The Pendle Way in a Day 2023

…and we’re off! The first event of the year took place this weekend. The Pendle Way in a Day had a last minute change of venue to Barley village hall. Last minute changes seemed to make no difference to the organisation of the event which went as smoothly as it always does. The weather was thoroughly kind to some of us, turning increasingly nasty after about five thirty.

Gathering cloud on the summit around 5pm

Many Runfurther members were there, with Rory taking first place (and the course record) and ultra first timer Kat first woman.

Results and leaderboard are here.

Karen’s writeup is below the fold. I’ll add any others (including mine) as they become available.


I was unsure how this would go as I have been struggling with some sort of chest infection for weeks but after Street O on Wednesday there did seem to be some improvement and Fridays big climbing session in Kendal went well. It is a lovely tough Lancashire winter route- mud, bogs, some faster track and a big hill especially at the end. This year due to the change of start Pendle would be right at the end!

The forecast was quite good and certainly would be better than last years’ dreadful conditions. I couldn’t believe it when the steady drizzle started on my drive along the M65 when most people were still in bed. It continued as I put up the flags and banners in the dark.  I was quickly registered and then had the luxury of time to chat and greet friends as they arrived. Kat, an ex-colleague, was signed up for Runfurther and this would be the furthest she had ever run.  It is good to have some young blood and for the women’s side of the series to be more competitive. I managed a small second breakfast of tea and a slice of toast. Soon Rory, Lawrence, Bryn, Steve, Martin, Chris, Charles and Claire and others appeared and I was able to point them in the direction of our boards and spot prizes.


By the time we congregated outside it was light and more importantly dry! My only concern was would I be too warm in two layers and my cag. The lead runners sprinted off and I found myself with Chris- we had run a fair chunk of the race together last year and he is good company as well as knowing all the sneaky little turns. We must all be getting old- Martin said he wasn’t race fit, Bryn was well rested but not up to speed, Chris has been trying to recover from a damaged ankle and I was anxious about my chest/back.

The lead  runners made a mistake as the lane turned up to Whitehough- so many memories of DoE here for me. We shouted them back and laughed. Kat was up ahead now but I did not chase and after I had stopped for a quick wee she was out of sight. The wet fields down to town were not as bad as I remembered.

We punched the self clip at Barrowford Heritage Centre and headed off on the narrow stream side path and off into the hills again. I was still with Chris but felt I was struggling to breathe on the ups even though they were gentle at first. By the time we were on the lane up to Weets people had settled into their pace and place for the race. Seeing the Lonsdale vest of Jonaton up ahead would continue all day. Chris veered off to visit the trig point and I shot off to the lovely descent to Barlick. A strange little loop of the town to go past the old steam gorge etc and we were heading uphill again to Letcliffe Park. Here I caught Bryn which is unusual. Neither of us were fans of the canal tow path but it was easy running and I tried to keep Jonaton in sight. The fields to Thornton farm and then across to Earby passed without incident but I did have to walk up some of the lane in the village. I didn’t stop long at the CP which this year was at the Youth Hostel- just grabbed some water, sweets and a small piece of cake. The fields across to Black Lane Ends were less boggy than usual but far from dry. Some time around here I met up with ‘shorts man’ and was able to help keep him on track. Jonaton was ahead but not pulling away. I had lost Chris now and was soon to lose Bryn too. At Laneshaw Bridge we reconnected with the ‘short’ route and so had a few more people to pick off as we headed into Wycoller and our next CP. I love this section for all the history…, ancient buildings, pretty cottages, the Aisled Barn, clapper bridges etc. This year the CP was by the barn so there was no need to climb to the Atom. I grabbed crisps and set off up the lane eating, still shouting instructions to shorts-man.

The Bronte Way below Boulsworth Hill always seems tougher than it should, It has some climbs but mostly should be so runnable on the big track. My back was a bit sore and I concentrated on posture which took my mind off the long track disappearing into the distance. At least the breeze was not a body stopping gale this year. Just before the reservoirs I spotted a photographer- yes it was David from SportsSunday. He always makes me smile, run and takes a great photo. Today was no exception.

Coldwell Activity Centre is a great CP and this year the wooden chalet was almost empty! I had a cup of tea and some food. Last year it was carnage and together with other soaked and cold runners I struggled into more layers, over trousers and dry gloves.

Parts of the next section are my least favourite of the whole route- initially the  path is fine but the mud just before the lane at Catlow is grim and this year I actually got stuck for a minute or so. Then after the pleasant descent to Walverden Reservoir there is the boggy ground and steep climb up to the road. At least from there the path across the golf course and to the outskirts of Brierfield are good. Then it is a glorious downhill stretch on tarmac! I gained some places here- I think they were runners on the 30 mile route. Across the main road and over the canal before the wettest part of the day- the sunken board walks of Pendle Water. Clean feet anyhow.  Across the M65 (via a footbridge) and then some pleasant fields before the muddy path by the River Calder. Dirty feet again. The pull up from here to Higham is a killer and Lonsdale man pulled ahead even though I caught and over took others.

This is the final CP this year and I was looking forward to a hot chocolate. Imaginer my upset when there was none! I settled for tea but then there was no jam in my donut (honest). Jamie- I want my money back! Verity told me to bin it and take another but that would be wasteful so I ate it and then took another to munch as I set off. I ignored the shots this year and being dry and warm did not feel the need to linger.

Home straight now and I know the way well. A nice path up fields and across above the farms before the mess at Bull Hole. Others missed the turning right and I managed to call a couple back. The others would have a steep climb to the road before they could turn. From Newchurch I felt slow up the always boggy field but got second wind, or the sugar donuts kicked in, as we entered Fell Wood. I always smile here at the memory of my small child coming to a full stop orienteering- didn’t dare go into the woods in case there were bears! This year as we hot the road through Ogden Valley it was still light, it wasn’t blowing me off my feet and it wasn’t raining. Yay.  It is still a long pull up to the Trig though. I knew the trod along the rim would be faster and reached the top of the steps at the same time as the runner I had been chasing. Although he lives in Poulton he had never run on Pendle- why the hell not? I showed him the runners trod and we made quick work of the descent. I was able to lead him through the final tricky turns but once I smelt the finish I was off and sprinting through the village. I didn’t quite break 9 hrs by about 30 seconds- how annoying? (no not really).

I dashed back out from the finish to find the river and wash the worst of the mud from my shoes and legs whilst they were still wet. Climbing down to the water was easy but getting back out much less so.

It was a PB, I was 2nd female and only 25 mins behind Kat who had loved her day.

I finished in day light and the dry- result, and so different to last year. It’s a different race starting in Barley but I liked it.