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Calderdale Hike 2019 – updated 25 April (twice!)

The results are now out, and you can find them on the Hike website.  Rory Harris was first home in 5:09, Kevin Hoult second in 5:22 and David Chetta and Martin Wilson both came in nearly an hour later in 6:19.  Sabrina Verjee was 6th overall in 6:24, our own Karen Nash was 13th in 6:57, and 3rd woman was Fiona Lynch in 8:24.   I’ve updated the Runfurther leaderboard, and you can find that here.

It’s early days for the championship, but some clear front runners are appearing.  Ed Gamble, Simon Ford and Sarah Smith have the most points, but they’ve run all three races.  The runners to keep an eye on this year are, firstly, Rory Harris and Sabrina Verjee, who each have maximum points from each of their races.  Kevin Hoult, Hayley Evans and Karen Nash are hot on their heels, but my money’s on Rory and Sabrina for this year.  Astley and Tyldesley RR, Team Krypton and Valley Striders AC appear to be going for it in the team competition.

Anyway, Karen’s written a race report and you can read that below or on her blog.  And Nick Ham took some photos – not as many as usual because his camera packed up during the race (as you can see from the photo above).  You can find what he managed to salvage on his Flickr site.

…and it’s the Fellsman this weekend, so good luck to everyone who’s running that one!

Karen’s race report

3rd race in the Runfurther series this year and the 41st Hike for the organisers. After the birthday special last year the Hike has now reverted to its traditional 3 year cycle. for 2019 this meant a route similar to the last cycle but in reverse and with a few relatively minor changes. For veterans this was a huge advantage as we knew many of the paths and what we consider to be optimum routes. Could we find our way without running backwards to check the views? Would the minor variations and changes to a  couple of CPs lead to any new lines being run?

Flags and banners up, Mountain Fuel hidden by people

Interestingly the Hike had 78 runners on the long course and well over 30 were Runfurther members- they need our support, although there were some others on Long Walk and Short run and walk. It of course also meant that I knew loads of people today. Some were local like Elise and the Scarfes but others had travelled some distance. For Alwyn it was his first visit to the area and he was mighty relieved to find it should be the same route for the next two years so he could put his new knowledge to good use and improve on his time. He was not alone in this.

Bob waiting for the Long Walk start

The forecast was good and we have had barely any significant rain so the ground would be as a dry as it is ever going to get over the whole area.
The forecast might be good as in dry but it was a very frosty start when we moved the van at 5.30am and started putting up flags and banners. Even by 7am when the long walkers set off it was very chilly. The sun was up before our 9am start but once exposed to the biting easterly wind it was cold.

Will miss the super organised ladies next year

The crazy early start meant I had masses of time to chat with friends, hand out spot prizes, catch up with people due ‘rewards’ from last years races and discuss the best route options for several sections of the course. We all have our favourites and stick to some of these regardless. I always opt to climb from Coolam and go via the turbines as I dislike the steep tarmac of the drop to the NE. The run along the canal is possibly slightly quicker but for me it is less inspiring.

Runners debating route choices

I knew to start slowly as this had worked well for me in LM42. Fortunately the gradual road and track climb to Nab End made this easy and I was happy to let Ian C and Ed G go. Sabrina was off chasing the lead men- Rory, Kevin and David but struggled to hold onto their pace. She had never been to the area and was trying to navigate using the ‘suggested route’ on a rather fuzzy print out and not an ideal scale. From Nab End I suddenly changed my mind. I didn’t revert to the old climb as the sunken lane is not nice but neither did I do the lanes I had receed down to Mytholmroyd. I opted for a middle way and once down at the Mill with Ice Cream vans in Cragg Vale I started to climb Hoo Hole. I knew Ian had followed me but when I glanced round I found so had about 9 others. I hoped I could remember the way. It worked and part way up we dinked right to Daisy Bank and then the contouring track to London Road. It was the correct choice as approaching Errington Grange we spotted Sabrina and a small group still climbing from the valley floor. I knew I couldn’t keep up so tried my best to give instructions.

