Remembering Ron

Saturday 25 September would have been Ron Hill’s 83rd birthday. On that day, Clayton is having a social club run starting at 3.00pm from Park View WMC in Clayton, (off Sparth Road near Woodlands traffic lights) from where Ron would have run in the 50’s when he was first a Clayton member The emphasis then, of Clayton-le-Moors Harriers, was on club runs from WMC’s and Cross Country.

This will be a steady run for everyone as in the ‘olden days’, of 4.2 miles on trails and fields, devised by Peter Browning.

Come and join us and remember one of our most famous members. Please wear your club vest. There may be photographs, possibly press.

The 2021 Club Road Championship consists of four races, with a member’s best three races counting. The races are:

Hendon Brook HM 4th July

** Towneley 10k 11th July

** Barrowford 5k 4th August

** Burnley Lions 10k 13th August

All races are online entry at Running Events | Race Entry Service | Online | Running a Running Event (

Details for each race can be found here Entry & Details – Pendle & Burnley Grand Prix (

Gareth Berry at the 2019 Ribble Valley 10k. Photo David Belshaw
Gareth Berry at the 2018 Ribble Valley 10k. Photo David Belshaw

There are separate competitions for Ladies and Men. Points are awarded in each race as follows:

1st Clayton Lady 50 points; 2nd Clayton Lady 49 points; etc
1st Clayton Man 50 points; 2nd Clayton Man 49 points; etc

The points from a member’s best three races are added together to determine the final rankings for Ladies and Men. To be given a final ranking it is necessary to have completed at least three races. The Ladies’ Champion holds the Lady Road Champion Cup, and the Men’s Champion holds the Men’s Road Champion Cup. Awards for 2nd and 3rd positions are also made to Ladies and Men.

Veteran (10 year categories commencing at age 35 for ladies and at age 40 for men), U20 and U23 awards are also available; the number of awards made depends on the number of members completing the competition in each age category. For the LV65, MV70 and older categories awards are based on the best two out of the three races indicated by ** above. Age category is determined by age as at the date of the first race. Awards in a particular age category are only made to members in that age category; members in other age categories are not eligible.

Here are the details of the Club Road Championships in 2019201820172016 and 2015. Congratulations to 2018 Ladies’ Champion Rhiannon Wickham and 2018 Men’s Champion Luke Turner.

Ron Hill’s Funeral

The Funeral of Dr Ron Hill, MBE will be taking place on Friday 11th June.

The Cortege is to leave the family home at Gee Cross, Hyde at 3pm. Mourners are requested to remain on Main Road & Street. The Cortege will then travel past Hyde Town Hall and on to Dukinfield Town Hall for Tributes by Dignitaries. Then to Dukinfield Crematorium for the service at 4pm.

Only 20 People at the Service. Mourners again are requested to stay on Main Road.

Ron will wear a Clayton vest in his coffin – his wish.

A JustGiving page has been set up in Ron’s memory for anyone who would like to contribute – donations will go towards Dementia UK

Albert Walker

It is with great sadness that we report the loss of Albert Walker, a long time member of the club.

Albert died on 19th May aged 91, one of our early members. Stan Bradshaw encouraged Albert to join the club and he won the first Pendle Fell Race from Roughlee. 

His son Steve remembers being taken to many cross country events and fell races at weekends. Albert won many medals and trophies during his love of running. 

Albert will be missed and our thoughts go out to his friends and family

Club Training Update

Update 25/03/2021

In line with the latest guidelines published by EA, outlining that organised outdoor athletics and running can resume in a Covid-secure manner from the 29th March, Summer training will be back underway over the next few weeks!

The new training schedule will be kept up to date on the training page, so see there for details!

Update 28/02/2021

The newest guildlines have been published by EA, outlining that organised outdoor athletics and running can resume in a covid-secure manner from the 29th March. This is great news and we can’t wait to get training back underway!

We’re currently in the process of confirming what training will be offered from this date, so stay tuned for an update.

More info can be found here

Updated 30/11/2020

England Athletics have release new training guidance that will apply from Wednesday 2nd December 2020.

That means that we can get back to putting on some of the sessions we started up before the second lockdown! We’re still finalising the sessions that are going to be coming back and getting all the details together. Once we know, the training page will be updated. We’ll hopefully have all that info soon, but until then, the training organisers should be contacted to confirm attendance and location.

Happy running!

Club Championships 2021

Following Mondays committee meeting we were all very minded to come up with a Championships for the club for this year as mass start/open racing resumes in the Summer.  

However…  race calendars are still quite empty for many reasons you can all work out for yourselves, suffice to say although we would very much like to put on a Championships right now, we have no idea what it will look like!

We will have the usual Road, Trail, Fell, XC Champs and Parkrun Cup but how many races over what, when and where is still unclear.

It is anticipated that nothing will start before the end of June anyway in line with ‘the rules’ but hopefully by early June we should have a sense of what a ‘June to December’ (later for XC ) Championships might look like. Details will be posted here and on Facebook when announced.

Thank you for your patience!
The Committee

Notice of Annual General Meeting (AGM) November 2nd

UPDATED 20th October 2020

7.00 pm – To be held via Zoom.

Due to Covid 19 the AGM is a few weeks later than usual. The Committee have decided that holding the AGM virtually is the only option suitable given current Covid regulations.

