2020 AGM and 2021 news

Well Runfurther 2020 was a washout, as were so many other things. We hope you’ve all managed to keep going OK through the Covid nightmare. Plans are in place for a 2021 championship though, and as long as the events take place there’ll be a Runfurther 2021 competition.

We’ve still got to have an AGM, as a legal requirement, and that will take place online via Zoom on Wednesday 11 November. Please read Karen’s note below, and either sign in for the meeting or give one of the committee your proxy vote so they can vote on your behalf – an email to Karen or Dick will do the job. We need the meeting to be quorate for it to be legal.  The 2021 races will be announced at the AGM, and will be on here shortly after that.

Get training…

Runfurther Ltd AGM

Wednesday 11th November 2020 7pm
Covid safe via Zoom

All members are as usual warmly invited to join us. As we cannot meet in person we are using Zoom. If you wish to join us you will need to email Dick or Karen for an invitation/ link to the meeting. If you do not wish to join us you can email Karen and allow her your proxy vote (this could be important as we need 10 including proxies to be quorate). Alternatively you can just send your apologies. This information will be on Facebook and the Runfurther website. The minutes from 2019 AGM are here and we expect to post the accounts here too shortly.


1. Apologies
2. Minutes of the last meeting
3. Chairman’s Report
4. Treasurer’s Report
5. Election of Officers
6. AOB- 2021 races and sponsors

July 2020 news

Not much news to report, other than the Bullock Smithy has now been cancelled too.  Runfurther will probably not reconvene in any meaningful sense until 2021.  I hope you’re still all managing to get out though.  A message from Karen:

Sadly we have had to accept that the Runfurther Ultra Champs series 2020 is void. We have only had 2 races and now (after Bullock Smithy cancelled) only have the hope of 2 more (and no certainty there). If they are on I will hope to go to the rescheduled Spire and Round Rotherham and will take with me lots of edible spot prizes! Thanks to our sponsors and also to you the runners. I guess nobody will be very surprised. Decision due to be made re Round Rotherham at the end of this month.

Haworth Hobble 2020

The Haworth Hobble went ahead as normal on Saturday.  The next event is the Calderdale Hike on 4 April, and as far as I’m aware that’s still on too.  The following race was to be the Fellsman on 25 April, and that has now been CANCELLED.  I suspect we could see further cancellations as time goes on.  The Spire on the other hand (9 May) is now full.

Kevin Hoult and Ken Sutor raced each other the whole way on Saturday, but finished together, joint winners in 4:16:57.  Rory Harris, coming back from injury I think, was third in 4:31:53.  Emma Hopkinson was first woman in 4:59:24, Ruth Thackray second in 5:17:15, and Helen Pickford third in 5:25:23.  The full results are up on fellraces.net.  Karen Nash struggled round with a painful foot, and you can ready her race report below or on her blog.  The photos here are borrowed from her blog.  Some of Karen’s photos are courtesy of Sport Sunday and Woodentops – many thanks to them.  They have many more Hobble photos on their websites.

The Runfurther leaderboard is here.  21 runners finished both races, 14 of whom are Runfurther members.  Kevin Hoult and Karen Nash are leading the pack.

Karen’s race report

Not race 1 in Runfurther this year but race 2. Another change for me was getting up at silly o’clock and driving over on Saturday morning rather than staying there in the van on Friday night. With a short detour to Mellor to collect Kevin we were still in Haworth before registration opened. The flags and banners were up, mint cake delivered and the display boards and spot prizes set out. It seemed quieter than usual but perhaps people were self- isolating in their cars.  Many were discussing race cancelations and interestingly several had hoped this would cancel too! We were due to drive to Dover on Sunday to ski in France and then climb in Spain and I must admit my head was elsewhere as we sat chatting. It was a bit chilly but the forecast was good and certainly not the snow on my last run two years ago.
After congregating at the top of the street we were herded down to the Fleece for the official start line. It didn’t seem worth jockeying for position near the front and then having stud marks up your back. True it was slow for 100m but there was plenty of time to spread out.

