November Roundup

I can’t believe that November has passed by so quickly, and the countdown to Christmas is upon us. Cross country fixtures have come thick and fast, with my Saturdays spent driving round the county ferrying 2 or 3 youngsters to cross country fixtures. On a personal note, both my washing machine and I have been quite relieved that the weather has been pretty mild and dry this month, although I know most runners love Marl Pits just for the mud.

Again, I’m still on a learning curve with regards the Roundup, and despite my best efforts, will have missed things out. Please message me and let me know anything you think I need to include. Thanks for all the reports, particularly those from our first-time race reporters. If you want to have a go, just message me, include a few photos, and I’ll put your report in the Round Up.

 Cross Country Ladies’ Team Report

by Donna Airey, Ladies’ XC Captain

November has been a busy Month for XC with 3 fixtures taking place. Well done to all our ladies!

Red Rose Bolton 10th November, a good XC course with a bit of everything. Lacking mud but still very enjoyable. A cracking 14 ladies took part, Liz Mullan was our 1st lady back in 29th place. Followed up closely by Cassie and Michelle to make our team 7th place overall. Cassie, Michelle and I made up the vet team who finished 4th overall.
Red Rose Marl Pits 17th November, everyone looks forward to this fixture. Even the fell runners are seen here at Marl Pits. I have never done the course before, having spectated last year I could see why it was so popular with our runners. Once again, our extremely dry summer let us down on the mud. A good course with some muddy parts. I personally wanted waist deep, always next year! Another good turnout for the ladies with 14 taking part. Tara Robb our 1st lady back with Rhiannon Wickham and Liz Mullan making up the team who finished 4th overall. Cassie, Michelle and I made up our Vet team who finished 3rd overall.

Mid Lancs Sefton Park 24th November. The 2nd fixture in the Mid Lance league is held at Liverpool. This is the British Athletic Cross Challenge race which includes the European Cross Country Championship Trials. In other words, a lot of fast lady runners wearing knickers and crop tops. With Liz Mullan pulling out last minute it was left to our other ladies (Cassie and Michelle) to make some places up. My prep talk before the race (don’t be ***) obviously worked, they both took the pressure well and had a fantastic race. Michelle being our 1st lady back who finished 37th overall on a very fast, flat and dry course. We had a superb 11 ladies take part.

Senior A 11th — Michelle Abbott, Cass Darling-Smedley, Donna Airey
Senior B 25th — Irene Roche, Lisa Ellis, Julia Rushton
V35 5th — Michelle Abbott, Cass Darling-Smedley, Donna Airey
V45 12th — Irene Roche, Julia Rushton, Jane Hylands
V55 3RD — Irene Roche, Christine Leathley, Susan Allen

‘A month of fast laps, mixing with the elites and the return of proper mud!’
(Senior Men’s Cross-Country Report)

by Mick Hughes – Mens XC Captain

It’s incredible really to think how the fixtures come so thick and fast now, so much so that we have had four league races since my last report! … and how diverse they have been.

Firstly and most importantly can I just reiterate how genuinely proud I am of every Clayton runner that has travelled, worn the vest with pride, conducted themselves fantastically and represented the club so well. Of course, I have to report on the top end of the results but what’s stood out to me and pleased me most, time and time again is the team spirit amongst us and those whom have put themselves out there regardless of confidence and pace. These conditions are not easy to run on but as I’m sure you will all agree, certainly very rewarding to have completed. It’s a great team ‘away day’ and please do continue to attend and encourage one another.

November 10th was a local trip to Bolton Leverhulme park (Red Rose). Three large laps for the guys on what was to be quite firm underfoot on the day. Many of us deliberating whether to don spikes or stay in fell shoes. Tricky winding bends through the woods to start, a few paths to cross, one shocking short but steep climb out of the woods (the muddiest patch that day!), then what felt like a long way around the park’s perimeter in the wide open, where if you had paced well, you could maintain a fairly good speed. Well over 10 senior guys in attendance for us and as ever some gutsy performances. Mark Magee continues his blistering form and was our first counter, followed closely by Richard Stevenson and Ryan Bradshaw.

Senior Men at Bolton. Photo by Lisa Ellis

Senior Men at Bolton. Photo by Lisa Ellis

November 17th saw the return of the infamous, brutal favourite for many ..Marl Pits (Rossendale – Red Rose). Notorious for being a total lung-buster and including the dreaded swamp! It did not disappoint. I have to admit for the first couple of laps I took the line of sticking to the left of the trees as opposed to going straight through the absolute bog! Eventually though, I decided that it was congested there and many of us were getting cuts from the brambles! Eventually I went straight through and it at least made for potentially the best action shot photo I have had !..well worth the three falls I had on the day. It was very good to see the return of Peter Coates and Carl Helliwell to the squad and this helped bolster our already competitive team. Peter and Carl finished as our 3rd and 4th counters in fantastic times of 31;24 (Peter) and 32;10 (Carl). Ahead and running excellently as we have come to expect from him was Ryan Bradshaw (our 2nd counter) in 31:08. There seems to be no stopping Mr. Magee as Mark flew in 1st for us again in an incredible 30:50. You have to have respect for anyone completing Marl Pits. It has to be experienced to be fully appreciated. Well done all.

The ‘swamp’! Photo by Steve Bateson

The ‘swamp’! Photo by Steve Bateson

Next up was an entirely different proposition all together. A real away trip up the motorway to Sefton Park, Liverpool. This was not only a Mid Lancashire League fixture, but also a British Athletics European Qualifier. Time to mix it up with the elites! on what was the driest, fastest cross-country course I have ever experienced. The pace throughout all of our club runners reflected this as the times we’re more akin to those of a road race! I’ll tell you how fast the leader was able to complete it in, Liverpool Harrier’ Charlie Hulson finished in 28:06!. Of course, I was more interested in the real athletes in orange and white!. Fast finishes for Richard Stevenson and Ryan Bradshaw, well up there in the senior rankings. That man again, Mark Magee was our first male counter and to put into perspective how successful his run was overall, he finished in 49th place out of a field of 324 seniors. It was great yet again to see a good attendance from juniors, ladies and guys who gave up a considerable chunk of their Saturday to travel to Liverpool. Really positive stuff.

As I write this, we have just completed the finale of the Red Rose League with the Todmorden fixture in true cross-country conditions. Many of our members have been asking ‘when are we getting real mud?!’. We certainly got that on a challenging Todmorden Vale Park course. Many of us hadn’t realised how many hills we would have and by the time the guys lined up at 2.15 the course was a real bog. I have to commend in particular Matthew Duckworth’s dedication in making the journey back from Leeds to run for us. Matt was running strong, as was Peter Coates and Andrew Holt, all finishing in great low 40’s times. The last Red Rose fixture was successful yet again for Mark Magee, leading the points for us with another first Clayton finish. Many of us had a night out later that evening and I can tell you there was plenty of chat about it and enthusiasm for the remaining Mid Lanc’s fixtures. Long may that continue.

Andy Quinn (showing his XC experience and running well again). Photo by Gill Hughes

Andy Quinn (showing his XC experience and running well again). Photo by Gill Hughes

Craig Nicholls (on great form and looking stronger every fixture) pic Gill Hughes

Craig Nicholls (on great form and looking stronger every fixture) pic Gill Hughes

James Dunderdale (another strong finish at Todmorden) pic Gill Hughes

James Dunderdale (another strong finish at Todmorden) pic Gill Hughes

Jason Pier (on the descent) pic Gill Hughes

Jason Pier (on the descent) pic Gill Hughes

Michael O’Donnell (Great effort as always) pic Gill Hughes

Michael O’Donnell (Great effort as always) pic Gill Hughes

The final positions and full results for the Red Rose League can be found via the SportSoft website ( but here’s a brief breakdown;
Our senior men finished overall in 5th place (out of 13 clubs)

Some Individual overall positions for those seniors qualifying;

Mark Magee (17th), Andy Holt (39th), James Dunderdale (49th), Michael O’Donnell (59th), Alex Cran (73rd) myself in (77th), Craig Nicholls (83rd), Jeremy Bradshaw (91st), Martin Brady (99th), James Hickie (104th).

Under 17 Male Harriers;

Nick Hennessey (7th), Michael Stevens (8th), Peter Stevens (11th), Harrison Codd (21st)

All that remains for me to say is congratulations on all your efforts at all recent fixtures and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the next (Mid Lancs) fixture at Hyndburn this coming Saturday (8th December).

Thanks and appreciation as always to Donna Airey, Jason Pier, Cassie Smedley, Helen Stevens, Gill Hughes and all others who have helped by arriving early / stayed late, helping with the tent, brought tasty treats, took pictures or just cheered us on. Plenty of hard work goes on behind the scenes to make the fixtures a continual success.

Have an absolutely fantastic Christmas and don’t forget…
‘Tis the season to be……..MUDDY’!

Junior Cross Country Report

by Alan Dorrington

In Belgium, where the National sport is cyclocross racing, there is a period over Christmas where the races come thick and fast and keep both the professional and amateur riders super busy – the Kerstperiode.

November has been the cross-country equivalent of the Kerstperiode with races every weekend, and the action extending on into December for good measure. Our Juniors have been out battling away in both Red Rose and Mid Lancs fixtures with some super individual performances and great team efforts alike. Whilst not all the Juniors make the top 10 or the team placings, the coaching team have been loving seeing ALL our Juniors racing with focus and guts – well done to all of you!

The Red Rose series reconvened for the 2nd race of the series at Leverhulme Park, Bolton on 10 November and a dryish day meant the course was a little faster than usual, but still featuring Leverhulme’s long open drags and that stiff climb up through the woods. Charlie Fee improved significantly on his first Red Rose race to enter the top 10 with 9th in the U11B race, with Eliena Lusty also taking a top 10 in the U11G race.
Helana White chucked her more conservative pre-race plan out of the window early on, hitting the front before the big second lap and was unchallenged all the way to the line in the U13G race, backed up by Sianna Smith and Amelia Halstead to take 1st team. Jackson McKay took a fine 3rd in the U15B and with Will Nicholls and Lennon Jackson, 3rd team. Also taking 3rd team was the U15G trio of Sophie Ashworth, Ella Dorrington and Imogen Ferguson. Michael Stevens and Nick Hennessey were 9th and 10th in the U17B and with Peter Stevens, 3rd team. With Briony Holt 4th in U17G, Nicola Moynihan and Millie Stubbs took 3rd U17G team.

Helana White taking 1st U13G at Leverhulme Park. Photo by David Belshaw

Helana White taking 1st U13G at Leverhulme Park. Photo by David Belshaw

The following week it was off to, shock horror, a dry and barely muddy Marl Pits. Undeterred and unfazed by the miraculous lack of mud, Eliena Lusty repeated her 10th place in U11G and Will Woodruff edged closer to the top ten in U13B with 11th. Helana White fought hard to take another win but had to settle for second in the U13G with Sianna and Amelia again ensuring the girls were 3rd team. Jackson repeated his 3rd place from the week before with Will and Lennon making up the 3rd place team in U15B, whilst Nick Henessey was 9th in U17B with the team of Michael and Peter Stevens taking 2nd. Briony Holt improved to 3rd and Nicola Moynihan was running really well for 6th in U17G.

Jackson Mackay int he mix on the infamous (but mud-free) downhill

Jackson Mackay in the mix on the infamous (but mud-free) downhill at Marl Pits. Photo by David Belshaw

Sefton Park, Liverpool traditionally sees the hybrid Mid Lancs and National Cross Challenge series fixture where huge fields belt off at unfeasibly high speeds, and our Juniors get to measure themselves against the very best in the country. This year was no exception and there were some strong performances from all our Juniors in what can be an intimidating atmosphere of hectic and super quick racing, large crowds and a larger PA. There were notable performances too from Helana White (2nd Mid Lancs and 18th overall) and Jackson McKay (8th Mid Lancs) in league fields swelled by extra competitors from across the NW club scene.

With another 2 back to back weekends for the Red Rose final round where individual and team positions will be decided and more Mid Lancs action at Hyndburn, it promises to be a great December for our Junior Harriers!

4th November – Leeds Abbey Dash – Results

by Mark Magee

Mark Magee during the Abbey Dash. Photo by Julie Bradshaw

Mark Magee during the Abbey Dash. Photo by Julie Bradshaw

I did the Leeds Abbey Dash on the 4th November. I’d been training towards it with my coach Phil hall at track. My aim was to get a pb which was currently 35.45 which I achieved at Trafford 10k (2nd Sep) Phil started giving us 1km reps x 2 at the end of the Tuesday sessions to help with strength when tired. I managed a pb of 34.53 which I was over the moon with, my ambitions target was sub 35. On mile 5-6 I had to really dig deep and was in a world of pain but managed to keep my momentum and achieve the sub 35. I think 1km really did help during that last mile. Ryan Bradshaw also ran Leeds abbey dash, my training partner, he also achieved a pb of 36.40, you may need to check though.

