside CP.
I had plenty of time for multiple toilet visits and catching up with so many friends. It was nice to see Mark Hartell and let him know that Runfurther was still going strong – I even ran with him off and  on as far as Blea Moor. In the hall before the start Julian asked me to be part of an oldies team which was nice. I had contemplated running with others for a social time but the Hardmoors gang would be going more slowly than I wanted and the Lostockers had a neat team of four. I decided to play it by ear and just run the best I could and see who I ended up near.

The start in Ingleton and SUN

As usual the field split into at least 3 groups as we left the playing fields and by the Ingleborough track runners and walkers were well spread out. To take my mind off the climb I chatted to Mark. The top was cloud covered but not the white out from two years ago.

Chatting with Mark who set up Runfurther

A neighbour was clipping tallies and shouted support. I always lose quite a few places descending to the Hill Inn and although the rocks were a little drier this year was no different.

Always a pleasure to see David and Laura of Sportsunday

I must check out the more direct grassy descent at some time because Rachel went that way and caught me. Initially I was thinking “where did you come from? how did you overtake me?” but we ran the rest of the race always within sight of each other, grouped and in quite companionship which was lovely. I felt OK going up Whernside to get my tally clipped by Bob et al. Running up and back down this ridge is always interesting as you see who is ahead of you and who is not far behind. Three ladies, including Carol M, seemed to be going strong and I was pleased there were some younger and faster runners this year. Kingsdale appeared very quickly and I refilled my water. I was eating my own food as I find biscuits and the flapjack too dry when I am running. The route to the gate/stile was well marked and let to a good quad bike track. It was wet underfoot but the whole hillside is and the line was better than more direct ones I have taken in the past. I slowed going up Gragareth and told myself it was OK to conserve energy for later. For the first time in ages the cheerful joking ladies at the CP were able to stand outside their tent and enjoy the views. I found myself alone on the section to Great Coum. I could see runners ahead and behind but nobody very close. It was boggy by the wall and the worst stretches kept breaking my pattern and slowing me up. I went slightly too far right dropping off the hill but it allowed me a quiet toilet stop before blasting down to Flinters Gill and running with Mark again. The rocky track was as bad as I remembered- apparently there is a grassy path in the field so I must investigate.

and I need to check out this short cut (David Chetta going well)

The cheese and onion rolls were very welcome at Dent and the melon and oranges were superb. One third of the race now done.

Dent always amuses

Mark made better time than me along the lane and up onto the shoulder of Whernside although I could still see him. Rachel was not far behind me. I gradually reeled in Mark and two others and we ran together along the now well worn trod to Blea Moor.

Yep, painting the trig!

The valley bottom was wet as always. The marshalls here had been busy and the trig point was painted a bright white. So much felling in the next valley caused some initial confusion so my line was not perfect but I got back on line just below the air shaft and caught two who had gone much too fast east.

pic from Anthony Hall

I ran the lane reasonably well buoyed up by the thought of food and drink at Stonehouse. There is always plenty of support and people with cameras here. The pasta was a struggle to get down but I managed with two cups of tea and refilled my bottle with more Mountain Fuel. I would have liked to have headed up the lane still eating but decided to sit and concentrate on swallowing.

Cheers for the food and photo Fellsman team

I then spent the next section trying to catch up with Rachel again. She reached Great Knoutberry ahead of me but we were together across the bogs that would lead us down to Redshaw. We were over half way now and to my surprise my time was looking OK. Rachel wanted to try to get under 16 hours as she took 16.08 last time and I knew my times were often 15:30 or 15:45.

Still great weather at Redshaw

Redshaw  was the CP I was on last year and this year it was manned by friends Adrienne, Nick, their girls and Jane. Tom refilled my water as I grabbed a sausage, banana and set off again. Snaizholme soon came and went. Being with Rachel made me keep running whenever I felt I could and we agreed on the best line up Dodd Fell.

