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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.

 

 

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.

Haworth Hobble 2017

Well, since I wasn’t there this year, Karen Nash has written most of this report – I’ve just done a bit of editing here and there.  The race results are here, and the Runfurther leaderboard is here.  Nick Ham’s photos are here, and the ones on this page are Nick’s too.  Nick’s written up his blog too, and you can find that here.  SportSunday were there as well, and you can find their photos here.  So, over to Karen…

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It was a full race this year with no entry on the day, possibly a first for the Hobble.  This was partly due to the race being used as the British Trial for IAU World Trail Championships. This meant there were many new faces and names in the results that some of us did not recognise.

The field was superb this year. I think 6 men broke the record and 8 finished in under 4 hours. Tom Payn of Mercia won in 3:54:18 and then Gareth Hughes, Matt Roberts and Kyle Greig all in 3:55.  The first Runfurther runners were Ken Sutor in 4:12 and Kevin Hoult in 4:16. First woman was Julie Briscoe in 4:31 and then Sally Fawcett 4:38 and Katie Kaars Sijpestaijn 4:39. (I am not sure if the female record was broken but think it was). It was a great start to the Runfurther season and a few new members joined up too.

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As usual for me the day started early. Having slept in the van on site we were up at 6am putting up flags and banners before moving inside and putting up display boards and giving  Brett the Romneys Mint Cake to hand out at registration. It was dry and mild so things were looking good. The bumper entry meant we were a little late starting and the crush of runners meant many were not herded back downhill to the start line at the Fleece.  I had chatted to some of the ‘elite’ before the start and that would be the last I saw of them, except in the distance as we climbed to Withins ruin.
I was determined not to race too hard and to practice a sensible pace for the long race I have in May. It didn’t work. Despite my efforts the first couple of hours showed 6mph+ pace. Oops.  It felt fine at the time but I paid for it later. I had also opted for grip not cushioning in anticipation of mud. Again, it did not work out. I would have been better with more cushioning.
The first miles to Bronte Bridge passed very quickly and I was surprised to queue less than usual at the first gate. By Withins we were quite spread out and although I lost places being a softie on the flagstone descent I felt fine. By Widdop I knew I was pushing too hard and backed off a bit – after running to look good for the SportSunday cameras that is. Before Long Causeway my glute was troubling me and I was cursing my early pace and the hard sprinting of Wednesday night. My pace dropped here and I let those I was running with move ahead. The CP at Stoney Lane was a welcome sight and I grabbed a hot dog and a piece of pork pie. It must have helped because I ran on a bit refreshed to Todmorden (or was it just that it was mainly downhill?). A shock awaited me at Mankinholes as there were no doughnuts! I took a cheese and onion pie instead.  The climb up to Stoodley Pike was as tough as always.

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The dry weather meant there was quite a crowd at the top ready to cheer runners on. I had eaten plenty but by the time I reached the woods I was suffering. My glute was very sore and now my foot was complaining too. Ironically the climb to Heptonstall didn’t seem too bad as the uphill helped my foot and not running much relaxed my glute.  My joy didn’t last though, and the climb up Crimsworth Dean was a real low point. I ran much less than usual of this section and the pain in my foot was intense. I hobbled on the best I could but in a very negative frame of mind.  At this stage a Personal Worst was a cert and even 6 hours looked a big ask. The last CP and Lane Head means only 4 miles to go. Apologies to those around me at this point who thought they were running with a nutter. A severe talking to myself: Man Up, get on with it, don’t be such a wimp etc etc and I set off up the lane. My Garmin battery had died but near the Top o’ Stair it occurred to me that we had not started at 8am so perhaps if I really tried I could still finish in under 6 hours.  So it was run, jog, walk intervals all the way up the lane and over Penistone Hill.  Not pretty and a PW by 5 mins but I finished in 5hrs 53.  I wasn’t happy with it but hey ho… and then I found that despite all this I was first FV50 so perhaps it wasn’t too bad. After several cups of tea, pasta and stew and a doughnut or two I was feeling better, and just about ready for the Runfurther committee meeting.

Next race:  Calderdale Hike on 1 April (seriously…).  See you there!

Haworth Hobble 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haworth Hobble 2015 (updated)

Another great Haworth Hobble!  383 finished, in good conditions.  I had to be there by 6:30 to deliver the free Clif Bars for the start of registration, so it was a 4:20 alarm for me – not something I want to repeat too often.  It was a bit cold at the start, but I took my jacket off after 15 minutes, and ran the rest with just a thermal top on, & that was all I needed.  I wore tights as well though, just to make sure I didn’t worry the farmers.  The predicted rain mid-morning never happened.  I ran out of steam about 12 miles in, and from then I was struggling, with people passing me for the next 20 miles – it doesn’t feel good, does it?

The Hobble attracts a lot of very fast runners, which means Runfurther points have to be worked hard for.  First to finish was Chris Singleton of Trawden AC, in 4:09:10, with Tom Gomersall of Bingley Harriers 9 minutes behind him.  First Runfurther runner was Kevin Hoult, 4 minutes behind Tom.  First woman home was Bonnie van Wilgenburg in 5:06:36, with Nicky Spinks (Dark Peak FR) just seconds behind her.

There are always a lot of Runfurther runners at the Hobble, and 4 of the top 10 men finishers are Runfurther members: Kevin Hoult (3rd), Ian Symington (4th), Jez Bragg (7th) and Simon Bourne (10th).  The top Runfurther women’s placings were:  Nicky Spinks (2nd), Carol Morgan (4th), Helen Price (5th) and Karen Nash (6th).  Good running all of you – now we need to get the rest of the top 10 to join too!  I wish I could run that fast.