Mark Magee and Ryan Bradhsaw. Photo by Julie Bradshaw

Mark Magee and Ryan Bradhsaw. Photo by Julie Bradshaw

4th November – Lancaster Half Marathon – Results

Avril Duckworth – 1st V55W,  3rd Woman overall.

4th November – Through the Villages Race – Results

Stephen Biscome – 1st M65.

10th November – Leverhulme Park, Bolton (Red Rose Cross Country League) – Results

Helana White – 1st U13G. 1st U13G Team (Helana White, Sianna Smith, Amelia Halstead). Jackson Mackay – 3rd U15B.3rd U15B Team (Jackson Mackay, William Nicholls, Lennon Jackson). 3rd U15G Team (Sophie Ashworth, Ella Dorrington-Levy, Imogen Ferguson). 3rd U17M Team (Michael Stevens, Nick Hennessey, Peter Stevens). 3rd U17 Women’sTeam (Briony Holt, Nicola Moynihan, Millie Stubbs).

10th November – Cheshire 10k – Results

10th November – Shepherd’s Skyline – Results

11th November – Windmill Remembrance Day 10K – Lytham – Results

by Rachael White on behalf of (faffing) Alfie

Alfie has only done a few 10K races in the past, as he has only just turned 16, he entered this as he was told it this was a fast, flat one.. but could be a little windy.

The day did not start well. I asked him to put the postcode into the Sat nav, as I vaguely remembered reading that the start had been changed, and thought this would make life simpler early on a Sunday morning..… Well it would have if Alfie had put the correct postcode in, and not a random postcode for a house in a housing estate near Stanley Park Blackpool!. Cue great confusion as I was approaching Stanley Park and calling Alfie a numpty when I stopped and read the postcode he had entered compared to the ACTUAL postcode. We then had a view of Blackpool Tower, the lights and the Pleasure beach as we drove along the promenade back to Lytham.

When we arrived it was wet, windy, cold, a great start for the race, people were huddled under shelters, and only removing layers at the last minute to go into the starter funnel. We found an equally cold Michelle Abbott under the same shelter.

The 2 minute silence for Remembrance day preceded the race and was respectfully observed. After that the race was ready to be started. The start and finish in front of the Windmill was on grass, which meant it was a little slippy and leg draining at the end, according to Michelle but the majority of the race is on the promenade, with views of the beach and the sea (although I am not sure how much the runners were taking notice of that).

The expressions about waiting for buses was the case for Clayton runners, as first few runners came through, and then we had several Clayton Harriers arriving within a couple of minutes.

First Clayton Harrier back was Kevin Davies, in 43:34, quickly followed by Alfie White who was chasing the clock down to get a PB and his first sub 45 min. He came in at: 44:45.38, followed by Michelle Abbot in 45:39.09, who must have got the award for the loudest “encouragement” as she was yelling at Alfie to “go” all down the back straight when she could see Alfie in the last 600 metres and could see how close he was on her watch.

A Quintet of ladies finished shortly after in quick succession to complete the Clayton Harriers runners (where were the men??). Well done everyone!

Alfie acting cool, with Michelle. Photo by Rachael White

Alfie acting cool, with Michelle. Photo by Rachael White

17th November – Tour of Pendle

by Colin Woolford

This Tour was different.  I felt ready for this one.  I have had a good period of consistent
running – not the distance, but I definitely have the time in my legs (and on my feet!) and I run very much as a head game – if I feel good I tend to run good. I’d even got a couple of good recce’s in over the previous few weeks to refresh my memory of the route having missed it in 2017 due to a last minute work commitment cropping up.

So I started the race at just after 10.30 am on Saturday 17th November feeling good, strong and light on my feet.  The first few miles bore testament to this, I was where I thought I should be in the field, some familiar faces around me in the pack.  the usual bench marks of performance (“if I run *this* uphill bit I am running well”) I was trotting over quite smoothly. My breathing was good from the word go – since running with a race vest rather than bumbag I have noticed my breathing has been better, where as I have in the past struggled to get my breathing right early on in a race.  There was some good banter with fellow fell runners and club mates on the way up, including supporting a chap new to the race (and as it turns out fell running! – what a way to start!?). All in all a great way to start one of the toughest races in the calendar.

And that’s how it continued.  I even took a gamble on an experimental line across the moor from CP 1 to CP 2 which paid off – I (and Dave Naylor) got ahead of several faces in my immediate pack as I crossed the CP1 hurdle – some came back at me (well done Vicky!) and  got back ahead by CP3, some did not.  Result! Even the cut off at CP4 (be through by 12.30, at the bottom of the legendary ‘Geronimo’ descent) I knew I would get through, but to do it by the best part of 25 minutes was very pleasing.  Plenty of chatter to the marshals and some thank you’s as well, in the most stunning of conditions – even the mist lifted to offer a ‘haze’ against clear skies.  It was a cold wind for sure, but not so strong as to impede progress.

The only point I had to dig deep was on the final climb, from CP9 to CP10. up the Big End, from its lowest point on the moor to its highest just before the actual summit. Truth be told – everyone has to dig deep here and it’s fair to say that I gain a degree of motivation from schadenfreude ethically right or not it works for me!  I focused on a steady step pattern and keeping as light as I can on my feet as I passed a few on the way up.  It seemed to work.  I got to the top able to keep moving, where as some around me were pausing for breath. I even donated my final Babybel to a mate who was bonking big time.

So what motivated me to write this out then? Truth is I need your help…. my finish time was 4.12 on my Garmin. The official results are not out yet as I write this, suffice to say I was very pleased with 4 hours 12 minutes.  I wanted sub 4.30 and got it comfortably. I was buzzing!  I would have been happy with a 4.29!  I am on the whole not one to obsess over times, if I ran well; I am generally happy, better than the aim I set myself –  I am more pleased. Better than the previous years’ time – I am over the moon.  Having said that I never look the previous times up before a race, preferring to run on feel rather than time pressure.  When people ask me what my Tour PB is I always say its about 3.45 I can never remember what it actually is… so 4.12 is quite away short, but that’s okay I was happy with the time and more importantly the way I ran and felt all the way round. SO in getting home to record the result on my log of races (GEEK) I casually check what my PB is… 3.43.  gosh, quite a way short then.  That prompted me to look over previous results:
2011 first Tour – 4.44 (It hurt. Lots.)
2012 PB 3.43  (I learnt a lot that year about fell running!)
2014 3.50
2015 Weather shortened course – 2.45 (doesn’t count)
2016 In the snow – 4.09.

Making 4.12 in 2018 My second worst time running this race!!!  How does that work?? How can I have felt so good, had great conditions and seemingly ran so well to deliver as duff a time as that!  I was slower than the snow year where you couldn’t actually pass anyone or else you were in knee deep snow!

So can someone please contact me with an address for the running gods.  I
have a complaint, or at least a strongly worded letter to put to them.

( That said, see you in 2019 on the TOP!)

17th November – Marl Pitts (Red Rose Cross Country League) – Results

Helana White – 2nd U13G. 3rd U13G Team. Jackson Mackay – 3rd U15B. 3rd U13B Team. 2nd U15B Team. Briony Holt – 3rd U17 Woman. 3rd Ladies Vet Team. 3rd Senior (Vets) Team.

24th November – Sefton Park, Liverpool (Mid Lancs Cross Country League) – Results

Helana White – 2nd U13G. Richard Stevenson – 2nd V40M. 3rd Ladies Over 55 Team (Irene Roche, Christine Leathley, Susan Allen)

25th November – Wilmslow 10K – Results

Report by Michelle Abbott

Well what can I say? Less than 24 hours after running a PB at Liverpool XC, me and Cassie venture over to do the the Wilmslow 10k –  a new one to us so didn’t know what to expect (well apart from a hill about 8 k we heard a few people say). Anyway we headed off to the start and squished our way in, being towered over by all these tall fellas, braced ourselves, realising we are near the sub 40 pacer. Oooppps well that ain’t gonna happen!

We set off nice and chilled chatting up to about 5 k, when we split up a bit so carried on enjoying the views waiting for this hill. So, here goes, the hill is here! Ermm, well ,10 secs of it ! What was that, thought you said hill? So I had a quick glance at my watch, realised I was running a pb! All I had to do was speed up a bit and knock a 4 min last km out, so went for it. Well sort of! I saw the photographer at 400 metres to go, so gave him the thumbs up first, then went for the finish. 43.58 pb and sub 44 whoop! So I trotted through, was told to move on – no chance, I was waiting for Cassie. I saw her coming through. Me: you’ve got a pb! Cassie: no I haven’t. Me: ermm yep you’ve got under 45 and you were not over a minute behind. Cassie checks watch 44.39 – whooo! Double pbs and subs, get in! Fantastic end to the weekend, been a long time coming , and what better way to do it than with your partner in crime? We will be going back next year to Wilmslow,  brilliant route and support all round.

25th November – Lee Mills Relays –

Ladies Report by Sarah Helliwell

It was another fine day in the Rossendale Valley as runners descended on Stubbylee Park for the annual Lee Mill Relays; you could have said that it was almost tropical in comparison to previous years! The popularity of these relays is growing ever year as more different teams enter and the calibre of the runners improves year on year. This was further proven as all course records went with the ladies, men’s and different teams’ records being broken.

There was a light rain as runners warmed up, however it subsided as the leg 1 runners congregated on the track. Rhiannon Wickham and Vicky Heys were running for the ladies teams as they made their way towards the quarry and up the steep banking onto the ridge. Both ladies had a good run with Rhiannon just coming in over the hour mark.

Rhiannon Wickham - photo by

Rhiannon Wickham – photo by Mick Fryer

As Claire Vincent and Angela Shian started leg 2, reports were coming in that the ground was pretty good and there was only 1 bad boggy bit. On leg 3 were Tara Robb and Kath Wallis with both of them clocking great times with Tara doing a great leg in just under the hour. Lastly were Jean Brown and Fiona Glen bringing both teams home. The ladies A team had a great run and finished a very respectable 4th and just over a minute behind 3rd. The ladies B team, were 2nd V40 and came 11th overall out of 16 ladies team. The overall event was a massive success for Rossendale Harriers as it raises a lot of money for the local Mountain Rescue and local charities.

Claire Vincvent - photo by Mick Fryer

Claire Vincvent – photo by Mick Fryer

Thank you from me!

On a personal note I would like to say a massive thank you to all the ladies who have put their names forward over the year and run in the Calderdale, Hodgson, British and Lee Mill relays. We have got more fresh faces running on the fells and as a club we have had some great results and hopefully fun! Have a good few winter months, there are some good off-road events and I am hoping to don my Shirley Bassey outfit for Whinberry Naze on Boxing Day. Hope to see you there (they usually hand out smarties at the trig) and here is to a good 2019!
Many thanks Sarah

Junior Roundup

The junior section continues to go from strength under the leadership of Marion with excellent coaching in her team of Jason Pier, Alan Dorrington, Michelle Abbott, Cassie Smedley, Richard Stevenson and Phil Hall. Their hard work has been recognised this month at the Lancashire Sports Awards where Clayton-le-Moors Harriers Juniors have been awarded Club of the Year.


Jason proud to accept Club of the Year 2018 award

Jason proud to accept Club of the Year 2018 award

In addition to this, we are super proud of our very own Briony Holt who was awarded Highly Commended in the Young Achiever category.

23/11/2018 Lancashire Sports Awards 2018

23/11/2018 Lancashire Sports Awards 2018

and of Jason Pier for his Highly Commended in the Volunteer category (looks like he was having a good night!)

23/11/2018 Lancashire Sports Awards 2018

23/11/2018 Lancashire Sports Awards 2018

A word from Marion:

“Once again Clayton Juniors have been recognised for their outstanding progress and
commitment to sport over the last few years. In July we won the Burnley Community Club Award and have now gone on to win the  Lancashire Community Club Award.
I am extremely proud to be part of this success. Sport inspires achievement and produces inspirational coaches, participants and volunteers.
Our rule at Clayton Juniors is to make sport happen and help others achieve personal success.”
November saw us welcome some new junior members – Olivia Metcalfe, Caleb Thornber and Charlie Parkinson (who joins us from Rossendale Harriers and will provide even more competition for our older juniors). After Charlie’s first race he remarked to Marion that he enjoyed the run, but found it strange looking down to the white, orange and black vest. We are sure you’ll grow to love it as much as we do Charlie!
Finally, Marion has asked me to include a bit about how proud she is of Michael Stevens’ efforts outside the sphere of running. This month Michael was asked to play The Last Post at the Remembrance Service at his school (St Christopher’s CE High School in Accrington, where he is Head Boy), and also at Cliviger and Huncoat Remembrance Services.
Michael Stevens. Photo by Helen Stevens

Michael Stevens playing the Last Post. Photo by Helen Stevens

Michael Stevens. Photo by David Belshaw

Michael Stevens in more usual surroundings. Photo by David Belshaw

Parkrun PB Roundup

Date Venue Name Age Cat Time
3rd November Burnley Eliena Lusty JW10 24:31
Pendle Neil Hardiman VM50-54 20:53
10th November Hyndburn Karin Goss VW70-74 32:37
 17th November Burnley  Daniel Fleming  SM30-34  18:18
Hyndburn  Yvonne Wickham  VW55-59  28:45
 24th November Burnley  Francis Woodruff  JM10  27:16
Hyndburn  Paul Laurence Walsh  VM60-64  32:20

Junior Parkrun Roundup

I’m including a roundup of our Juniors’ achievements at the shorter 2km Junior Parkruns this month as these youngsters are demonstrating huge improvements thanks to the excellent coaching of the team led by Marion.

