Please find attached results for our 5th Fell Counter of the season, Callow, a 5 mile and 2500’ race in the Shropshire Hills.
This was a race choice by the now aptly named Shropshire legend Jim O’Hara (named by Mercia runners for his gymnastic ability at their races) and half way through the race this legend was probably being cursed by the majority of Helsby runners for putting us through so much pain! With time to reflect afterwards and with post-race talk and drinks at two different locations (Ragleth Inn, Little Stretton and Queens Head just off the A5) I have to say everybody was finding something unique and interesting about their own race and finding the territory and area rather outstanding for running. I forgave Jimmy at about 8pm Sunday night, not sure about everyone else. But good call Jimmy, great race.
It was also good as an introduction to where the British Fell Relays will be in October, possibly utilising some of the routes in the Callow race itself. Phil Gillard has entered a male and female team of six for that event already. I’m sure Phil will keep us posted regarding details of that.
I will readily admit that I didn’t actually see much of the surroundings due to only seeing hands and feet while trying to climb the 30 to 45 degree slopes that seemed to be the majority of the race. It’s a green area, lots of sheep trods and trail, streams and bracken and hills as well as rocky outcrops. To give some idea there was more climbing than at Moel-y-Gamelin from the week before but squeezed into half the distance! One race description online went as thus… “It went Up & down (Ashlet), up & down (yearlet), up and down (Grindle), up & down (Callow) ……. with not a lot of inbetweeny bits.” Probably as accurate as anything I could describe, but for those wanting to recce this race themselves this description below is a little bit more apt.
“The race starts at Little Stretton, and goes steeply off to the right up Ashes, then you contour round the east side of Ashlet before dropping down to Town Brook, a left turn along the bottom for about 200 yards, then turn left to go straight up the north side of Yearlet. At the top, you descend off to the left, then up Grindle, then another descent, turn left along a very narrow, bumpy path with a stream on your left for about 1/4 mile, then turn left to go up Callow (the same ascent as in the Long mynd valley race). At the top, you drop down to the right along an awkward track to finish near where you started. It took me about 15 minutes longer than it would take to run a 10 mile road race.”
To take a look at some of the area please have a look at the photo link below. Some great action shots and we are very lucky that people like Alistair Tye and Peter Douglas will spend their time for free taking photos to record the day and allow us to reflect on what we are actually doing during our more sedentary moments (cup of tea and hob-nobs in hand as I write this)
Pictures of the day can be seen at Alistair Tye’s website here
Mercia have a brief race report on their website here
and link to the results
As you can see from the photos Jayne Joy, outside of her familiar trophy hunting ground, was still there to pick up the now traditional bottle of wine, her award for being able to run steep hills while still having a full blown conversation with the locals, although some runners might have thought her prize was for finishing 2nd senior lady. I’m not sure but an impressive feat either way I’d say. Robbie Webster was 1st in his age category so well done Robbie too!
I should also mention that four or five people did not finish the race and had given up after the second climb.
Seven Helsby vests out in total, less than we have had recently but distance to the race was probably part of the reason, although I’d like to think it was for people resting up for the Druid on Wednesday 11th July which as well as being a Helsby Fell Counter ‘The Druid’ is also the first race in our inter-club fell competition against arch rivals Tattenhall and Spectrum Striders. This is a great race, had 17 Helsby out for that last year and hopefully we can beat that this year. I’ll send some more information out next week.
Helsby position and times for Callow as below
7th Adair Broughton 1.07.08
13th Jim O’Hara 1.09.16
24th Jayne Joy 1.15.13 (2nd in age cat)
25th Mario Foschi 1.15.18
30th Andy Robinson 1.16.11
45th Phil Gillard 1.30.02
50th Jackie Keasley 1.35.54
51st Robbie Webster 2.05.32 (1st in age cat)