Don’t need to climb up there today

It was nice to look up to Stoodley Pike but not have to climb the moor and even nice to look across to Heptonstall but know we wouldn’t drop to Hebden for the monster climb. I caught Sabs again at Lumbutts church and was able to guide he through the slightly confusing paths before the drop to the valley. Even there I was close enough to shout instructions at the car wash and then again as we climbing to the church and you appear to go through private garden and up some not very obvious steps.  Here I passed my name sake doing the Long Walk (yep another Karen Nash also born on 29.5.1961! what are the chances?)Then inevitably Sabs pulled away but was still in sight. By now the same runners were around me- sometimes ahead and sometimes behind. I was lucky to know the way and to the bemusement of at least 4 men kept ending up ahead of them.

It’s dry!

The path below Bridestones was as dry as it is ever going to be and it was a joy to run along the worn flagstones and along to the Mount Cross CP.

No mud this year

One way I seem to gain minutes here and there is barely stopping at CPs so a group of us set off racing down the tarmac to Cornholme. I used my local knowledge and switched to the footpaths but there was nothing in it. Climbing up Flower Scar was a different matter though. The suggested route avoided the mountain bike woods but went across the fellside to the old chimney. Ed and I knew to stick to the lane for as long as possible. I could see Sabs flogging up through tussocks and a group of 5 men that had been ahead of me. I beat them all to the road side CP of Horden Stoops. Sadly they then showed their better fitness and ran off on the track heading for Trough End.

I had been taking my mind off the growing pain in my foot by doing maths. If I run twice as fast as Bob but he has a two hour head start when and where would I overtake him? I guessed around 4 hours in and I was spot on 4hrs 4 mins just before the trig point. Climbing up the Bridestones Moor had got me warm and I had shed layers but now I was freezing. I shot off down to Coolam wondering if the CP would be in the published place this year. It was and Linden greeted me cheerfully. From here there is a big route choice and I learned that about 1/3 had opted for NE and then the canal. Ah well, not me despite the cold up here.

The track is now very runable, no mud

I chased Ian up to the turbines. I was concerned to see Simon head off towards Littleborough but he was too far away to shout in the fierce wind. Despite the gradual climb I reeled in a few runners and we arrived at Turbine 9 together.

Nice soft ground

The cairn was missing but I knew the trods and was soon dropping to Sladen Fold. Ian confessed here that he had set off too fast and was now struggling. The suggested route from the canal is confusing so I stuck to the ‘reverse’ of what I knew from the White House. I was not surprised to see faster runners dotted around in surrounding fields. ‘Cap man’ was one and we played leap from from here all the way to the end. ‘Headband man’ was another and he opted to use my knowledge to climb to the CP. It was very cold here and the marshalls were offering hot tea. I peered into the tent to see another runner who had over cooked the start and was now struggling. Ah well. Most runners seemed to go up and over Blackstone Edge, which might not have been so bad since it was so dry. I stuck to the wide grassy path by the goyt and nipped over the end of the ridge to join the main path. Again I gained some time and places. Windy Hill was aptly named today and not a place to loiter. I don’t like running along the main road and across the motorway slip roads but even with dry ground it proved faster and I overtook Cap man again. It didn’t last long and he soon shot off along the track and up onto the ridge leading to Pike End. I ate my marmite sandwiches on this section and although it slowed me a little it was worth the energy I gained. I passed Dick on his Short run and also lots of walkers.  The ridge was longer than I remembered but I found the path by the cottage and was soon heading for the CP by the dam. After this the next CP was very close, just before we met the main Ripponden Road. I saved headband man from another error.

The next section along the valley was quite nice but the climb then up to the final CP at the Moorcok Inn by Norden Moor was a struggle.I opted for the road which was ‘easy’ and would have been OK if I had the energy to run it all. Sabs went by the fields and said it was awful. I had forgotten my garmin but was asking runners how many miles we had done. By Ripponden I knew sub 7 hours was possible. From the pub it was a steep drop to the mills and then what seemed like a monster climb up steps and a steep slope all the way to the cricket ground. I scraped in at 6 hours 57. I was pleased with that despite the amount I had walked. Sabs was first woman in 6 hours 24 and would have been much faster if she had known the best routes. I am pleased she is hoping to do four Runfurther races and we will have a young fast woman winner this year.

