Seventeen runners turned up to ‘Compare the Smearsett’ yesterday evening – a 5 mile jaunt from Little Stainforth over to Feizor and returning via the limestone outcrop of Smearsett Scar.

Unfortunately the fine weather at the start later deteriorated into rain making for a rather damp finish although a number of competitors found it ‘refreshing’!

With roughly 1000 ft of climbing this proved to be a challenging race with plenty of opportunities for ‘creative’ route finding with several (or perhaps most) runners missing the flagged line to the ridge*. This made for some interesting racing with a hotly contested sprint finish up Dog Hill Brow.

A fun sociable evening was had by all, with those wishing to continue to be sociable adjourning to the Craven Heifer.

Top Meerkats were Mike Egner and Carol Evans.

Well done to all who took part and many thanks for all the help and support.

Results

1 Mike Egner  39.35

2 Martin Holroyd 39.48

3 Sam Griffiths 39.58

4 Tim Jackson 41.12

5 Adam Proctor 41.47

6 Steven Proctor 42.01

7 John Osborne 42.26

8 Tom Humphries 42.53

9 Carol Evans 42.58

10 Mark Rogerson 43.18

11 Nigel Haymes 44.57

12 Judith Marshall 48.28

13 Rachel Avison Fell 49.41

14 Helen Greenep 50.51

15 Julia Murfin 52.01

16 David Alexander 53.25

17 Lee Marshall 1.00.24

*The mystery of the ‘missing’ flags was solved on their retrieval. A number had been moved and/or chewed by inquisitive sheep!

Cheers

Mark

Waltz (n) a ballroom dance in triple time in which couples spin round as they progress round the room.

All very genteel, oozing glitter, sequins and high heels.

But prefix “Anniversary” and suffix “Fell Race” and it’s far cry from the Strictly ballroom. And the highest heels in sight have a 9mm drop.

Helen, Hester, Tim and I lined up for this classic horseshoe round Robinson, Hindscarth, Dalehead, High Spy, Maiden Moor and Catbells. At a shade under 12 miles and almost 4,000 feet of ascent it is quite a beast, but this was the ‘fun run’ of the day as it has a big brother, the Teenager With Altitude which is about 15.5 miles and approx 7,500 feet of climbing.

The 400 runners doing the Waltz milled around with the usual excuses coming thick and fast – sore ankles, lack of fitness etc etc. The best one though had to be guy who proudly told us that he had slept in a cave the night before.

“It’s my stag do,” he explained, sporting a cheerleader’s outfit.

Then we were off. The climb up Robinson is the sort of thing not to be dwelled upon – three points of contact, ‘nuff said. But after that the rollercoaster of down, up, down, up, down kicks in and it’s just brilliant. The steep hurtle off Dalehead offered some route choice fun and, different to my last attempt at the race, there is now a flagged descent from Catbells. It was a nice day and the views, when I was able to look up for long, were simply breathtaking.

At the finish we were three happy ladies. Helen had taken a bulldozer to her previous time for the race, wiping 45 minutes off her 2009 result. I managed to be 25 minutes quicker than last time and Hester reported her knee to have survived this pre-three peaks test in fine fettle. Tim must have had a good one too, because none of us ever saw him again after the start!

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.

Haworth Hobble 2016 or “My First Ultra”
 
A cool and bright start on Saturday morning was pretty much the best you could hope for a 32 mile race across the moors and lanes of Bronte country. After an unceremonious start 300 odd runners made their way through the cobbled streets of Haworth and onto the Wuthering Heights of Top Withens. “Don’t go giddy at the start” had been the words of advice I’d received from an experienced hobbler and I trotted out keeping pace with Rachel Hill and Mark Rogerson just in view. Single file over the stone flags to the first of many reservoirs was fine by me at this point.
 
Checkpoint 1 came up after an hour and not needing to take on any supplies I left Mark and his mate Michael and carried on up to Gorple Stones catching up with Rachel. There is a great descent down a gravelly track here and feeling good, and a need to crack on, opened up a bit and it wasn’t long before I found myself on the ‘Long Causeway’, a horrible drag of exposed main road. The route then takes a turn through some farms where, after squeezing through a stuck gate and clambering over a fence, it is clear that the landowners would rather not have anyone on their land!
 