Date Venue Name Age Cat Time
 4th November  Burnley  Guy Whalley  JM11-14  08:35
 11th November  Burnley  Theo Burfield  JM11-14  08:17
 18th November  Burnley  Imogen Ferguson  JW11-14  08:09

Lancashire Sports Awards 2018

Clayton-le-Moors Harriers are proud to be Club of the Year at the Lancashire Sports Awards 2018!

Lancs Sports Awards Club of the Year

Also at these awards, Briony Holt was Highly Commended as Young Achiever of the Year, and Jason Pier, one of our Junior coaches, was Highly Commended as Volunteer of the Year. Well done Briony and Jason!

Lancs Sports Awards Jason Pier

The club, Briony Holt and Jason Pier were nominated for their awards by Burnley Council.


October Roundup


It’s been a while since the last roundup. I’m using October as a practice, and I’m sure it will improve as I get more used to it. But remember, this is your club – you are a diverse group, racing on road, hills, trail, short races , long races, every month – I need your race reports!! We would all love to read about it. All you need to do is send a few words, and perhaps a photo, and I can include it in our round-up so everyone can read about it. The next generation of runners are also reading – so go on and INSPIRE THEM!!!

Special Fell Running Report

Sarah Helliwell, Ladies Fell Racing Manager

As many of our members know and for those who do not! I am the ladies fell manager. My role over the last 2 years has been to increase participation (especially female) on the fells locally and further afield! As a club Clayton Harriers has a long history of fell running, many a running legend (still winning national age categories this year!) and many experienced fell runners who are more than happy to share their knowledge and encourage are younger contingent into an amazing side of our sport. The beauty of fell running is the constant changing scenery and terrain, with the majority of races being in some of the most beautiful areas of our country, the Yorkshire Dales, Lakes, Snowdon, the Highlands and not forgetting our doorstep of the Pennines.
October is the month when the fell running calendar reaches it pinnacle with the Hodgson Brothers Relays in Patterdale and the British Relays, which was hosted by Ambleside AC in Grasmere this year. Both events usually include the top fell runners in the country, who thrash it out on the fells to be crowned the best teams. For anyone who has not run in a fell team relay event, the majority of these events are run as pairs. Therefore the pair needs to have a variety of experience between them. From being able to map read and navigate, support each other over some tough terrain and interesting weather conditions and to finally appreciate some spectacular scenery!

Hodgson Relays
The ‘Hodgson Brothers Mountain Relay’ is the longest-running mountain relay in the country and is one of the toughest relays to get an entry into. As a club we have supported the relay for many years with the ladies team and what is now known as the Z team and are lucky enough to have 3 teams consisting of a men’s open team, a men’s vet team and a ladies team. The race is a tough one, with 4 legs each throwing up their separate challenges, including hard climbs and steep descents on difficult terrain.
It was a fresh and mainly dry day as the Clayton teams assembled on the playing fields in Patterdale with the other 70 teams. Running the first leg was Richard Stevenson and Calum Holmes, Chris Funnell and Ivan Whigham and finally Rhiannon Wickham and Briony Holt. All 3 teams took the sensible option and left the field in a comfortable pace as nearly the 1st half mile on road and track to the foot of the climb, before making its way over to Angletarn which can mean suffering later on if you have gone too fast on the flat bit. It was great to see 3 young fresh faces of Briony, Rhiannon and Calum doing their first Lakeland fell relay, with all of then having a great run on leg 1 alongside Richard, Ivan and Chris. It was also an excellent start for the ladies as Rhiannon and Briony nearly beat the men’s vet team to the changeover point at Hartsop. Next time girls, we’ll have them

Leg 1 Runners

Leg 1 runners – Briony Holt, Rhiannon Wickham, Calum Holmes, Chris Funnell, Ivan Whigham & Richard Stevenson. Photo: Tina Holt

Leg 2 – starts off with a monster of a climb from the valley up onto High Street before eventually edging back round to Kirkstone over the craggy section before the decent back down to the pub. From what I heard there was a good view from the top of High Street, however quite a bit of suffering occurred as the young legs of Andy Laycock and Dave Bagot gained places for the men’s team. Whilst Z-team stalwarts Mark Nutter and Ralph Baines put distance between themselves and the ladies team with Anna Kelly and Claire Vincent running a solid leg for the ladies team.

At the end! - Katy Thompson, Tara Robb, Jean Brown, Chris Brown, Wendy Dodds, Barbara Savage & Mike Wallis

At the end! – Katy Thompson, Tara Robb, Jean Brown, Chris Brown, Wendy Dodds, Barbara Savage & Mike Wallis. Photo: Sarah Helliwell

Leg 3 – kicks straight up from Kirkstone Pass onto Red Screes with runners deciding to either take the path or off piste option. Once on top the wind was starting to pick up as runners started to take a variety of options. In the words of Barbara she wasn’t going to argue with Wendy and once Wendy has her bearing on her compass there is no changing her 😉 no matter the terrain. Andy Firth made young Simon Stansfield work hard for the vets team, while Will Hardman and Chris Snell gained more places as they descended hard into Sykeside, where quite a group of team Clayton were now supporting and cheering the runners on. Young Chris Brown did a cracking job as a spotter and coming back down to the change-over to give the next leg runners some prior warning.

Russell Clarke & Carl Helliwell descending back down to Patterdale at the end of leg 4

Russell Clarke & Carl Helliwell descending back down to Patterdale at the end of leg 4. Photo: Jo Perry

The wind was channelling down the valley as the leg 4 runners made their way up onto Fairfield then St Sunday. Old man Helliwell was made to work as Russell set of fast; however Carl came into his own on the climb making the younger man work hard. It was then back to Russell on the descent as he and Carl pushed the men’s team back to Patterdale and the men’s team came in 20th position. Next it was over to the vet’s team as Mike Wallis and Paul Thompson gained places back for the vet’s team and even cruised past Team Hodgson on their way back to 45th position, as Chris Hodgson said “they flew past us”. Lastly Tara Robb and Jean Brown made each other work hard and picked some good lines as they brought the ladies team home in 62nd position.
One thing that I feel I need to mention is that there was a 50 year age gap between Briony Holt (16) and Wendy Dodds (66) both running for the ladies team. I bet no other club could match that!

Vets team – Chris Funnell, Simon Stansfield, Andy Firth, Ralph Baines & Mark Nutter

Vets team – Chris Funnell, Simon Stansfield, Andy Firth, Ralph Baines & Mark Nutter. Photo: Sarah Helliwell

Well done to everyone who ran and it was fantastic to see some new younger faces running in the relays teams. If this is something you would like to have a go at next year, get yourself onto the fells and especially up into the Lakes for more experience. This is a fantastic team event and one the club is proud to do.

Men’s Team – Will Herman, Russell Clarke, Carl Helliwell, Chris Snell, Andy Laycock & Dave Bagot

Men’s Team – Will Herman, Russell Clarke, Carl Helliwell, Chris Snell, Andy Laycock & Dave Bagot. Photo: Sarah Helliwell

British Relays – Grasmere
All week the weather had been perfect, mild, clear and great running condition. So it was sods law that when Saturday morning arrived it was grey, overcast and when we turned off the M6 at Kendal the rain started! 250 teams had entered the championships and we had fielded 5 teams into the different categories. On a personal note I have been trying to encourage more women from the club onto the fells and especially up into the Lakes. So I was extremely pleased that we fielded 2 ladies team into the event. The British Relays has a different format to the Hodgson. Legs 1 and 4 are run as individual legs, with leg 4 opened to 16 years plus. Leg 2 and 3 are run as pairs, with leg 3 as a pure navigation leg, where the runners are only given the map for their route as they set off. They then have to find the best route to the different check points before making their way back to change over at the event field.
In the week up to the event Mark Nutter and the Z-team set the challenge of the ladies team trying to beat them, I put it towards the ladies and they said “yes, game on!” All the routes went up onto the fells north east of Grasmere, covering a variety of classic fells and climbs from Fairfield, Seat Sandal, Great Rigg, Stone Arthur, Heron Pike and Rydal Fell. The rain was coming down hard as the leg 1 runners set off, Carl Helliwell was running for the men’s team, Andy Stubbs for the men’s vet team, Chris Funnell for the Z team, Rhiannon Wickham for the ladies and Vicky Heys for the Ladies vet team. Carl came in first in 47th position giving the men’s a good start and lead over the vet’s team. Chris had also put the Z-team into a good position, however Rhiannon came in not too far behind (151), keeping the pressure on them, with Vicky bringing in the lady vets in 204th.

Carl after finishing leg 1, me trying to organise and worrying about numbers and dibbers! with 6 month old Fergus having a snooze on my back.

Carl after finishing leg 1, me trying to organise and worrying about numbers and dibbers! with 6 month old Fergus having a snooze on my back. Photo: Ralph Baines

Next was the paired leg with young Laycock and Bagot battling it out and pushing each other once again with a fantastic run by both and 32nd on their leg. Paul “I’ve forgotten my hat” Hesketh and Alan Dorrington ran for the vets, Andy Firth and Andy Howarth for the Z’s, Claire Vincent and Donna Airey (first timer) for the ladies and vet stalwarts Linda Lord (vet 70 and still putting many of us younger ones to shame!) and Kath Wallis all battled the elements and tough terrain leg 2.

Kath Wallis and Linda Lord (see if you can spot her) on leg 2: Photo Beau Day Photography

Kath Wallis and Linda Lord (see if you can spot her) on leg 2. Photo: Beau Dog Photography

The navigation leg can cause a problem for some clubs as having good runners who can read run fast whilst reading a map, navigate and reach the checkpoints is a hard skill to do well. This is what led to Keswick AC down fall who were winning the relays by roughly 2 mins at the start of leg 3. The navigation pair got lost and lost nearly 32 minutes and 71 places! I feel that this is an area where we have been fortunate to have some very experienced runners. It was then over to Will Herman, Russell Clarke, Mike Wallis, Neil Hardiman, Ralph Baines, Mark Nutter, Jean Brown, Tara Robb, Wendy Dodds and Barbara Savage as they all set of into the clagg (fog) to find their checkpoints. All 5 teams had very strong runs on this leg and picked some good if different route choices between them all.

Mike Wallis and Neil Hardiman getting ready for the navigation leg

Mike Wallis and Neil Hardiman getting ready for the navigation leg. Photo: Ralph Baines

The last leg was a tough lung buster with a great steep descent, which was perfect for our young Briony Holt who completed the leg for the ladies team. This is what Briony had to say about her first experience at the British Relays:
“This year’s relays were held in Grasmere; well known for its brutally steep climbs, I’m pretty sure we all knew it was going to be tough (Andy Stubbs proved us right when we saw him hobbling back to the car upon our arrival – obviously being beaten by the better man – Carl)!
I was on the last leg which is run on your own, similar to leg 1. The weather was wet and foggy which made the already tough courses even harder. With runners finishing and some setting off, it was hard to know when to get ready. I started to warm up and soon after we got called over to the starting pen. The officials said to set off whenever people were ready to give people plenty of time to get to the top of Heron Pike. So off we went.
The uphill was 30 minutes of brutal climbing, with the check points acting as a rest spot. Then you went on a runnable path that took you from the top of Heron Pike to the third check point before the fast and technical descent to the finishing field. Although the uphill went on for ever, I loved the course especially the part just after Stone Arthur!
Thank you to the team managers for organising the teams for this event, and hopefully I’ll be able to run some more Lakeland relays in the future!”
The other runners on leg 4 were Chris Snell, Tim Edwards, Tracey Mitchell and the mythical legend of Peter Dugdale, who all brought the different Clayton teams home safely.

Paul Hesketh and Alan Dorrington running for the vet’s team: Photo Beau Dog Photography

Paul Hesketh and Alan Dorrington running for the vet’s team. Photo: Beau Dog Photography

Andy Walmsley, the very experienced and wise manager for the Z-team has kindly passed on some words from the Z-team, this is what he had to say about the day:
The Z team were able to field a strong and very [in some cases very-very !] experienced team.
In the weeks prior to the event, being short of work, we had managed to do some recces and all agreed that each leg was tough in its own way. Ambleside had devised a test even for the best.
The gauntlet was thrown down and the challenge accepted by the ladies! Perhaps our special lines would give us an edge?
Leg 1 a long fast climb steepening to the summit of Seat Sandal then a long fast descent with a sting in the tail climb and fast run in. Chris [Funnell] took it in his stride running a superb leg in1:04:19 setting the tone for the rest of the relay and putting us in 124th place!
Two Andrews [Howarth & Firth] set off on the Queen leg 2: big climb and long technical descent. The Ladies snapping at our heels …could we make experience count? Another great leg covered in 1:39:29 increasing our advantage over the Ladies but still close.