Not warm enough for this today (pic from last year)

Rory had won in I think 5hours 9 mins and Kevin was about 10 mins behind this and then David.  Nick arrived just over an hour after me and was very pleased with his run.
It’s a lovely venue to socialise in after your run and I spent a long time eating and drinking before our meeting and then taking all the flags and banners down. The spot prizes from our sponsors went down a treat with lots of happy winners so thank you Mountain Fuel, Tent Meals, Injinji, Ultimate Direction and Romneys.

Lakes 42 2019 – updated 25 April

Loadpot Hill

It looks like this was a glorious day for a race.  Karen Nash has written a race report, and you can read that below, or on her blog.  The photos in Karen’s report are hers, apart from the ones takes by Toney Donnelly.   First home was Josh Wade in 7:05:08, second was Alexander Beaven in 7:14:18, and third was Andy Berry in 7:32:39.  First woman home was Sabrina Verjee in 8:23:20, 11th overall.  Second woman was Hayley Evans in 8:52:20, with Michelle Hetherington third in 9:26:21 (just in front of Karen).  The results are now up on the Open Tracking website.  There is a handful of updates from the version of the results I posted here previously: I’ve update the leaderboard to match those changes.

Angle Tarn

The Runfurther leaderboard has been updated, and you can find it here.  Remember, you’ll only appear on it once you’ve run at least two races.  It’s early days yet of course, but it looks like we could get a more competitive women’s competition this year, if things go on the same way.  Hayley Evans and Caroline Oldfield are going well, and if Sabrina Verjee runs four counters she’ll take some beating.  If you know any of the greyed out runners, please encourage them to sign up for membership.

Next race is the Calderdale Hike on April 13th!  You can find Nick Ham’s photos on his Flickr site – as usual I’ve borrowed some for here.  The Helvellyn photo was taken by Toney Donnelly.

Looking back on the climb to Hevellyn

Karen’s race report (it all turned out well in the end)

We drove up to the Lakes on Friday after a few hours of indoor climbing. First stop was Keswick to collect box loads of Mountain Fuel from our fab sponsor Rupert Bonnington. Sunbathing with a coffee on the common above Askham completed the afternoon.

By 6 we were down in the car park and putting up flags and banners. The display boards were up and spot prizes from all our sponsors laid out along with free mint cake from Romneys. Registration opened early so that job was ticked off too.

After pasta in the van it was back inside to socialise with other runners and volunteers. Great to see Matt Neale and Hisayo both wearing their Northern Traverse hoodies, as I was. Nick eventually arrived after a long boring delay on the M6 due to a lorry fire.
My self doubt grew and grew overnight. I knew I had not really run much due to our NZ travels and also our ski trip. I was praying that time on my feet would count for something and that the first 52 miles of my NZ dnf race would help. Running for 3 hours on Thursday was probably not the best idea in retrospect and I had a sore toe.

By the time I went into the hall as the sun was rising I seriously doubted my chances of a respectable time and was resigned to battling it out to finish. At least the forecast was good, there would be good company and it is a fantastic route.
Well before the 6 am start I moved outside to see how warm it was. Decided to start in cag and gloves but as I suspected they were not needed for long.

Josie at the start

I tried to go slowly at the start; not easy as people sprint up the lane, through the village and out onto the moor. Past experience has shown me that if I go to fast I will be walking by the cattle grid. It helped having Richard Lendon, Carmine and others to chat with. Richard I haven’t seen for year and Carmine was having a training run for the Dragons Back.

Across the common and heading for Loadpot Hill I was still feeling like I was rubbish but the views were at least now letting me enjoy myself. It is always interesting when the field splits and runners take their preferred lines. I saw Josie. Tony etc head off towards the trees but soon enough we were back together again.

Alwyn crossing the common in the early light

I am not sure that there is much in it. The sun was coming up, the mist and low cloud was atmospheric and I was going at a pace where I could chat. I was pleased to be with Josie, Tony and others. It gave me the mental boost that I needed. Matt Neale was also close by so the company was excellent.

From Loadpot Hill the grassy running is a joy. There was one dodgy moment where I almost followed a group heading off south, god knows to where. I shouted them back and I think we all made it to High Street.

Oh heck, we go over those next

Joe had wired the self clip to the trig this year after the theft of two years ago. This CP has a little out and back which I quite like as you get a chance to see the front runners and then also those who are just behind you.