Please contact the Secretary on the link below to receive details on how to join the meeting (members only).

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is your opportunity to influence how your club is run as well as ask questions or raise concerns.

At the AGM the committee post holders for the coming year are appointed together with the posts of President, Ladies’ Captain, Men’s Captain and Auditor.  Any member can stand for a post subject to them being proposed and seconded by another member at least 14 days before the meeting. If you are interested in standing for a post and would like more information about what’s involved, please contact us.

The AGM also allows members to put forward proposals for consideration and voting. Proposals for the AGM must be seconded by another member and submitted in writing to me at least 14 days before the meeting.

Judith Carey, Secretary.

AGM documents will be published at

January 2020 Roundup

Welcome to the new decade and the January 2020 Roundup.

We had sad news this month of the death of Michael O’Donnell. His running friend Alex Cran has paid tribute to Michael shared some wonderful memories of him below.

We have a new regular feature penned by a representative of the Committee explaining what they do. We look forward to hearing more from them in the following months.

The Roundup is nothing without the many contributions from our members. Please consider writing a report for your next race – maybe you could review the entire Cross Country season? All contributions, including photos where possible, should be sent to

As usual any omissions/errors, please let me know on the above email address.


Michael O’Donnell – A Tribute

No matter what happens some memories can never be replaced

by Alex Cran

It feels like I’ve known him for a life time but it was back in 2002/03 when I first met Michael O’Donnell, who would soon become known as Forrest.

Michael aka Forrest

Michael aka Forrest

Believe it or not Forrest was a quiet lad when he first started at Clayton. We both joined within a couple of weeks of each other and were like rabbits in the spotlights of some of the clubs best runners, and Neil Worswick!

We quickly formed a friendship as we were very evenly matched, until it came to a descent. Forrest had the motto ‘in order to descend well you had to disengage your brain, and that was easy for him as he didn’t have a brain’. His words not mine.

I have many fond memories of Forrest, and thought it would be good to share a few.

The first, I assume is how he got the nickname Forrest. No one can really remember but I like to think it came from one of John’s training groups. John has a habit of holding back on a run going in a different direction to the person at the front. Most people only fall for this once and quickly get back in the group. Not our Forrest, he fell for this time and time again and always disappeared off into the distance before anyone called him back. Of course the shouts of ‘Run Forrest Run’ came and stuck. This is when we started to see the true Forrest and some of his colourful language as he got himself back in the group.

Training was always fun with Forrest around. His language was determined by how fit he was feeling. If he was feeling a bit over weight and slow, you would always hear him cursing behind you, but if he was feeling fit and he was ahead of you, he made sure you knew about it.

It wasn’t long before we got into racing, whether it be road or fell racing. I had to be very lucky to catch him on a fell but on the flat I had a chance. Overall we were fairly evenly matched though and ended up running a lot of the relays together. One that particularly comes to mind was running the first leg of the Mary Towneley relay as a pair. We were both feeling fairly fit at the time and as luck would have it we were running against Sean and Heskey, who were running for the vets team. I have never been in such an evenly matched race. All the way round we were neck and neck until the final climb. Forrest offered his words of encouragement to Sean and Heskey then promptly shot off up the hill. Whether he got to the pair of them I don’t know but it worked and we just pipped them to take the Clayton honours.

Forrest was always a grafter and always wanted to get better. He even had a bet with me that he would do a road marathon if I would run Ben Nevis. Needlessly to say he faired far better in the road marathon than I did on the Ben.

Whilst training for the road marathon, we both entered the 12 stage road relays as part of the Clayton team. Those of you who have done these relays know the course is well flagged and marshalled, so how Forrest managed to get lost on a road relay is beyond me! He said he thought the course was a bit quiet and it wasn’t until he met some runners cooling down that he realised the error of his ways.

Forrest was a great lad with a huge heart and would do anything for anyone. He brightened up everyone’s day with his friendly banter, his smile and laugh. His passing came way too early and as a huge shock to everyone. I think, like me everyone was lost for words. It just goes to show that you don’t really know what is going on in someone’s mind. We have got to look out for each other and ask ourselves the question how can we help people who are struggling.

Forrest had a great send off, both and the funeral and the training session in his memory. He will never be forgotten. I hope as many of you as possible will make it to the Run Forrest Run trail race.

RIP Fast Lad.


Committee News

The first in what is intended to be a regular listing in the Round Up concerning what the committee have discussed in the latest meeting. This was a regular column in the old printed newsletter and its hoped reviving it here will help inform our membership what it is we as a committee do and perhaps offer a view on the different facets of our fine club!

The committee is made up of volunteers from within the clubs membership and they agree to sign up for a year (usually 12 meetings and an AGM) Most of us make 10+ meetings over the course of the year and our primary aim is to oversee the running of the club to promote and facilitate our members actual running.