making my own pace

It was my 11th Hobble and I wondered if I was getting a bit bored with it but after not getting an entry last year it seemed OK.

still smiling

I deliberately started steady but was still keeping John T, Josie and others in site for now. There was no queue at the stile and we were soon on the open moor.  John took his cag off here and caused the weather gods to send some drizzle. I was cautious on the muddy bits and not entirely trusting of my ankle/foot. It had seemed to be improving until a few days ago.

and still- a decent surface for my foot

Top Withens came and went. I was very cautious on the flagstones, especially as we started to descend but twice tweaked my ankle enough for a yelp. Towards the bottom came a bigger tweak and a full on cry out and need to take a moment or two or three. At this early stage I was really thinking I might need to bail at CP1 or perhaps Long Causeway. So many lovely people stopped to check I was OK- well I wasn’t but there was nothing they could do about it.

Sportsunday always make me smile

Laura and David from Sportsunday cheered me up a bit as I ran along the reservoir. And as David pointed out “It’s turned out nice again.” Ironically the climbs were going well as the slower pace meant I could carefully place my foot. The lovely descent towards Hurstwood was torture this year and it was so frustrating. A few more minor yelps.

Hester whose kind words meant a great deal

I didn’t dare stop and get comfortable at CP2 and concentrated on trying to claw back some lost time. Strange to be thankful for the tarmac!  I passed Janet who had set off early and focused on the group ahead and the promise of a hot dog once I got through the mus at the farm.
Usually I like the contour across from Mount Cross to above Tod but the mud caused my foot real problems and it was hard work concentrating on minimising the jarring. By the time I passed Andy Ford who had come out to support I must have looked pretty grumpy. I had another serious tweak in the mud by the golf course but luckily the tarmac afterwards gave some respite. I tried to be positive- I had not bailed at CP2, I was over half way now…. there were donuts and whisky waiting at Mankinholes.

not just me fueling on donuts then

Climbing up to Mankinholes I started catching some others and then even overtook a few. More positive vibes. Even better was the climb to Stoodley Pike.

Not running the muddy flats and the gnarly downs meant that my quads were in better shape than usual and the climbs seemed so much easier. I caught and ran with Brian S who was feeling pressure of Hester not far behind. Again I embraced the tarmac drop to Hebden and powered up the hill to Heptonstall. I was gaining places now and reflecting on those articles about negative splits. I had been really worrying about the drop to Horse Bridge but it was better than I hoped even if I was very slow. There I found Albert and the hung-over Toney sat having a picnic.

Albert and Toney at Mankinholes

I know the route well enough to visualise the route and knew we were now on the home straight. The PW that I had been stressing about was still likely but perhaps not by the 45-60 mins I had dreaded. The next section is climb and although I didn’t run it all (don’t be silly) I did make good time and by the time I could see the last CP was reeling in a couple more runners. I had so much energy on the lane and up onto Walshaw Moor that it was unreal.  True I was a bit slow on the following descent but even there I caught one runner. I must have looked comical when I reached Dave W taking photos on the last gnarly section. My foot was so painful now on anything other than tarmac that I almost cried just looking at the rocky steps. Having been laughed at and abused in true Dave fashion I set off on the next section on a mission. Yep, another one overtaken. From here to the end was all runnable, even with my foot and I reckon I ran almost all of it and certainly more of the ups than I usually manage. Realising that it might not even be a PW also helped. I didn’t quite catch the guys on the road climb to Penistone Hill but I was gaining ground and that spurred me on. Quick checks of my watch confirmed I could beat my time from two years ago ( that had been a PW) which for most of the race had seemed impossible.

Winning men

I arrived in time to eat, drink and see the prize giving. Ken and Kevin had raced each other all the way round but crossed the line together. A recovering Rory was third.