Checkpoint 4 for reasons unclear, provided hot-dogs. Neither having the time nor inclination to ask if they provided a vegetarian alternative, I grabbed some broken biscuits and went on.
The route now follows the Calderdale Way to Todmorden. The combination of wet weather, more wet weather and many pairs of feet had dissolved the path into a slippery soupy swamp. A couple of runners in front of me came to grief, including John Oz who was nursing a bloodied knee as I passed him into Todmorden. After a brief chat I learned Tony Thornton was up ahead and I wondered if I’d catch him.
The YHA at Mankinholes hosted checkpoint 5 and the much rumoured whisky made an appearance. Despite it being a single malt Dalwhinnie I declined, and made my way up to the monument.
It’s a stiff climb up Stoodley Pike and here I got the first niggles of cramp. A quick stretch and refuelling at the top helped to put it at bay but I knew it would be back soon.
The steep tarmac road down to Hebden Bridge is not pleasant on the quads but fortunately this is soon replaced by the lung busting stone steps and steep road up to Heptonstall. The cramp was really kicking in as I descended at an annoyingly slow pace to New Bridge and checkpoint 8. I was with a group of five or so runners whose collective wheels had fallen off and we to and fro-ed as each of us had a burst of energy or relapsed into pain.
 
Now in survival mode I was getting through water fast so had to refill at checkpoint 9 before ‘Top of Stairs’. Washing down a gel and some more broken biscuits I felt a little better and pushed on down the lanes to the ‘welcome’ sight of Penistone Hill.
 
On the last climb up Moorside Lane a distant figure appeared and, closing in revealed itself as Tony! After a flying start he’d absolutely smashed it, but was now paying the penalty in cramp. We hobbled along together across Penistone Hill and managed to accelerate down the hill into Haworth. Past the church and then time to play ‘dodge the tourist’ as I clattered down the high street to the finish at the school. Tony came in just seconds behind.
 
A cracking day out and very pleased to have completed my first official ‘ultra’!
 
31 Mark Wildsmith 5:19:18
32 Tony Thornton 5:19:25
76 Rachel Hill 5:48:03 (7th F)
78 John Osborne 5:48:36
160 Brian Stallwood 6:23:56
212 Mark Rogerson 6:56:30

Annie doing something

The first of the 2015/16 Open 5 series kicked off a couple of Sundays ago, normally there is quite a large showing from the Settle Harriers at these exciting events, but numbers were down on this one and it was just Annie, Mike and Alex taking up the challenge. For those that don’t know what it is all about, it is basically an orienteering event, split between running and mtb, with 5 hours to complete the task. You visit controls , by route planning and navigation and each control has a score, the person with the highest score wins. Sounds easy. In reality it is not. Before you start you get your map, but not the control descriptions and values, also 5 of the controls marked on the map are ‘dead’, this means you can’taccurately pre-plan your route.

After a bit of map-geeking you start at any time you wish within an hours window and you can choose to run or mtb first. I usually always run first, but for Swaledale the committing mtb section and the incoming bad weather helped me decide that it may be better to ride first – this paid off I think. So you ‘dib’ out and get your control descriptions, I made a schoolboy error here and forgot to check my start time, only realising that 2 miles down the road and then having to second guess it. The rain came sooner than forecast and I decided to ‘sheet-up’ in the valley before heading up on to the moors, which is where I would be for a good couple of hours. The riding progressed well, it was wet and windy and I had to keep up a high work-load to stay warm. James the organiser often likes to put helpful little safety messages on the map warning of hazards, so when I read, that going down the direct gully route required a deathwish, I just had to have a go and test it out – it was steep and scary, but mostly rideable in a fashion and most importantly much quicker than the sensible route. I survived and it was fun.

Alex crossing the river.

Time speeds by in these things and you have to constantly tweak the route, so that you do not overcook your time, for these events my rule of thumb is to allow 3hrs for the bike of which the controls total 350 and 2 hours for the run, with a total of 250 = 600 total. I decided to drop two low scorers on the mtb that would have been timely to get to, I got back to transition in roughly 3.10hr, a quick two minute footwear change and a glug of drink and I was off. The legs felt quite fast on the flat ground as I headed up the valley towards Keld on a random route hovering up the checkpoints. All was well until the first steep hill and I could feel the onset of cramp in my cycle quads, I staved it off a few times and then it really got me bad as I hopped a style, I had to join the ministry of silly walks for a bit until I could run it off again. The run was well planned and some of the controls nicely tucked away and needing some good mapwork to find quickly. All the way round you keep passing fellow racers, friends and the ‘peer’ competition, so it is always a very sociable event. Anyway my time was soon disappearing and my pre-planned route had to be shortened, but I was happy with what I had got and happy with the way it had all gone so far, all that remained was one control and the ‘river crossing’ – which sensibly I saved until the very end. Normally an ankle deep 20 yard splash, but not today it was up to my thighs even with my long legs it was a tough crossing, one slip and you would be swimming – which some did. After emerging nice and clean from the river it was a half mile dash to the finish, I went reasonably quickly, but no means a ‘balls-out’ sprint as I thought that I had 2-3 minutes in hand.