Martin Terry has put a marker down to show he’s a good bet for MV50 winner this year.  Karen Nash was first FV50 – no surprise there.  Chris Davies is still running as if he were 20 years younger, and the only things that could stop him winning MV60 this year would be politics or injury.  I hope neither get in the way of his running – let’s face it that’s what’s most important 🙂  I’m certainly going to get nowhere near him this year – the best I can hope for is 2nd MV60, or 3rd if Tony Wimbush keeps running like he did on Saturday.

We reinstated giving away spot prizes to Runfurther members, and so the prizegiving included a pair of Injinji socks each for Steve Spence and Adnan Khan, just for joining Runfurther, finishing the Hobble, and being around at the prizegiving.  James Harris, Richard Adcock and Dave Cumins only fulfilled the first 2 of those conditions, so got nothing (we think they were in the pub).  Jonathan Daniels was still out on the course when we awarded the spot prizes, so I’ve still got that one, and we’ll give it to him when we catch up with him.  It’s an Ultimate Direction bumbag/bottle in case you’re wondering Jonathan!

Many thanks to Brett and his team for putting on such a great event.  It’s such a good course, just when you need a race like that early in the year – fast and uncomplicated, in such a good area for running.  So well organised, and such good value for money as well – they should be proud of themselves.

There are plenty of photos of the event to check out.  Dave Woodhead’s photos are here, and as always are well worth looking through.  I’ve borrowed one for the image for this post.  He’s also posted a video on YouTube of all the runners going past on the initial climb up to Top Withens, and you can find that here.  SportSunday were also there, and their pics are here.  Nick Ham took photos on his way round, and Nigel Aston’s race report is here.  Karen Nash’s race report and some photos are on her blog here.

The Hobble results are here.  It’s too early for a proper Runfurther leaderboard, but I’ve posted one here with just the top 50 from the Hobble in terms of Runfurther points.  Remember that the fastest man gets 1000 points, and the fastest woman gets 1000 points.  The rest of us get points based on how fast we are compared with them (see the competition rules for the full story).  That means the list I posted isn’t the same as the first 50 finishers in the race – our list has far more women in it.  After the Calderdale Hike, the leaderboard will feature everyone who’s run 2 or more of the races, as it did last year.

There’ll be more spot prizes at the Calderdale Hike, so make sure you’re at the prizegiving if you’ve finished by then.  Anyone who leaves early will lose their chance to win one, but if you’re still out running we’ll make sure you don’t miss out.  And of course most of the prizes we bring will be for the Race Organisers to give out as they see fit, as always.  Top prizes at the Hobble were £35 vouchers for the UltraMarathon Running Store for the male and female winners – many thanks to all our sponsors f0r making all this possible.

We’ll see you all at the Calderdale Hike in Sowerby on 11 April – don’t forget it’s a new course this year, with some interesting navigational challenges, particularly if the clag’s down.  Perfect training for the Fellsman in fact!

 

 

The 2015 Champs start on Saturday

Well I’ve already started packing for Haworth – let’s see, Full waterproofs, compass, 432 Clif Bars,…

The forecast looks reasonably good at the moment – perhaps a bit of rain early on, but no more, & not much wind.  Don’t overdo the whisky at Lumbutts, and make sure you save something in your legs for the climb up to Heptonstall.  And make sure you know the way from the churchyard to the finish if it’s your first Hobble.

We’ll be bringing along prizes for Brett to present to the race category winners, and also 1 or 2 spot prizes, to be presented to Runfurther members at random.  The plan is to do this at the race prizegiving, so be there if you can.  If your name gets called & you’re still out on the course we’ll save it for you, but if you’ve finished & wandered off we’ll give it to someone else!  We hope to be able to give spot prizes at all the races this year.

Don’t forget those Calderdale Hike recces!  See you on Saturday – I’ll be the one with the broken wrist.

Andy

Haworth Hobble 2014

The Hobble on Saturday was a bit windy & a bit cold, but that didn’t stop Kim Collison from winning in 4:04:31 – the fastest time since 2007, and 35 minutes faster than his time last year.  A brilliant run, with Adam Perry just a couple of minutes behind him, & Ian Symington coming in 3rd.  First woman home was Carol Morgan, in 5:10:35, with Josie Greenhalgh & Kate Jenkins in 2nd & 3rd.  Full results are on the Keighley & Craven AC website here.  The Runfurther leaderboard won’t appear until after the 2nd race, i.e. next week.

As ever, Brett and his team put on a great event.  Clif Bars managed to get sponsorship goodies to us at very short notice, so every runner got a Clif Bar at registration, & there were boxes of them for some of the prizewinners as well.  Thanks to David at Clif Bars for that!  We got our sponsors’ flags up outside, & they got a bit of a battering from the wind, but all damage has been repaired & we’re ready to go for the Hardmoors 55 on Saturday.

Karen Nash has written a race report accompanied by a few photos, and here it is.  I also took a few photos before my camera packed up, and for what they’re worth here they are.  I only got a few at Widdop of some of the earlier runners, plus one of Derby Tup marshalling at Mankinholes.  The sooner Nick Ham’s back to take proper photos the better – I’m hopeless at taking action photos.  Nevertheless, I’ll be having another go on Saturday, this time with a borrowed camera.  If anyone else has race reports and/or photos from any of the events please let me have them for the website, or send me a link to wherever else they’re posted.  There are plenty of quality Sport Sunday photos of the Hobble here  , and Mike Dobson-Hornett’s blog Hobble report is here.