Sponsors for the 2019 Series:









 

2018 Prizegiving/AGM

Here’s Karen’s brief report on the Prizegiving & AGM.  I haven’t got the AGM minutes yet, but I’ll post them when I’ve got them.  Karen took photos, and of course Nick did too.  I’ve included all the photos Karen sent me here: Nick’s are up on his Flickr site as usual – check them out too!

Karen Nash & Ken Sutor: overall winners again!

Despite last minute hitches with a venue the AGM and prize giving went well. The Peak Raid mini MM series of a 3 hour score long orienteering event was perfect and a number of our runners said how grateful they were for the opportunity to practice their navigation. I even managed to beat Ken and Rory and that won’t happen ever again! Being a score event reduced the waiting time for the first runners back and the venue was nice and cosy with plenty of drinks and cake whilst we waited for our room to be available. In the end we were allocated the ‘lounge’ with soft chairs, carpet, fireplace the works. There was plenty to drink and eat with about 16 or so of us attending; including Si Berry.
The AGM passed swiftly with no changes to the committee and reports that our finances were very secure.
Prizes were awarded to winners overall, age categories, most points and teams. There was a good selection from Ultimate Direction, Injinji, Mountain Fuel and Tent Meals so huge thanks to our sponsors yet again.

Second woman Sarah Challans

Before the AGM

A serious moment trying out the reward caps

The boards

Dick Scroop making the presentation to Karen

The prizes

 

Runfurther AGM and Prize Giving -URGENT UPDATE

PLEASE NOTE THAT WE HAVE UNFORTUNATELY BEEN LET DOWN BY THE SHADY OAK & THE AGM/PRIZEGIVING WILL NOW TAKE PLACE AT THE WHITE HALL OUTDOOR CENTRE, I.E. THE VENUE OF THE EARLIER MINI-MARATHON EVENT.

I’ll also post details of the 2019 races after I get back from holiday.

Sunday 4th Nov WHITE HALL OUTDOOR CENTRE 2pm (note there’s no mobile phone signal there)

Please come for chat, a drink and to show us that you value the Runfurther series. Everyone is welcome, certainly not just the prize winners. After the short formal AGM we will have the prize giving and there may or may not be food (due to the last minute re-arrangement). This is where we will announce the races for 2019.

This is after the Peak Raid mini MM- this is a 3 hour score event. You basically have 3 hours to navigate between a choice of upto about 15 checkpoints of different values. Penalties if you are late back. Most points wins. You can run as solo or pair. Pre Enter to guarantee a place and it is cheaper. Starts are between 9 and 9.30 so we should all finish running by 12.30 and have time to get our breath, change etc and move to the pub which is close by. Check out explorerevents.co.uk or their facebook page for more details. The events centre is White Hall Outdoor Centre just off the A5004 between Whalley Bridge and Buxton and the running is mainly Goyt Valley.

We hope that you can come and that the choice of event makes the travel worthwhile and that by being a score event we will all finish close together and therefore the fast runners will not have to hang around. The rest of the family could enjoy a walk in the Goyt Valley and then come to the prizegiving too.

Round Rotherham 2018, & who are the Runfurther 2018 champions. Updated 31 Oct.

The race

155 runners and walkers completed the 50 miles round Rotherham on Saturday, in what was the last of the Runfurther 2018 races.  Congratulations to everyone who took part, and to all the Runfurther 2018 runners.

First home was local runner Ben Hague in the astonishing time of 6:00:52, taking nearly 17 minutes off the race record.  This made Runfurther points hard to come by for the rest of the male runners!  Second was Kevin Hoult in 6:33:08, and third was this year’s Runfurther champion Ken Sutor in 6:44:04.  First woman was our own Karen Nash, clearly back on form, in 8:41:15.  Second woman was Elly Woodhead in 8:52:11, and third was Sarah Milns in 9:05:01.  The full race results are up on the Sportident website.

Karen’s written a race report for her blog, and I’ve also posted it on here (just scroll down).  Nick Ham’s photos are up on Flickr here.  Henry Morris has written up his race in entertaining style, and you can find that here.

The Runfurther 2018 champions

You can find the final 2018 leaderboard here.  Subject to any changes to the RR results, and subject to anyone pointing out where I’ve made mistakes myself, I think the Runfurther 2018 winners are listed below.  Congratulations to all of them!

Men

  1. Ken Sutor, Cheshire Hash House Harriers, 3997 points.  Winner for the second time in a row, with some great results.  Ken won 3 races, and was just pipped to the line at Calderdale by Rory Harris.
  2. Rory Harris, 3930 points.  Some great running from Rory.  He just beat Ken once, and was just beaten by him twice.
  3. David Chetta, Mercia Fell Runners, 3624 points.

MV50

  1. Martin Terry, Clayton-le-Moors Harriers, 3259 points.  Yet again, Martin is first MV50.
  2. Kevin Smith, 2686 points.
  3. Nick Ham, Team Krypton, 2544 points.

MV60

  1. Alwyn Nixon, 2970 points.  Another great year for Alwyn, who would have been 2nd MV50 had he lied about his age.
  2. Stephen Hall, Skipton AC, 2562 points.
  3. John Vernon, Dark Peak FR, 1792 points.

MV70

  1. Robert Nash, Team Krypton, 1988 points.
  2. Dick Scroop, Mercia Fell Runners, 1909 points.

Women

  1. Karen Nash, Team Krypton, 3851 points.  Karen does it again.  She actually finished first woman in four of the 2018 races, but only three count towards her points total.
  2. Sarah Challans, Lincoln & District Runners, 3507 points.
  3. Jenny Wyles, Chorley Athletic & Tri, 3035 points.  A good run at Rotherham meant Jenny just pipped Debbie Cooper to 3rd place.

FV50

  1. Karen Nash, Team Krypton, 3851 points.
  2. Jenny Wyles, Chorley Athletic & Tri, 3035 points.

FV60

  1. Janet Hill, Springfield Striders, 2603 points.

Most points overall

Men:  David Chetta, Mercia Fell Runners, 6023 points.

Women:  Karen Nash, Team Krypton, 5694 points.