Josie and Kat

Josie and Kat had found each other and finished seconds apart with Kat taking third lady in her first ultra. She said she was shattered but I am not so sure. Brett said there were no V50 women back yet but I was… so 5th F, 1st V50 and a nice bottle of wine. ( I told you the field  was smaller).
Before long I was cheering in Kevin, Nick and others. My ankle was sore but happy not to be on uneven surfaces now. Chats with friends, trying to make sure spot prizes were taken, more donuts and tea before we took the flags down and went off for our committee meeting. The Old Sun was closed  as they had tried to double the landlords rent so we went to the Old Silent where we met him again.
Not a bad day out in the end but my foot now seems to be bu**ered. I wonder whether the next races will happen- the Fellsman has already gone.
Update- went to bed knowing in my heart that our drive to Dover in the morning was not really going to happen. French Government have now closed all ski resorts, travel in France is being limited and travel to and in Spain even worse. Spent a depressing morning emptying the van of ski and climbing gear that has not travelled anywhere. An now the local climbing wall has closed and my foot is so sore I cannot go for a run on the hills.

Pendle Way in a Day 2020

The Runfurther races got off to an early start this year, with 42 miles around Pendle.  The weather was good to the runners – it could have been very different if the winter had hit!  48 finished the 42-mile route, and the race results are up on the race website.  First to finish in 7:22:00 was Adam Potter, with Kevin Hoult and David Chetta finishing together in 7:41:28 for 2nd and 3rd.  First woman home was Lorraine Slater, 7th overall, in 8:33:41.  Karen Nash was 2nd woman in 9:23:58, and Claire Nance 3rd in 9:41:56.

The Runfurther leaderboard is up, and I’ve put everyone who raced at Pendle on it for now.  After the next race, you’ll only be on there if you’ve run 2 or more races.  Karen’s race report is up on her blog, but you can read it below too.  No Nick Ham this time, so I’ve only got Karen’s photos (see below), unless anyone else can send me some.

Next race: Haworth Hobble on 14 March!

Karen’s race report

A new race to kick off the Runfurther season. 42ish miles of fun from Barrowford. This route officially opened in 1987 so it’s rather surprising that his taken until a couple of years ago to have a race along it. I am lucky enough to live nearby and so I was able to do some recce runs and make sure I would know the way and what to expect. I had visited Wycoller and Pendle many times but parts of the route were totally new to me.

My recce runs over the Christmas holidays with a very damaged foot were slow but fun days out in good weather. I could run the even ground but suffered badly on the rest. What really stuck in my memory was the mud. Come 1st Feb I was wondering how much I would be able to run and how much grief my foot would give me. A late Street O run around West Houghton on the Wednesday suggested my foot was steadily improving even if not fully mended.
I was first to arrive at the Heritage Centre in Barrowford and as I was putting the flags up by headtorch the warden arrived to open up the premises. Jamie the RO arrived a few minutes later ready for registration to open at 6am.

I handed over mint cake, put up the final banner and then erected the display boards and laid out prizes with the help of Dick. It wasn’t long before friends started arriving and there was plenty of time to socialise before our 8am start.

It was chilly but not really cold. The forecast was for strong winds for much of the day and then as these died down for some light rain to move in. I am dreadful for fearing cold and so started with two thin base layers, long tights and a cag. I was too warm for much of the day but never seemed to find time to do more than open the zip and push up the sleeves. With about 10 minutes to go we were herded outside and spot on time we were off. I knew the first path was narrow and so went off a little faster than I had intended. It was good to know the way and not to have to faff with maps or route descriptions. I was even able to shout helpful instructions to others. I could see Lorraine up ahead but knew not to try to keep up with her, in fact at this stage I was a bit bothered to find that Tim C and Martin T were only just ahead of me. The first section was relatively flat by the stream and then just a gradual climb to Admergill. We could see the Tower on Blacko as we started our climb up to Weets and across to our left looking tantalisingly close was Pendle – it would be almost 30 miles before we climbed up that mass. From Weets it is a lovely descent to Barnoldswick (Barlick). I was still not sure I could trust my foot and so took it steady. The forecast wind had arrived but was at this stage on our backs. Just as you are about to enter the village there is a funny little dink to show you the local history- hard to believe it once had over 30 weaving sheds and a big steam mill.

Then a short road section led us up and over Letcliffe Hill before dropping down the other side to the canal. I am not usually a fan of tow path running but this canal twists, has a road crossing and a bridge where the tow path switches sides and some locks and boats so the 3 miles passed very quickly and allowed us to up our mph (a buffer that would be useful later).

