Author Archives: Chris Beesley

Happy Anniversary

If it hadn’t been the last one I would have left it because six weeks out with the Aussie flu bug meant that my longest run since January had been less than 6 miles – hardly the ideal preparation for an 11.5 mile race in the Lakes with 3500 feet of climbing. However, it was the last one, Newlands is my favourite part of the Lakes and the weather forecast was good – too good as it turned out.

So at 6.45 on Saturday the alarm went off, which wouldn’t have been too bad if I hadn’t been at a Dinner Dance in Blackburn the night before! Roger picked me up at 7.30 and we collected Tom five minutes later. They were both doing the Teenager with Altitude which started an hour before the AW but I needed a lift as SWINW wanted the car. We arrived at registration at about 9.15, I collected my number and went to find what little shade there was and read a book until it was time to go.

The first three miles were straightforward enough but then the climb up Robinson began. I picked a good line but the valley head had turned into a furnace which made it a relief to reach the summit ridge. Once there, I performed my good deed for the day. A lady runner had got crag fast on the Robinson Step and so I gallantly helped her – it was a good excuse for a rest!! I enjoyed the rest of the climb to the first check point on Robinson summit but went for a pearler coming down having caught my foot on a rock. The only damage was a nasty cut on my left hand and slightly shaken confidence.

I had thought that I might reach Dale Head Tarn before being overtaken by the Settle Teenagers but I was wrong. Roger came past me before Hindscarth and Mike at the start of the descent. As for Tom, he was having a flyer despite a sore foot, and I never even saw him.

Hindscarth and Dale Head (with choir!) were soon passed, but then the very steep descent to Dale Head tarn began. Now my descending skills have improved no end on the grassy slopes of the Dales, but this was a different league altogether, both steeper and rockier. However, I made it down without mishap but on the climb up to High Spy I realised that my legs had gone so I was reduced to a slow shuffle- I wouldn’t call it running – for most of the rest of the race. By the time I reached the summit, I was really struggling and beginning to doubt my sanity..

My shuffle towards Catbells and the finish continued. By this time I was cooked. The temperature was into the 20s and despite lashing on the sun cream, I could feel my neck burning. Finally I reached Cat Bells but took a bad line off it and ended up in some rocks whilst other runners were on grass either side of me. I managed to extricate myself and got down the steep grass to the road ok, but the last half mile on the road, although down hill was a killer. At the finish I couldn’t walk in a straight line and the first aiders grabbed me and made me drink lots of water. However, there was free beer available and I decided that I was better off re-hydrating with that instead!

As I write this, the results are not yet out, But I do know John Murfin was 13th in the AW, about 90 minutes in front of me!

It is a great race in a stunning part of the world and very well organised. However, I learnt the hard way that to do these events justice, more training and a recce are necessary, and so preferably is cooler weather. Whoever said that with age comes wisdom?anniversary waltz

Kendal Winter League 2016

This time I knew what to expect so I only have myself to blame for spending my Sundays getting wet/cold/exhausted on the hills of the NW. Once again I managed to complete seven races, although I would have done eight if Fairmile hadn’t been cancelled.

The first Sunday in January saw Steve Moor and I arrive at a wet and windy Scout Scar. I had had a chest infection after Christmas and still had a nasty cough, but having enjoyed(?) this race last year, I thought I would have a go. The winter had been so wet that nearly all the courses were muddier than in 2015, and Scout Scar was no exception. In the end I did ok and had a good battle with Jan Wulf, which I won by dint of being smaller so I had less problems with slipping in the mud.

The weather the following Sunday at Firbank was less bad than last year, but apart from a short section on each lap, we were running through water most of the way. In a funny sort of way I enjoyed it. On the way back, we made the first of several visits to the Barbon Inn.

Race 3 was the “home” fixture at Giggleswick. Once again there was snow on the ground, and being a southern softie, I took it very easily to avoid any accidents. Whitestones on week 4 was a new one to me, and I was worried about the descent. As it turned out, it was the strength sapping bog on the top that I didn’t enjoy, the descent was fine.

Week 5 saw us back at my favourite venue, Birkrigg Common. This was my best race in 2015, and I was looking forward to it. It wasn’t quite the same course as it had a new start and finish and there was a lot more mud. This race saw the first of my battle with Helen Greenep;  we swapped places several times before she opened a small gap on the last climb.

Fairmile was cancelled, and Barbon is too steep for me. However, it is a good race to watch and enjoy the sight of the runners trying to stay upright on the steep descent. And of course the Barbon had to be visited on the way home. Cunswick was wet and cold but it was my best race of the series. Maybe it was the conditions or maybe because it was a bit longer and not so fast as some of the others, but I managed to beat some V60s I had never beaten before.

