Welcome to this weeks racing news. Firstly a gentle reminder that all reports should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish for your race to be included in the racing news, we don’t generally look at Facebook as it’s too time consuming and it’s easy to miss reports on there.
Please find a message below from Andy Smith regarding the Frodsham downhill race on Sunday:
A plea for help. In addition to all our other race related activities, once again we have been asked to help out with course signing, finish area management and results for the Frodsham Downhill Run at the Castle Park Festival this Sunday. We already have a trusty band of Helsby RC helpers, but would benefit from a couple more volunteers to help out. If you can spare an hour or two in the morning to help out in the park or on the course please get in touch – it would be much appreciated.
It’s a great family event and I know that a fair number of our members and their families take part, so a great opportunity to support them. Run starts at 12:30 and we’ll be setting up in Castle Park from about 9:30.
Tattenhall Tough Team Challenge
A big thank you to Alison Halsall for her report, please see below…
“The Green Army were out in force again at the annual Tough Team Race. It was a gorgeous evening for it with six ladies team and four mens team taking part. They don’t call it tough for nothing but there are some wonderful views over the Cheshire hills with most runners complaining about the last long road section rather than the steep climb up the old railway track to the welcome of the Grim Reaper. There was support on the course from Mario and Joe (who popped up in the middle of the last field as usual) and it was great to see all of the Helsby teams running to the finish line together. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable event, the chilli, cakes and beer afterwards are great too! Oh and Helsby won the 1st vet ladies prize, a bottle of prosecco each thank you very much (Jane Ashbrook, Laura Baynham-Hughes and Alison Halsall)”
Pennine Barrier 50-mile Ultra Trail
A fantastic report has been sent in by Ben Crossley for the Pennine Barrier 50 mile ultra, an amazing achievement, hat is fully tipped! Over to Ben…
“Friday 22nd June Paul Cunningham and I set off to the Dales in the ‘love machine’ (I’ll come back to this) to raise the bar to the next level in our running careers, to conquer….THE PENNINE BARRIER.
Ah yes! The ‘Big Bazza’, the ‘Penny-Barry’ an ultra-marathon trail run, consisting of 50 miles of hard hitting trail from Malham following the Pennine Way before joining up with the Yorkshire Three Peaks route.
Of course it was going to be tough, we knew it was, not one bit of us was denying how tough this was going to be, but did we shy from the challenge.. NAH AH! Game on! Operation F’K ‘em had commenced.
2pm there we were in the ‘love machine’ a white Citroen Rally – transit like van that had been DIY’d in to our HQ for the weekend. To be fair it had been done out quite well. There was a double gas hob, sink with pump action water dispenser. Two seat dinner area which folded into what would be my first bed of the trip. Then the further rear was a double bunk with, if I remember rightly, a throw like cloth backing of the Hindu God Ganesh.
The vehicle had also plenty of vinyl on the outside, one in particular caught my attention and stayed with me. ‘THEY SAY YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. I DON’T REMEMBER EATING A F**KING LEGEND!!’ Superb! This was our home for the weekend and we loved it!
I digressed. Ok so we arrived in Malham around 4:30 in the pm. Registered had our kit checked. Then headed for a little walk to Malham Cove followed by some grub and a shandy in the local boozer before retiring for an early night, in anticipation for the next day.
4:30 in the am! It was time to get up. flapjack and Imodium in the gut, washed down with a couple of coffees and there we were, on the starting line bouncing ready to rumble.
The race started at 6am. Front runners broke ahead from the start up to Malham Cove. This included the well-respected, West Chester’s Tom Booth and ultra-runners John Bottomly, Ken Sutor, Ben Hoyle, Aaron Reeves, Sally Ford, Mel Edwards and the ever too giddy for his own boots, Benjamin Crossley (ME).
The idea here was to get a good start up the first climb of Malham Cove and not to be caught in the single lined traffic of the 270 runners. Once we broke out on the top of the cove, the first burst started to reduce, and the main front runners now started to make a hefty gap.
We followed the Pennine Way up past Malham Tarn and up over them there hills to Fountains Fell. Which after a slow but steady ascent, the rapid descent was much welcomed, and I let gravity do the hard work while my legs just ticked over.
A mile down the road was the first checkpoint. We were now 12 mile in and approaching the first of the 3 peaks. I quickly refilled my water supplies, grabbed a banana and a chocolate doughnut and hit the trails.