Bright but chilly Dodd Fell

Our line off the summit was OK on good trods and we found a good route to the bridleway that leads across the the Fleet Moss CP.  Rachel was back off out faster than me here but I stayed and ate etc. Usually by now I am starting to think about who I will be grouped with. Rachel was up ahead but still in sight as were the two guys we left Redshaw with. I was with another three runners. It seemed any of them would be fine although I was slightly worried that perhaps I would be the weak link in any group. The new fence is a wonderful handrail and there is a reasonable trod now making nav on this section much easier. The blue cup has gone but we arrived safely at the stile and were soon on the very wet quad bike track that contours around to the ‘new’ Middle Tongue CP. The guys there had kindly hung a high viz vest on a pole just to make it even easier. Four of us whizzed our fell track watches (yes on wrists this year rather than the back of tallies) and had our tallies clipped. We were not grouped and all had our own ideas of the best line but were never really far apart. We went through Hells Gap together and then had a joint moan at the pain from the stone track down to Cray. I was ready for food, drink and a brief rest here. It was also cold even in the tent so I added another layer.

at least we didn’t suffer this disruption

It was here that all my plans went to pot. I was feeling a little nauseous and was a bit distracted. Chris Davies was pulling out with foot pain. We shared a hug and I hoped he wouldn’t have to wait too much longer for transport. Alwyn was waiting to be grouped and moaning at the wait. He was cold and keen to get going but we all knew we needed to stop and refuel. There were 8 of us and we all greed this was too much for one group. I had been feeling a little sick and so worried I might slow people up- in fact I never was sick and should not have worried. In the end Rachel, Alwyn, David and I made one group of 4. We wasted some time as the poor CP guy had to keep rewriting the grouping card  but the two groups set off close together and climbed Buckden Pike together. It was chilly up there but the views were amazing and it was almost a full moon that was starting to show.
Here we parted. The ‘second’ group shot off at a steady jog and pulled ahead never to be close to again. Alwyn was not just feeling sick but really struggling to move and retching constantly. We jogged a little along the newish flagstones and to the Polish war memorial. David lives in Grassington and so led the group. Rachel and I also felt we knew the way and so we checked the nav was OK. We were soon at Top Mere even after some stumbling along the wet tussocky area before the good grassy path. David and I were setting the best pace we could and Rachel was doing a great job of making sure we didn’t drop Alwyn. He wouldn’t eat and was getting slower. Park Rash was wonderful- the tent all done up, with a floor and gas heaters. Not moving as fast as we wanted really chilled me so now I added my primaloft. It meant I had on all 3 base layers, the primaloft, my cag and hat and gloves. Alwyn was getting worse and making sure we did not run off needed constant checking. Rachel agreed to keep shouting stop or slow whenever needed. Not being able to run after the initial steep climb was very frustrating. David and I were getting cold and Rachel knew her hope of sub 16 hours was gone.We found the CP hunkered down between the boulders and headed across the the ridge line fence. The next section is never easy as it is so boggy. Rachel and I both knew the trod off right but neither of us were confident in the dark and clag so we agreed to play safe and stay with the fences. This section although a bog fest is down hill and I really wanted to run, if only to stay warm. It was not to be. Safely at Capplestone Gate we could see some other lights ahead and soon caught another group that had a struggling runner.

Great to see the young lads Mike and Barn- they were finished long before me

Mark H was taking it all very calmly but must have been very frustrated. We slowly pulled ahead and after Rachel insisting Alwyn ate something we jogged and walked with slightly fewer interuptions. At Yarnbury we degrouped. Overtaking the other group had put Rachel and I in third place as one of the other ladies had pulled out. I told her to blast the last bit and claim 3rd as compensation for missing sub16. She and David shot off down the lane to Grassington and beyond. I check Alwyn was following and jogged off too.It felt odd to run this section as sometimes my quads are so shot it is a real effort. I even ran most of the way up to the school from the bridge. 16hrs 38 was a PW by almost an hour but hey ho. Poor Alwyn couldn’t help being ill and it is the first time in 6 years that the lottery of Fellsman grouping has caused me any issues.
After stripping off muddy shoes. I chatted to Josie who was waiting for Albert, Tony and Mike plus Mandy and Ros who had pulled out at Stonehouse but found there was such a long wait for transport that they had only just got back. Then I wandered to the kitchen where Bob and others were keeping runners fed and watered. After two cups of tea I managed a chilli baked potato before sloping off to the van to fall into bed and sleep. By 8am I was back in the hall and swapping tales. Nick had pulled out at Dent just lacking energy and so had Phil. John V was back and so pleased to complete another event 50 years after his first.

Dick being spoon fed at Stonhouse – another great completion

Dick was still out there but was making steady progress. The prize giving had a bonus for me- Julian’s oldies team had won and I was the first counter.