Ralph Baines running for the Z-team

Ralph Baines running for the Z-team. Photo: Andy Firth

Over to the navigators ! Anything can happen on a navigation leg. We needn`t have worried, Mark and Ralph [Nutter & Baines] revelled in the challenge making good route choices to run into the finish comfortably before the mass start for leg 4 [which had been brought forward to protect the marshals ] having nailed it !
Leg 4 : big climb and fast hair raising descent ! Peter [Dugdale] who had been fired up for a fortnight and warming up for half an hour set off like a scalded cat. Surely all would be well?
Briony [Holt] set off two and a half minutes later in the mass start in hot pursuit! At the finish we didn`t know the true gap and waited a little nervously for leg 3 Ladies to arrive. Peter didn`t know how much advantage he had and just got on with it. Briony was on a stormer and passed Peter at Alcock Tarn. Peter did more “getting on with it.”
Briony for the Ladies arrived at the finish minutes before Peter but crucially he had enough of a buffer from previous legs to give the Zs a 3 min 45 sec advantage and a finishing position of 125th.
A good team performance, no mistakes and strong on each leg. Well done to the Ladies it was close! As for next year we will need to cling to the slender hope that the young and talented Ladies don`t make any progress before then!”

Andy Laycock and Dave Bagot on leg 2: Photo Beau Dog Photography

Andy Laycock and Dave Bagot on leg 2. Photo: Beau Dog Photography

The club had a fantastic day, with some very strong performances from a number of different runners. It was great that we could field 5 teams into the event consisting of 2 ladies teams. As Jean commented it has been a long time since we have had such a young ladies team at the British Relays and is hopefully a sign of good things to come. We ended up 4 minutes behind the Z team and made them sweat at times. We are getting closer ladies. There were a number of runners who ran the relays for the first time and it is important that we keep getting new and fresh blood onto the fells to carry on the Clayton legacy.

Team Time Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Leg 4 Overall
Men’s 4.33.33 47 32 57 71 42nd
Men’s vet 4.55.02 98 130 69 38 72nd
Z- team 5.29.12 124 191 82 166 125th
Ladies 5.33.57 151 201 112 90 136th
Ladies vet 6.08.30 204 230 145 190 193rd

There are a number of ways to get out onto the fells throughout the year. Barley Badgers (Mark Nutter) run on a Tuesday night from the Pendle Inn at Barley at 6.30pm over the winter months. There are the Normads (Keith Prosser) who do steady off-road runs on a Tuesday night. John Roche takes his group off-road over the summer months. The ladies group meet every Thursday across East Lancashire and the Great Harwood group meet at 6.30pm every Thursday at Memorial Park. The juniors have great access to the knowledge and guidance of Alan Dorrington and Andy Armstrong who can give them vast experience and great training tips. Then over the summer months there are the PBGR races, the Rossendale series, the Darwen tower races and many of our own club events. However, to race in the big relays you need to get some Lakeland experience, there are always a variety of races over the summer and usually the Grasmere and Ambleside Sports races are always a good starter. The BOFRA races are always a good introduction and also have junior races.
One thing that can be said about fell running is that you cannot meet a bunch of people who are so down to earth, love eating cake (or ice-cream in the summer months) after a race and where you will see the winner of the race enjoying a pint of real ale with the last person of the race in the pub afterwards, sharing each other’s adventures.
Hope to see you on the fells soon.
Sarah Helliwell

3rd October – BOFRA 2018 Championship Presentation

Helana White was crowned the U12 Girls BOFRA Champion 2018 (British Open Fell Runners Association) at the BOFRA awards evening. These traditional, challenging fell races vary in location including Alva, Coniston, Burnsall and Farleton Knott. – Each different venue offers new terrain and challenges.
The best 8 scores from a possible 15 races are counted for the overall series scores. Helana only needed to complete the minimum 8 races to secure the victory, as she won her first 7 races , scoring maximum points, and came 2nd in her 8th race (she had had worked out she only needed to come in the top 6 to secure the series, so decided to save her legs as she had a triathlon in Blackpool the following day). The BOFRA win comes on the back of being awarded Joint 2nd place in the FRA League, and finishes off a successful year on the fells, a discipline she loves to race.
A BIG thanks goes to Alan, Andy, Richard and Jean for organising and supporting the Junior Fell training throughout the Spring and Summer, without their support & help Helana would not have this award. – Helana had targeted this series at the beginning of the year as her main goal, and is thrilled to have won it.

Helana running

Grit and determination on Helana’s face. Photo: Dave Woodhead


Helana with her shield and trophy. Photo: Rachael White

7th October – Withins Skyline Results

13th October – Leigh (Red Rose Cross Country League) Results

This is the XC race that our juniors prioritised. Helana White came a close second in U13 Girls, overtaken on the line. Our Teams achieved 2nd U13 Girls’ Team, 3rd U13 Boys’ Team, and 2nd U17 Men’s Team.

13th October – Ulverston (Mid Lancs Cross Country) Results

Donna Airey (Ladies’ XC Captain)

Ulverston was the 1st fixture in the Mid Lancs league and was the last fixture back in March. I remember the course well cold, windy and undulating but missing mud. Glaxo Hoad Hill must have read my complaint and decided for this fixture to give us some mud, and lots of it. It was also cold, windy and extremely wet. Great XC conditions! We had a good turnout considering the travel time. 10 Ladies and 14 men, with the ladies gaining a vital 5 points to help our start to secure our league 1 status. The men had a great start too with Mark Magee being our first male counter on his 1st XC race. Well done to all those that ran.

Cross Country League begins again! (A report from Ulverston with the senior men)

Mick Hughes (Men’s XC Captain)

How fast does this time of year come round?! .. Many of us were perhaps only beginning to contemplate digging out those spikes when suddenly the 13th October was upon us and both the Mid Lancs and Red Rose Leagues started with a clash (Ulverston and Leigh the fixtures). Proper cross country conditions too, plenty of rain and mud (slightly more so at Ulverston as I believe Leigh was a little firmer under foot).

I am honoured to have been asked to captain the men and after plenty of networking and rallying the troops I was most happy with a great response and brilliant turn out at each fixture. With the club predominantly concentrating on Mid Lancs, I travelled up to Ulverston to support the teams on as I had a half marathon early Sunday so was not able to run myself (as much as I was tempted!). Over 10 senior men and a great atmosphere amongst both the guys and ladies that made the journey undeterred by the weather and long drive to Ulverston. A similar turnout at Leigh and I believe with good performances from both venues.

The team at Ulverston was a mixture of well seasoned XC veterans and a few first time XC debuts at both the venue and for the club. Mark Magee (one of our excellent new harriers with real talent) was first Clayton to finish his laps and cross the line in 29th position in 38;05, followed by strong performances from Matt Duckworth (38;43) and Ryan Bradshaw in 39;08.

Despite great times and performances, I was more concerned that the team spirit would be great and that inclusion continues within our representation at these events with lads and ladies of all abilities putting themselves forward and having a good ‘away day’ team experience. The main thing is that both our men and ladies remain competitive and doing well in these leagues. I was not disappointed, this proved the case and there were good reports from all ages and abilities within the athletes I spoke to and had feedback from both at Ulverston post-race and at Club training the following week. Ulverston impressed me with its high corners and short steep muddy banks, laps of that circuit looked a great one to do regardless of ability.

I have experience of Leigh and know how despite the fairly flat circuit, the laps can easily wear you down, especially when the wind hits you on the cross sections and wide open sections. Nevertheless a strong Clayton showing and many good race reports and leading performances from the likes of Michael O Donnell, John Wilcock, Alex Cran and Gareth Berry coming in excellent times in the low 40’s(!) with others attending as their first XC fixture and experiencing racing in the mud. I know ever last runner was cheered in at Ulverston and hopefully likewise across the miles at Leigh.

Thanks must also go to Jason Pier and Donna Airey for organisation and support at both venues, Helen Stevens for collating the Roundup and of course those who stand and cheer us on week in week out across the counties fixtures.

I look forward to the next fixture (Red Rose League at Bolton) Sat 10 November, where I will also be lining up alongside the guys and getting stuck in myself!

Well done all our teams on a great start to the season, Keep up the great attendance and team spirit!…. see you in the mud!

Dave Scott

Dave Scott – the rain and the mud can’t dull our mood! Photo: Mick Hughes

Jez Bradshaw & Martin Brady

Jez Bradshaw & Martin Brady looking strong. Photo: Mick Hughes

Mark Magee

Mark Magee on his way to an excellent debut. Photo: Mick Hughes

Ulverston start

Off we go – the season starts! Photo: Mick Hughes

20th October – Standish Hall Trail Race – Results

Richard Stevenson, 1st M40.

28th October – Accrington 10K – Results

1st MJ Michael Stevens (13th overall – 37:20), 1st F60 Irene Roche (50:40)

Michael Stevens smiling to the end

Michael Stevens smiling to the end. Photo: David Belshaw

Irene Roche - 1st F60

Irene Roche – 1st F60: Photo David Belshaw

30th October – Langdale Horseshoe – Results

Wendy Dodds, 1st W60.

 Parkrun PB Roundup

Here are October’s Personals Bests at our local Parkruns (Burnley, Clitheroe Castle, Hyndburn, Pendle, Witton). If anyone achieved a PB elsewhere, please let me know.

Date Venue Name Cat Time
06/10/18  Burnley  Martin Terry VM55-59  20:59
 Guy Whalley JM11-14  21:49
 William Barlow JM11-14  23:29
 Sophie Mcintosh SW25-29  28:33
 Marion Wilkinson VW75-79  29:12
 Clitheroe Castle  Emily Nicholls JW10  28:59
 20/10/18  Burnley  Amelia Halstead JW11-14  22:28
 Pendle  Connor Jones JM11-14  20:36
 27/10/18  Burnley  Mark Magee SM30-34 17:22
 Hannah Eccles JW11-14  23:06
 Rebecca Bradshaw SW25-29  24:31
 Eliena Lusty JW10  25:33

Here is the link to this week’s Parkrun Consolidated Club Report

From snowdrifts to snowdrops – the March and April Roundup

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.


Helana White to the fore. Photo:


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.


Imogen Ferguson was flying in Ulverston. Photo: Cassie Smedley


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


Briony, Ella, Helana, Josh, Robbie and training partner Jack Villiers with their vests. Photo: Rachael White

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.

Robbie Smedley. And some mud. Photo: Woodentops

Robbie Smedley. And some mud.
Photo: Woodentops


10 March – Stan Bradshaw Round

Andrew Holt on his way to a cracking 27th. Photo: David Belshaw

Andrew Holt on his way to a cracking 27th. Photo: David Belshaw

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).


Michelle Butschok, wrapped up against the cold. Photo: David Belshaw


Chris Holdsworth, moving quick enough not to need tights! Photo: David Belshaw

Full Results


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.


Jenson Bentham. Photo: Dave Rylance


Ella Dorrington. Photo: Dave Rylance


Briony Holt. Photo:

Full Results

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).


Jackson McKay - U15B Lancashire Fell Champion

Jackson McKay – U15B Lancashire Fell Champion. Photo: Woodentops

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.

Helana White - a silver medal in the U13G. Photo: Woodentops

Helana White – a silver medal in the U13G. Photo: Woodentops


Ella Dorrington – also a silver medal in the U15G. Photo: Woodentops

Peter Stevens just missed out on a Lancashire medal in 4th. Photo: Woodentops

Peter Stevens just missed out on a Lancashire medal in 4th. Photo: Woodentops

Junior Results


Jim Hickie wonders if his watch has started after all. Photo: Woodentops

Jim Hickie wonders how his new watch is supposed to work, while Mr Go Pro man behind captures it all for Youtube. Photo: Woodentops

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.

Senior Results


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.

I got this - Helana White in determined mood at the start of her U13G race. Photo: David Belshaw

I got this – Helana White in determined mood at the start of her U13 race. Photo: David Belshaw

Ella Dorrington improved on her last FRA outing with 8th in the U15G and Briony Holt had a solid run for 6th in U17G.

Emily Nicholls celebreates her Birthday in style in the U11 race. All was well afterwards. Photo: David Belshaw.

Emily Nicholls celebrates her Birthday in style in the U11 race. All was well afterwards. Photo: David Belshaw.

Full Results


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.

Calum Holmes sets off quick with Nick Hennessey.

Calum Holmes sets off quick with Nick Hennessey.