Josie and Albert (photo from Toney Donnelly)

The next section is straight forward and I know it well. A few little lumps and rocky bits but mostly a good path. Barney was running with a friend who was new to ultras but a fast runner. We stuck together over the next section and I showed him the lovely grassy short cut after the Knott which not only cuts the corner but saves your feet from the gnarly track.

Back in geography teacher mode I explained what an isthmus was- the next self clip was by Angle Tarn on that feature. Then it was off to Side Farm and greeting the first of the day’s walkers coming the other way. We joked about refusing to look up at Place Fell as we neared Boredale Hause; it would be the last beast of a climb later that day.

The path down was being repaired making it even worse than usual but I arrived at the CP unscathed. I topped up water but forgot to pop inside for any food. Nevermind, I has some bars and some Mountain Fuel jelllies in my sack.

Steep slopes everywhere- its a tough route

My foot was sore from the descent and I expected to hobble a bit towards Patterdale. I must be getting better at ignoring it because I made good time and could soon see Matt just ahead. I used him to pull me along and up the Grizedale path.

Sometime around now I must have decided I was racing after all as I stopped taking photos. It was also damping us from the low cloud. Then Tony appeared and we climbed together debating which route to take from the tarn. Spotting the tarn itself was not easy in the low cloud but we both wanted to cut across and avoid the rocky path down the beck. We climbed a bit more than ideal to avoid boggy ground but on the whole got a good line all the way to the bridge before Wythburn. Hearing the cars on the main road was our aid to navigation – no map and compass today. I spotted Michelle ahead and wondered if I could catch her. (I did and was ahead for all the next miles until we were heading back over Askham Common. She beat me by 2 mins in the end)
Wythburn had good food as well as water. I tipped in magic powder and grabbed loads of cheese, crisps and dark chocolate to fuel me up the monster climb to Helvellyn. It goes on a bit this climb and I needed a jelly too. I stuck to the tourist path as I think it is easier and just as fast as the OCT line.

Helvellyn (Toney Donnelly)

Nearing the top it was back into the gloom of low cloud and it was cold enough to put my gloves back on. The path was busy and so was the route to Little man and onward.I was pleased to get off the high top and to be running and climbing to the last self clip before the descent to Glenridding.

Whiteside (Toney Donnelly)

The big zig zag path is OK but the grassy direct line better and kinder to sore feet. Then there was the decision of straight down the road or the field path and track to the campsite. The road may be quicker but I wanted to save my feet. Catching runners at Side Farm we decided there was nothing in it. Here I got a big surprise as Martin T appeared. He is usually some way in front of me but had got disorientated in the gloom at Grizedale Tarn and done a bit extra plus wasted time sorting it out. He didn’t hang around long and was soon powering up the path to Boredale Hause.

Up and up and up some more. Last big climb

Refuelled by more real food and a jelly I felt reasonably good here and was pleased to be ahead of Michelle and just ahead of Matt. I paid for it later though. Clambering up the rocks to Place Fell trig I got pain under my ribs and started to panic that the hernia/diaphragm issue was about to happen. I took some time and it went away. Meanwhile Michelle was off and running. We were on the home straight now and I even started to look at my watch and work out possible times. From Martindale it should be all runnable and I did try my best. Michelle opted for the high route which we now know is slower but she caught me again as we climbed to the common. Matt also caught me and the two of them had kept more in reserve. I was pleased to run all the way from the last path junction, down to the cattle grid and down into the village. I was chuffed to get 9hrs 28 (4th woman and 2nd Vet W) which is only 10 minutes slower than my PB from two years ago. I had anticipated a slow slog and perhaps 10hrs 30 at best. So 2019 running is now going better and I am feeling more positive.
Post race recovery at Nav4 events is wonderful. A choice of 3 homemade soups, real bread, huge slabs of cake and as many gallons of tea as you can drink. It was cosy in the hall so I didn’t even bother going to wash or change.Instead I spent the early evening chatting and welcoming back the next 40 or so runners and signing up new and returning Runfurther members.

Haworth Hobble 2019 – updated 14 March

The first Runfurther race of 2019 was run on Saturday – the brilliant Haworth Hobble, run this year in some horrible conditions.  There were 340 finishers, and Rory Harris came in first in 4:22:59.  Nick Treitl and Ian Livesey running together finished just 62 seconds behind Rory.  The next three finishers were all past or present male Runfurther champions: Ken Sutor, Ian Symington and Kevin Hoult.  Looks like Rory may have put his marker down for this year’s championship!