This first contribution to the round up is intended to show what a regular meeting looks like. Each month we discuss the following agenda as well as other matters which arise:

  • Apologies – who isn’t there!
  • Minutes of the Previous meeting – is what has been discussed accurately recorded. These minutes can be circulated for those that want them and will likely form the basis as to what appears here each month
  • Matters arising – as it says! Usually referring back to the minutes and the actions which were required, who has done what etc.
  • Secretaries correspondence – received from club members and various third parties or members of the public such as other clubs, governing bodies etc.
  • Treasurer – Any money matters.
  • Membership – We are a club and as such have the right to approve (or otherwise!) applications to join. Any other membership matters are discussed here.
  • Team Managers and Juniors reports – Information from the relevant people is discussed here.
  • Training and Coaching – Any updates, new sessions etc. We have some news to release here imminently!
  • Media and Branding – as it suggests, kit also falls under this heading.
  • Race Promotions – anything race related.
  • Any Other Business

These meetings typically last between 60 and 90 minutes. This Agenda can be described as “usual business”. Any member can submit an item to the agenda for discussion, it will fit in to one of these headings or carry its own title and point on the agenda.

Our focus is on discussing items which promote running and/or facilitate the memberships running.

You can email the Secretary (Judith Carey) directly or indeed message or talk to a committee member as you see them at training and races: or

The Committee and their roles are listed here:

thank you

The 2020 Committee


The first Clayton race of the year is fast approaching – the Moorhouses Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round, run from Barley Village Hall on March 7th. The race starts at 11.00am, registration is open from 9.00. It is a 10 mile jaunt around Pendle, where some navigation experience can be handy!  It is also a good race for those stepping up in terms of fell racing and running.  It would be great to see a big orange turn out of both runners and those willing to help out on the marshalling side. With jobs needing doing from about 8.45 am both in the hall and on the hill please contact Colin Woolford (race organiser) to advise what you could be available for in terms of helping out either through Facebook, the website or on

Other News

Wendy Dodds – the End of an Era

by Kathy Thompson

Wendy in her Clayton vest

Wendy in her Clayton vest

After 37 years representing Clayton-le-Moors Harriers, Wendy Dodds has
changed her allegiance to Dallam Running Club, based near her home in

Wendy has been a stalwart of Clayton ladies fell teams in relays and
championships and her navigational skills will be greatly missed. Many of us
will have partnered her in Calderdale, Ian Hodgson and FRA relays, or tried to
keep up with her in fell races.

Over the years she has won numerous medals in the English and British Fell
Championships. Her enthusiasm is endless and we have all been in awe of her
determination, especially in the face of injury and broken bones. I remember
her running Blackstone Edge with a broken collarbone and last year she ran the
Grisedale Horseshoe with sore ribs and a broken arm, both to keep her in the
running for Fell Championships. She just seems to come back stronger than


So we say goodbye to Wendy and wish her all the best in her new red and blue

Race Reports

Marmot Dark Mountains Report

by Alan Dorrington

Clank, clank, clank, clank…..rattle, clankclankclank. Expletive.

So developed the regular soundtrack to our night as I, laden with 5+kg of mandatory kit, attempted to run on ground barely suited to walking before yet again falling noisily yet down another hidden hole. At least Greg my partner for the night knew I that I was still in contact with him. He was also falling over too but did so more silently as he wasn’t carrying a Ti mug containing a gas cannister, stupidly not wrapped in something soft to prevent clanking. And rattling. Lesson learned.

Welcome to Marmot Dark Mountains, the eponymously and slightly breathlessly self-styled ‘overnight winter mountain marathon with a dark twist’. It’s a simple format really – start running (in pairs) when you might be thinking about a nice Saturday beer followed by bed, and keep running and navigating all night and into the morning, cramming what might be considered sensible for a normal 2 day mountain marathon into one big night’s running. Except without the usual over-night camp but nonetheless still carrying all the gear for that eventuality in case you get caught out by weather or tiredness and decide to go to bed after all. Simples.

Given that the event was to take place at the end of January, and the location was somewhere in Snowdonia, I was glad my normal mountain marathon partner Greg provided the added security of him being a Mountain Rescue Team member and Mountain Leader student. It’s good to hang out in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere with someone sensible. The potential mandatory kit items of ice axe and crampons did bring a certain focus to the task in hand.

Alan's Kit

Alan’s Kit

The event location ‘somewhere in Snowdonia’ turned out to be the far eastern corner of the National Park, the Arenigs, and an area I had never been to before. Thoughts of wandering around the classic big mountains of the Glyders or Carneddau were banished and replaced by slightly dark warnings of lower but remote and very difficult, rough terrain, with sections of particular gnarliness marked on the custom event map by ‘Here be Dragons’ which also had amongst other things, contour heights and power lines removed from view. A somewhat de-tuned map then to make things a little harder. The warnings of the rough terrain proved prophetic, and in the end largely ruled the whole experience for better or worse. We had opted adventurously for the full-fat 12 hour score course, where we had a whole glorious 12 hours to accurately find around 50 small control kites hidden in the dark and clag of the slopes of the area dominated by the 2250ft summits of Carnedd y Elliast and Arenig Fach. Off we went into the night at 6:34pm armed with loads of warm  kit including clanking cookware, spare headtorch batteries and a little trepidation. Potentially very high winds and some heavy rain later on were forecast to keep us on our toes.

Did I mention rough terrain? Neither of us, and I gather most of the other competitors too, had been over ground which in places was as rough and un-runnable as this. No, make that un-joggable. Even walking was difficult at times – the strangest tussocky and  bouncy/spongy ground absorbed any energy from your foot strike that could be used to push off, and was littered with hidden holes that meant you either sank a couple of inches with each step or a full 12 inches or more. Hence the regular stumbling and falling. Both our hip flexors were battered after a few hours of this. Where there wasn’t tussocky hell there was heather, which even outside of the ‘Here be Dragons’ area from which we were discouraged, was still pretty aggressive. Luckily the anticlockwise loop that we opted for to hoover up controls on the highest points before the weather turned, eased in terms of the ground conditions and we were able to make better progress after the first few hours of stumbledom, though by then we were more tired and less able to run anyway.


