Another action packed roundup for you this week! A win at the Bolton Abbey Trail Half Marathon for Richard Stevenson, great placings for Chris Holdsworth and Amanda Duffy and PBs all over the place. A sign of even greater things to come for Clayton-le-Moors Harriers this year.
Saturday 27 February
Blackpool Stanley Park 10K
Four Clayton-le-Moors Harriers took part in the first of two 10K races in Stanley Park Blackpool over the weekend. Christopher Holdsworth held up for a 3rd place finish despite struggling with a calf niggle over the last couple of weeks. He said that the weather was pretty perfect with a slight cool breeze and was delighted to see some fast times posted over this, at times, tricky two lap course.
Report from Dan Plant
After last week’s weather at the Great North Western Half Marathon, all week I was wondering which way the weather would go on this one. This was my first ever race 3 years ago to the day and has been an ever-present since then. As we got to Blackpool, the weather seemed perfect.
The race had a very fast start in my standards and I really wanted the PB I have been chasing for so long. As we got halfway round I took a glance at the big timer and really thought it was achievable so I gave it everything I had. I smashed the PB by half a minute. Just so happy it was this course!
Report from Carl Carey
Perfect weather, although slightly windy on the long straights, coupled with beautiful scenery and a great atmosphere to run in. Together with Chris, Donna and Dan, we were the sole Clayton representatives today as people would be doing it tomorrow instead no doubt. This would be my only second 10k race since the Pennine 10k last year, and went to Stanley Park with one goal: to beat my previous PB of 53 minutes!
At the start, we were informed not to trust the clock tower for the time as it was 2 minutes out, and then we were off. Getting caught in a crowd of slower runners meant I had to go round the outside and speed up which didn’t help but I then tried to stay in a steady rhythm, which was difficult with the speedy Donna Airey in front of me. Strangely the mile and km markers didn’t match up with my Garmin but I wasn’t going to argue so ran to the finish, gratefully appreciating the water and banana at the end! A great race, with a great atmosphere. The only disappointment was that it wasn’t chip timing but let’s not take it away from the organisers. Oh, and I got my new PB of 48:58, so a successful day!
Bolton Abbey Trail Half Marathon
Report From Richard Stevenson
On Saturday I headed over to Bolton Abbey for a trail half marathon but wasn’t sure what to expect it was organised by a company called It’s Grim Up North Running and this was it’s first ever event, what I found was a nice little very relaxed race set in a beautiful area.
After a quick brew in the cafe amongst the dozens of cyclists who had stopped off here it was time to get ready and head to start. There was only about 75 of us at the start which was the race limit and it was easy to see why when a lot of the course was on narrow paths with long drops to river on one side.
The course was mainly out and back up and down either side of the river with a lap or 2 around the priory. I set off steadily and soon found myself out in front leading the race which meant I had to negotiate the many obstacles of the general public who were using the paths as well.
By the time I was on the second lap, my feet were taking a battering on the hard trails and the legs were beginning to tire but I knew I had a good lead over the guy in 2nd place so I kept pushing on through to the finish to take the win.
On finishing I was given a goody bag with a medal, chocolate and a bottle of beer all for the entry price of £14 which I thought was great value, I’d definitely look at doing some of their other races that they have planned later this year.
High Cup Nick Fell Race
Report from Martin Brady
High Cup Nick Fell Race 9.3 mile 1600 feet climbing (I measured it at 1800 feet)
I decided to have a run at the High Cup Nick Fell Race after the Pendle Parkun on Saturday. I found the race challenging but well worth the effort.
There is a bit of a climb to begin with along a road\track, then the majestic view of High Cup Gill opens up before you . The race runs at the bottom of the gill leading up to High Cup Nick. There is a steep climb out at the top end where the views are stunning. Then there is the four mile descent to the finish at Dufton. It almost felt like it was an English championship race with the top quality field assembled. I think they were all getting ready for the championship race at Black Coomb in two weeks time. Unfortunately I was the only Clayton runner there which really surprised me as it is such a brilliant race (too far to travel from home???).
PS My time was about 1 hour 39 (approx.)
Awaiting Official Results
Midgley Moor Fell Race
Report from Chris Paul
Having a rare Saturday morning off work I decided to increase my fell running experience and compete in the Midgley Moor fell race. Being the only Clayton member there felt quite intimidating when surrounded by a lot of entries from Barlick and Calder Valley but everyone was friendly and I chatted to a few as we got ready at the start.
The race itself was short and sweet but had a bit of everything. A steady climb from the start and over a few styles led us to the first trig point and a nice run across through some heather to the second trig point. Then a nice fast decent where I managed to gain some places back led to the bottom of “that field”. This is where I was met with another climb, so with John Roche’s voice in my head I kept going to the top and of course making sure I was actually running this time when Woodentops were taking pictures! I managed to get a few a more places back as we started the decent back down through the heather where we then headed back to field where we started.