Pen-Y-Ghent was as you’d expect… a motorway of people. We had to weave in and out of hikers, in fact it wasn’t just hikers, it so happened to be the Sikh Three Peak Challenge. 100s, if not 1000s of people trailing on for miles. It wasn’t till I got down to the viaduct in Ribblehead that the crowds really started to clear.
By this point I was at check point 2. 21 miles in and starting to feel the run. It had started to get warm and I was going through water fast. I stopped at the check point for 5 minutes perhaps to refresh and have a little stretch. I had started to get a little niggle in my knee, I just knew it was down to my IT band being tight, so there I was in pigeon pose while trying to gasp the hot air in to my lungs.
Feeling refreshed I set off towards what had been the most long winded ascent(other than Snowdon) I have ever tackled. Whernside. Eugh. It’s not so much difficult, its just long and boring, I just wanted it to be over. Even the company of single serving friendship chitty chatty you pick up on the way could not pull my head out of how much I was disliking this climb.
Once at the top you had a clear view of the fells in the Lake District in the distance. Seeing views like this is what its all about. My head quickly cleared of negativity as I smiled to myself and muttered ‘this is f’king awesome’ .
Happy again I descended Whernside, cheering hikers on that were climbing from the other side before arriving at the 3rd checkpoint. I’ll point out here I made a quick dash for the toilet at the local farm shop. It was the only time I needed a wee on the entire run. Your body just shuts down I’ve noticed while it concentrates on feeding blood to your muscles, rather than your organs.
Leaving the 3rd check point, again fully stocked on water and snacks. I’ll just add here how important it is to eat on these runs. Despite how little hunger you may be feeling with your stomach shrinking but at the same time full of water.. you must eat. If there’s anything that’s going to get in your way of completing these challenges, it’s not intaking enough calories, and by this point I was most certainly feeling it. Shovelling pieces of pizza, chocolate muffin and cheese and pickle sandwiches into me yap. I carried with me protein bars and energy gels as reserves, and they all got eaten.
Ingleborough, what a short but hefty ascent is that. You can’t see it from a distance but as you get closer, there is a vertical scramble staircase. Followed by about 40 ft of rocky terrain as you reach the trigpoint. WOW!!! I was cream crackered at this point and starting to get very uneasy on my feet.
I clipped my foot getting back down which almost ended badly TWICE. Once I was close to slipping off the side of the peak, which would have ended in a shredded Ben bouncing down the jaggered rocks. The second I was talking about how much of a pleb you’d feel falling in front of everyone, in doing so, I clipped my foot and started wind milling down the trail. It turns out I had the gods on my side both times and no dirt was eaten this time. Just a little shuck up and a lot more aware of my footing.
Check point 4! And the 3 peaks had been conquered. I didn’t waste anytime at this checkpoint, knowing I only had 15 mile to go. I quickly refilled my bottles grabbed another banana and went on my way. I was gutted to realise there was still a nasty little climb going up towards Pen-Y- Ghent that we had to get up. eugh…. Why .. why more climbing.. I was starting to go through the motions here and complaining to myself while stomped up to the kissing gate.
I turned round and couldn’t see any runners behind me. I knew I had made good timings and I was surely somewhere in the top 50. This was my aim. I wanted a sub 11 and to be in the top 50, I want a gold medal. Not silver or bronze, but gold. GB Ultras award gold medals to the top 50, silver to 51- 100 and Bronze to anyone over that. My aim now was to hold my ground.
As I reached the final checkpoint , which again I quickly just refilled one water bottle, I asked where I was in the race, to which the marshal replied 42nd.. “come on Ben. Home run now. Just get home”. I kept repeating this over and over in my head, while I picked off a couple of runners and seemed to be experiencing what could only be explained as the mind of someone with bipolar. I wasn’t sure whether I was happy, tired, warm, cold, sad, full of beans.. it was very confusing which all most ended terribly.
1 mile from the end, Janet’s Fross, I lost my head. Everything started to spin, I couldn’t see straight, and I was starting to stumble. I franticly searched the pockets of my vest looking for some sort of sugar shot. I found two soggy extra strong mints. This was it!! This what I needed. In they went, and I walked for 5 minutes, before having a final push to the finish.
I’d done it! Id completed the Pennine Barrier. I was greeted by Emma Marks, of GB Ultras and Macclesfield RC who handed me a GOLD medal while chattering ‘WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG, WE’VE BEEN WAITING”. The feeling was unbelievable, I was so exhausted but so happy I just started hugging anyone and everyone I saw. 11hrs 5mins was my finishing time and I came 39th.
The race was won by Ken Sutor with a new course record of 8hr 19 followed by Tom Booth 8hr24 and John Bottomley 8hr45.