Despite all of the terrain challenges, it was all still hugely enjoyable. Navigating on open fell at night is a very singular and immersive experience and given that in the dark and clag higher up, the visibility was down to a few metres at times, made for an absorbing and fascinating run out. When conditions were clear, usually lower down on the course, we were treated to stunning starscapes, in keeping with the Dark Sky Reserve status of the area. Throw in little spots of light from the other teams scattered all over the competition area and it made for a great spectacle. Our navigation for the most part was accurate and we only missed a couple of low value controls early on. However, the terrain was taking it’s toll, along with our body clocks which seemed to want a more sensible bedtime than was on offer, and we took a decision after around 6 hours that we wouldn’t venture into the western half of the competition area and risk an even more prolonged  battle with the very physical terrain, get caught in probably worsening weather and end up chasing the clock to get back. It was a conscious decision to go for more Type 1 fun (yay!) than Type 2 (s’alright after) and avoid the distinct possibility of plenty of Type 3 fun (never again) which neither of us really had the stomach for at the time.

And so after 9 ½ hours of deep icy bog, flail-inducing bouncy heather (weird), some nice open fell and reassuringly proper mud we rolled into Event HQ at around 4am. As one of the first back, we enjoyed nicking the hot water in the showers and had first crack at the big breakfast on offer as the other teams on the linear and shorter score courses began returning. We were satisfied that we had navigated accurately and strategically in some pretty challenging conditions, only getting properly lost on one occasion in almost zero visibility on a featureless hill top, and had ended with a reasonable score for the time we had out. As all of the other teams on our 12 hour score opted to stay out for most of the time allotted and potentially picked up more points, we ended up toward the bottom of the results, though we noted with irony that if we had been less ambitious and opted for the 10 hour score our 470 points would have placed us 7th overall. Nothing like hubris eh? However, by opting for a more comfortable and less ‘driven’ plan, we had had a great night out in an amazing and challenging area. Sadly, this is likely to be the last Dark Mountain event unless a new owner/organiser for the event can be found. It would be a shame if a true mountain test like this disappeared for good.

Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships

Report by Helana White

This is the Northerns XC at Bedale. Representing the Juniors were Imogen Ferguson and Helana White from U15 girls (4.6km), Robbie Smedley from U15 boys (4.6km), Peter Stevens, Michael Stevens, Theo Edmonson and Jack Villiers from U17 boys (6.2km), Bethany Wheatcroft from U17 girls (4.7km), Nicola Moynihan from U20 women and Charlie Parkinson from U20 men.

The weather was almost perfect conditions with no rain, and very light wind. The course was majority flat with hardly any MUD! The starts to all the races were very fast as expected. Every junior performed to their best standard coming in excellent positions.

A quote from Robbie Smedley “The start was faster than I expected which left me in a difficult position, I pulled it back though throughout the long race of three laps.”

A quote from Michael Stevens “ The course was very boring as it was flat and long as it was continuous laps”

Results Roundup

1st January – New Year’s Day Awakener, Whitworth – Results

3rd M50 – David McMullan; 1st M65 – Stephen Green; 1st F70 – Christine Leathley; 1st M70 – Ron Chappell.

4th January – Lancashire Cross Country Championships – Results

5th January – Scout Scar Fell Race – Results

3rd U17B – Jack Villiers.

11th January – Towneley XC (Mid Lancs XC League) – Results

3rd U15G – Helana White; 2nd U15G Team – Helana White, Ella Dorrington-Levy, Sianna Smith; 2nd U15B Team – William Nicholls, Connor Jones, William Woodruff; 2nd U17M Team – Jack Villiers, Jackson Mackay, Michael Stevens; 3rd Ladies’ Over 35 Team – Rebecca Rimmington, Michelle Abbott, Cassandra Darling-Smedley; 1st Ladies’ Over 55 Team – Irene Roche, Julia Rushton, Dawn Terry; 1st V70 Men’s Team – David Scott, Richard Lawson; 3rd Senior Men’s Team – Adrian Cheetham, Mark Magee, Ryan Bradshaw, James Dunderdale, Daniel Fleming, Carl Helliwell; 2nd V40M Team – Adrian Cheetham, Carl Helliwell, Chris Funnell, Scott Cunliffe.

12th January – Giggleswick School Fell Race – Results

1st U17G – Ella Dorrington; 2nd LU21 – Briony Holt; 1st LV70 – Linda Lord.