As I was faffing with food I met a lady walker who was trying to tell us all we were going the wrong way? I think she knew a short cut and didn’t understand our route- I tried to explain as I was worried she might cause others to divert. The field path to the Rolls Royce factory and main road was muddy but much better than it had been in December!

At the church I was surprised to find people running in all directions as they had missed the turning just before the cemetery and so I guided runners across the golf course and then the very wet fields towards Earby. Some easy running led us to the first CP just above the YHA.

Adrienne was manning the CP from the boot of her car and I felt a little mean not stopping to chat. Mill Lane was fine and the fields afterwards were drier than I remembered. We were now quite spread out with a couple of faster runners suddenly rushing past. Chris C appeared as we neared Harden Clough and the moors that would drop us to the pub and another short section on lanes and we ran together for a while chatting. Claire was just ahead. I like the next section as we climb to near the trig point and then steadily drop to Laneshaw Bridge and I was starting to trust my foot more. Chris steadily pulled away but I was reeling Claire in. It meant I was tired when I reached the second CP at Wycoller but I was pleased with my progress.

I grabbed some food and water before climbing to the lower sections of Dove Stones Moor. I had to shout Claire onto the correct path and I know of at least one other runner who went awol here. I do wonder how many took the Bronte Way shortcut too- perhaps a self clip needle punch is needed as you turn onto the big track on the moor. I was having a nice time with my memories- we had orienteered at Wycoller when the boys were still tiny.
The next section in theory should be great running but today it was straight into the westerly wind and what a head wind! We were now passing runners on the 30 mile route and all were finding it tough to make forward progress.

Around here I started running with Steve and I must admit it helped pull me along. The trade off was that I knew the way and so could keep us on track. It seemed to take ages to cut across below Boulsworth Moor but eventually we could see the Coldwell reservoirs and our path left the Pennine Bridleway as we headed on lanes past the Outdoor Ed Centre and on to our third CP. The mud as we approached Catlow was dreadful and the workmen insisted we got the full glory by going to the footbridge and avoiding their digger.

I was glad to wash my feet in the ford afterwards. I had made an error just before the quarry on my reccee but today I got it right and we were soon dropping to Walverden Reservoir before the short steep climb up the other side. I was sure Steve would pull away here but I was still with him as we crossed the road and headed to the golf course. He was faster on the good path but then I caught him as he was a little indecisive on the rough ground. ‘ Head for the red dog waste bin!’ The next section is the least interesting as you use suburban street to drop through Brierfield and then over the railway and the canal.

More memories here of a term working at Edge End school- ugh. The wooden board walk following the river Calder must be the rotting remains of the original from the 1980s. Runners on the 30 mile were picking their way through but I had long given up worrying about water, mud an dry feet. Neal and I were now both looking forward to the CP at Higham and I knew I needed to refuel.

We chatted about campervans and life as we crossed the fields to Pendle Hall and then up the bridleway to Higham.

The CP was a bit crowded, possibly due to the ‘bar’. I had a cup of tea and tried to stuff some food down. As we left the CP the forecast rain arrived and I was glad of my cag. The wind was a little less but it felt colder now. Steve pulled ahead and then I lost sight of him altogether. Luckily as I  took the path to Tynedale farm House I spotted him in fields below and shouted to him.

We plodded on to Newchurch together.

No time to admire the witches today, instead we headed off up and over to the Ogden Reservoirs. I was struggling a bit and Steve pulled away never to be seen again as he finished 12 minutes ahead of me in the end. My foot was a bit sore for the first time as I sent down through Fell Wood. More memories- of a small child scared to enter the woods in case there were bears! It was very tempting to turn right and drop into Barley as we met the reservoir road but today we had Pendle to climb first.

I overtook a group of what I guess were 30 milers and began to climb into the mist/ low cloud.  I was pleased to find that what I had described to Dick and another runner was accurate- small stone way markers after the kissing gate. I know this route pretty well but I must have been going slowly as it seemed to take forever to reach the trig point! I was even having doubts I was going the right way although I knew I had to be really. The weather up here was not pleasant and the ‘stones’ they have tipped over the paths are not an improvement for runners with sore feet!