The top 3 ladies were Sally Ford 9hr44, Nicola Brown 10hr8 and Mel Edwards 10hr36.
I almost forgot.. some gritty runners went back out for the 100 mile, breaking the barrier. This was won by the impressive Craig Clements setting a new course record with 24hr51, followed by Martin Rutherford 25hr05 and Alex McMann 25hr44. Seeing these chaps come home in one piece yet broken and still humble is just pure inspiration. This is where I want to be.
As I sat in the van on the way home the next day my mind started to flood with thoughts. ‘If I can do 50 now, why can’t I do more’. This must be what goes through anyone’s head when starting out down this road…. Our only barriers are our own minds. Well, I believe I can.. the hills and trails are where I feel comfortable in life, why wouldn’t I want to devote my time into this (again) humbling sport. I want to see how far I can push myself, see what will break me.
I’m going all in…”
Moel y Gamelin Fell Race
“It’s no secret that I’m not a big fan of fell running, don’t get me wrong I think that as an event they are fantastic – cheap as chips to enter, always in stunning locations and they seem to always start and finish at a pub which is an added bonus! I have just never been a fan of the race itself, going up the hills is ridiculously hard and coming down is even harder, I’ve never quite got my head around it. You need to have an ability to switch off the fear gland in your brain and really let go which I have never been able to do as my tarmac slapping “don’t get injured” part of the brain goes into overdrive. I also struggle to pace them correctly and generally make a hash of it.
I promised myself that this year I would attend more of them to try and mix it up a little and get out of my comfort zone. I started with “Up the Beast” a couple of weeks ago but I had a bit of nightmare, I started well enough and was in the top ten but I didn’t respect the hills enough and slowly died a death and went backwards. It’s very different tactics compared to roads, I’m generally pretty good at pacing a road race but on a fell you can’t go off too quick and maintain a pace and I didn’t reserve enough energy on the flatter bits, I was determined to pace it better at the next one.
Moel y Gamelin popped up in my Facebook news feed and looked a great one to have a crack at, it’s 10 miles long with 2887 ft of climb and mostly on trail path. I’d never done such a long fell race before so I decided give it a go and then had to run around like a headless chicken borrowing various bits of kit off everyone (full kit required for this one, who ever needs to own a whistle??) Me and Lou loaded up the car and set off picking up Jane, Laura and Duncan Harris (Chester Tri) on route to the Horseshoe Bypass in Llangollen.
The race starts and finishes opposite the Pondersa Café and the mercury was pushing 30 degrees, probably not the most ideal conditions! A big thank you to Phil Gillard for lending me his fell shows before the start by the way, he pointed out that my road racing flats where probably not best suited to the rough and rugged terrain that was to come and how right he was! 🙂
The race started and as planned I went off very steady, the route starts on a grass hill and you quickly hit a gravel track for the long climb up to Moel y Gamelin, you then find a sharp decent which had me scrabbling for grip, thank god I had those trail shoes on! The route was very undulating, up and down up and down until around mile 4-5 where you get a bit of rest bite on flatter grassy terrain. I had managed to work my way through the traffic and here I saw Mario handing out water which went over my head, he mentioned I was in 10th place but the heat was starting to have an adverse affect on me at this point. After another mile a water stop appeared into view so I stopped, took on plenty of water and ate an energy bar, I lost a few places but the sacrifice was worth it as I was feeling more energised after this.
The route loops back and hits the gravel path again and after a short while the colossus of the final climb appears into view which is certainly the hardest, over 500 feet! I was glad I’d taken on some fuel as I was feeling pretty good here and only lost one place on the hill. After this it’s pretty much downhill and hang on to the finish where I managed to get 15th place which I was made up with. I thoroughly enjoyed the race, I’d paced it well and took on fuel and water where necessary and the views were stunning. A Helsby runner converted to a Felsby? Not quite hanging up those racing flats yet but I will definitely being doing a few more this year 🙂
Congrats to all the Felsby runners, especially Laura BH for getting second place (I think) for the ladies and first Helsby lady to finish. Adam also had a great run to bag 6th overall and first Helsby runner home. A big thank you to Louise, Joe and Mario for supporting us on the day also.”
No results out yet but keep an eye out here:
Please find a link to the consolidated results from last Saturdays parkruns, Delamere saw a superb second place from Derek Morris who is on the comeback after some time out with injury, well done mate and a big well done to everyone who took part in one.
That’s all this week, as usual please let me know if there are any results or reports missing and I will endeavour to update the blog.