18th January – Heaton Park Cross Country (South East Lancashire Cross Country League) – Results

19th January – East Lancashire Hospice 10k – Results

3rd M45 – Craig Nicholls

19th January – East Lancashire Hospice 2K Fun Run – Results

1st – Helana White

19th January – Lamb’s Longer Leg Fell Race

Mark Nutter at La,b's Longer Leg Fell Race. Photo by Frank Golden Photography

Mark Nutter at Lamb’s Longer Leg Fell Race. Photo by Frank Golden Photography

25th January – Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships (Bedale) – Results

Clayton Ladies at Bedale - Julia Rushton, Donna Airey, Michelle Abbott, Cassie Darling-Smedley

Clayton Ladies at Bedale – Julia Rushton, Donna Airey, Michelle Abbott, Cassie Darling-Smedley

25th January – Marmot Dark Mountains – Results

25th January – Hoofstones Fell Race – Results

26th January – St Anne’s 10 Mile Road Race – Results

26th January – Birkrigg Fell Race – Results

2nd U17B – Jack Villiers

Parkrun Roundup

All the latest PBs from our club members in the local Parkruns.

 1st January 2020  Hyndburn  Andrew Orr  VM45-49  21:59
 4th January 2020  Burnley  Neil Whalley  VM45-49  20:16
 Francis Woodruff  JM10  26:22
 11th January  Hyndburn  Kevin Davies  VM55-59  19:51
 Pendle  Jeffrey Pickup  VM65-69  25:36
 18th January  Hyndburn  Charlie Barnes  JM11-14  21:54
 25th January  Burnley  Francis Woodruff  JM10  25:02
 Hyndburn  Jonny Hall  SM25-29  19:40
 Pendle  Jeffrey Pickup  VM65-69  25:05

December Roundup

December was a very quiet month for racing , with no cross country fixtures and just a handful of fell, road and trail races.

Read the Race Reports section to hear about our fellow team members’ race experiences.

As many of you will know, Clayton Harrier Simon Halliday tragically died earlier in the month in a caving accident. We’ve included a short article in the Roundup, but have also created a separate page with more memories, including a couple of articles written by Simon himself.

Please send any Race Reports or other articles to

Simon Halliday 1970-2020

by Jon Sharples, added to by Colin Woolford

Simon Halliday

Simon Halliday

Simon Halliday brought his infectious enthusiasm to Clayton le Moors Harriers in January 2004. He was already an established and highly competent caver but was keen to improve his fitness and endurance. Referring to himself as “a fat caver often found at the bar”, he took to fell running like a duck to water and was always keen to seek out and conquer the next challenge. He transformed his fitness and completed some of the toughest, hardest races in the fell running calendar, including the Yorkshire Three Peaks, Langdale, Borrowdale, Wasdale, the Bens of Jura and Old County Tops with
relative ease. A willing group of Clayton runners joined Simon’s Lake District training regime which became focused on tackling the famous Bob Graham Round, BGR, (72 miles, 42 summits, 29,000 feet of climbing and descending in less than 24 hours). This was a challenge that Clayton le Moors Harriers has a long and proud tradition in.

On 12th May 2007 Simon supported by his team duly completed a summer round in weather and circumstances that were quite challenging on the day. Not content with that Simon announced that he was going to attempt another BGR in the cold and darkness of winter, hoping to be only the 10th person to do so. So on 22nd December 2007 (The shortest day of the year!) the team was mustered again and an epic run began. The weather was challenging from the outset with ice, snow, and mist making progress difficult. At halfway Simon was some way behind schedule and the consensus was
that a successful round could not be achieved. However, Simon thought otherwise. So over the next dozen hours the schedule was gradually clawed back and Simon sprinted to the finish at the Moot Hall in Keswick with 3 minutes to spare! Simon wrote proudly and passionately of his BG experiences with the “Clayton BG Machine”.

Afterwards Simon continued to be an active fell runner with Clayton for several years, always seeking out and completing new challenges such as the Three Peaks Yacht race and the Scottish Islands Race. Then gradually other challenges appeared on the horizon and Simon moved on to be a successful Triathlete, Ironman, long distance cyclist and finally a caver again. In his day job he was a Master Builder and worked in the family business. He always kept in touch with Clayton Harriers and as recently as November 2019 had a run with Barley Badgers, Clayton’s Tuesday training night
group of headtorch fell runners, of which he was a founder member.

Whatever Simon turned his attention to he did so 100% and he did it well. He leaves a wife Toni, a son Connor and a daughter Isabella. Our thoughts are with them.

Simon will be very fondly remembered and is very sadly missed.

Tributes to Simon Halliday

The English Fell Championships

A few of us are keen to get more people involved with the English Fell Championships, especially but not exclusively male V50. It’s a good chance to see some new places, pitch yourself against the best around and run for your club. The more you can do the better, especially in the far flung races and later races where enthusiasm drops and you can scoop up some points. To score individually you should try to do 4 races and each of the 3 distances.

The races are spread through Cleveland, The Peak District, The Lake District and Shropshire

Date Category Race
04-04-20 M Guisborough 3 Tops
16-05-20 S Alderman’s Ascent
13-06-20 L Ennerdale Horseshoe
04-07-20 M Blencathra
29-08-20 S  Arnison Crag Horseshoe
20-09-20 L South Mynd Tour

For Women’s team Chamionships the first 3 in the club count. In the Mens open category the first 5 of the club count, 4 in the V40 and 3 in all other categories.

Race Reports

Kong Series Race 2 – SOB

by David Edmondson

This is a Kong Fell Race that visits: Stile End, Outerside and Barrow. I made it just over 4.5 miles with just over 2000 foot of climb. There were a few Clayton runners present although I was the youngest at a sprightly 52, maybe something fun was happening elsewhere? So I lined up with Jon Sharples, Andy Firth and Wendy Dodds.