I finished 50th overall out of 104 but I really enjoyed it and will certainly be entering as many fell races like this as I can in the future….hopefully with a few more Clayton members to keep me company!
Sunday 28 February
Asics Oulton Park 10K
Report From Amanda Duffy
We had an early start on Sunday morning to set off for the Asics oulton park 10k. We certainly had the weather on our side this weekend! It was a 3 lap course of the race track which was a little undulating in places although it was perfect to run on.
Very well organised race and we received a nice medal and t shirt at the finish plus Lee got his sub 50 and I had the bonus of finishing 3rd lady.
A perfect end to the week
Blackpool Stanley Park 10K
A trio of club members took part in the second of the weekend’s 10K races at Stanley park in Blackpool. Matthew Duckworth was first Clayton finisher and 11th place overall with a time of 38:22. Brian Wildman finished next in 47:10 with Bianca Bennett out first lady in 64th place overall and a time of 48:03. Bianca said it was a beautiful day for a fast 10K in a lovely park with a great atmosphere topped off with a PB!
Harewood House Half Marathon
Report from Phil Michael
As part of Mrs Naylor’s marathon training we signed up for the Harewood House half marathon . Set in the grounds of the beautiful country house dating back to the 1700s , the run was a combination of trails and cross country . Parts of the estate looked very familiar on the way round and I was told its used as the setting for Emmerdales village in the popular soap. The weather was kind on the day and the freezing temperatures lifted by the sun shining down on us .
The course was undulating with some climbs and some fantastic fell like descents where we free wheeled happily through the fields . As the relative beginner , I managed to take 5 minutes off my previous half marathon best and recorded 2 25 . Much more work to do to get to my 2 05 target for the year but I’m keeping working ! Thanks to all involved for a friendly , brilliantly organised event.
Well done Philip on completing the 2016 BHF Harewood House Half in a time of 2:25:35
Malta Half Marathon
Report from James Boult
On the afternoon of April 9th 1942, during the middle of the Second World War, an SC500 kg Luftwaffe bomb pierced the roof of the Mosta Rotunda during an afternoon air raid and fell among a congregation of over 300 people awaiting evening mass. After bouncing down the isle of the church, it came to rest. The bomb did not explode. At the back of this church a replica of that bomb is now on display under the words Il-Miraklu tal-Bomba. The Bomb Miracle.
Looking on at that Rotunda from the bastions of the walled city of Mdina at the start of the 2016 Malta Half Marathon, I paused to remember that story, told to me by many people during my visits to this place. I am not religious in the slightest, but this island is watched over by someone not of human hand and is blessed beyond comprehension. As a Maltese man said to me the other day, “there’s no place quite like Malta,” and he is right.
Running, I guess, is part enjoyment, part desire and part madness. You have to enjoy what you’re doing otherwise it’s pointless, right? And you have to be mad enough to brave the elements in the first place. After all, who in their right mind decides to run a half marathon, his first half marathon too, 2,000 miles away in a country with temperatures exceeding 25 Celsius in February?
I suppose, though, with the event being 2,000 miles away from home I was under no pressure to do anything other than finish. I was alone, and just had to enjoy it. I had John Roche’s words in my head as the countdown to the start ensued, “take the first 10k easy and then go for it.” But by the end I was not alone, having the absolute honour of finishing the race alongside two of the finest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. We called ourselves ‘Team Maria’, and the girls I met at the start were also running their first half marathon. Maria, a Maltese girl, and her friend Emily, an Oxford ex-pat studying Medicine at the University of Malta, were as innocent to the half marathon as I was, not knowing what to expect. They, though, had the added advantage of being accustomed to the Mediterranean climate. We talked, introduced and shared our trepidation. I echoed John’s words to them, and passed on some of my own (albeit limited) advice and we set off, alongside 4,000 strong competitors from both the Half and the Walkathon dead on 9:15am. From outside the bastions of Malta’s old capital, the walled city of Mdina we headed on through the main road of Rabat, down through Nigret and onto the Mtarfa by-pass to get to 6km mark in Ta’Qali.
Vodaphone (the sponsors of the Marathon) were live streaming all photographs taken throughout the event using a 4G service, which automatically logged the runners race number and uploaded the pictures to their Facebook account, creating a digital archive of the event. And with Powerade giving free drinks at stations throughout the event, it was more of a let’s get to the next station, thought process at times, as temperatures soared to high twenties and strong headwinds battered us when they could.
As we passed water stations and powerade stations and sponge stations for the small relief of coolness they provided, we carried on, Emily driving us on when Maria and I struggled. Cloudless and warm, visually stunning and sometimes breathless, we reached the 10km mark.