Teams

  1. Team Krypton, 8383 points.  Karen Nash, Nick Ham and Robert Nash.
  2. Mercia Fell Runners, 6444 points.  David Chetta, Dick Scroop and Stewart Bellamy.
  3. Horwich RMI Harriers, 6290 points.  Andy Ford, Albert Sunter and Josie Greenhalgh.

Karen Nash’s Round Rotherham race report

This would be my 8th running of this event and my 6th in the Runfurther Champs (which is pretty good considering how much time I have been out of the country). I knew It would not change my score in the Championship and as a consequence was struggling for motivation as we stood on the start line. The whole RRR organisation is superb and the race is really good value. It is also fairly flat and fast which does not exactly play to my strengths.

We started from a new venue this year, Mavers Boatclub and it was a pretty setting on the lakeside. It also meant we were straight onto trails rather than the road and tarmac cycle was from the Sports Centre, those would be at the end this year. The forecast was good but not too sunny and I was assured there would be very little mud even on the ploughed fields.

 The new venue

The lead men soon disappeared into the distance and the rest of us settled into our natural pace and positions. By Elsecar it was warm and I had to take a layer off. Heading up into the woods I chatted to Ellie, the local girl who had beaten me by a couple of minutes last year. She was running with two guys but was carrying absolutely nothing. I ran a fair way with Les Hill. He raced ahead on the flats and I caught him on the hilly ups and downs or any rough bits, until his legs objected and reminded him of his recent 6 hour race. Having the slower runners and walkers go off an hour earlier is quite nice as you can slowly pick them off. I passed John Vernon at Keppel’s Column and then Bob and Dick as we joined the canal and the delights of Tinsley. I was pleased with my progress and now had my race head on as I ran past Orgreave and noted all the new houses in the distance. CP2 was welcome as I was low on water so I also grabbed some food to keep me going. I like the next section past Treeton Lake and towards the railway viaduct and Rother Valley Park. My foot was now causing me some issues after all the firm surfaces and I did have to walk some short sections here which was frustrating as my legs felt fine. I knew from experience that some walking would help and then we would be on the field paths again through Woodall and into Harthill. This CP is almost half way and I have wasted time here before. Not today though. A quick refill of water and two jaffa cakes and I was on my way. Sadly I found the film tub of mountain fuel had lost it’s cap. Sad because I wanted the energy and worse because it left a sticky mess where the powder had spilt and got damp. I managed two of my marmite sandwiches instead. Less than 10km would see us Woodsetts which I think of as half way even though it is 47/80km. The fields in the next section were beautifully dry and compacted and still had more crops rather than the ploughed mess of some years. The turbines came and went, the light aircraft buzzed us and suddenly I seemed to be almost on my own. It was warm and I had hoped to refill my bottle at the unofficial drink station by the canal but for the first time I can remember they were not there. The relay runners were now coming past at a steady pace and mutual congratulations also help lift my pace plus the golf course section has some softer ground for my poor foot. A short steep uphill and we were racing down to the Butcher’s Arms and the CP at Woodsetts. I had decided to stick some food in a drop bag this year but no change of socks or shoes. Last year I wasted almost 15 mins faffing. Today it was a cup of tea, more marmite sandwiches, two baby bel and a restock of Mountain Fuel Sport Jelly. I was first lady but had no idea how close Ellie was or if she was gaining time on me. There was nothing for it but to keep going as hard as I could. Les set a good pace around the fields at into Langold lake park. The following woods used to be great but the path now has an uncomfortable covering of gravel chippings. I concentrated on not letting him get too far ahead and we arrived at Firbeck together. I over heard a rumour that Ellie was two minutes behind me so after a refill of water and Mountain Fuel I was off and heading for Roche Valley and the abbey ruins. Surely after 35 miles she wouldn’t catch me now. Red vest man aka fastest fat boy was running with me now and we made very good time to Maltby. He seemed keen that I should not be caught. The roads through Maltby were hard work as usual but the track past the odd little trig point and Micklebring came faster than expected. More relay runners dragged me under the M18, across fields and down to Hooton Roberts. I was now checking Henry’s strip maps frequently to check on the passing and remaining kilometres. The 2km to Old Denaby flew by as I tried hard to reel in red vest man again. From the last CP I knew it was less than 5 miles even with the new venue. I met relay folk running back to cars and others out supporting. Several were Kimberworth Stridders and I hoped Ellie was not getting too many updates on how far ahead I was. In my memory the canal and paths to Swinton and then the Sports Centre go on a bit but today they flew by. I was desperate not to lose my position after all these miles. From here it was all tarmac for about a mile. I focused on counting roundabouts to take my mind off my foot until I could see the Fire HQ and knew I was safe. I did slow to walk at that corner but managed to run into the finish. 8hrs 41.

 Feeling better after food and a hot shower

Not a PB as I have run faster in 3/8 years but a whole 45 minutes faster than last year. Ellie appeared about 15 minutes later chuffed to have beaten her last years time by about 30 minutes.

The real glory goes to the local man who set a new course record of 6hrs 52 seconds! And Ken, Kevin, David and the others who were way ahead of me as usual.

Nick finishing

Food and a hot shower soon refreshed me and several walks back to the van down on the lakeside loosened my legs. A seat in the sun watching the light slowly dip over the lake was a beautiful end to the day.

 Catching the last rays

All the flags and banners were down and safely stowed soon after dark and I settled down to wait for Bob and Dick. The race was important for them and would decide who will be V70 champion.

 Bob and Ian

The new venue worked well. RR is much more scenic than it sounds and a great place to get a 50 mile PB. (I was almost 2 hours faster than at Red Rose 50)

Hardmoors 60 2018 – updated 19 September

The race

I hope everyone had a good time at the seaside.  There were 189 finishers in the race, with 17 DNFs.  Ken Sutor made sure of his 2018 Runfurther win by winning the race in 9:20:12, with Rory Harris second in 9:33:40, and Robert Barnes third in 9:50:51.  First woman home was Claire Howard in 11:29:52, second was Daisy Jackson in 12:11:30, and Rachel Ross Russell was third in 12:20:27.  The full race results are up on the Hardmoors website.

Ken Sutor has written a short race report, and you can read that at the end of this post.