Slogging up the first climb.

Slogging up the first climb.

Interesting weather for this race with the first accent up Stile End straight into a stiff wind and a few ice pellets thrown in. I started nice and easy and gently wound it up. My descending is gradually getting better after some time away from fell racing but wearing x talons didn’t help on the steep muddy slopes of Barrow, I slid a good 20 yards on my backside towards the finish. My feet are too wide for mud claws these days: feet generally get wider as you age!

I managed a respectable second V50 and 36 overall out of 181. Ambleside dominated the results with Scout Adkin and Matthew Elkington winning and they were easily first in both team competitions.

A link to the Results is in the Results Roundup.

Ribble Valley 10K

by Carl Carey

I decided to book this race back in July (and again in October when I’d forgotten I’d booked it!) because I’d been running a lot and wanted to see how I’d do compared to the last time I did it in 2016.

Up until that point, I’d been running pretty well, having broke some of my personal records, 5k and half marathon times, as well as all my Grand Prix races, but had yet to enter a fast time for a 10k race. Flat and fast Ribble Valley was my decision, hoping to finish the years running with a flourish, and hopefully a time of 44 or 45 minutes, 2 minutes faster than my previous. Seems reasonable I thought as I was now fitter and a bit quicker since then! The only problem with that was the Christmas period, really loving my food so having to be really strict (ish!). The month leading to the race was a busy one at work for me, so had to miss John’s excellent Tuesday and Thursday training sessions, resulting in me having to run on my own from home! The last few weeks before the race, it seemed my legs were made from lead every time I ran, and I began to doubt I would make even 45 minutes, let alone 44! It didn’t help that I was analysing times from previous races. Judith told me off and told me to just get on with it 😁

The week before the race, I received my number and chip through the post. This was getting serious, and didn’t help my nerves! I’d put some weight back on that I’d worked so hard to shift, my legs were heavy every time I ran, and I just wanted to get it out of the way now!

The day of the race came, got up early, had my peanut butter and banana bagel then went back to bed, but couldn’t get back to sleep so got up and got ready. Leaving reasonably early, we got a good parking spot and decided to go look and then I could get ready. Was pleased to see quite a few Clayton faces there, some with niggles and ailments but determined nevertheless!

We lined up, at the time asked, but it seemed like forever before we set off. Then, we were off! I started my watch as I passed the timing mat, then tried to settle into my race. People were passing me left and right, but experience told me to ignore them and not get dragged along at this stage. I must admit at about 2k in, I panicked a bit when certain runners caught and passed me, and I felt it was difficult at that point, but decided to press on and see how it goes. Resisting the temptation to look at my watch ( I found it doesn’t help) I suddenly came alive at the 4K marker and started to pick people off I knew were similar to me.

Carl at the start of the RV10K. Photo by David Belshaw

Carl at the start of the RV10K. Photo by David Belshaw

Surprisingly I started to see people I never usually see in races and started to worry if I’d been going too fast. 6 and 7k saw me pass quite a few people and I started to wonder if I’d be able to maintain the speed, especially when my watch buzzed to tell me I’d done the last kilometre in 4 minutes! With 2k to go, I’d passed a few of my team mates, all of us encouraging one another, until I’d caught a team mate who’d struggled a bit, but nevertheless was still quick. He told me to press on, but my lace had come untied so was conscious of tripping over that! I wasn’t going to stop though, so close to the finish, and after numerous warnings off other runners about my lace, rounded the corner to go uphill towards the finish, with no idea of my time. Judith and my girls were on the hill shouting “you can do it daddy!” and I managed a smile (which Judith later said she thought I must be ok as it’s usually a frown). As I’m getting closer, I hear the commentator call my name and shouting put it in and you’ll get sub 43! What!! Tears streaming, guts busting, I make it over the line, 42:33 chip time, not believing I’d smashed it, by nearly 5 minutes! It was Christmas again for me, I could scarcely believe it, and had tears in my eyes when I told Judith the result. She laughed and told me that she knew I’d do it, but I think she was also pleased that I wouldn’t be moping around the house disappointed!

Carl putting the effort in at the end of the RV10K. Photo by David Belshaw.

Carl putting the effort in at the end to achieve his PB. Photo by David Belshaw.

As always, a well organised race which was sold out, and had 1500 runners, but difficult because of the Christmas period! I think Judith is now glad that I’ve stopped talking about it, as I was getting on her nerves!

Ribble Valley 10K

by Jason Pier

This was the race I’d been building up to for the last few months. My final attempt at running a sub 40 minute 10k in 2019. The year had started with me never having completed a 10k in under 44.34

My training for the last few months has consisted of regular 6 – 8 mile runs, speed work at the track along with my usual treadmill sessions. In all honesty I’ve found the track sessions hard going, but looking back its helped me to maintain a regular pace for each kilometre.

The last couple of weeks leading up to the race have been a real struggle. Being a night shift worker for some reason I’ve struggled to sleep for longer than 4 hours a day. This has lead to me feeling so drained and lacking energy, so you can imagine I wasn’t expecting to run well at all.

Race day arrived and I’d finally managed to have by my standards a decent sleep of 6 hours. Up at 6.00am, breakfast and a walk with the dog, i set off to pick up Michelle Abbott and Calum en route to Clitheroe. We arrived in plenty of time to get parked up close to the start area, where we gathered with Judith and Carl Carey. After a good 2k warm up to test out the slight niggle I’ve felt recently in my hip I was ready to race.