Full Results


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.

Photo: Chris Holdsworth.

Photo: Chris Holdsworth.

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.

Martin Brady (2nd from L) and Andrew Orr (R)receiving their trophies for 21 3 Peaks completions. Photo: Andrew Firth.

Martin Brady (2nd from L) and Andrew Orr (R)receiving their trophies for 21 3 Peaks completions. Photo: Andrew Firth.

Full Results


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.

Andy Armstrong and Alan Dorrington not taking things too seriously at the Fellsman. Photo: SportSunday

Andy Armstrong and Alan Dorrington not taking things too seriously at the Fellsman. Photo: SportSunday


Winter’s not over till it’s over…

No let up in the winter weather this month with gales, snow, ice and then a proper cold snap heading toward the UK at the end of month. Of course none of that deterred the Clayton runners from hitting muddy fields, wintry fells, snowy mountains and the roads in between.

3 February – Lancashire Schools Cross Country

Helana White waiting for the B of the Bang...

Helana White (609) waiting for the B of the Bang… Photo: Rachael White

Clayton Juniors were to the fore at the recent Lancashire Schools Cross-Country Championships. There were fine age group wins for Helana White and Briony Holt, top 10 places for Harry Cole, Ella Dorrington and Jackson McKay and a host of fine supporting performances as our Juniors ran for their individual District teams.

Year 7 Girls – Helana White 1st, Rachel Stevenson 59th

Year 7 Boys – Harry Cole 8th, Jenson Bentham 24th, Finley Stubbs 31st

Junior Girls (Yr 8 and 9) – Ella Dorrington 10th, Sophie Ashworth 26th, Imogen Ferguson 59th, Keira Stevenson 64th

Junior Boys – Jackson McKay 9th, William Nicholls 20th, Lennon Jackson 39th

Inter Boys – Nick Henessey 20th, Michael Stevens 22nd, Peter Stevens 26th,

Inter Girls – Briony Holt 1st, Millie Stubbs 8th, Caitlin Welsh 31st.

Apologies to anyone I have missed – as our Juniors were running for their District teams it is harder to spot them in the results.

Full Results

4 February – Blackburn Winter Warmer

Jon Cleaver reports from this popular event:

A very strong field lined up for the 2018 Winter Warmer at Witton Park on a chilly Sunday morning with the sun on our backs which made for very good racing. The course itself is a toughie and from past performances one which normally sees you at least 2 minutes short of your PB.  It starts with a climb of around 450ft climbing out of the park and then most of the work is out of the way. I managed to hold on to a pack holding the top 5 until the descent which found me lacking a bit for speed to keep with them. There is a little kicker of a hill at mile 4 before you start on your way back through the park which again is flat or descending until you see the track. I’d managed to gain a couple of places back but was starting to get a bit concerned when I looked behind and saw a lad from Salford starting to make some distance on me.  Not to be deterred I held on and pushed for the last lap around the track for a top 10 finish.


Nick Hennessey. Photo: David Belshaw

There were some outstanding runs from the younger Clayton lads picking out a couple of exceptional results from Nick Hennessy 38:11, Ryan Bradshaw 37:22 & Josh Hall 42:30.

Great start to the road championship for 2018 and well done all whom turned out to run and cheer us on.

Editors update: Clayton took the 2nd team prize behind the winners, Blackburn Harriers

Full Results

4 February – Kong Mini Mountain Marathon Series Rd 1

Sparkling condtions over to the Carneddau at the Kong mini Mtn Marathon. Photo: Alan Dorrington

Sparkling condtions over to the Carneddau at the Kong Mini Mtn Marathon. Photo: Alan Dorrington

Alan Dorrington headed over to North Wales for the 1st round of this 4 hr score event series, held out of Bethesda on sunny day with low temperatures and with significant snowfall higher up to spice things up..

“With 4 hours to find as many controls of varying point value and heavy penalties if late back to the finish, this type of event requires a systematic plan that can be varied according to the conditions underfoot, and according to any mistakes that may or may not be made in finding well hidden controls over a wide area. My initial plan to pick off higher scoring controls with some ridge running over Carnedd Gwenllian was abandoned due to tough running in wind-slabbed snow, so I opted to target controls at lower elevations for the next 2 1/2 hours. A bit of a wobble with some poor map interpretation meant a panic to get back over some fairly big climbs and back to the finish in time to avoid penalties, as well as losing out on some controls on the homeward sweep. All in all, the Kong events are a great way to see some areas that you wouldn’t normally visit, as well as sharpen up on navigation for some of the longer, harder fell races.”

10 February – Windy Hill fell race 9 miles and 1280ft

Jon Cleaver enjoying a windy Windy Hill

Jon Cleaver enjoying a windy Windy Hill. Photo: Cannonball Events

A new-ish fixture on the fell calendar, this 9 mile B category race visits the hills around Hollingworth Lake. No that the runners would have seen much of the great scenery around there this year…

Report from Jon Cleaver:

Well this race certainly lived up to its name! On a very wet & cold day I layered up well with 2 hats, 2 pairs of gloves and 4 tops to ensure I kept warm and braved the moors around Littleborough & Blackstone Edge.

Starting out at the Rugby Club near Hollingsworth Lake you climb up over the M62 and onto the moors about 3 miles in there is a climb which goes on for a mile and climbs around 900ft. Once you got to the top you got hit with a wall of wind and rain. The path followed the old Roman road for quite a bit which was treacherous due to ice. This lost me a bit of ground on the top 10 due to lack of grip in my mudclaws. On the way in you have about 2 miles of really good trail and finally some good old fashioned 2 foot deep mud making it quite a quick run in!

Even though the elements were against us I really enjoyed it and could have been caught with the occasional smile on my face (hard to believe I know!). Overall I came 11th in 01:08:53 (8.8miles 1565ft).

Full Results

11 February – Barbondale fell race

Briony Holt digs in at Barbondale.

Briony Holt digs in at Barbondale.

Hail hill and hurt – Andrew Holt reports:

2nd of five races of Kendal Winter League for myself and Briony and one we’ve been wanting to do for a couple of years as it’s well known as the steepest of the series. The location is nestled in the hills behind whernside linking the dales  to the howgills, not that we could see much due to the snow and cloud

After a struggle parking we arrived with time to shred our calf’s walking the route – for Briony 300m of ascent then a 200m run to the top and for myself the same 300m ascent in 800m followed another 800m runnable but uphill at the top. Then straight down for the both of us

The ground was slippy, wet, sprinkled with ice at the top but nothing of value on the way up or down. The weather cleared at the top for a while and I decided to wear a top and gloves as it was completely different to the conditions in the valley below. And the views,when the weather cleared  were more than worth the effort.

And we’re off – 13 minutes eyeball popping power walking followed by 5 minutes running to the trig. I did my usual grind it out start and pulled myself into 40th or so at the top (it was nice to be on the flat near the top before the front runners passed us on the way down) and gained another 4-5 places overtaking just before the hill steepens and thankfully staying upright into the finish

The awesome Wendy Dodds and Katy Thompson took a 1/2 in their respective categories with Briony a brilliant 2nd overall and I squeezed in a top ten finish for my age. A brilliant series that’s well worth a look

17 February – Mid Lancs XC League Round 5

warm up

Team warm up for the U11 Girls. Photo: David Belshaw

u11 boys

Charlie Barnes and Fraser Anforth. Photo: David Belshaw

helana lancaster

Helana White giving it 110% for a fine 3rd place. Photo: David Belshaw


Millie Stubbs. Photo: David Belshaw

A new venue up the M6 for the penultimate round of the Mid Lancs XC series saw the Clayton tent pitched in the middle of Ryelands Park, Lancaster.

The U11 Girls team of Amelia Halstead, Ellisia Smedley and Joni Higgins were straight into warm up and off round the grassy course which had a few twists and turns rather than lots of straights. Amelia continued her good form and took 7th, with Ellisia and Joni in 57th and 61st. In the U11 Boys, Charlie Barnes was 45th and Joshua McKay 62nd.

Helana White scored her best performance of the Mid Lancs series so far, with a really gutsy run to 3rd place in the U13 Girls, with Ella Dorrington in 8th and the ever-improving Imogen Ferguson in 40th. The girls also took 3rd in the team competition, setting them up nicely for a possible series team placing.

William Nicholls also had a great run for 16th in the U13 Boys, with Robbie Smedley, Finley Stubbs and Matthew Jackson supporting.

Millie Stubbs was the sole U15 Girl in 12th, whilst Jackson McKay also came in 12th in the Boys race, closely followed by Harrison Codd in 13th and Lennon Jackson in 23rd.

Briony Holt took 3rd in the U17 Girls race, despite suffering the after effects of a tough England Mountain Running Team training camp earlier in the week.

ladies at lancaster

Clayton Ladies looking chirpy before the race. Photo: David Belshaw

deborah greenwood

Deborah Greenwood looking slightly less chirpy… Photo: David Belshaw

tom brewster

Tom Brewster. Photo: David Belshaw

Donna Airey led the Ladies home in 25th, as well as the Ladies Over 35 team to a fine 2nd place backed up by Michelle Abbott and Cassie Smedley.

Another consistent improver, U20 Calum Holmes was the first Clayton man back to the finish in 18th, leading the Men’s team of Tom Brewster, Thomas Walker, Andrew Holt, Mark Aspinal and Chris Funnel to 2nd in the team competition. With the addition of John Wilcock, the Vet men took 3rd Over 40 and 2nd Over 50 team also.

Full Results

25 February – Hoppits’ Hill fell races

Ella Dorrington descending at Hoppits. Photo: Alan Dorrington

Ella Dorrington descending at Hoppits. Photo: Alan Dorrington

Organised by fell running royalty in the form of Nicky Spinks, this low key local race around the hills near Dewsbury incorporates relaxed Junior races and is a lovely warm up for Juniors looking ahead to the fell season starting in the Spring months. Not that it was that warm with the Best from the East on the way, though the snow was yet to arrive.

Ella Dorrington was the sole Clayton runner there amongst the Juniors but made up for that by coming 2nd overall in the U15 race, as well as 1st girl in the combined U15 and U17 race. Chocolate prizes presented by Nicky capped off a lovely day out.






Briony Holt interview

“Keep going. Sometimes you may feel as if you’re not improving or you may be injured, but if you keep going, you will get there.”

James Boult interviews Briony Holt, who represented England in the 2017 Mountain Running Junior Home Internationals held in Peebles, Scotland.

Briony, first of all congratulations on your call up. Tell us, how does it feel to represent your country?

Unbelievable. When I first started running in my red pe shorts and Adidas t-shirt, I never would have imagined getting an England vest. To think that I was 9 when I ran my first BOFRA race, running through knee deep rivers and coming towards the back of the pack, I knew I enjoyed it despite how much I said I didn’t! As it turns out, that race is now one of my favourites!

Briony on her way to 4th place at the U17F Junior Home International, Peebles, Scotland in September 2017. Photo Woodentops

Briony on her way to 4th place at the U17F Junior Home International, Peebles, Scotland in September 2017. Photo Woodentops

Describe the Junior Home Internationals and how it felt to come away with the Gold?

It was an incredible experience and the perfect way to end a long season of running. When I first got called up about the selection, I was over the moon and immediately started thinking about what it would be like; my assumptions were wrong! The place we stayed in was an adventure campsite ( not your typical premier inn ), the food was delicious and the course was pretty much a cross country! But this all added to the overall experience and really showed how much of a novice to international racing I was! For our team to get gold as well was just the cherry on top. With half of our team being the youngest of the age group, we were hoping for maybe a bronze, possibly a silver, but never a gold!

It’s a testament to your amazing form that you got selected. You’ve consistently been one of the most successful Juniors in your age group and you’re a former British Fell Champion. To what do you owe your success?

Many people over the past few years have helped me along the way, whether it’s my parents becoming the weekend taxi, to the coaches and Clayton, to my fellow competitors, I’ve been given advice and support with training and racing which I will be forever grateful for. I think that as long as you have a passion for the sport, you will continue to excel in many different ways from your own ability right up to your own confidence.

And following on from that what is your long-term ambition? What is your main goal for the future?

My main over-riding goal would be to represent Great Britain in the World Mountain Running Championships. After seeing this event two years ago in Wales, it really opened up my eyes as to how far you can go in the world of fell running and how much people appreciate the sport. However, this year I’m focusing on passing my GCSE’s in summer and just maintaining a good level of fitness ready for the summer ahead.

Briony on her way to 1st girl in the U17 BOFRA Farleton Knott race in August 2017. Photo Geoff Thompson

Briony on her way to 1st girl in the U17 BOFRA Farleton Knott race in August 2017. Photo Geoff Thompson

How has the influence and support of your parents helped with your success thus far?

As much as I try not to be soppy, my parents do deserve a mention. They have supported me massively throughout the years, from driving me three hours up the country to buying me £70 shoes for me to rip them on a rock or something similar. Every time I’ve raced, I’ve always managed to spot them shouting encouragement on the side of a cliff whilst I’m hurling myself down it. So thank you mum and dad for all of the support. As much as I’m a typical stroppy teenager, I do appreciate it!