Sport Sunday were there taking photos, and you can find them here and here.

Here’s a link to Mick Browne’s Youtube video of his race.  And here’s a link to the video Karsten Spaans took of the runners climbing Highcliffe Nab.  We’ve no photos from Nick Ham this time, as he wasn’t fit for running this time.  Other than these two videos I’ve no more information about the race other than Ken’s report and the results.  If you’ve got photos or the time to write a race report then please email them to me, or a link if they’re already up on the web.

Runfurther results

The Runfurther leaderboard has been updated as well.  With just the Round Rotherham 50 remaining, this year’s winners are now becoming clearer.  Ken Sutor’s won the men’s championship with 3997 points, though if he wins at Rotherham as well, he’ll have the maximum of 4000 points.  He’s won three of his four counters (Haworth, Pennine 39, Hardmoors 60), and was only a minute behind the winner at Calderdale.  That winner at Calderdale was Rory Harris, and by finishing second in the Hardmoors 60, he’s ensured second place in the Runfurther men’s championship too.  David Chetta was 8th in the race, and that was enough to secure him 3rd place in Runfurther – again he can’t be caught.

Karen Nash had already won the women’s championship.  Debbie Cooper is currently second but Carol Morgan, Fiona Lynch and Sarah Challans would probably all overtake her if they were to run at Rotherham.  None of them have entered Rotherham yet though (as of 18 September).  Janet Hill is currently the third woman to have run four counters.

Kevin Smith is currently first MV50 but Martin Terry is bound to overtake him assuming he finishes at Rotherham – he has entered.  Albert Sunter and Mike Burke could also overtake Kevin, although neither has entered Rotherham as yet.  If neither of them run, third MV50 will probably be either Nick Ham, Steve Jones or Matt Hutchinson. Alwyn Nixon is first MV60, and Stephen Hall looks set to be second, as he’s entered Rotherham.  John Vernon or Tim Brockington will probably be third.  They both need a fourth counter: Tim’s currently ahead of John on points, but he hasn’t entered Rotherham yet, whereas John has.  Dick Scroop’s the only MV70 with four counters, but a decent run from Bob Nash at Rotherham should see Bob overtake him.

Karen’s first FV50 of course, and Janet Hill first FV60.  As yet they’re the only two women over 50 with four counters.  Jenny Wyles has entered Rotherham though, and assuming she finishes she’ll be second FV50.  Nobody else is in the frame this year.

David Chetta is currently the man with the most points overall, having run six races in pretty good times.  Ken Sutor is second at the moment, and as he’s entered Rotherham, he’s probably going to win this unless David decides to run too.  Mind you, Ken doesn’t always turn up to races, and if neither he nor David run then Rory Harris, Nick Ham or Steven Jones could end up winning.  Of the three, Nick’s currently got the most points, but Steve’s entered Rotherham and the others haven’t as yet.

Karen’s got the most points overall on the women’s side, and she can’t be caught now.

Working out which teams are still in with a chance is usually a minefield, so I wont commit myself.  Team Krypton are current leaders by quite a way, so they’ll probably end up winning.  Mercia, Horwich and Dark Peak are the next three, but others aren’t that far behind them.

Prizegiving and AGM

This will be on Sunday 4th November at The Shady Oak on the A5004 at Fernilee,  SK23 7HD at 2pm

We have the pub booked from 1.30pm so please come for chat, a drink and to show us that you value the Runfurther series. After the short formal AGM we will have the prize giving and provide sandwiches, crisps and chips. The beer is good I am told plus tea and coffee is available. There is a large car park. This is where we will announce the races for 2019.

This is after the Peak Raid mini MM- this is a 3 hour score event. You basically have 3 hours to navigate between a choice of up to about 15 checkpoints of different values. Penalties if you are late back. Most points wins. You can run as solo or pair. Pre Enter to guarantee a place and it is cheaper. Starts are between 9 and 9.30 so we should all finish running by 12.30 and have time to get our breath, change etc and move to the pub which is close by. Check out explorerevents.co.uk or their facebook page for more details. The events centre is White Hall Outdoor Centre just off the A5004 between Whalley Bridge and Buxton and the running is mainly Goyt Valley.

We hope that you can come and that the choice of event makes the travel worthwhile and that by being a score event we will all finish close together and therefore the fast runners will not have to hang around.

Ken Sutor’s race report

This was my first Hardmoors race, and it turned out to be a pleasure. Spectacular coastal scenery, helped by fine weather and great organisation/marshalling. Conditions were almost perfect – warm but not too hot, with hard-packed ground after the extra-dry summer. We set off a little later than scheduled, in keeping with the generally relaxed approach to this event. The initial pace was hot, but by the time we reached Runswick things had settled down and Rory Harris and I were clear leaders from thereon in. I had a couple of weak spells and Rory was never far behind, so it felt like I was being pushed the whole way. I’d been fortunate to be able to do some recce runs during the week before the race so, although I didn’t know the early parts and tried to go wrong a few times, by the time we hit Whitby I knew exactly what was coming.

The course is characterised by lots of steps, so the climbs are sharp but not long-lasting. Much of the route is remarkably quiet considering that it follows the Cleveland Way. The main exceptions were Whitby, where it was necessary to navigate a couple of streets tightly packed with tourists (entertaining!) and Scarborough (where there is a long section of paved promenade to negotiate, and [before the busiest section] the route passes the impressive, thought-provoking sculpture of Freddie Gilroy). The latter part of the route contains less ascent but it remains dramatic: the section out to Filey Brigg feels like you’re running to the end of the world. It must feel particularly adventurous there in darkness. At the finish (Church Hall in Filey) we were treated to a sit-down, tea, cake and other refreshments. All was well with the world. There were some stories of injuries and a competitor almost needing rescue from the incoming tide, but in the end everyone survived. And we were all very impressed when the first woman home said it was her first ultra. Claire Howard might be a name to watch out for in the future. I now see the attraction of the Hardmoors series, strongly suspect I’ll be among those heading back for more.