Jason at the start of the RV10K

Jason at the start of the RV10K. Photo by David Belshaw

The race started and away we went along the road before heading down over the river at Edisford Bridge, then passing the campsite and out into the countryside. To achieve a sub 40 I needed to be under 4 minutes per kilometre. The first kilometre went well 3.46 so in my head I had a few seconds in the bank. I was so focused on maintaining a regular pace I honestly don’t remember much about the route. I reached the 5k marker in under 20 minutes so knew I had to match that for the second half of the race. Doubt starts to creep in and that you’re going to tire. Each kilometre marker passed and I was just under 4 minutes each time. Before long the 9k marker arrived, time for one last push down the hill fast as I could to give me the momentum to climb up the other side.

That done and it was just a matter of sprinting the final 300m to the finish. “Come on you can do it, just imagine you’re at the track” I kept saying to myself. The finish line seemed to take an age to arrive, over I went to finish in a time of 39.41 minutes. Absolutely buzzing, couldn’t believe it. Never ever thought at the start of 2019 I’d end the year running sub 40 for a 10k. More improvement to come yet, so new year, new goals to set. Well done to all my fellow club members on your performances at the Ribble Valley 10k.

Jason storming to a 10K PB

Jason storming to a 10K PB. Photo by David Belshaw

Finally I feel it only right to end this report by thanking a few people who have helped me along the way in 2019 to achieve my goals. Thank you to Gary Moore who got me out of a rut at the start of the year and helped me to enjoy running again. Kev Davies for your support and words of encouragement at the track even though I only ever see the back of you. My wife Jane, who’s had to put up with me being out most weekends training or racing. Marion Wilkinson, who has always believed in me to achieve my goals even when I have doubted myself. You’ve given up so much time to coach and advise me on all aspects of my running, whilst dealing with personal issues of your own. For this I’m eternally grateful.

Happy New Year to everyone at Clayton. Let’s work together and make 2020 a great year for our club.

Results Roundup

1st December – Myerscough 10 – Results

8th December – Mytholmroyd Fell Race – Results

3rd Team – Andy Laycock, Ryan Bradshaw, Craig Stansfield.

14th December – Hurst Green Turkey Trot – Results

1st MJ – Charlie Parkinson; 2nd MJ – Robbie Smedley; 3rd MJ – William Nicholls; 3rd M50 – Craig Stansfield; 1st M55 – Ivan Whigham; 2nd F35 – Michelle Abbott; 1st team – Charlie Parkinson, Robbie Smedley, Craig Stansfield.

14th December  – Kong Winter Series R2 SOB – Results

22nd December – Ian Holloway Cowm 5k – Results

27th December – Wansfell Pike Fell Race – Results (Word Document)

1st FV70 – Linda Lord.

29th December – Ribble Valley 10K – Results

3rd MV55 – Kevin Davies; 3rd FV60 – Nicola Dugdale; 2nd FV70 – Karin Goss; 3rd M75 – David Scott; 3rd FV35 – Rebecca Rimmington.

31st December – Bowstones Fell Race – Results

Parkrun Roundup

 14th December 2019  Burnley  Adrian Cheetham  VM40-44  17:17
 21st December 2019  Burnley  Adrian Cheetham  VM40-44  17:05
 Centre Vale  Neil Whalley  VM45-49  20:43
 Hyndburn  Martin Brady  VM55-59  23:58
 Kath Wallis  VW60-64  24:05
 28th December 2019 Pendle  Jeffrey Pickup  VM65-69  26:24

Junior Parkrun Roundup

 22nd December 2019  Burnley  Francis Woodruff  JM10  08:39

Simon Halliday

Simon Halliday 1970-2020

by Jon Sharples, Pete Browning, Martin Brady. Edited by Colin Woolford

Simon Halliday

Simon Halliday

Simon Halliday brought his infectious enthusiasm to Clayton le Moors Harriers in January 2004. He was already an established and highly competent caver but was keen to improve his fitness and endurance. Referring to himself as “a fat caver often found at the bar”, he took to fell running like a duck to water and was always keen to seek out and conquer the next challenge. He transformed his fitness and completed some of the toughest, hardest races in the fell running calendar, including the Yorkshire Three Peaks, Langdale, Borrowdale, Wasdale, the Bens of Jura and Old County Tops with
relative ease. A willing group of Clayton runners joined Simon’s Lake District training regime which became focused on tackling the famous Bob Graham Round, BGR, (72 miles, 42 summits, 29,000 feet of climbing and descending in less than 24 hours). This was a challenge that Clayton le Moors Harriers has a long and proud tradition in.

On 12th May 2007 Simon supported by his team duly completed a summer round in weather and circumstances that were quite challenging on the day. Not content with that Simon announced that he was going to attempt another BGR in the cold and darkness of winter, hoping to be only the 10th person to do so. So on 22nd December 2007 (The shortest day of the year!) the team was mustered again and an epic run began. The weather was challenging from the outset with ice, snow, and mist making progress difficult. At halfway Simon was some way behind schedule and the consensus was
that a successful round could not be achieved. However, Simon thought otherwise. So over the next dozen hours the schedule was gradually clawed back and Simon sprinted to the finish at the Moot Hall in Keswick with 3 minutes to spare! Simon wrote proudly and passionately of his BG experiences with the “Clayton BG Machine”.