So a trophy and prize voucher to go with the Fellsman necktube despite it all. All that remained was to take down all the Runfurther gear and take Dick back to his car in the quarry.

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.

Lakes Mountain 42 2018 – updated 6 April

Ponies at Askham

Many thanks to Joe Faulkner and his team for putting the Lakes Mountain 42 on, despite the conditions.  The race was shortened to about 26 miles due to the snow/ice conditions, but it will still count as a Runfurther “Medium” race.  For a full race report, see Nick Ham’s write-up below.

Loadpot Hill

1st for the second year was Casper Kaars Sijpesteijn in 4:16.

2nd was Ken Sutor in 4:22.

3rd was Harvey Lord in 4:32.

4th was David Chetta in 4:40, with Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn just behind him, also given a time of 4:40. Katie was first woman.

2nd woman was Catherine Niblock, 28th overall in 5:40.

3rd woman was Catherine Litherland, 30th in 5:43.

Chris Davies was probably 1st V60, 15th overall in 5:18, so he’s going very well again this year.

V70 Dick Scroop finished with V60 John Vernon in an impressive 9:17.

The full results are on Joe’s blog.

Nick’s photos are up on Flickr here the photos here are Nick’s too.  Loads of snow.

Angle Tarn

I’ve updated the Runfurther leaderboard, and you can find that here.  21 runners have completed both races, and Ken Sutor heads the list once more, with Josie Greenhalgh currently first woman.  Seven of those 21 have not yet joined Runfurther, so if you know any of them, see if you can get them to sign up.  That’s:

  • Mel Steventon
  • Stephanie Illingworth
  • Mike Ernill
  • Sarah Jones
  • Rosie Jones
  • Max Howard
  • Paul Booth

Place Fell

And here’s Nick’s race report:

Lakes Mountain 42, Sat 31/03/2018 (Nick Ham’s report)

It’s Good Friday and I’m about to leave for Askham when an email notification arrives from Joe Faulkner at NAV4: tomorrow’s race will be shortened by removing the Helvellyn loop. We will reach CP4 at George Starkey Hut and do an about-turn for home via Place Fell. A quick check of my Tracklogs map showed that the distance would be 26 miles instead of 41 miles (provided we don’t go wrong). The change was forced by the ground conditions (refrozen compacted snow drifts near the peaks) with strong winds and more snow forecast during the race. I had been following the forecast avidly and I was not entirely surprised by this decision.

On Friday evening between registration in the community centre and dinner in the Queen’s Head next door, the Runfurther crew was completed by me, Kevin Smith, Chris Davies and Dick Scroop. If Karen and Bob hadn’t been off enjoying themselves elsewhere in even more wintery climes, they would surely have been there too. With NAV4 we know where to go to get a right good Ultra under our belts.

Because of the shortened route we had a lie-in on Saturday. Departure was delayed by 2 hours to 8am, making the start seem even more laid-back than usual even for NAV4. In anticipation of things to come, we all set off in full body cover and waterproofs. Only one or two were brave (or stupid) enough to set off in shorts and no extra leg cover. As expected I was soon overheating and had to unzip everything in sight and roll up coat sleeves to lose the excess heat and allow effort to extend to more than just walking.

As we slogged our way upwards towards the darkening and lowering cloud base, the last remnants of sunlight in the distance behind us vanished and the first of the snow squalls blew in on the Easterly wind. CP1 at Loadpot Hill (5.4 miles) was reached in 1hr 15mins. We were already in the cloud and zippage had been re-zipped to preserve heat. Onwards we continued in the direction of High Street, initially downwards but mostly upwards. I remember from last year’s crystal clear conditions veering right across a rough area seemingly off-path to pick up the path left to High Street. However, this year we were in thick cloud and, following the obvious path, found ourselves descending to the left when we all knew we had to keep high and to the right. We deviated back up to the right to regain the path and turn right up it. We must have overshot Kidsty Pike 90 degrees in the wrong direction to the left.

Finally we reached the left turn and out-and-back drag up to the High Street trig. Here we met other competitors on their way back, running and looking more energetic than I felt. The wind was howling and the snow was driving in hard. The bitter conditions meant that everything was zipped up and wrapped tight to sustain life. I had two layers of leg covering (one of them windproof & waterproof) and could not believe the few with bare legs in those conditions. I feared for their safety. CP2 at High Street (10.2 miles) was finally reached in 2hrs 28mins. (Unfortunately my camera was playing up so much I could not get a single decent photo anywhere near High Street.)

