Flower Scar Fell Race 2014
‘Behind me the plains were desolate. No bodies were around to reconvey me back on the path should I derail and I had found myself in a position I had hoped not to – I was in no mans land..’
On a somewhat prosperous morning of weather, the tension that derives from the anticipation of navigating a check pointed fell race subsided. With clear skies abound and the wind at minimal velocity, relief set in amongst the fell runners – especially on my part. However, a recce under the belt and advice from John Lloyd could not fully disperse my anxiety after last weeks debacle.
After being rounded up in a pen for a headcount and a spate of kit checks, the race was shortly underway with vests from Clayton-le-Moors, Calder Valley and Wharfedale leading the initial climb. Within minutes we had scrambled up one side of the valley and joined up on the stretch of moorland leading towards Flower Scar hill. Four runners ahead began drifting away, exchanging places as they made their initial navigational choices. Behind me the plains were desolate. No bodies were around to reconvey me back on the path should I derail and I had found myself in a position I had hoped not to – I was in no mans land.
Having initially made some of the time back on the front runners up Flower Scar hill, the depletion of stamina once the behemoth had been scaled meant that the front runners had become a dot in the distance. Cock Hill Woods loomed and my lonesome descent through the forrest begun. This unusual landscape, reminiscent of a North American logging vicinity, was strewn with machinery and an artists canopy and kiln. This race had ceased to be deemed as such and had instead become a solo effort in returning to the finish line through some outstanding scenery.
Although at times my ingrained map of the route faltered, there were no real errors made on my part. Only one change had occurred to my knowledge, the abolishment of the steps instead made for an enduring and tiresome climb back up to familiar land. After the long descent back down and only a couple of calamitous falls overall, my navigational run was over in a time of 51:40. If 5th place wasn’t meant to be last week, this solo effort on the moors, hills and bogs of Todmorden stamped my rightful claim to be 5th seven days later.
There were brilliant efforts all round in this tough fell race, not least from the other Clayton-le-Moors Harriers. In at 30th and second Clayton back with a great effort was Neil Hardiman, making it in just under the hour mark at 59:16. Ivan Whigam, 5th in his age category made it through the finish at 63:35. Whilst Mark Nutter put in a solid effort arriving back at 65:22. Full results are here.
The Rest of The Weekends Action
Over at the High cup Nick Spencer Riley carried on his great run of form by finishing 3rd overall. Peter Butterworth flew the flag for Clayton-le-Moors Harriers in Wigan this weekend. He finished 33rd over all in a time of 46:35 at the Standish Hall Trail Race. In Blackpool the first of the Clayton-le-Moors Harriers Road Championship races got underway with excellent performances all-round. Read ‘Fell’ Captain Dave Motley’s account of the race for more details, whilst the results are here. The juniors arrived in mass to take on Burnley Park Run with an excellent run from Jordan McDonald being the first Harrier around in a time of 18:57. Well done to all those who ran this weekend, especially to those who braved the winds of Blackpool!