With Emily and Maria keeping me going as we battled beyond 10km, the route took us through Attard and the Mriehel Industrial Estate, before we joined the Mriehel bypass and the Hamrun/Marsa bypass heading into Marsa, and then Blata L-Bajda. The last 5km of the route passes along the Sa’ Maison, Pieta, Msida, Ta’ Xbiex and Gzira waterfronts up to the finish in Sliema. With tired legs, knees wanting to stop and heat battering us at every available chance, we plodded on towards Floriana and the final 4km.
I had recced the final 4km on Thursday after I had landed, and had found it to be the most visually stunning run I’d ever done, along the seafront marinas of Malta’s hidden treasures. But the second time, with Team Maria for company, it was beyond description. Bodies aching, we made the final 4km spot and battled through. We passed bodies lying on the curbs, with medics working on those who had foregone water stations and been hit by dehydration. And then, as we passed through Ta’ Xbiex and made the corner towards Sliema, with my honorary Clayton Harriers, Emily and Maria, in tow the view opened out and Valletta – the capital city described by Benjamin Disraeli in 1830 as “a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen,” and which “equals in its noble architecture, if it does not excel, any capital in Europe” – opened out as our backdrop as we neared the finish.
We started as a team and we finished as a team, never leaving anyone behind, and as we crossed the finish line hand-in-hand, the three strong team clocked a debut time of 2:17:37 and no thesaurus in the world would be enough to find superlatives that could accurately describe this event. Madness? Absolutely. Desire? Unquestioning. Enjoyment? If I ever leave cloud 9 then maybe I’ll be able to tell you.
Today I haven’t just run a half marathon. Today I’ve met, befriended and ran alongside the two most incredible runners, seen things people only dream of seeing, ran through a country that, to me, is home from home and today I’ve finally understood why that man said about this place, “there’s nowhere quite like Malta.”
To Emily and Maria I say this; thank you. For your friendliness and your unbelievable running and never giving up, even when it got tough. You should be so very proud of your achievements, and so very proud of yourself. And thank you for without your pushing and tireless running I may not have finished either.
To see a country is one thing, but no sightseeing tours in the world can show you better a place than you can see running through it. The streets filled with locals cheering you on, people leaving cars abandoned on the closed roads to support and cheer and watch, the sun beating down in endless, perennial golden rays and the friendliness of a country to be able to show itself off like this.
For any Clayton Harrier, whether you’re fell only or looking for a first marathon or half marathon to run, try the Malta marathon. You will end it speechless, breathless and you’ll be provided with vistas that make this special, blessed little place possibly the most beautiful country in the world. I challenge you, no, I dare you, to find an event more incredible and more beautiful than this one. Thank you, Team Maria. Thank you, Valletta. Thank you, Malta.
Terry Nortley Radcliffe 10 Mile
Stephen Biscomb was our sole representative at this challenging 10 mile multi-terrain race taking in a semi-rural route from Radcliffe through the route of the Manchester, Bury and Rossendale railway line and through Philips Park.
53 Clayton-le-Moors Harriers parkrunning this weekend with some excellent finishing at Burnley where the sheer number of PBs in the top ten implies a bit of a racing battle going on there. Great results also at Pendle and Witton Parkrun. Some first time visits at Witton and Pendle an a whole host of PBs.
Bolton parkrun – A total of 263 runners took part.
Burnley parkrun – A total of 284 runners took part.
|3||Jonathan PYE||17:44||SM25-29||New PB!|
|4||Andy LAYCOCK||17:52||SM20-24||New PB!|
|10||Gareth BERRY||19:13||VM35-39||New PB!|
|30||Reece Adam LAWRENCE||21:11||JM15-17||New PB!|
|41||Robert MORRISON||21:49||VM40-44||New PB!|
|82||Bianca BENNETT||24:15||SW25-29||New PB!|
|115||Toby BIRTWISTLE||25:55||JM10||New PB!|
|116||Justin BIRTWISTLE||25:55||VM40-44||New PB!|
Dewsbury parkrun – A total of 106 runners took part.
Pendle parkrun – A total of 74 runners took part.
|1||Andrew STUBBS||18:23||VM45-49||First Timer!|
|46||Adrienne OLSZEWSKA||29:16||VW45-49||New PB!|
|57||Bronia OLSZEWSKA||32:15||JW11-14||First Timer!|
|61||Christine Jennifer EGERTON||33:25||VW65-69|
Witton parkrun – A total of 93 runners took part.
|2||Carl HELLIWELL||19:43||VM40-44||First Timer!|
Woodbank parkrun – A total of 155 runners took part
Woodhouse Moor parkrun – A total of 426 runners took part.
|15||Colin SHUTTLEWORTH||18:54||VM55-59||New PB!|