I was glad of the chance to descend again and run to generate some heat. Problem was, my vision was so obscured by snow and dampness on my glasses and by the thick fog (cloud), I couldn’t see clearly enough to run confidently. Onwards I shuffled with others overtaking me, eventually passing the point where we joined from the right and continuing ahead towards Angle Tarn. I remembered last year running by sight and having no problem with navigation. I remembered one path to follow that would take us there. However, we started to descend and others around me stopped and started to traverse right and upwards again across rough ground and across a stream gully. It transpired that we (and many others before and after us) had been merrily descending towards Hayeswater after going around The Knott instead of taking a non-obvious right fork towards Angle Tarn. For the second time, what could have been a serious navigational error was nipped in the bud. This time, having other walkers and mountain bikers on the path to show us where we should be was a big help. We hadn’t strayed too far.

As I stumbled rather clumsily along the footpath I kept my eyes peeled to the left for any glimpse of water through the murk, which could only mean Angle Tarn. Finally it came. There was tentage and a sign of human occupation. John Bamber had set up a safety camp there to help ensure that we didn’t miss the checkpoint. (He would normally have been stationed on a more remote part of the second loop.) CP3 at Angle Tarn isthmus (13.2 miles) was reached in 3hrs 21mins.

Onwards we continued descending left towards Patterdale. As I descended out of the cloud and wind and below the snow line it was luxurious to be feeling warm again. I met faster runners on their way back up towards Place Fell. It would be a long while until I’d be following in their footsteps. I arrived in Patterdale feeling toasty and quite content. CP4 at George Starkey Hut (15.4 miles) was reached in 4hrs dead.

I soon left CP4 to return from whence I came, cup of milky tea in hand with teabag stewing nicely in the bottom. Sarah Smith was running down as I was climbing back up. She seemed to be going well but had experienced the navigation woe of descending to Hayeswater on the way to Angle Tarn. I was still pondering on whether to take the direct route up to Place Fell like I did last year or take the longer roundabout path. Although the weather felt quite benign down here I knew what it was like up there, so I decided in favour of the safer footpath option (less chance of falling down a precipitously steep slope and more chance of being found if anything untoward did happen). Shortly after taking the ‘safe’ option, my right foot slipped off a rock and down into a stream gully. For a split second I saw myself falling down the gully but fortunately, instinct made me put all my weight on my crouching left leg while leaning to the left and putting my gloved hand in muddy water. I knew what that meant for later.

It would be my first time up the ‘official’ route, and what a shock it was. It dragged on. The weather deteriorated dramatically as we climbed back into the cloud and into the wind and the driven snow. Ups-and-downs and false summits towards the top made me think we’d missed the trig point. Although visibility was almost zero we were following a trodden path so I couldn’t imagine how we could have missed it. Finally we passed a small tarn on the left, which I remembered passing last year on my direct route to the summit. I looked ahead and, sure enough, the terrain was rising once again, this time to the ultimate summit with trig point on top. Another runner was sheltering just below the trig to get his tally out before venturing up into the melee to get it clipped. By the time I got there he’d done the business and I took up position in his shelter spot to do the same thing, making sure I had a firm grip of my maps, tally and two drinks bottles before climbing into the teeth of the frigid horribleness to puncture square number 9 with the red plastic mini bed of nails. The prior extra wetting of my glove meant extra cold hand – all the more difficult for punching with. CP9 at Place Fell (17.4 miles) was reached in 5hrs 5mins.

It was impossible to know which way to go from Place Fell trig, so map and compass were pressed into service. We needed to go north-easterly. The compass bearing soon brought us to the trodden path we had to follow. We descended steadily to leave the snow, cloud and wind behind for the final time. Warmth soon returned to my hands and we could actually see where we were going again. A warm contended feeling flowed through me as we ran the steep but runnable descent to the Boredale valley, this time not missing the stile into the farmer’s field.