First woman home was Lorraine Slater in 5:05:05, second was Ruth Thackray in 5:13:19, and third was Carol Morgan in 5:21:52.  The full results are up on the fellraces.net website, and should be on the race website soon.  I’ve converted the times into Runfurther points, and you can find them on our results page.

Nick Ham’s photos are up on his Flickr site, and I’ve borrowed some to use here as usual.  Nick’s also written a race report, and you can read this below, including details of his falls and injuries.  Thanks Nick!

Next race is the Lakes 42 on the 30th!  It’s now full with a waiting list.  There are still places for the Calderdale Hike on 13 April though – only £20 so get your entry in if you haven’t already.

Nick Ham’s Race Report

A dire forecast had predicted heavy rain/sleet/snow from 06:00 but it should pass through to the east by midday. However, when I arrived in Haworth at 06:45 it was bright with no hint of the onslaught as the 08:00 start grew closer. Perhaps the forecast had been unduly pessimistic and the worst of it had passed us by.

I learned from Dick that the pre-entry list contained 50 runners who were registered with Runfurther – plenty to choose from for the spot prize lucky draw (the list of lucky winners was on the Runfurther display board as usual, with the prizes to choose on a first-come-first-served basis). That was mighty impressive. I wonder if it’s a record? There could have been even more Runfurther runners if the race hadn’t filled up early. The Haworth Hobble gets ever more popular as each year passes.

As the 08:00 start approached, we were asked to go to the start outside the Golden Fleece. I had my windproof top on to keep the worst of the chill at bay, then I noticed the light levels had dropped ominously. The rain was starting. Perhaps we hadn’t missed it after all. I already had my waterproof trousers on but I decided to swap the windproof for the proper waterproof.

By the time we set off up the cobbled hill I was wrapped from head to toe, zipped up to the gunnels, hood up and peaked cap to keep the worst of the rain off the glasses. We emerged from Haworth into a head-on gale with rain driving in. Whereas in the past I would have run to Bronte Bridge, it was as much as I could do to walk/shuffle my way there. By the time I climbed to the stile above the bridge, the familiar long queue had gone with the passing through of the mid-pack crush. I felt as though I was bringing up the rear.

The rain came and went on the buffeted trudge to checkpoint 1 at Widdop Reservoir, much of which I walked. I soon realised that I’d made a grave error of judgement with my shoe choice. I should have worn my Inov-8 fell shoes, not the Hokas, which were death traps on the sloppy mud.

As I crossed the dam after CP1 while scoffing two biscuits, I heard and saw the waves battering the other side and I saw massive clouds of spray soaking the runners in front. By pure fluke I managed to avoid a soaking, but I had to turn around and lean backwards into the hurricane around the corner at the far end, hand on head to prevent my hood getting ripped off and cap torn away.

Once back out onto the top over Hameldon, the precipitation returned, but this time in the form of hail. My legs burned with each wave as they got shot-blasted through my waterproof trousers. (I would discover many hours later, after finishing, the blotchy evidence of the shot-blast damage on my quads.) As I was descending towards Shedden Clough, my death-trap shoes found a perfectly lubricated patch of slop. My feet moved to the left and I was propelled to the right. I just about remained upright while trying to regain control. However, with no grip, that proved impossible. Staggering backwards and sideways, I could only gain speed as I found myself propelled down the grassy bank on the right of the track. I sped up out of control to crash into a wall in front, next to a bloke having a pee. I bruised my hands and fingers and bashed my head. Fortunately, the peak of my cap prevented direct skin-to-stone contact. For a good while afterwards, probably concussed, I was feeling decidedly sorry for myself with a strange head/eye ache.

I felt slow and drained by the next checkpoint at Long Causeway, but at least we would be turning a little away from the wind and the worst of the rain would be behind us. Two more biscuits would fuel me until the hot dog stand at Stoney Lane. Although the sun was now shining, the previous onslaught had caused a runner to seek shelter in a marshal’s van to get changed/warmed up. I wasted little time here and set off walking down the track getting tomato ketchup all over. Then a runner overtook me and offered the remains of her cheese pasty. Mmm, don’t mind if I do. I’m sure it’ll do me a power of good for later.