I met Annie and Mike at the car all wet and bedraggled, but quite warm still from running. We changed as quickly as we could as we were still in the rain and then wandered over to the village hall to ‘down-load’, not to all take a shit, but to get our dibbers off and get our little results ticket. It was not long before all the racers were back and in the warm, stuffy hall (lovely) swapping stories about routes and all the ‘what-ifs’. There are 5 different classes, M & F Solos, M & F & Pairs and Mixed Pairs, with some 250-300 racers in total usually competing. Swaledale was good to me, as I got round pretty efficiently and quickly, banging in 37 miles and 6000ft of mtb and run, I managed the high score of the day too! – 525 and better still I had just 16 seconds to spare on my five hour limit – perfect! Although Annie and Mike only visited a couple of run controls, they managed a strong ride and finished in the top half of the Mixed Pairs. Annie is super, super tough! – it was hellish windy out there and anyone who has ridden in high winds and rain knows how debilitating it can be..!

 Next month it is just over the border from Chester in sunny Wales. I will probably be going down, so happy to take a couple of others, I’m also happy to run through the O5 concept and help people with the map side of things as well – I think that all us ‘mountain types’ should be pretty proficient with a map and these events are brilliant practice. Also more importantly and the ‘one’ for your diaries is the ‘Bowland’ event on Sunday Jan 10th this is being planned by Chris Maudsley, he is planning the run stage and I’m doing the Mtb stage – so get yourselves down, it’ll be a cracker!

9 Harriers took part in the 3rd  West Yorkshire Cross Country League fixture held at Cliff Castle, Keighley on the 14th November.

It rained all afternoon making conditions extremely muddy and slippery underfoot.

Our representatives ran really well yet again against most of the top cross-country runners in Yorkshire.

Well done to Oliver and Oscar in the Under 11 boys who ran really well in the very difficult conditions as did Lauren in the girls Under 11 race.  They all showed great determination.

In the Under 13 boys, Seb had another solid run to finish 18th – extending his consistent set of results.  In the Under 15s, Harvey battled hard against very tough opposition.

In the senior ladies race, Carol had a really good run to finish 21st and 2nd W50 finisher, as in the previous fixture.  At half-way, Grace was close behind Carol….. then her shoe came off in the mud !  Grace showed great determination by carrying on and finishing  in her socks and still achieving a good result – 37th overall and 6th in the Under 20 category .

In the mens race, very well done to Chris (4th M60) and Jan,  who had the worst of the weather conditions and had to contend with a  course that had been well and truly trashed by the time it was their time to run !

The final league fixture is on Sunday 6th December at Nunroyd Park, Leeds – could be another muddy one!

The Settle placings were…..

U11 Boys:  48th Oliver Sampson 6:56; 54 Oscar Wulf 7:00

U11 Girls; 62nd Lauren Evans 8:50  

U13 Boys: 18th Sebastian Segger-Staveley 8:23 

U15 Boys: 35th Harvey Stroh 17;14  

Senior Ladies : 21st Carol Evans 23:44 (2nd W50); 37 Grace Jeffrey 25:24 (6th WU20)

Senior Men : 119th Chris Beesley 37:22 (4th M60) ; 124th Jan Wulf (M40) 39:11

Andy

9 Harriers took part in the 2nd  West Yorkshire Cross Country League fixture held in Fartown, near Huddersfield on the 31st October.

The races were held in the extensive grounds of a secondary school so there were good on-site facilities and challenging multi-lap courses, a mixture of fast grassland running, some muddy sections and some short, sharp climbs to break your rhythm.  The weather was unseasonably warm – so great  for spectators and runners alike.

Our representatives ran really well yet again against most of the top cross-country runners in Yorkshire.

In the Under 11 boys there were great runs by Dougie and Oliver who both finished higher than in race 1 and also from Oscar in his first ever league race.  Oscar was definitely one of the fastest finishers, overtaking a number of runners in the last 100 metres !  The Under 11 boys finished 7th in the team race – an impressive achievement !

Lauren also had her first outing in the league and did really well as one of the youngest runners in the Under 11 girls race.

In the Under 13 boys, Seb had another impressive run, finishing 12th -3 places higher than in race 1.  Top 10 next time Seb !  In the Under 15s, Bob made a welcome return after his recent injury and was pleased to get round with a solid run.

In the senior races, Carol had her first cross-country outing since her ACL injury and was an impressive 36th – making her 2nd W50 finisher.  In the mens race, Josh looked good and finished much higher than in race 1 whilst Jan also did well in his league debut.

The next fixture is on Saturday 14th November at Keighley – finally a relatively local one !

The Settle placings were…..