Past Martindale Church we went (no clip there this year) and onwards via the most direct route towards Askham. In the last few miles a lively Irish pair (Cormac MacDonnell and Robbie Heffernan) caught up with me. The upbeat tone of their banter and their relative speed told me that they were well fuelled and in good shape. They gradually pulled away to finish 9 minutes ahead of me. Finally it was my turn to run between the fell ponies back down into Askham, guided back to the rear entrance of Askham Community Centre by the Runfurther flag beckoning over the wall. I was pleased to complete the 26 miles (plus nav. errors) in ~7hrs 19mins, which was roughly as I had predicted. I was even more pleased to win a spot prize of a Mountain Fuel gift pack (Mountain Fuel is Runfurther’s newest sponsor). I really like that stuff; it formed my main fuel and hydration strategy throughout the event. It works.

Perusal of the results informed me of phenomenal performances once again by ‘those who can’ at the top of the field.

1st for the second year was Casper Kaars Sijpesteijn in 4:16.

2nd was Ken Sutor in 4:22.

3rd was Harvey Lord in 4:32.

4th was David Chetta, with Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn just behind him, also given at time of 4:40. Katie was first woman.

V70 Dick Scroop finished with V60 John Vernon in an impressive 9:17. Knowing what the conditions were like on the summits, I had been concerned about Dick but I needn’t have worried. What an inspiration they are.

After enjoying the NAV4 soup, tea and cake, the evening was whiled away with fellow runners in the Queen’s Head with live band letting rip in the back room. I’m glad to say that conversation remained just about possible.

Final note: Joe Faulkner and the NAV4 safety team were spot on with their decision to shorten the race. At lower altitude we have no idea what it’s like up top and the less experienced might question their decision. They know. They were right.

Descending to Boredale

Haworth Hobble 2018

Nick Ham at the start

The results are out for the Haworth Hobble.  Ken Sutor, last year’s Runfurther men’s champion, came in first in 4:33:18 – well run Ken!  Second was Chris Cope in 4:39:07, and 3rd was another Runfurther 2017 prizewinner, David Chetta, in 4:42:28.  First woman was Lorraine Slater of Barlick FR in 5:07:02, second was Amy Freeman of Darwen Dashers in 5:17:53, and 3rd was Melissa Venables (Spa Striders) in 5:19:51.  The full results are available on the Keighley and Craven website here.

I’ve started the 2018 leaderboard, and you can find that here.  For now it only includes Runfurther members and Lorraine Slater (first woman at Haworth).  After the second race it’ll be back to normal, with all runners who’ve run at least two races being on the leaderboard, member or not.

Karen’s race report is on her blog here.  Sport Sunday were taking photos & you can find them on their website here.  NIck Ham’s photos are here.  If anyone else has photos or race reports, just let me have them, or links to them.

Ultra Calendar update

I’ve finally found the time to update the Ultra Calendar – it’s a lot of work each time searching so many websites. All the UK and Ireland Ultras I could fine are in there, with a bit of info and a link to the race website. Please check it out, & let me know if you spot anything wrong or missing! I hope people find it useful.  I don’t include races that are mainly on road or that go round in little circles.  I couldn’t bring myself to…

The 2018 races

At the AGM the 2018 races were announced.  I’ll be updating the website properly soon, but in the meantime here’s the list of races.  They have all featured in Runfurther in previous years, so for now I’ve linked them to the web pages we’ve already got for them.  Those pages tell you something about the races but they haven’t been updated for 2018, so still have dates for previous years in them.  The links to the races’ own websites probably still work, but I haven’t checked them yet.  I imagine the Hardmoors 60 will fill very quickly.

  1. Sat 10 March: Haworth Hobble, 32 miles, Short
  2. Sat 31 March: Lakes Mountain 42, 42 miles, Medium
  3. Sat 14 April: Calderdale Hike, 40 miles, Medium (nb I think this will be a new route for 2018)
  4. Sat 28 April: The Fellsman, 61 miles, Long
  5. Sun 6 May: Marlborough Downs Challenge, 33 miles, Short
  6. Sun 20 May: Northants Ultra, 35 miles, Short
  7. Fri/Sat 22/23 June: South Wales 50 & 100, 50 or 100 miles, Long
  8. Sat 7 July: Pennine 39, 39 miles, Medium
  9. Sat 11 August: Long Tour of Bradwell, 33 miles, Short
  10. Sat 1 September: Grand Tour of Skiddaw, 44 miles, Medium
  11. Sat 15 September: Hardmoors 60, 62 miles, Long
  12. Sat 20 October: Round Rotherham, 50 miles, Long