I happily dropped to the runners trod and was soon descending out of the cloud and down to Barley. I was amazed to find some walkers on their way up. It was late afternoon, grim, with no prospect of a view and it would soon be getting dark? Even more worrying was the family with young children at the foot of the cobbled steps. They didn’t even have waterproofs.  I suggested it might not be fun and ran off through the village to the CP in the village hall. I let myself be sucked in my the warmth and promise of toast and tea. I possibly ‘wasted’ 10 minutes.

I knew from here it could only be about 3 miles or so and wondered how far I could get without my head torch. Steve was gone but Neal appeared and he was moving well. I made a determined effort to stick with him or at least try to hang on the best I could. More memories as we climbed to Whitehough Outdoor Ed Centre- the nights I have spent there with kids on DoE! I was irritated by the runner who had cheated and taken the field path down by the river and then presumably the lanes. Another needle punch needed.

I managed to keep Neal insight down to Roughlee, over the stepping stones and over the last little hill before he got away from me on the very very wet fields that followed. at least they were short and then it was track and lanes all the way down to Barrowford, into the park and back to the Heritage Centre. I did put my head torch on for the wet fields but could probably have managed without, just.
A great day out and a very tough 42 miles. I suspect every year will be muddy but the headwind made it worse. It was good to sit and refuel- beer, tea, sandwiches and cake.

Dick had bailed at 25 miles and so had beaten me back David C and Kevin both had storming runs and finished together. Lorraine beat me by almost an hour.

BUT I was happy- I had finished, my foot wasn’t too bad at all and I had enjoyed my day out.


Another beer and lots of chat and I realised it was time to take the flags down and get home.

There were still runners out there but they did not need me and nobody would miss the flags in the dark- I hoped.

Sorry to Janet, Ian and other late finishers.

The 2020 races

I’ve now updated the website for 2020, and here are the 2020 races, as announced at the AGM/prizegiving.  The first race (Pendle Way in a Day) is showing as full on Sientries, but Karen says that if you email her, she can send you a code that should get you a place (karen at runfurther.com).  I’ve no idea how many places we’ve got available for this, so I’d book asap if you want to run.  The links take you to the Runfurther page for each race, and from there you can link to the race websites.

  1. Sat 1 February:  Pendle Way in a Day.  42 miles (Medium), Pennines.  NOT the 30-mile option.
  2. Sat 14 March: Haworth Hobble.  32 miles (Short), South Pennines
  3. Sat 4 April:  Calderdale Hike.  36 miles (Medium), South Pennines
  4. Sat 25 April: The Fellsman.  61 miles (Long), Yorkshire Dales
  5. Sat 9 May:  Spire Ultra.  34 miles (Short), Derbyshire
  6. Sat 16 May:  Shires and Spires (Northants Ultra).  35 miles (Short), Northants
  7. Sat 27 June:  Lakeland Five Passes.  32 miles (Short), Lake District
  8. Sat 11 July:  Pennine 39.  39 miles (Medium), North Pennines
  9. Fri/Sat  7/8 August:  Beacons Ultra 50/100.  50 or 100 miles (Long), South Wales
  10. Sat 5 September:  Bullock Smithy Hike.  56 miles (Long), Peak District
  11. Sat 3 October:  Three Towers Ultra.  43 miles (Medium), Lancashire
  12. Sat 10 October:  Round Rotherham.  50 miles (Long), South Yorkshire – date to be confirmed

All the races but two were in the 2019 Championship, although the Beacons Ultra 100 had to be called off mid-race.  The Shires and Spires is back after a year’s break, and is a great race for those who like to run fast.  The only race new to Runfurther is the Pendle Way in a Day.  This is a new race – they had a 30-mile race last year along part of the route, but this is the first time running the full 42 miles of the waymarked Pendle Way.  In summer this would be a great day out.  On 1 February you will need to be prepared for just about anything, so please don’t underestimate this one.