On the long descent towards Todmorden, my death traps found another patch of slop, only this time, both feet shot out in front and I landed on my back with considerable violence to slide on for a yard or two. I saw stars and the air turned blue. Very blue. I’d had enough of this carry-on. Luckily, the kit in my Ultimate Direction ‘Wasp’ had cushioned my fall.

There was no snifter left and there were no donuts by the time I reached Mankinholes, so I made do with two more biscuits to urge me up the hill to Stoodley Pike. Bring on another painfully slow, gutless trudge. Jamie Glazebrook had already overtaken me and it wouldn’t be long before Ken and Jenny Wyles would do the same on the descent to Hebden Bridge. The climb up the other side to Heptonstall was slow and warming, especially now that the wind had dropped and the sun was out. I had started on the Mountain Fuel Sports Jellies (Lemon & Lime and now Cola with caffeine – I have to say they taste very good) and I almost felt as though I was beginning to pick up for the first time since the race started. The headache had gone as well.

The final two biscuits were grabbed at New Bridge for the walk-shuffle-run over the top to the final checkpoint with 4.5 miles to go to the finish. No stopping here, just another Cola-caffeine Jelly to keep the fire burning to Top o’ th’ Stairs and down the other side. I was able to run again, in chase and overtake mode for the first time. It felt so good. Earlier in the day I had been resigned to yet another PW (even worse than last year’s debacle), but after running all the way from Top o’ th’ Stairs over Penistone Hill to the finish, I realised I’d pulled it back to 7:26 – 36 minutes faster than last year, and I felt surprisingly good on it.

The real test of fitness will be in three weeks’ time – Lakes Mountain 42 on 30th March. All pray for nice weather.



Round Rotherham 2019 – revised date

Just a quick note to let you know that the Round Rotherham 50 has been set for Saturday 12th October – not the 19th as we announced initially (that was a provisional date).

Website updated for 2019

I’ve updated the website for 2019 – let me know (Andy) if you spot any problems.  If & when I get any information or photos about the 2018 prizegiving/AGM  I’ll post those as well.  Some of the 2019 races are already open for entries, and at least one is filling up quickly.  So, the sooner you decide what you want to run in 2019 the better – get your entries in.

It looks like a great series of races are lined up for 2019, with a lot of climbing to do!  If you like your races on the flat side, the Spire and Rotherham are probably your best bets.

Runfurther 2019 races

The 2019 Runfurther race were announced at the prizegiving/AGM.  And here they are, on the website as well:

  1. Sat 9 March: Haworth Hobble.  32 miles (Short), South Pennines
  2. Sat 30 March:  Lakes Mountain 42.  42 miles (Medium), Lake District
  3. Sat 13 April:  Calderdale Hike.  37 miles (Medium), South Pennines
  4. Sat 27 April: The Fellsman.  61 miles (Long), Yorkshire Dales
  5. Sat 11 May:  Spire Ultra.  34 miles (Short), Derbyshire
  6. Sat 15 June:  Lakeland Five Passes.  32 miles (Short), Lake District
  7. Sat 22 June:  Pennine 39.  39 miles (Medium), North Pennines
  8. Fri/Sat 9/10 August:  Beacons Ultra 50/100.  52 or 100 miles (Long), South Wales
  9. Sat 7 September:  Bullock Smithy Hike.  56 miles (Long), Peak District
  10. Sat 21 September:  Peak Trails 30.  30 miles (Short), Peak District
  11. Sat 5 October:  Three Towers Ultra.  43 miles (Medium), Lancashire
  12. Sat 12 October:  Round Rotherham.  50 miles (Long), South Yorkshire – note revised date!

I think that should give everyone enough of a challenge for 2019!  The Fellsman and the Brecon Beacons ultras are very challenging events, so make sure you’re ready for that.  The Spire Ultra, Lakeland Five Passes, the Beacons 50/100, the Peak Trails 30 and the Three Towers Ultra are, I think, all new events for Runfurther.  The Bullock Smithy Hike is making a return after a long absence.  The rest are old favourites.

Some of these events will sell out quickly, so keep an eye out for that.  I’ll update the Runfurther website properly for 2019 within the next few weeks.