What first got you into running?

Curtis had started running at our local track, Seedhill. As any younger sibling would, I wanted to do everything he did so me and my friend went down with him. Because we we’re only young, we weren’t allowed to compete, however we could train, so we went down there every Monday night to just try out all of the different activities that athletics brought. This brought me on to trying different branches of running such as fell running and cross country which is where I am today.

What is your favourite race and why?

My favourite race has to be Coniston Gullies hosted by the BOFRA organisers. It’s a classic BOFRA race which is steep to the top and then try to survive on the way down, and that’s what I love about fell running. Afterwards, everyone goes in the lake for a swim which always adds to the friendly atmosphere.

What is your favourite pre-race meal?

On the morning of a race, I always like to have poached egg on toast as it sets me up for the race ahead.

Briony at the Junior Inter Counties, Cowpe, Rossendale in June 2017.

Briony at the Junior Inter Counties, Cowpe, Rossendale in June 2017.

Speaking of pre-race; do you have any rituals or superstitions?

I always prefer to race in my more mile lilac socks because I bought them at the Inter Counties cross country and that was where I had my best race that season! Also, I have a fear of losing a shoe so my laces have to be wrapped around several times and tucked in!

What was the main reason for choosing Clayton as your preferred running club?

My friend first told me about Clayton Harriers when we were going to the Astley Park mile races. Marion Wilkinson was warming up the juniors and despite me running for a different club, she still acknowledged my family. This feeling of inclusivity was one of the main reasons why we moved and have remained at Clayton for six years.

What do you do to relax / how do you spend your downtime?

Usually, during the evening I relax by going on my phone and messaging friends. I’ve also been hooked recently on the latest dramas on TV; my personal favourite being the tunnel!

How do you find balancing school life and friends alongside training and racing?

Due to me being in year 11, exams and revision have been my priority. Finding time to train has been hard but I’ve managed by either going for a run around my area or going on the turbo trainer. Racing is more easier to fit in as it’s usually at the weekends so I have time to revise when I get home or another day.

What advice would you give to any aspiring junior athletes?

Just to basically keep going. It isn’t about being a fantastic junior (although that is a bonus), it’s about keeping going and progressing in to your senior years where all of the opportunities come about, such as representing your country. Sometimes you may feel as if you’re not improving or you may be injured, but if you keep going, you will get there.

Q: What is your biggest achievement so far?

Probably gaining my England Vest last season, however, my best race has to be English Schools Fell in 2014 as it was my first English Schools and managed to get 2nd place.

Any comments / final thoughts?

Good luck to anyone who has any future races and I hope to meet some more of the adult fell runners as I progress in to a senior!

Kicking off 2018 with a (X) Country flavour!

It’s been (mostly) about cross-country during this otherwise quiet month, with the Lancashire Championships, and Mid Lancs League as well as some other mud-based action further afield. Worthy of special mention, is the club’s Junior section who continued training hard right through the Christmas break, with both the younger and older Juniors putting in the time despite the weather. This led to both individual and team awards for their efforts, with ALL the Juniors being part of the success that is Team Clayton.

We also learnt this month that Danny Collinge, one of the Junior section’s big inspirations and role models as well as ambassador for Clayton overall is soon moving on to pasture’s new. Danny’s fantastic exploits have graced this report many, many times over the years and behind the scenes his help, support and encouragement for Juniors (and Seniors too) has been hugely valued and much appreciated by so many in the Clayton family. In common with all of us at the Club, I would like to thank Danny and wish him the all the very best for his running in the future – thank you.


7 January – Lancashire Cross-Country Championships, Witton Park

Our U11 Girls team charges off the line! Photo: David Belshaw

Our U11 Girls team charges off the line! Photo: David Belshaw

We’ll start with our Clayton Juniors as they came away from the Championships with a fantastic medal haul and a good collection of Lancashire vests earned for the Inter Counties race in March.

Amelia Halstead (in blue headband above) pulled off a stunning victory in the U11 Girls with a finely judged run from behind to overhaul all but one of the hard-charging front runners on the second lap, and all finished off with a gutsy sprint to the line to take the win. Amelia had been moving up the placings in Red Rose and Mid Lancs league races so her Championship win was not unexpected but richly deserved nonetheless. Ellisia Smedley, Emily Nicholls and Joni Higgins all battled hard and made up the Clayton team finishers.

In the U11 Boys race, Charlie Barnes (in 31st) led home Brayden Clarkson, Joshua McKay and Fraser Anforth for a team finish.

All eyes were on Robbie Smedley, Matthew Jackson, William Nicholls, Finley Stubbs, and Jenson Bentham in the U13 Boys race for both individual results and the team prize. Robbie Smedley had a fine run to take the Bronze and with it Lancashire selection whilst Matthew Jackson also placed in top ten (and reserve for the County team) and with the others, secured 2nd place in the team competition.

Helana White and Ella Dorrington were both aiming for Lancashire vests in the U13 Girls race and after one of their customary big battles with each other, as well as the rest of the field, both secured their vests with Helana 6th (in her first year in the age cat)and Ella 5th. Behind them, Imogen Ferguson and Rachel Stevenson brought their lovely smiles and cheery demeanour to our U13G team.


Robbie Smedley clinched 3rd place. Photo: David Belshaw


Ella Dorrington. Photo: David Belshaw

Helana White pushes to the line. Photo: David Belshaw

Helana White pushes to the line. Photo: David Belshaw

In the U15 Boys race, Jackson McKay finished 12th, Michael Stevens 17th, twin brother Peter 24th and Adam Stevenson 29th. The normally fast Lennon Jackson also ran but appeared to not particularly enjoy the experience and finished a little behind the others…


Briony Holt. Photo: David Belshaw

Millie Stubbs, Kaliska Clarke, Beth Wheatcroft and Keira Stevenson all ran in the U15 Girls with Millie 13th after chasing hard for a top ten place.

Briony Holt secured Lancashire selection with a strong 4th place in her first year in the U17 Girls age group, whilst Josh Hall and Nick Hennessey were 10th and 16th respectively in the U17 Boys race.

Danny Collinge came home 11th in the Senior race and earned a reserve place on the Lancashire team.

Finally, in the Vets race, our  team of David Edmondson, Richard Stevenson, Andrew Holt and Michael Toms were 3rd, with Tara Robb leading the Clayton Ladies in (26th), and Donna Airey the Vet Ladies (16th).

Full Results

12- 14 January – The Montane Spine Challenger

Nicholas Olszewski, Andrew Armstrong and Andrew Morley lined themselves up for this epic challenge, 108 miles along the Pennine Way to Hardraw in the Yorkshire Dales. Freezing temperatures, torrential rain and biting winds did nothing to deter their resolve and they all finished close together in 39 hours. Yes, 39 hours of non-stop running, walking and general forward movement. There are photos circulating of discolated fingers, trench foot and the like but it’s probably safer to show some of the photos I took whilst encouraging them near Malham Cove. Special mention too to Adrienne Olszweska who was probably as sleep deprived as them travelling around supporting on the road stops.

Our Spine Challenger racers near Malham. Photo: Alan Dorrington

Our Spine Challenger racers near Malham. Photo: Alan Dorrington



13 January – Mid Lancs Cross-Country League Towneley Park

Should be a prize for smiling - here's your winner Rachel Stevenson. Photo: David Belshaw

If there was a prize for smiling whilst racing, here’s your winner Rachel Stevenson. Photo: David Belshaw

With barely enough time to clean off dirty spikes from the weekend before, our Clayton athletes were back in action on home turf at the 4th Mid Lancs League round in Towneley Park. Conditions were surprisingly fast and firm leading to some quicker racing than in the heavy going at Witton Park the week before, though a cold wind in the finish straight made fast finishes tough going..

Amelia Halstead built on her win at the Lancashire Championships the week before with a great 2nd place in the U11 Girls, whilst in the U13 Girls Ella Dorrington produced her best Mid Lancs performance this season in 3rd, backed up by Helana White in 6th. With Imogen Ferguson they took 3rd place in the team competition.

Robbie Smedley, William Nicholls and Matthew Jackson worked well to take 3rd team in the U11 Boys race, and Briony Holt placed 2nd in the U17 Girls race.

The leading Clayton runners in Senior Ladies and Mens were Tara Robb (30th) and Tom Brewster (27th) whilst the Senior Men (Tom Brewster, David Bagot, Calum Holmes, David Edmondson, Richard Stevenson and Thomas Walker) took 3rd team and the Vet 40s also secured 3rd team (David Edmondson, Richard Stevenson, Andrew Holt and Michael Toms).


Josh McKay. Photo: David Belshaw


Jackson McKay and Michael Stevens chase a local rival. Photo: David Belshaw


Nerina Gill. Photo: David Belshaw


Kaliska Clarke showing good form at the finish. Photo: David Belshaw

Full Results

14 January – East Lancs Hospice 10k and 2k

Your winner! Danny Collinge. Photo: David Belshaw

Your winner! Danny Collinge. Photo: David Belshaw

Road racing is a bit thin on the ground this time of year but this traditional New Year fundraiser for the Hospice always attracts a good field including those wanting to test their legs a bit before the season starts properly in the Spring.

In one of his final appearances for the club before moving on to pastures new, Danny Collinge took a very convincing victory by well over a minute from Matt Nuttall of Blackburn Harriers with a very impressive time of 33:50. Callum James was next in for Clayton in a great 9th overall and 1st Junior with Nick Hennessey 2nd Junior and 16th overall.


Cassie and Michelle. Pairs race winners… Photo: David Belshaw


A fine run from Callum James. Photo: David Belshaw

The inseperable duo of Cassandra Smedley and Michelle Abott were 4th and 5th women, and Joanne Motley 8th. Angela Shian and Vickey Heys were 6th and 7th in the women’s V40 and V45 cats respectively with Charlie Clutterbuck 4th in Mens V70+.

There were plenty of Clayton Juniors in the 2k race held alongside the main race, with Matthew Jackson back on his preferred tarmac surface placing 2nd overall and 1st U13B, chased in by Helana White in 3rd overall and 1st U13G.

They're off! Photo: David Belshaw

They’re off! Photo: David Belshaw


Toby Birtwhistle eyes up the finish line. Photo: David Belshaw


28 January – Kendal Winter League Whitestones

Andrew and Briony Holt risked forever changing the interior of their car (for the worse) at this renowned uber-mudfest, part of the super tough Kendal Winter League where fell races masquerade as cross-country races, the sheep wear Inov8s on the fell and, well you get the drift… they’re quite hard.

Andrew reports:

After promising myself I’d do as many of these races as I can this year life and work have conspired against me making this one-the fourth in the series-my first.Todays race wasn’t particularly promising either- a heavy cold since Thursday and awful conditions when we awoke.

Briony was excited to be back on the fells however, and once we passed Settle on the way up the rain eased off.I’ve watched this race but not ran it yet and it’s steep at the start, technical, and with this years extra dose of mud more than challenging along the top of the course.The distance is just over four miles with 250m of ascent, a challenging run.

We started and it’s a mad rush to get the 300 or so yards to the single track ascent to the top of the first hill. I misjudged it and found myself scrambling through the gorse next to the path trying to keep momentum up the hill. On top the course flattens for a mile or so, and is cross crossed with bogs and tussocks sapping our legs.

Unlike the recent cross country races I was faster than the people around me on the flat-hard ground and anything technical or boggy I would fall back a couple of places. We ran around the top of the valley into the strong wind to the summit of the next peak adjacent to where we start.

I counted twenty or so people in front of me, and I was neither gaining nor being overtaken so in kind of a run-come-bog trot traversed around the head of the valley to the descent. I managed to drag maybe three people in on the final hill prior to dropping onto the finish, but was reminded again these are fell runners as they came past me downhill like I was stood still!

I finished 20th overall, v happy and looking forward to the Fell season starting proper.

Briony came 2nd in her first fell race this year, and despite dragging herself up the first hill with a combination of eyeballs and willpower finished with her usual smile enjoyed it immensely.

Stephen Fish and Chris Brown were the other orange hoops on show and looked strong in their respective races

Andrew Holt at the Farleton Knott fell race. Photo by Geoff Thompson

Andrew Holt not in the mud at Whitestones but in warner times at the Farleton Knott fell race. Photo by Geoff Thompson

Full results


December’s Festive Roundup

Into December and on toward Christmas and the New Year, the cross-country season rolls on with guest appearances from the fell and road runners around the festive break.

To round off the year, there have been Junior wins, Senior wins, some dodgy fancy dress and a mass takeover of Pendle Hill. Grab a brew and the last of those mince pies and review the final month of the year, hopefully emerging inspired to take on 2018 in similar style.

