3 March – Mid Lancs XC League Round 6
This was the cross-country final that nearly wasn’t. Whilst the Beast from the East did it’s best to snowdrift the country into a complete standstill, the M6 northwards and western fringes of the Lake District were strangely replete of snow, allowing the Mid Lancs XC crowd to head north for this new fixture up in Ulverston, at the Glaxo site on the very edge of Morecombe Bay.
A bone hard and undulating course, with a somewhat coolish breeze coming off the Bay greeted the runners, with trail and fell shoes being the preferred option for most runners.
Amelia Halstead capped off a breakthrough xc season with a fine 4th place in the U11G, not far behind the winner and putting her into a series 4th overall. Her regular team mates Ellisia Smedley, Emily Nicholls and Joni Higgins helped the Clayton girls to 10th overall.
Charlie Barnes led the U11B home in 28th, and with Fraser Anforth and Josh McKay the boys took 12th palce in the team competition.
Helana White continued to blaze a trail at the front of the U13G with a fine 3rd, with Ella Dorrington in 9th and the fast improving Imogen Ferguson in 22nd. A few tense hours waiting for final results confirmed the U13G team in 3rd place overall just behind Blackburn and just ahead of Trawden, a great result for them after a full season of working hard toward that team prize.
Robbie Smedley in 3rd was followed by William Nicholls 13th, and Matthew Jackson 14th and this allowed them to claim 3rd place in the U13B team prize by one point.
Only Sophie Ashworth ran in the U15G race to14th, with the last minute start line addition of her race number!
Jackson McKay went out hard in the U15B race in an attempt to stamp his authority on the front group and it nearly paid off as he came in a hard fought 4th, with Michael Stevens 10th and brother Peter 13th. Lennon Jackson and Theo Burfield battled away for 22nd 25th. With Harrison Codd who ran in earlier races, the boys came 5th overall.
Josh Hall was our sole U17B in 7th whilst Brinoy Holt in U17G took a fine 2nd place overall in the series.
Donna Airey capped off a great season with 13th to give an overall season placing of 16th Senior Lady (8th Vet), whilst Tom Brewster took 15th to give and overall senior Men 9th place.
David Edmondson had a consistent season and took 2nd overall in the Vet 50 competition (7th Vet overall), Andy Holt a top ten in V40 with Calum Holmes 6th in U20 Men. Dave Scott was first in the V70 Men.
Gold Team Prizes (and promotion to Division 1) were awarded for the season to the Division 2 Ladies and V65 Ladies teams, with Silver for our Division 1 Senior Men, and Bronze for the V55 Ladies and V40 Men.
Donna Airey reports:
“Ulverston was the final fixture in the mid Lancs League, A new venue and it didn’t disappoint. In fact, personally one of my favourite’s. Cold, windy, and undulating. Just missing some mud! Great turn out considering the snow around Burnley and hour and half drive up the M6. With the XC season now over, many thanks those who have taken part. Special thanks to Jason for everything he does and those who have helped with the tent. We’ve had plenty of seniors turn up to most fixtures even with some being over an hour’s drive away. We’ve seen some newcomer’s taking part, hope you have all enjoyed it and we will see you again next season. Well Done everyone, here are some of our overall performances”
And that, as they say, was a wrap for cross-country 2017/18
10 March – Inter Counties XC
There’s mud, and then there is MUD. The 5 Clayton Juniors selected to run for Lancashire had probably never run in worse conditions underfoot and probably never want to again. However, it didn’t deter Helana White, Ella Dorrington, Robbie Smedley, Briony Holt and Josh Hall from donning their shiny white and red Lancashire vests and getting stuck in. All of them did their Club and County proud and we expect to see more of them, and their teammates in Lancashire colours.
10 March – Stan Bradshaw Round
As if one wasn’t enough… Beast from the East 2 arrived in time to threaten loads of fell races this particular and the Stan Bradshaw Round on our beloved Pendle Hill was no exception. However, a judicious course alteration from organiser Colin Woolford and some heroic marshalling meant the race avoided the cancellation that befell many other races in the region.
The now shortened course followed the normal start route to CP1, CP2 then left along the next wall to Ogden Clough, down to upper Ogden Dam and what was CP5, then up to Fell Wood to an amended CP6 giving roughly 12k in all. And a thoroughly testing day out with cold winds, frozen turf in places and deep drifts to wade through in others.
There were 21 Clayton runners led home by Chris Holdsworth in 3rd overall. Tara Robb was 1st Clayton Lady home (5th Lady overall).
25 March – FRA English Junior Championships
It was the usual late March start for the FRA English Junior Championships series, and like 2 years ago, Todd Crag in Ambleside was the setting for the first race of the season. The snow had gone, the sun shone and the racing was fast but technical on a rough and steep Lakeland course.
Jenson Bentham was 12th in the U13B with Helana White chasing hard for 3rd place in the U13G.
Jackson McKay took 5th and Ella Dorrington 16th in the U15B and G races, whilst Peter Stevens got the better, just ahead of brother Michael in the U17B race, taking 22nd and 23rd respectively. Briony Holt was 5th U17G.
7 April – Pendle Fell Races
Wet and claggy weather was booked for Pendle again this year, to celebrate the incorporation of the Lancashire Fell Running Championships into this long-running club fixture. Two new organisers also took over this year, Mark Nutter (Senior race) and Alan Dorrington (Junior races).
In the Juniors there were Lancashire medals for Jackson McKay who was Lancashire Champion in U15B, Helana White with silver in the U13G and Ella Dorrington with silver in the U15G. Many of our other Juniors also took part in the races, with several top ten performances from the likes of Jenson Bentham (7th) and Matthew Jackson (8th) in U13B, Robbie Smedley (6th) and William Nicholls (7th) in U15B and Imogen Ferguson 7th in U15G.