Grand Tour of Skiddaw 2018

The preamble

Apologies for the delay in posting these results.  While you were running the Grand Tour of Skiddaw I was walking the Across Wales Walk, which is about the same distance, 45 miles from the Welsh/English border near Clun in Shropshire to the coast near Aberystwyth.  The next day I drove up to Scotland to do the final route revisions for the new edition of The End To End Trail (available in all good outdoor shops at some future date).  Yesterday I drove the 450 miles back home from Wick.

Before I give the Skiddaw race details, I’d like to give a quick plug for the Across Wales Walk.  This is one of the oldest ultra events in the UK, 2018 being the 55th.  I’ve run it many times.  It’s traditionally been an event for walkers, but runners have always been welcome too.  It’s a volunteer-run event, and the price includes an overnight stay at Aberystwyth University after the event, and a coach back to England.  This was the first time for many years that the event didn’t fill up, and it needs to fill to remain viable.  It’s very much an event with its own community, and a lot of socialising both during and after the event.  The recommended route makes for a brilliant day out, visiting places you’ll never see otherwise.  Note that it’s not a race in any respect, as you can take road options that are quicker in many places, but you’re missing out a lot of the best of the day if you do.  You need navigation skills, which is one of the reasons numbers have fallen off, I think.  It’s one of the best-organised events I know, and in fact I borrowed quite a lot of ideas from it when I set an ultra up myself a few years ago.  Anyway, assuming it doesn’t clash with a Runfurther race in 2019, please consider entering the AWW – they could do with a few more runners.  You’ll have a great weekend – I always have.  Entries will be on SIEntries from 1 May.

The Grand Tour of Skiddaw

Judging from Alwyn Nixon’s race report and Nick’s photos, it looks like it was a great day round and up Skiddaw again this year.  This was the sixth running of this race, and the second time for Runfurther.  Andy Swift (CVFR) smashed Jacob Snochowski’s 2016 race record by nearly half an hour, winning in an astonishing 6:35:40.  Second was Lee Muir in 7:17:54, third Michael Irving (DH Runners) in 7:35:57, and fourth was Sabrina Verjee in 8:07:00, breaking her own women’s course record by 7 minutes.  Second woman (11th overall) was Philippa Wakefield (DH Runners) in 8:30:48, and third (15th overall) was Fiona Lynch (Radcliffe AC) in 8:49:51.  Until this year Sabrina was the only woman to have run this race in under 9 hours.  Age categories don’t come into the race results, but I’d be surprised if any other MV60 beat Alwyn Nixon’s great time of 9:21:30, so well done to all of them, and to the rest of the 142 finishers.  There’s a link to the full race results on the race website.

Thanks very much to Alwyn Nixon for his race report (see below).  Nick Ham’s photos of the day are on his Flickr pages as usual, and as ever I’ve pinched a few for here.

The Runfurther leaderboard

I’ve updated the leaderboard, and with just two Long races to go, it’s about time I made my predictions for who’s likely to win what.  First to the men.  David Chetta is currently leading, and can’t be caught by anyone who’s already run four counters.  If either Ken Sutor or Rory Harris runs the Hardmoors 60 or Rotherham, then one of them will win.  If they both run one of the remaining races, Ken’s favourite as he’s currently ahead, but not by much.  David Chetta is probably going to be in the top three, but not necessarily, as there are a couple of other runners who could pull a good race out of the bag and beat him.  First MV50 at the moment is Nick Ham, with Steve Jones very close behind him.  Either could win, bu they probably won’t.  That’s because Martin Terry, Albert Sunter, Mike Burke and Kevin Smith all have better points per race averages, and surely at last one of them will run a good Long and take the MV50 title.  My money’s on Martin Terry, mostly because he’s got the best average and he wins it every year anyway!  First MV60 will be Alwyn Nixon, and first MV70 will be either Dick Scroop or Bob Nash, depending on Bob running one of the remaining races.  He’ll have to run it though, walking probably won’t overhaul Dick!  Bob’s got the better race average, but Dick’s already got 4 counters.

And so to the women.  Karen Nash cannot be caught, with three 1000 point maximums and 851 for Haworth.  Debbie Cooper is currently second, but would probably be beaten by Carol Morgan, Fiona Lynch or Sarah Challans if they ran one of the remaining races.  Carol’s been  the fastest of the three this year (due mainly to her Fellsman run), with Sarah’s pretty close behind Fiona in terms of Runfurther points.  Karen’s going to be first FV50 by a mile, and Janet Hill first FV60.

In the team competition, Team Krypton is ahead with 7929 points so far, from 11 counters.  That’s Karen & Bob Nash, and Nick Ham.  Second are Mercia Fell Runners on 6425, from 9 counters, and third Horwich RMI Harriers with 6290 from 8 counters.  It may well stay that way, but I wouldn’t bank on it.  Remember, we use your running club as your team, unless you let me know you want to form an ad hoc team for the Runfurther competition (eg Team Krypton).  Just let me know who’s in your team early enough in the season (it’s too late for this year!)

There are no contenders for the Grand Slam this year, but there’s still the maximum points award up for grabs.  Karen’s well ahead on the women’s side and unlikely to be caught, but it’s a lot closer for the men.  Here, Nick Ham and Steve Jones are neck and neck, with Nick currently only three points ahead.  If they both run both remaining races one of them should win the points prize, but there’s no telling who it will be.  If they don’t run the races, they could be caught.

Good luck to everyone running in the Hardmoors 60 on the 15th!

Alwyn Nixon’s race report

Grand Tour of Skiddaw – 1st September 2018

This was a “must do” for me – with one thing and another I hadn’t managed to do a medium category race in the series and so needed a medium counter. It was also my first Lakeland event since last year’s Lakes 42 and I was looking forward to revisiting the northern fells.
I arrived from South Wales at dark on Friday evening after the usual slow slog up the M5/M6, but it didn’t take long to pitch my tent, register and make something to eat. After a comfortable night I awoke to the strains of the La Sportiva sound system – “It’s gonna be a beautiful day” followed by “I will survive”. I chatted with Nick, who had got up a 3 am to drive up that morning, before the start and then we were off. I decided to ease into it rather than dash to beat the queue at the first kissing gate, and enjoy the first few easy miles. I was wary of going too quickly early on and not having enough left for the runnable return from the Caldbeck checkpoint. Even so, my legs felt a bit jaded after my previous weekend in Snowdonia.
The steady climb up High Pike passed ok, although as usual my uphill walking pace was slightly slower than those around me and I lost a bit of ground, but pulled some of this back on the rougher descent down Grainsgill. The next 3.5 miles to Skiddaw House is gradual uphill and felt a slog – I was relieved to get this over and start on the downhill section round the slopes of Lonscale Fell to the Latrigg checkpoint. Some great views down St John’s in the Dale from the high path and then across Derwent Water to the fells beyond were a bonus – although there was a cloud base at about 2500 ft, sunlight was penetrating the cloud layer and bathing the background hills, giving a spectacular contrast of light and shadow.