Right, see if you can stand still without being blown off your feet!  Photo: Deborah Stevenson

Right, see if you can stand still without being blown off your feet! Photo: Deborah Stevenson

26 November – Lee Mill Relays

The running around the quarries and moors above Bacup is surprisingly tough and this year’s Lee Mill Relays, a recent and popular fixture on the calendar were made even tougher by proper wintry weather conditions. Clayton fielded 3 teams and Sarah Helliwell reports:

It was a cold and overcast morning as 3 Clayton teams made their way to Stubbylee Park near Bacup. As we parked up, it was obvious it was going to be snowy, frosty and boggy if you ‘stepped or fell’ into the wrong place!

We had 2 ladies teams who braved the conditions and 1 men’s team. The leg 1 runners had a tough start as they had to forge their route through thick snow, hidden tussocks and freezing cold bogs that many of the runners got stuck in! With the odd rain, sleet or snow shower depending what altitude you were running at, creating wintery conditions for the majority of the runners over the 6 mile course. Very tough and definitely character building.

The men can 5th overall with a time of 4.00.58, the team consisting of Carl Helliwell, Luke Turner, Russell Clarke and Chris Snell. Well done lads on some tough conditions.

Both ladies teams put in sterling efforts, with some of the ladies doing the event for the first time. The A team included Tara Robb, Rhiannon Wickham, Alison Dugdale and Jean Brown, with all of them having good runs and coming home as 3rd ladies team with a time of 4:50:37. The B team was a vet 40 team consisting of Angela Shian, Julia Rushton, Teresa De Curtis and Katy Thompson with a time of  6:00:11. A massive well done to all who ran and represented Team Clayton on a very demanding day.

Carl Helliwell blazes a trail on Leg 1. Photo: mick Fryer

Carl Helliwell blazes a trail on Leg 1. Photo: mick Fryer

Full Results

2 December – Red Rose Cross Country League Round 4

Marl Pits. Like Marmite. Some love it, some hate it. Either way there will be always be weapons grade mud at the final Red Rose League fixture and this year didn’t disappoint.

Jenson Bentham supplements his diet with Marl Pits mud. Photo: David Belshaw

Jenson Bentham supplements his diet with Marl Pits mud. Photo: David Belshaw

Junior Races

Highlight of the day was Ella Dorrington’s win in the U13G. Using her fell running strength on the hilly and muddy course, she tracked the 3 early leaders, put in the quickest final muddy descent of all of them and outsprinted the final two on the line. Helana White was close behind in 10th.

Robbie Smedley had his usual battle royal with former teammate Dexta Thompson and secured 2nd on the day with teammates Will Nicholls and Finley Stubbs securing 2nd team prize also.

In the U11s Charlie Barnes led the boys home in 27th and Amelia Halstead was 11th in the girls race.

Harrison Codd was first Clayton U15B in 12th and Millie Stubbs led our U15G girls home in 6th. Special mention to Sophie Ashworth who fell and tore ligaments in her ankle – we wish her a speedy recovery.

The U17B were led home by Josh Hall in 7th with Briony Holt our only U17G in 3rd place.

Our Juniors won several awards in the overall 4 race series:

2nd= U13B Robbie Smedley

3rd= U13G Ella Dorrington

3rd U17G Briony Holt

2nd U13B Team



Ella Dorrington on her way to her first League XC win. Photo: David Belshaw


Another race goes down to the wire. Season long rivals Robbie Smedley, Dexta Thompson and Joe Ormerod. Photo: David Belshaw

Briony Holt revelling in the conditions. Photo: David Belshaw

Briony Holt looking very relaxed on the slick descents. Photo: David Belshaw


Danny Collinge beat the Bog of Doom in the woods to secure a classy win in the Senior race, and backed up by Dave Motley, Tom Brewster, Peter Coates, Matthew Duckworth and Carl Helliwell took 2nd place in the Team race. Our Vet Men performed well too, also taking 2nd Team with Peter Coates, Carl Helliwell, Andrew Holt and Andrew Orr.

In the Ladies, Cassie Darling was 26th (15th Vet too) and with Michelle Abbott and Irene Roche the Vet Women took 6th place in the Team race.

Here’s a report from Vet Andrew Holt:

“Having watched my kids run there, and listening to the more experienced runners at CLEM I knew that the annual Marl Pits mud fest would be to my liking, it was just a case of waiting for my shifts to line up at work.

Following a reasonable night shift on Friday, and with four XC events in my legs already this year I felt I’d be able to do myself justice running it. It felt warmer than before, but was still boggy and the course was cutting up nicely following the earlier kids runs.

I’d half an hour when I arrived, so the choice was either a recce of the course, or a 50p coffee as mine was cooling nicely on the kitchen table where I’d left it. The coffee won!

A quick warm up, pep talk from Briony (grind the hill, walk the bog and ur gonna love it!!) and we were under starters orders. For the first time this season I felt the field pull away from me on the opening lap. I wasn’t concerned as I hadn’t ran this week and didn’t want to blow up later, but was the lack of sleep/training gonna take its toll? The first lap was manic, lots of slipping and sliding, up until the bog where the gaps started appearing and we settled into our running.

I was able to hold the runners around me on the ascents, and gain ground on the downhills and through the numerous hazards. The cheering at the bottom of the hill was excellent, demanding commitment,  and I had the misfortune of a couple of pals from the mountain rescue giving me loads next to the wooden bridge, and any thought of resting was scuppered by coach Phil loitering in the field above the hill. The hills/bridges/bogs took care of themselves, and before I knew it I was on the last lap descending into the finish. I nearly got mugged on the line by one of the BOFRA runners I know (thanks Sarah for the warning) and ran in for my highest position so far this season.

I’m gonna plug my lad Curtis too for finishing this hard hard course despite barely no training and no doubt a hangover. I’m in front of him at the moment but I doubt that’s gonna last very long!

Superb running from everyone, baptism of fire for many. Now onto the flatter courses, starting at Leigh.”

The overall series results for Seniors/Vets included:

4th Vet Women 35-39 Cassie Darling

2nd Vet Women 65-69 Christine Egerton

3rd Vet Women 65-69 Christine Leathley


Michelle Abbott loves mud. No really. Photo: David Belshaw


Sarah Helliwell. Photo: David Belshaw


Kirstie Higgins getting stuck in. Photo: David Belshaw

Marl Pits Results

Final Series Results

9 December  – Mid Lancs Cross Country League Round 3

The cross-country season returned to Leigh Village for the 2nd time this season, this time for the 3rd Mid Lancs counter.

Junior action saw Amelia Halstead have a great run in U11G for 6th, Robbie Smedley 6th in U13B, Helana White 13th in U13G, Michael Stevens 14th in U15B and Briony Holt 2nd in U17G. The U13B team were 2nd with Matthew Jackson and Will Nicholls scoring points.

Tara Robb led the Women home in 20th with Tom Brewster 37th in the Senior Men. Calum Holmes had a good run for 4th in the U20 Men and Richard Lawson was 3rd in V70 Men.

Our Vets teams were 3rd in V40 and 2nd in V50.

Full Results

16 December – Hurst Green Turkey Trot

A fancy dress competition masquerading as a race, the Turkey Trot is always a firm favourite at this time of year. Whilst the fancy dress makes identifying individuals difficult, the results show that Andrew Payne was first Clayton home in 6th and Tara Robb was 7th Lady. It’s hard to do justice to all the fabulous fancy dress efforts that day but Michelle Abbott and Cassie Darling made it ‘Mario-Time!’ with their outfit, backed up by Lennon in his own inimitable style…

It's-a-Me!! Guess who? Photo: David Belshaw

It’s-a-Me!! Guess who? Photo: David Belshaw

Jenson Bentham kept it rubber side down this time, to chase Helana White. Photo: David Belshaw

Jenson Bentham kept it rubber side down this time, to chase Helana White. Photo: David Belshaw

Full Results

24 December – Christmas Eve social up Pendle Hill

Strong winds and clag on the tops didn’t deter a large group of Juniors and Seniors from trekking up Pendle Hill to temporarily claim the trig platform as their own. Our own super-photographer David Belshaw also displayed his amazing time-travelling ability to almost be in two places at once with photos from the fell gate and then photos back in the car park as many of the runners returned. Personally, I think we should get him a vest and get him out racing..

Everybody look at me! Photo: David Belshaw

Everybody look at me! Photo: David Belshaw


I’d hold onto those Santa hats if I were you. Photo: David Belshaw

26 December – Whinberry Naze Fell Race

More fancy dress on show here for the fellrunner’s traditional hangover cure on Boxing Day. With a race distance of less than 4 miles but with over 750ft of climb, it’s always a bit of a rude awakening for the slightly befuddled, climbing steeply from the start before a correspondingly fast descent back down. Not before passing the trig and collecting a packet of Smarties from Santa though. Bonus points for those that can eat them on the way down without choking.

Fancy dress winner Shrek aka Julia Hartley and her movice co-stars. Photo: Kath Brady

Fancy dress winner Shrek aka Julia Hartley and her movie co-stars. Photo: Kath Brady

Full Results

31 December Ribble Valley 10k

Incorporating the North of England Championships this race always attracts a quality field with Olympians Jonny Brownlee and Laura Weightman amongst the star runners this year.

Jacob Watson claimed the honour of fastest Clayton runner in 71st and 35:10, whilst Richard Stevenson was quickest Vet with 37:39.

Claire Vincent was quickest Clayton woman in 43:17 and Lisa Johnson our fastest Vet woman in 52:56. Super Coach Marion Wilkinson won the V75 category overall with a predictive time for the following New Years Day of 01:01:01.


The amazing Marion Wilkinson. Photo: David Belshaw


Richard Stevenson chases Dave Motley. Photo: David Belshaw


Calum Holmes digs in. Photo: David Belshaw

Full Results


Remember, remember, the Roundup in November

As we head through Autumn and toward Winter proper, the mud has been building and the cross-country races coming thick and fast. Two Red Rose fixtures and the expanded Mid Lancs fixture at the Liverpool National Cross Series have kept our runners and teams busy this month. There’s been a season’s swansong too for the fell runners at our very own classic, the Tour of Pendle.

11 November – Red Rose Cross Country League Round 2

Astley Park, Chorley was the venue for the 2nd round of this popular series with it’s course mix of fast flowing grassland, woodland trails and ankle eating bogs.


Amelia Halstead had a great run in U11G for her first top ten placing this season, and Helana White also produced a stormer for 4th in U13G in her first season in this age group. Robbie Smedley (also in his first year in the age group) continued his good run of form in U13B with a 3rd place and was backed up by Finlay Stubbs and William Nicholls with the boys taking 2nd in the team competition. Josh Hall took 5th in the U17B and Briony Holt 3rd in U17G.

Amelia Halstead on her way to 10th. Photo: David Belshaw.

Amelia Halstead on her way to 10th. Photo: David Belshaw.

Helana White on her way to 4th in U13G. Photo: David Belshaw

Helana White on her way to 4th in U13G. Photo: David Belshaw

Matthew Jackson getting stuck in. Photo: David Belshaw

Matthew Jackson getting stuck in. Photo: David Belshaw

Kaliska Clarke. Photo: David Belshaw.

Kaliska Clarke. Photo: David Belshaw.


Danny Collinge led the Senior men home for 10th place, with Tara Robb the first lady home in 20th. The Men’s team were 4th overall and the Ladies 6th with some great individual performances to secure those team positions.

Report from Ladies XC Team Manager, Donna Airey:

We had a fantastic 20 ladies take part in the 2nd Red Rose Fixture. Weather was great, a bit chilly but fine at least and there was plenty of mud for our ladies to enjoy.

Tara Robb was our first lady finisher in 20th Place

Team Results

6th Place, Tara Robb/Liz Mullan/Cassie Smedley

Ladies Vets

10th Place, Cassie Smedley/Michelle Abbot/Irene Roche

Cassie Smedley. Photo: David Belshaw.

Cassie Smedley. Photo: David Belshaw.

Chorley Bog. Photo: David Belshaw

Chorley Bog. Photo: David Belshaw

Julia Rushton. Photo: David Belshaw

Julia Rushton. Photo: David Belshaw

Full Results

18 November – Red Rose Cross Country League Round 3

Hot on the heels of Round 2, it was off to Leverhulme Park, Bolton and the familiar mixed grass and hills course for the 3rd round of the League.


In the Juniors, Robbie Smedley finally pulled off a fantastic win in the U13B, something he had been working hard toward for a while. A mixture of good racecraft and guts saw him beat perennial rival and friend Dexta Thompson, formerly of Clayton. The U13B team (with William Nicholls and Matthew Jackson) picked up a strong 2nd place as a result. Briony Holt also went one place better than in previous round for 2nd in the U17G.


In the Seniors, Tom Brewster led the men home in 27th, whilst the U20 men of Callum Holmes, Reece Lawrence and Simon Wilshaw were 1st team. Andrew Holt has continued to get faster and faster this season and took 16th in the Vets.