Peter Stevens also impressed in the U17B, narrowly missing out on a medal in 4th, with Josh Hall in 6th. Sophie Ashworth was 5th in U17G with a very muddy and shoeless Millie Stubbs in 7th and Beth Wheatcroft returning from injury in 8th.
In the Under 19 Men’s race, held as part of the Senior race won by evergreen V40 Rob Hope, Nick Hennessey had a fantastic run to become Lancashire Champion.
There were top ten places in the Senior Men’s race for Matt Perry and Andy Laycock (9th and 10th) and a fine 6th place overall and 2nd U23 Lady for Rhiannon Whickam. Peter Coates took a bronze Lancashire medal in the V40s, and Geoff Gough a silver medal in the V60 Men.
Irene Roche was a silver medallist in the Ladies V50, Karin Goss Lancashire V60 Champ and Linda Lord Lancashire V70 Champ.
14 April – FRA English Junior Championships
There was a new (to FRA Junior Champs) venue for the 2nd round of the FRA English Junior Championships with Trawden AC taking the race to Blacko and the hills surrounding the iconic Tower. The sun shone, the barbecue was pretty tasty and there was some great racing over traditional grassy Pennine hills (and bogs).
Helana White bagged her first ever win in the Junior FRA series with a powerful performance to see off her closest rival, based upon disappearing up the hill at a vast rate of knots to put in some distance between them. Her strategy paid off and she was a clear winner in the U13G race (and 8th overall), a fantastic achievement at this level.
Ella Dorrington improved on her last FRA outing with 8th in the U15G and Briony Holt had a solid run for 6th in U17G.
22 April – Ron Hill 10k
Clayton Ladies Claire Vincent and Michelle Abbott were age group winners in the Senior Ladies and W35 Ladies categories respectively at this popular local 10k, whilst Calum Holmes took the U23 Mens win and 6th overall.
28 April – 3 Peaks Fell Race
Is it a fell race, a trail race or a marathon with mountains? That all depends on your perspective but what it clear is that it is a classic, and a hard one to pace, to boot.
David Bagot led home the usual large Clayton contingent in 3 hours 27 mins.
Andrew Webster took on the 3 Peaks for the first time this year – here is his report:
“I had never done this race before and was a bit nervous as I had struggled on the recce a few weeks ago on the back 2 peaks but I had had lots of good advice off people before race day.
I got there in plenty of time and caught up with several other Clayton runners before we lined up in our expected time orders. I had a stroke of luck and set off with Simon Stansfield who had given me advice about pacing and leaving a little for descent off Ingleborough. I had set myself 2 race goals – avoid the bus and walk the hills and run everything else so I made cutofffs. It was pleasant trotting on with Simon to the base of Pen y Ghent and Ii think I paced it ok – Igot up in just under 48 minutes. The descent off was nice and there was a temptation to tear off on the good running to Ribblehead but I managed to contain myself and kept a consistent pace. At Ribblehead I was heartened to see Andy Bradley in front of me him being the 1st other club member I had seen since Pen y Ghent. I was prepared for Whernside being tough but not the biblical bog at the bottom – I actually saw 1 bloke go in almost to his waist. Swerve that 1 I thought! I managed to get to the summit of Whernside only feeling like chucking up a little and on the plus side my calves where that sore they had actually gone past pain and were just numb ( a blessed relief!!). I managed to gain a little speed coming down and didn’t knock any walkers over thankfully and before I realised it I was at the Hill Inn and oh joy inside cut offs!! Only by about 18 minutes but I do admit I was relieved! at this point. I really knew I would finish the race and gathered myself for the looming bulk of Ingleborough.
Two fields in I saw Richard Briscoe and again this raised my spirits to see a fellow club member and managed to stagger past him. Just before starting the climb it hailed for just 2.5 seconds but I thought my world was going to end as I wasn’t feeling quite myself at this point and though this is all i need! The climb didn’t seem as bad this time and I was lifted to see Steve Berry near the top shouting encouragement and giving me a drink of water. He said ” Andy’s just a minute in front of you – he’s yours to take!” I replied that all I wanted taking was a me in a helicopter from the summit but he just laughed ( I was deadly serious but he’d thought I was joking!). On my way to the trig I saw Andy Foster coming down and we said hello.
This was the bit I was most bothered about now as I was tired and it is horrible on that limestone coming back ( in fact on our recce Alex ended up with 3 stitches in his knee falling along the route back). But I remembered Simon’s advice about the race really starting from here and luckily I had paced it so that I steadily overtook quite a few on the way down including Andy who had a bad cramp attack and was slowing rapidly. Even more unusually I didn’t fall. These Yorkshire folk must like value for money in a race, as several times on the way in people shouted just a mile and a half to go when it was more like 4. Even so I managed to gain a few more places till the finish took me by surprise popping out from that tunnel straight onto the field!!
It was a great event and a fantastic experience I will definitely do again. I was very pleased with my time as I had reckoned around 5 hours to 5 and a half mark but got in in 4:45. My thanks to the organisers, marshalls and support on this race – it truly is a classic and I’d recommend it to every club member wholeheartedly.
28 April – Fellsman
Fellsman regular Andy Armstrong and first timer Alan Dorrington set about this classic old-school ultra in the Dales, finishing together at the end of its 61 mile route with over 11,000ft of climb in just over 18 and a half hours.
For Alan it was a step into the unknown, given he hadn’t run more than 6 hours before but a combination of frequent refuelling with sausage rolls, pasta, hotdogs and flapjack and Andy’s experienced pacing and grit when he was unable to eat any of the above mentioned buffet for the last part of the race, saw them both round in good order. A great, if slightly lengthy day out over the many of the highest parts of the Dales.