I reached the Latrigg checkpoint in a little under 4 hrs. I had found the second leg quite tough, and was feeling slightly grumpy. Probably suffering a bit from energy depletion – I didn’t carry my usual banana at the start as the checkpoint detail had promised some at Caldbeck, but they either weren’t there or I somehow missed them. Checkpoint food is an issue for me because I’m coeliac and so all the usual flapjack/cake/pasties/sandwiches/pasta on offer is no good to me. However, the checkpoint lady was very tolerant and I accepted a gluten free energy bar, along with a few crisps, salted nuts and some cheese chunks which she kindly put in a bag for me to take with me. Excellent service! The real bonus here though was the water melon – just the job as it was quite a warm day.
Suitably fortified, I left for the long grind up Skiddaw. Not a lot to be said for this way up – I find it pretty tedious and it just seems to go on and on. The top 600 feet or so was in the clag, but it wasn’t cold or wet (at least not when I was there), so no need for extra clothing. Rang the bell as ordered at the summit and then off down the first steep section, watching my foot placement and avoiding the rocks and the lurking event photographer. The rest of the descent over Ullock Pike was a delight, nice views of the lower ridge with Bassenthwaite Lake on one side and Southerndale on the other. By the bottom I was back with various runners who had got away from me earlier and was feeling ok again. After the Peter House Farm checkpoint the 17 miles or so to the finish are fairly quick, with sections of road and track and no severe uphill sections. Some of those around were starting to walk more frequently and I decided to push on and keep moving as best I could. I reached the Caldbeck checkpoint in good shape and paused only to fill my bottle before heading through the village to the final return miles along the river. I knew I would be well inside 10 hrs if I kept moving, but the last 3 or 4 miles were still an effort and I could feel my pace dropping. Andy is right, the return is longer than it seems on the way out, but every step at slow run pace is one less step at walking pace! The last bit from Rose Bridge was actually less than I expected – and no queue at the kissing gate this time. Job done, time for a nice sit, then something eat and drink, hot shower and see how the day had gone for others. I was too tired to contemplate driving home immediately, so rested off and on in my tent until about midnight and then decided to head home in the small hours. Good decision – I was in bed by 5.30am and had my kit sorted and was out picking blackberries by midday on Sunday.


There were 144 finishers (14 were running as pairs). First home was Andy Swift of Calder Valley Fell Runners in a very fast time of 6h 35m, over 40 minutes quicker than second placed Lee Muir. First lady was Sabrina Verjee, 4th overall in 8h 7m. They don’t do age category placings so I’m not sure about the best age group times. Runfurther members seemed a bit thin on the ground. However, besides me (9h 21m), I’m aware of Fiona Lynch (8h 49m), Steve Jones (10h 57m), Debbie Cooper and Daryl Bentley (11h 2m), Nick Ham (11h 43m), Janet Hill (13h 31). Apologies to those I have missed.
Overall verdict – a really good scenic day out, a well organised event and the course marking was a bonus and very reliable. Many thanks to all concerned.

Skiddaw results up Friday 7th I hope!

Just a quick post to apologise in advance as there’ll be a delay before I can post anything about the Grand Tour of Skiddaw  (Saturday 1 September).  I’ll be walking 45 miles across Wales on Saturday then heading straight up to the Highlands to do some walking guidebook work & won’t be home until Thursday night.  That means I won’t be able to post anything about Skiddaw until Friday 7 September.  I’ll sort it out as soon as I can once I’m back, anyway.  If you’re running on Saturday, have a good time, & remember the first bit along the river feels three times as far on the way back!

Long Tour of Bradwell 2018 – updated 21 August

Nick Ham, as if you didn’t already know

The race results are here.  Stuart Walker won in 5:08:30, Rory Harris was 2nd in 5:18:46, Stephen Shanks was 3rd in 5:29:11.  First woman was Abigail Hathway in 6:51:12, 2nd was Amanda Seims in 6:54:06, and 3rd Amanda Heading in 7:17:40.  The Runfurther leaderboard has been updated and you can find it here.

Nick Ham’s photos are now up on his Flickr site.  As always I’ve borrowed some.  No race report this time I’m afraid, as Karen wasn’t running & nobody else has sent me any!

Pennine 39 2018

It was another hot one!  A great little race, this one.  Last year’s Runfurther champions, Ken Sutor and Karen Nash, were first man and first woman to finish, doing their prospects of another championship this year no harm at all.  Ken’s time was 5:23:44, with Rory Harris 5 minutes behind him in 5:28:41.  I suspect that may have been a ding-dong battle all the way.  Philip Withnall was 3rd, over an hour later in 6:37:01.  Karen finished 6th overall in 7:06:34, with Nicola Richards 8th (2nd woman) in 7:17:08, and Carol Morgan 13th (3rd woman) in 7:34:24.  I’ve no idea whether the race results are up online anywhere, so here they are in full:

Time Family Name First Name Gender
05:23:44 Sutor Ken Male
05:28:41 Harris Rory Male
06:37:01 Withnall Philip Male
06:50:25 Terry Martin Male
07:00:47 Leeman C Male
07:06:34 Nash Karen Female
07:08:28 Stark Colin Male
07:17:08 Richards Nicola Female
07:18:41 Harrison David Male
07:24:15 Gee Darren Male
07:31:06 Oswald David Male
07:31:13 Humphries Phil Male
07:34:24 Morgan Carol Female
07:37:08 Thompson Honor Female
07:39:10 Wright Jonothan Male
07:47:33 Chisholm Cass Female
08:07:16 Osbaldestin Geoff Male
08:25:21 Allan Stuart Male
08:34:22 Stamford Lucy Female
08:37:43 Ward Steve Male
08:48:12 Scott Katie Female
08:48:17 Love Ally Female
08:48:22 De Grandis Carmine Male
08:48:24 Clayton Barbara Female
08:48:35 Jones Steven Male
08:49:52 Dale Jay Male
08:51:10 Ham Nick Male
08:51:56 Sumner Andrew Male
08:52:05 Hawthorn Marcus Male
09:16:08 Heathcock Kate Female
09:16:30 Barrett Jo Female
09:16:44 Humphris Claire Female
09:35:32 Elsender Neil Male
09:59:03 Ansell Graham Male
10:05:49 Cottam Michael Male
10:05:50 Jackson Alan Male
10:12:46 Hill Janet Female
10:49:21 Scroop Richard Male
10:49:35 Nash Robert Male
11:03:37 Brockington Tim Male
11:35:01 Blamires M Male
11:48:40 Davidson Mick Male
12:02:00 Wright Lisa Female
12:02:16 Cooley Ben Male
12:03:24 Rogers Katherine Female

Nick Ham’s photos are all up on his Flickr site.  I’ve borrowed a few to decorate this post – thanks Nick!

Karen’s now got maximum points from 3 races this year, and the only person that has a realistic chance of catching her is Carol Morgan.  Carol would have to be first woman home, or very close to it, in at least two of the remaining races though.  Ken is also well-placed for another win this year.  He needs a good result at either the Hardmoors 60 or Round Rotherham, but I’d expect him to manage that OK.  Rory Harris could catch him, but would need a couple of wins, or close to wins, to do it.

Here’s Karen’s race report, copied from her blog (click on the title to go to the rest of her blog):

Nav4 Pennine 39

I woke on Saturday at about 6am and my body was already saying ‘No, this is too much, can’t we just walk a bit, lie in the sun, drink beer and watch the football.’ You’d think by now the heat would feel normal but I think it has steadily drained me. The NT was warm, Scotland was warm after Rum, The LAMM was very warm, SW100 was hot and last weekends SLMM was very hot. I raced hard on the Klets clocking up about 34km and 2400m of climb on day 1 and about 28km 1950m on day 2. I was shattered when I reached mid camp and needed a rest before I could contemplate putting up my tent. At the finish on day 2 I was totally wasted. It took several days to recover, rehydrate and to even contemplate sitting in the garden in the sun. But, I loved all these events and activities and having a ball with some great wins too.
I ignored my body and felt a bit better after breakfast but even sitting on the coach to Bowlees I was sure I would struggle today. The suspension bridge was closed so we had a leisurely walk down stream to the next bridge and then back up the other bank. All very calm and civilised although it didn’t help Rory and Ken who were hoping to race hard and get back to watch the England match. I knew I had no hope of that so I opted to wear my England shirt and give my support that way. The start was typical no fuss Joe ‘Any questions? OK off you go then.’ The first CP was only 7 or so miles in and it was mostly flat so that means running! Long ultras mean this is not my forte but I tried hard to just go at a decent steady pace.

The front men were soon out of sight but I could see others spread out up ahead.

Nicola was very close on my heels but at this stage I just did my own thing. In any case I thought the threat would come from Carole or maybe Cass. Cauldron Snout was in full flow- apparently there is no pipe to send water supplies down the valley, they just let it flow. I quickly topped up my water and set off for High Cup Nick. After a few km on the stone track it was a joy to drop off left onto grassy paths and down to the river. After the bridge more grassy paths led to one of the best views in northern England and to reach it from the east is wonderful. There was no time for photos today though as we began our descent to Dufton.

Down and down and down some more so that you arrive at the village road with quads screaming. I grabbed cheese, tomatoes, melon and filled up my water yet again. It was roasting now and I was hoping that Mountain Fuel would have enough electrolytes to do the trick. Just as I left the CP Nicola arrived. Oh heck, the race is still on. What goes down must go back up again so the next section was up, up, up. On the walled lane I could see Nicola not far behind but as we reached the open fell it was a little cooler and my power walk stomp seemed to be giving me a gap. John B was at the foot of Green Fell taking photos and joked that today few people were running even when they saw the camera.

I was scoping out where the next water would be to dip my buff, cool my head and collect more drinking water.

The pull up onto Knock seemed endless and it took a few hundred metres to recover enough to run. There was more flagstone path than I remembered and I was soon at the road snaking onto the aerials etc on Great Dunn fell. I had a gel and felt  it kick in. This fuelled me over Little Dunn and onto Cross Fell. I dropped the three guys behind me and caught the two in front. The ground was dry and my trod to the main path worked well. Jim and the water pipe at Greg’s Hut were a very welcome sight. The water might not have been 100% pure but really we had no choice.

A runner who I had been close to since the start set off with me on the gnarly rollercoaster track. He was determined and it really pushed me to keep running. He got away just before the descent into Garrigill but we were together again at the CP at the far end of the village. Ros and Neil had the radio on and were able to report England were 1-0 up! As I sat chewing a slice of melon they scored again. My garmin suggested 4.5 miles to run but the finger post said 3.5. No time to sit and wonder Nicola would be chasing me down. I like the last section along the river back to Alston. There was some shade and lots of grassy paths and even a mini bog (yep, i found it).  I couldn’t really believe that I had kept my lead and managed to run so well today. At one stile I got cramp and ended up in an undignified heap on the floor but I knew the end was close. Along the final wooded path, spot the Runfurther flags, up the steps and breathe!

7 hrs 06 so 22 minutes faster than last year. I was more than happy with that. Ken and Rory both finished in under 5hrs 30. It took several pints of water before I could move and eat Joe’s famous soup. A shower and more soup had me back on track.  It is beautifully relaxed and sociable in the YHA.

We sat munching, drinking, chatting and cheering in the next runners. Some then left to make their way home but a number of us stayed for a meal and drinks. Great to see so many friends- Stuart who I have not seen for ages, Cass and Nicola who I met briefly as they finished the Lakes Traverse in Shap and loads of Runfurther members.