U11 Boys: 21st Douglas Segger-Staveley 6:25; 30th Oliver Sampson 6:46; 48 Oscar Wulf 7:28 (league debut)

(U11 Boys team finished 7th)

U11 Girls; 60th Lauren Evans 8:58 (league debut) 

U13 Boys: 12th Sebastian Segger-Staveley 13:11 

U15 Boys: 24th Bob Evans 22;19  

Senior Ladies : 36th Carol Evans 25:52 (2nd W50)

Senior Men : 86th Josh Westwood 41:57; 149th Jan Wulf (M40) 57:21

Andy

10 Harriers took part in the first of four fixtures in the West Yorkshire Cross Country League.  This is the 3rd year running now that Settle have taken part in the league.

The race was held in Thorne Park, Wakefield, a difficult place to find but a good cross-country venue with some gentle climbs and descents along with some fast flat grassland sections.

Our 10 representatives ran really well against most of the top cross-country runners in Yorkshire. These races are a great way to develop speed and speed endurance in a period when there are less fell races taking place.

The Settle placings were…..

U11 Boys: 25th Douglas Segger-Staveley 5:59; 50th Oliver Sampson 6:39 (league debut)

U13 Boys: 15th Sebastian Segger-Staveley 11:13 

U15 Girls: 25th Honor Jeffrey 16:32

U15 Boys: 20th Thomas Marshall 16;15; 38th Harvey Stroh 18:45 

Senior Ladies : 31st Rachel Hill 24:22 (4th W40); 50th Grace Jeffrey 26:16 (9th U20)

Senior Men : 104th Josh Westwood 42:09; 162nd Chris Beesley (M60) 51:59

Andy

Well done to the 17 Settle Harriers juniors that took part in the Curly Wurly Rat Runs on the moors near Haworth on the 11th October.  These races are always popular with our juniors, not least because of the very generous goody bags provided to finishers and the legendary Curly Wurlies !

This was the last of our junior club championship races this year.  The final results of the championships will be kept secret though until the prize presentation evening to be held in late November.

There were some excellent performances from our juniors and we also had 4 runners in the senior Withins Skyline race.

The Settle Harriers results are shown below

Senior Race    
26MIKE EGNERSettle47:023rd M50
149JILL ECCLESTONSettle57:55W40
153CAROL EVANSSettle58:07W50
293RICHARD HANDFORDSettle76:36M50

 

Under 8 Race    
5RIO EGNERSettle2:533rd Boy
14LUCA DODGSONSettle3:2011th Boy
16JACK SANDERSONSettle3:2312th Boy
17CONNIE ECCLESTONSettle3:255th Girl
27TILLY CHENERYSettle3:5512th Girl
42KIRSTEN WULFSettle5:5022nd Girl
     
U10, U12,U14 Race    
20JOHN EGNERSettle7:167th U12 Boy
41ERIN CUMMINSSettle7:507th U12 Girl
66ARCHIE CLARKSettle8:4218th U10 Boy
82OSCAR WULFSettle9:0322nd U10 Boy
97PHOEBE HOLLIDAY-GILLSettle9:4514th U10 Girl
105LAUREN EVANSSettle10:0715th U10 Girl
106LOLA ASHTON-FITCHSettle10:0816th U10 Girl
108MINNIE MILLSSettle10:1117th U10 Girl
110IZZY ASHTON-FITCHSettle10:2019th U10 Girl
119EMILY CROSSLEYSettle10:4310th U14 Girl
121GRACE CHENERYSettle10:5724th U12 Girl

Saturday saw the annual FRA Fell Relays take place. Beautiful autumnal weather and a prolonged dry spell meant that Pendle was seen at its very best. After a couple of years off from doing the relays the Harriers managed to field two teams: a mens open and a female open.

We aimed to field our strongest teams possible and selection is always difficult, especially when last minute injuries have to be dealt with, non-the-less we got there. Clayton Harriers where the club behind the running and organisation of the relays and a brilliant job they did too, some 900 runners in total descending on the small village of Barley! Plenty of witches hats around the place as well.

The relay comprised of 4 legs; one and four being shorter and run as solo, here we had Josh and Jill on leg one and Matt and Angie on leg 4. Leg two was longer and done in pairs, so here we had Mike and Mark and Carol and Judy; while leg 3 was a navigation leg of similar length (14km) with Alex and Brian and Julia and Helen.
Position wise the men were 40th and the ladies 129th from 148, not sure of representative positions in class. Winners on the day were the super strong Calderdale, also interesting to see Bingley down in 8th place, no-longer the unstoppable team they used to be and like-wise for Borrowdale – an ageing team it seems, fielding only a male vet team, to their credit they won this! Full details appear on Sportident.
We’ll have to start plans for next year in good time as they’re north of the border…

Big thanks to Roger and Andy for getting us all sorted pre-race and on the day.