Report from Ladies XC Team Manager Donna Airey:

We had 12 ladies take part in the 3rd fixture in the Red Rose league

Our first lady finisher was Cassie Smedley in 21st place who described the course as wet, muddy, hills and grass but was a good race and enjoyed it.

Team Results

7th Place, Cassie Smedley/Michelle Abbot/Jean Knightley

Full Results

18 November – Tour of Pendle

Chris Holdsworth. Photo: David Belshaw

Chris Holdsworth on his way to victory. Photo: David Belshaw

At the same time as the Red Rose League was taking place in Bolton, the club’s keen fell runners were battling their way round the classic Tour of Pendle route. A clear and relatively benign day eased most of the navigational and weather challenges, but there was still plenty of water in the bogs to entertain and keep things appropriately ‘Pendle’. Our own Chris Holdsworth capped a fantastic season of fell and mountain running and proved his fell credentials yet again with a storming victory over the 17 mile course in 2:19:16. Hot on his heels, and in 3rd place (overall!) was Victoria Wilkinson who smashed Angela Mudge’s long standing womens record with a truly outstanding run for 2:23:25!

Dave Motley down Geronimo. Photo: David Belshaw

Dave Motley down Geronimo. Photo: David Belshaw

Matthew Duckworth gets it a bit sideways... Photo: David Belshaw

Matthew Duckworth gets it a bit sideways… Photo: David Belshaw

First timer Andrew Howarth reports:

This was my 1st time doing the Tour of Pendle after sort of being talked into it by Ste Ainsworth, Chris Funnell and Andy Foster on our Sunday runs and during Tuesday training. Ste and my main aim was to support Andy round so he could get his points for 3 Peaks as he had been injured for a short period and we were just going to have a go “for a laugh”.

We did a recce of the first half a few weeks before as foolishly I was most concerned about the CP4 cut off time – how daft that was!!! Race day was a bit cloudy to start but we knew it would soon clear and got registered numbers etc before a quick brew and double check of kit and maps then joined the throng for the start. Our intention was to start steady and hopefully finish steady having heard grim tales of grown men weeping on the Big End. We set off sort of mid pack-ish and followed the path of muddy prints up onto Buttock and the 1st bit of the climb before seeing David Belshaw. His shout of “glad I’m not running” had me thinking ‘how the hell did he get from Burnley Parkrun to his photo position so quick – I wish I could move that fast’.

It was great to get to the trig and see so many people about encouraging runners, and we fell into a nice comfy rhythm that carried us over the stile and through the mud. Before we knew it seemed we were descending Geronimo to CP4 with a good 25 minutes to spare. We stuck to our plan and stopped for 2 minutes to water and fuel up as we knew the worst was to come. We set off up the trail back over to the Nick and the climb to the memorial before the drop to Mearley which did surprise me and not in a good way!! I managed to only slip the once climbing into the Clough before the ascent and this was the toughest for me as my calves were on fire and I felt like I was literally crawling and getting nowhere. In fact half way up, I considered throwing myself down the hill to be carried back to Barley by Mountain Rescue or doing a Laurel and Hardy with some feathers and getting a St Bernard to rescue me with a barrel of brandy but Ste’s encouragement from behind pushed me on and we summited by the cairn. Andy was a short way behind having cramped a bit so we sorted ourselves out with some excellent peanut butter fudge and set off for the last challenge of the Big End.

I found this easier as I knew it was the last climb but Andy said he was hallucinating about a shimmering pint at the top that got no closer! After that it was good to not be on a 90 degree surface and we set a decent pace back off from the trig, down Ogden to the finish, managing a strong finish and passing a few more knackered people on the way in (hill reps pay it seems for a finish). After managing to get dressed without the aid of our fingers or hips it appeared, we retired to the Pendle Inn to discuss the event and had decided before any alcohol that we would do it again next year. This was one of the best organized and marshalled events I have done locally and would like to thank the organizers and volunteers for a grand day out.

Tour of Pendle outtakes…

Suboptimal for shorts longevity, Mr Motley... Photo: David Belshaw

Sub-optimal for shorts longevity, Mr Motley… Photo: David Belshaw

Definitely a 'special' line down Geronimo, Andy Bradley! Photo: David Belshaw

Definitely a ‘special’ line down Geronimo, Andy Bradley! Photo: David Belshaw

Full Results

25 November – Mid Lancs XC League Round 2

The Mid Lancs League incorporates itself once a year in the much bigger National Cross Challenge Series round held at Sefton Park. Whilst competing in the Mid Lancs League for points, this also gives athletes the chance to race in a large national standard field against some of the very best cross-country runners in the country.

On a cold but dry morning in Liverpool and in the midst of top-flyte national standard opposition for the National Cross Challenge race, our Clayton Juniors all acquitted themselves really well with a particular mention to Amelia Halstead coming 20th in the U11G, Robbie Smedley 27th in U13B,  and Ella Dorrington 28th in U13G.


Robbie Smedley. Photo: David Belshaw


Imogen Ferguson. Photo: David Belshaw


Will Nicholls. Photo: David Belshaw


Briony Holt. Photo: David Belshaw

Ladies XC Team Manager Donna Airey reports:

After traffic delays on nearly every motorway to Liverpool, 13 ladies managed to get there in time before the gun went off. Sefton Park was cold, wet, sunny and extremely muddy.
Our first lady finisher was Liz Mullan followed closely by Amanda Duffy who missed the start due to gassing!
Team Results
19th Place, Elizabeth Mullan/Amanda Duffy/Irene Roche
Over 35
11th Place, Amanda Duffy/Irene Roche/Julia Rushton
Over 45
6th Place, Irene Roche/Julia Rushton/Nerina Gill

Full Results for the National Cross Challenge

Full Results for Mid Lancs League


It’s Autumn, it’s October and the Roundup is back!

Robbie Smedley at Red Rose Round 1. Photo David Belshaw.

Robbie Smedley at Red Rose Round 1. Photo David Belshaw.

Welcome to the first of the new-look Clayton-le-Moors Harriers Roundups. As many of you will know, Adrienne Olszewska has stepped down as your Roundup editor having completed an incredible run of weekly Roundups over the past few years. Having deputised on occasion for Adrienne when she has been away ultra-running, I can confirm the huge commitment she made for each weekly Roundup and along, with many others, wish to thank her once again for all her witty, insightful and entertaining writing and reporting over that time.

In a shift away from the previous pattern of Roundups, your regular digest of all-things Clayton on the racing front will now come to you on a monthly basis, and will feature selected events off the Clayton calendar, including those where significant numbers of Clayton runners compete, team events and club championship races.

Races and events that will be featured in the monthly Roundup will be publicised in advance and this is where you all come in. To keep the Roundup fresh and topical, it needs your input and insight in the form of your race reports and pictures. To send your reports for inclusion, simply use the ‘Contact the Roundup Editor’ form on the website or message through the Team Clayton FB page.

This months Roundup is a little sparse as we transition to the new format but will hopefully build, with your input, into a bigger and more informative report on all things Clayton. Thank you in advance for your submissions.

1 October

Thieveley Pike Fell Races – 4.3m, 1310ft

A long standing fixture on the fell calendar which saw some epic battles in the 80s and 90s, this local AS category race is currently organised by Pete Booth and is still a stern test of climbing ability with a very steep pull out of the valley before a longer more gradual climb to the trig point. Though the route has changed over the years, there is a still an exhilarating blast back to the finish field and the welcome sight of the pub.

Junior Races
First Clayton boys and girls home were Charlie Barnes 1st in the U9 race and Ellisia Smedley 7th, Robbie Smedley 2nd in the U11 race and Helana White 8th, with William Nicholls 4th in the U13 race.  Josh Hall was 1st in the U15 race (13th overall) and Sophie Ashworth 7th, both running the full race distance. Special mention too to Peter Stevens who had a great race to take 2nd behind Josh, having only run a handful of fell races previously.

Helana White


William Nicholls


Peter Stevens


SPRINT! Lennon Jackson and Sophie Ashworth

All photos David Belshaw

Senior Race

The full distance senior race was won by Andrew Worster of Todmorden Harriers in 36:33 and George Pier found some form of old and had a cracking run to take 8th and the honour of first Clayton runner home.


George Pier looking determined. Photo David Belshaw.

Junior Results

Senior Results

Hodgson Brothers Mountain Relays

The ‘Hodgson Brothers Mountain Relay’ started life as the ‘Ian Hodgson Mountain Relay’ and takes place in the heart of the Lake District Fells. Usually around 70 teams from across the country compete in what is the longest-running mountain relay in the country.

The race is a tough one, with 4 legs each throwing up their separate challenges, including hard climbs and steep descents on difficult terrain. The route requires careful navigation, especially in bad weather. Which the 2017 edition had in abundance, with significant route changes at the last minute affecting all legs in order to minimise the risk from gales and heavy rain on the tops throughout the event.

Clayton sent 3 full teams, an Open team, a Vets and a Ladies team.The Senior Team were 23rd out of 69 teams, the Vets 25th and 6th Vet team, and the Ladies 64th and 7th Ladies team.

Sarah Helliwell reports here on how the Ladies team got on:

It was a wet windy day as the team made its way to Patterdale. The course had been shorten and changed due to the weather with all 4 routes staying on the east side of the valley. The main changes were that leg 2 was shorten with the major climb up to High Street taken out and leg 3 and 4 were 2 and 1 in reverse..
Leg 1 was led out by Wendy Dodds (9 weeks after breaking her ankle) & Anna Kelly as they left the field from Patterdale in the only bit of dry weather that day! This soon changed as they hit the fells and the heavens opened. Both ladies made good ground over the tops and gave the team a good start as they dropped down into Hartsop to pass the baton onto Alison Dugdale and Tara Robb for leg 2.
As Alison and Tara made their way up to Kirkstone Pass the visibility became poor as they carried on with a good pace. They made good choices to find the checkpoints before descending out of the mist to pass onto Jean Brown and Claire Vincent waiting in the pouring rain at Kirkstone.
Good route choices again by Jean and Claire as the found the reverse checkpoints in atrocious weather. Before the tricky decent back down to Hartsop and the cloud line before passing the baton onto Linda Bostock and Katy Thompson. Linda and Katy climbed back over Angle Tarn before retracing the route back to Patterdale.
All the ladies did really well in tough conditions, poor visibility and sudden alternative route changes. A big thank you to all who ran and well done. On an impressive note Wendy Dodds has completed a total of 30 Hodgson Relays and in the words of Anna Kelly “she is a machine”, hopefully there will be many more to come. A great achievement.

Full Results

14 October

Red Rose Cross Country League – Round 1

Photo David Belshaw

Photo David Belshaw

A clash of fixtures with the first Mid Lancs Series race saw the Clayton Juniors starting their cross-country season en masse at the first Red Rose race at Leigh Sports Village. A mixture of more experienced runners and some Juniors new to cross-country saw Clayton pack out the placings with great runs from all the Juniors in almost unseasonally warm conditions.

Charlie Barnes. Photo David Belshaw.

Charlie Barnes. Photo David Belshaw.

Harrison Codd. Photo David Belshaw.

Harrison Codd. Photo David Belshaw.

Millie Stubbs. Photo David Belshaw.

Millie Stubbs. Photo David Belshaw.

A handful of Seniors also ran at Leigh whilst the bulk of the Senior/Vets and Ladies were over at Cuerden for the Mid Lancs racing.

Full Results

Mid Lancs Cross Country League – Round 1

The Clayton Senior cross country runners, supported by a few Juniors made their way over to Cuerden Country Park for Round 1, and in contrast to Leigh looked they instantly found some good mud.

Photo Tina Holt

Reece Lawrence, Curtis Holt and Simon Wilshaw. Photo Tina Holt

Performances of note included Briony Holt taking 2nd place in the U17G race, the Ladies teams taking 6th overall, 4th in the O45 and 2nd in the O55 team competitions. The Senior Mens team was 5th and the U20s were 2nd with the Vets O40 team 3rd and O50 team 2nd overall.

Full Results

15th October

British Fell Relay Championships

Chris Holdsworth. Photo Paul Shackleton

Chris Holdsworth. Photo Paul Shackleton

With somewhat kinder weather than for the Hodgson Relays a couple of weeks previous, Clayton sent 3 teams down to Llanberis for the British Relay Champs. The Relays were won by Dark Peak Fell Runners with 176 teams competing. Our A Team of Chris Holdsworth, Matt Perry, Andrew Laycock, Andrew Payne, Dave Walker, and Dave Motley as16th, the B Team of David Bagot, Carl Helliwell, Peter Coates, Russell Clarke, George Pier, and Chris Snell was 68th and the Ladies team of Claire Vincent, Tara Robb, Jean Brown, Wendy Dodds, Katy Thompson and Sarah Helliwell were 137th and 20th overall in their class.


Sarah Helliwell

Jean Brown and Tara Robb (SH)

Jean Brown and Tara Robb. Photo Sarah Helliwell.

Full Results