So pleased also to see Nick recovered and able to risk driving and running. He will have taken loads of superb photos as usual.
For me next is a rest. No races planned until the GRP towards the end of August.

South Wales 50/100 2018 – updated 27 June

Well the weather was hot, & it’s just been getting hotter ever since.  The race results are up on the Run Walk Crawl website.  There were 26 finishers in the 100, and 34 in the 50.  Matt Tomlinson won the 100 in 23:28:20, just beating Karen Nash by a whisker.  OK, he beat her by more than 3 1/2 hours (27:04:11), but she still came in second!  Third was Otto Karhunen in 27:29:00.  First in the 50 was Jacob Hayes in 9:14:34, with again a woman second:  Katie Mills in 10:39:43.  Third was Tom Stenning in 10:56:29.

The Runfurther leaderboard has been updated, and that’s here.  Karen is going to take some catching now, as she got 1000 points in the 100.  Nick Ham ran the 50, and his photos are up on Flickr here.  As usual I’ve borrowed some.  Karen’s written her race up, and that’s on her blog, but I’ve also copied it here (see below).

Karen’s race report

I did this race last year and so knew more or less what to expect. There were some route changes and a major change of start for the SW50 which Bob was doing. The Llanbradach forest section was gone and all the loop after it to be replaced by a very stony track and then tarmac down into Caerphilly. I would have preferred some tapes to aid nav as I did get seriously lost and bracken bound last year but then liked the loop after the CP. Caerphilly castle was beautiful though. Last year although I had receed some parts I was also very reliant on others at times and we made some serious errors in the dark, wet and clag which I was keen to omit this year.

Chatting and nervous (Nick Ham)

On Wednesday afternoon I ran the section W of the Storey Arms slowly as an out and back. I should know this section from the Brecon Beacons 10 peaks a couple of years ago but was not sure. it was only about 7 miles. On Thursday I ran from Taff Wells almost to CP3 but dropped off the tops eastwards to Clydach Vale. This made it shorter but there was some jungle warfare and it turned out to be about 22 miles. Not ideal on the day before the race but I did give me lots of confidence about the route. The pathless route off Mynydd y Gaer seemed so obvious in daylight and the first turbine area was very straight forward. Llantrisant forest was worth checking on although a dog attack left me bleeding. My memory of Ogmore forest onwards was a real blur so doing this in daylight was very helpful and I was confident I could find my way through the dreaded turbines and across to the final forest edge. Ironically I made two errors in the race just after this but neither were serious. Friday was very lazy apart from putting up all the flags and banners for Runfurther but this was no hardship in the warmth and sun. I had registered by 2pm and went back to the van for shade and a lie down. There was no real chance of sleep but the 7pm start was awkward and I wanted to rest.

and we are off (Nick Ham)

On the dot of 7pm we were off. It was still hot but I had opted for 3/4 tights in case it got cold at night (it didn’t). There was the inevitable charge across the rugby fields to the cycle track although I did try to hold back a little. From Castle Coch onwards was quite funny as Tom and others kept racing off and then being shouted back by me as they went wrong. Between CP2 and 3 there were about 8 of us sort of in a group but all doing our own thing. Last year we needed torches as we entered Llantrisant forest so it was great this year to have cloudless skies and a full moon which meant we didn’t need torches until CP2. CP2 was outside and I didn’t stop long except to refill my drinks bottle and to grab some jaffa cakes and coke. The next section went well although a bit slower in the dark on the narrow path by the river. I was glad to reach CP3 which is inside and had real food. Refuelled by soup, bread, cake and custard we set off up the dreaded climb. Chatting with John Yuill made the time pass quickly and Tom was still with us and chatting too. Again there was an indoor CP at Hirwaun so more real food.  The next section is much flatter and the boys were soon pulling ahead, until they took an alternative route and I gained the distance back again. From Penderyn we stayed together and jointly sorted the nav across to the wonderful Sgwd yr Elra waterfall. The others had not really been expecting this and were amazed as the route took us behind the curtain of water. By now I had expected to have caught up Brian who started as a walker 4 hours before us. He must be having a great run.  John, Tom and I stayed together to the next CP in Ystradfellte. As we left the rivers behind the dawn was well on its way and we met the photographers coming out (still too dark for them tho).
This CP was a chance to get our drop bags. I was determined to eat well before setting out again. I took time to restock my food and water bottles. Mountain Fuel extreme energy was going down well and I had managed to eat some of my snacks. I drank chocolate milk and ate a dehydrated porridge meal plus a few little snacks. It was possibly too much too fast as I felt a bit ugh for the next few miles. I also used the power block from my drop bag to put my torch on charge.Brian appeared before we left he had turned downhill and discovered a second waterfall and lost 30 mins or so.
John and Tom overtook me on the lanes but the new day lifted my spirits, the food settled and my power walking soon reeled them back in. We were together again over Fan Llia, down to Sarn Helen Roman road and then up to Fan Frynych. It seemed a cruel route compared to last year with extra drops and climbs plus the horrid stones on the Roman road. I pulled ahead to the CP on the A470 and left before them. From there I was on my own over the most beautiful and wonderful part of the whole route. The CP were not entirely happy when I refused extra water but one bottle saw me though the Brecon Beacons fine.

Steep hills in the Beacons (Nick Ham)

I loved the peaks of Corn Du, pen y Fa, Cribyn, Fan y Big and the wonderful scarp edges and views. It was early enough to beat most of the crowds but already there was evidence of at least 3 other events in the area.

Beautiful edges, love this (Nick Ham)

I bet it got crowded later. Running round the rim got very hot and I did have a moment of doubt thinking I had missed the path off to Carn Pica.

Peace and quiet (unknown supporter)

There is a new gravel path now not just the boggy route through the peat hags so missing it was really not likely.