I missed Sedbergh (back south for a 60th birthday)  and I decided that Cautley was too steep. However, it was another good one to watch, and on the way home we happened to go near the Barbon Inn…

My last race was at Helm Hill, another one I had enjoyed last year. This year it was very warm, vest only weather. Helen was there again, so I decided to go off fast in the hope of dropping her. However at the end of the first lap she came past me. So much for my tactics!

Once again I enjoyed the series, and in most races I did better than in 2015. I must congratulate Carol (1st FV50 and 2nd F), Mike (1st V60) and Barry (2nd V60). But most of all I would like to thank Steve , my travelling companion, for  his encouragement and friendship. Steve finished 5th V50, a massive improvement from last year. An early contender for the most improved runner of 2016 award. Cheers Steve.


Kendal Winter League 2015

Having only joined Settle Harriers last September, this year’s KWL was a new experience for me and so I thought I’d have a look back over the series. I can’t mention everyone who ran as it would take far too long and I would be bound to miss someone, so this is a very personal look back.

It started back on January 4th at Scout Scar which is a nice course and the weather was kind. But I had run the Club Christmas Handicap the day before and I did struggle a bit towards the end. Still one down, eight to go. At this point I should explain that I never had any intention of running at Whitestones, Fairmile or Barbon as I knew I had to be down south those weekends, so my aim was to race the other nine.

The following Sunday at Firbank, the weather was not kind. Gale force winds and pouring rain. But the race was short and the wind was behind us going up the hill on each lap. The way home saw the first of several trips to the Barbon Inn. As my late father used to say, dehydration is a serious problem.

Sunday January 18th was the home fixture at Giggleswick. It was also my 63rd birthday, and true to form there was lots of snow on the ground. I had one of my worst races, really struggling on the second lap, but I enjoyed my birthday pint in the Harts Head afterwards.

I missed Whitestones on the 25th, so my next race was at Birkrigg on February 1st. This was my favourite race of the series, and I had a great battle with Steve and Annie. Each time we went up a hill, I pulled away, and each time we went down the other side, they came past me. This happened three times and on the last descent Steve just pipped me to the line. A good day was rounded off by meeting up with an old friend for lunch in Brigsteer.

Two weekends down south meant my next race was at Sedbergh school. The weather if anything was even worse than at Firbank, and the three lap course was very heavy going. This was to cost me dearly as in our hurry to get warm and dry afterwards, I didn’t warm down or stretch and by the following Wednesday, my left hamstring was not happy. As a result I missed both Cunswick and Cautley, which meant I had to do both the last two races if I wanted to complete the series.

At Oxenholme the weather was kind and the course was testing but runnable. I took it fairly steadily on the first lap to test the hamstring  but pushed it on the second lap. No ill effects, so on the 29th I turned up at Elterwater and duly managed to complete the series despite my dislike of rocky descents.

I have enjoyed the racing (mostly) but for anyone training for longer events, a series of short races on a Sunday lunchtime is not ideal. My highlight was Birkrigg and my low points were the second lap at Giggleswick and the descent at Elterwater. My thanks to all the Settle Harriers who have encouraged me during the series, despite the fact that I am old and slow, and my particular thanks goes to Brian and Steve, my travelling companions; your friendship and support are much appreciated.

The following Settle Harriers completed the series (minimum seven races)

Sally Handford                         5th Lady

Sabrina Gilby                            10th Lady

Jo Wulf                                        12th LV40

Jill Gates                                       3rd LV50

Brian Kennedy                            3rd V50

Steve Moor                                  16th V50

Chris Beesley                                7th V60


Elterwater KWL March 29th

Sorry for the delay in getting this report out, but the results weren’t published until last weekend and I was busy over Easter.

Considering it was a Club Championship race, it has to be said that the Senior turnout was disappointing. There were a number of factors for this; it was the start of the Easter holidays, the weather forecast was atrocious (although, in the end it wasn’t too bad) and it is a long drive from Settle.

Six Juniors ran, and judging from the times, there was a sprint finish between Oscar and Sam in the U12 race. The Junior courses might have been short but they were also very steep, so well done to all our Juniors for finishing a tough race.

8 Sebastian Segger-Staveley     11.46
14 Emily Carpenter                      13.56   (5th Girl)

13 Douglas Segger-Staveley         09.10
26 Ben Greenep                             10.03
36 Oscar Wulf                                  11.04
38 Sam Greenep                              11.05

In the Senior race, it was the Ladies showing the Men how to run. First back was Sally, with Steve taking maximum points in the men’s Club Champs. Another good run from Sabrina and also from Helen who was 2nd LV50. I was the last Settle finisher; Steep rocky descents are not my cup of tea and it showed. However, my spirits were soon revived when Steve’s car “broke down” outside the Eagle and Child in Staveley on the way home!

62 Sally Handford    38.10  (11L)
71 Steve Moor           39.52  (14 V50)
74 Sabrina Gilby        40.36  (12L)
82 Helen Greenep    43.42   (2LV50)
86 Chris Beesley        45.03  (8V60)