All on my own

The CP at Talybont was in the sun and a bit sparse so I drank coke, ate and orange, topped up my water and set off for Tor y Foel. As I got to the tricky nav descent to the river the first SW50 runner came by. Sadly he shot ahead and I lost the path. I hacked up through bracken and was only 50m from the stile over the wall onto the open fell. The next part to Trefil was easy apart from the heat. Several SW50 runners were now catching me up, including David Wilson so I was able to ask if any SW100 runners were catching me. We sat in the corridor in the shade and a cool breeze, heaven.  I managed to eat pineapple, soup, baby bel and then to the shock of the CP lady I drank a small box of custard from my drop bag. I ran to Parc Bryn Bach with SW50 runners  although they shot ahead after Rhymney Hill and onto the next self clip on the summit. I caught one Dom? and we negotiated the thick bracken down to New Tredegar where a Iced Calypo went down a treat.

Yep several paths like this (Nick Ham)

The bracken on the next paths was even worse en route to the Bargoed CP. David caught me up again here and then that was the last I saw of him. I was solo for the next bit and lack of sleep etc led me to a serious error in the fields above Penalta Park. I persuaded myself it was fine so by the time I stopped running several fields later I was well lost. In the end I sorted it but still missed the opening by a gate. I reached the Parc by a different route, negotiated the parc and was so so pleased to hit the correct path and meet a runner. I could have hugged her. Thanks Emma.
The rest was easy- up a rather steep lane and onto a rough stone track. Also some of the worst fly tipping I have ever seen on a race (much worse than even the rough bits of Rotherham). The stones hurt my feet and I almost wished we were going into Llanbradach forest. The tarmac descent to Caerphilly was not as bad as expected and the CP near the castle was good. I was struggling to eat but Emma’s support had melon which was great.

Caerphilly (Nick Ham)

I left knowing the end was in sight and that I was likely to stay second overall. I had been in that position since before the Storey Arms but was convinced somebody would catch me, especially when I got lost. Emma shot ahead and Ben and Dom were just behind. I was alone over Caerphilly Mountain and the final clip on Craig y Allt but the men caught me as we dropped to the Taff Trail. They were certainly faster on the flat but had not expected the steady pull up to Castle Coch woods. My power walking came to the rescue again. From there we dropped to civilisation and the final cycle track along the river. It was now getting dark but the way was easy despite a few bikes with no lights. At one point I made an effort to beat 10pm and then it was just too much. It really wasn’t important. 10.04pm was fine. 1st female, 2nd overall and almost 5hrs 30 faster than last year.
I spent about an hour chatting and eating soup but before 11 I was ready for bed. I couldn’t face the rigmarole of a shower so had a strip was in the van and fell into bed. It took ages to get to sleep and by midnight I was up for a feast of chocolate milk. Bob arrived back from his SW50 also with a PB. It woke me enough to chat for a bit but I was now very tired and fell asleep easily.

Another good run (Nick Ham)

Sunday was still roasting hot. We showered, ate, cheered runners in, took banners down and had the final prize giving. Not a bad mini holiday to sunny South Wales. I will add more photos once the official ones are uploaded.

Northants Ultra 2018 updated 5 June

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 from her.  Nick Ham has found the time between his global voyages to write something, & that’s at the bottom of this post.  It’s taken some time to get up on the website as he’s been away, & I’ve been away too.  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.

Nick Ham’s race report

I rocked up at Lamport Hall nice and early on Sunday to meet Dick and put up the flags and banners. The dew-soaked long grass soaked our shoes as usual but the sun was already hot at 7am. After getting registered and getting the Runfurther display boards erected (they needed a lot of TLC / repairs before that could be done) it was time to make our way towards the starting pen for final instructions. I had a brief chat with Rory Harris. That would be the last I would see of him.

I set off conservatively at a speed that felt slower than ever before. After running a trail 5k on the preceding Wednesday, a 3-mile fell race on the Friday and the tough Mount Famine 5-mile AS fell race on the Saturday and getting comprehensive Personal Worsts at all of them, I was expecting another PW today. I would just enjoy the day, and what a day: cloudless blue skies, little breeze, spectacular views across lush rolling gentleness. Sun cream had been slathered on and peaked cap was rotated for sun protection.

We wended our way around the anticlockwise route via checkpoints at Cottesbrooke, Naseby, West Haddon (nr), Althorp and Teeton while fuelling ourselves on GU energy gels and Go Beyond fruit cake from the aid stations. After runners’ early enthusiasm, the heat soon began to take effect and everyone settled back into a survival strategy. The new footpath to the relocated CP3 was taken thanks to another runner spying the checkpoint flag in the distance to our left.

I usually slow down after CP3 but this time the heat and my hydration strategy seemed to play to my strengths (thanks to High 5 Zero). I was still running and feeling relatively strong. I became the one doing the overtaking, passing those who had passed me earlier. As well as others’ suffering in the heat, there were the usual flounderings off-route. A runner came steaming past on the long road out of Long Buckby before CP4. His speed suggested considerable eliteness. “He must have gone seriously wrong”, I thought to myself.

After the early crowds it had been strangely lonely since CP3, with the speedy ones in front and the suffering ones behind. After CP4 I usually pick up because I feel as if I’m on the homeward leg. This year was no different. Despite my ‘speed’ and overtaking manoeuvres, just like last year I was still caught by the juggling runner before CP5. Tim Butler with his tiger mask juggles 3 balls as he runs. He’s raising money for the Zoological Society of London for tiger conservation.

I left CP5 before Tim for the final 10k to the finish. Shortly afterwards, Tim came steaming past like a man possessed, leaving all in his wake of dust. He told me afterwards that his switch had been flipped by the consumption of his customary double espresso energy get at the final checkpoint. With the help of a Roctane GU gel I managed to keep my shuffle going for a 6:56:40 finish, 6 minutes behind Tim. It was far from PW too. RESULT!

Winner Andrew Siggers smashed the course record with his 3:59:29. Fastest woman and 17th overall was Julie Pickering in 5:29:54. Rory had finished 5th in 4:39:14. I was enjoying a post-race leg massage when I heard the announcer call out the arrival of Dick, 2nd MV70 in a time of 8:25:22. Brilliant. There were 14 retirements, which is higher than usual. The sun was intense out there.

After the last runners had finished and beaten the 9-hour cut-off, it was time to pack away the flags, banners, boards and merchandise and wend our merry ways with memories of a glorious day and a race that’s always so enjoyable. Thanks go to Go Beyond.