Afterwards Simon continued to be an active fell runner with Clayton for several years, always seeking out and completing new challenges such as the Three Peaks Yacht race and the Scottish Islands Race. Then gradually other challenges appeared on the horizon and Simon moved on to be a successful Triathlete, Ironman, long distance cyclist and finally a caver again. In his day job he was a Master Builder and worked in the family business. He always kept in touch with Clayton Harriers and as recently as November 2019 had a run with Barley Badgers, Clayton’s Tuesday training night
group of headtorch fell runners, of which he was a founder member.

Whatever Simon turned his attention to he did so 100% and he did it well. He leaves a wife Toni, a son Connor and a daughter Isabella. Our thoughts are with them.

Simon will be very fondly remembered and is very sadly missed.

Some memories of Simon Halliday

By Peter Browning

I think I must have met Simon Halliday for the first time at some point in the early 2000’s. He was sitting at the bar of the Pendle Inn, probably with current/former Clayton members Steve Bury, Simon Clarke, Mick Lee and Geoff Longname. Apart from popping outside for the occasional fag, Simon seemed to be attempting to drink the pub dry, or all the Stella Artois at any rate. As we would come to know, Simon never did anything by halves.

Simon used to love to go out on a long run. He didn’t really have great speed, but had immense stamina, and once things clicked into gear, he could go on and on. At the end of a long run, most people might have a Mars bar perhaps, or maybe a sandwich or cake even. Not Simon. At the end of a long run he would produce a paper bag full of spicy Samosas from his favourite Indian shop in Nelson and pass them round. Very tasty.

Once he got seriously into his running, Simon became increasingly competitive. I can remember a Tuesday night training run from Accrington when he and I started racing down the “Fairy Steps” on the far side of Hameldon Hill. The path there is very rough and uneven, and neither of us would give an inch to the other as we careered headlong down the track. It all ended in tears for me as my feet became entangled in some loose fence wire and I went flying. Simon was very gracious as he helped me back to my feet.

When he decided that he would have a go at the Bob Graham Round in 2007, Simon stepped up his training by doing regular runs in the Lake District, very often from Langdale. Simon would invite one and all to join him, but he liked an early start. Often this meant him spending the night in his old work van and setting out before dawn, before the sun came up. Needless to say, not being an early starter, I didn’t make any of these runs.

Simon had a luxury Winnebago camper van, and one year he took a group of us up to the Isle of Jura for the annual fell race. While most of us slept in the back of the van on the long journey there, Simon drove and drove through the night with scarcely a break, showing tremendous stamina and concentration.

On a night out with Simon, you did all you could to avoid getting in a round with him, as there was just no way you could keep up with him. He drank beer faster than anyone else I ever met. He would buy you a pint, and before you had got a quarter of the way through your drink, he would be sitting there with any empty glass and saying “come on, it’s your round”. In fairness, when Simon went tee total, he went completely tee total and never touched a drop.

Martin Brady on Simon..

I was stunned by the news of Simon Halliday’s death. I used to go on many long training runs in the Lakes with Simon when he was preparing for his two Bob Graham attempts. I was proud to be asked to navigate on the first and last legs of his Summer and Winter Bob Grahams. The most memorable was the final leg on his Winter Bob Graham which went over Blencathra, Great Calva and Skiddaw. This was in the middle of the night and very misty especially between Blenathra and Great Calva. When we started the final leg Simon was going through a bad patch and was behind schedule. He had lost an hour on Sca Fell looking for one of his helpers who had gone astray. I think he must have lost a lot of body temperature whilst looking for the helper. We also lost a lot of time on the ascent of Blencathra which was unusual for Simon. We crossed Mungrisdale in the dark and mist and Simon was even slower up Great Calva. He was pulling himself up the climb by grabbing the fence and talking to himself. We lost even more time when we reached the summit of Great Calva – it looked like we were going to miss the 24 hour dead line by quite a lot. No one talked about this but we just kept going and encouraging Simon. On the descent from Calva, Simon suddenly got a new lease of life and the final climb up Skiddaw was very quick – it was as though Simon had just started and not 23 hours in to a run. I was leading the way up Skiddaw and kept a few yards in front trying to pull him along. I was surprised when he was able to keep the pace going as we were going much quicker than before. This showed his amazing mental strength. We had 40 minutes to get to Keswick from the top of Skiddaw – this was scheduled to take an hour. We descended Skiddaw as if we were in a race. There were ice patches on the early descent but he threw caution to the wind and went for it. Simon started removing his extra layers of clothing as we descended and just throwing them in the air which the rest of us had to pick up and catch up. By the time we got to the carpark at the back of Latrigg I had a look at my watch – we had less than 20 minutes to get to Keswick. Some of the road support were at this car park and they all looked amazed at what was happening – was the impossible about to happen? No one spoke from here, we just pushed as hard as we could. When we entered the town square in Keswick there was a huge cheer from the people who had been waiting for him to finish. The impossible had happened. I do not know how he managed to recover himself like that but this remains one of the most memorable runs I have ever done. I was very proud to be part of the BG Machine which help Simon on his Winter Bob Graham. It was a truly remarkable experience thanks to a truly remarkable person – Simon we will all miss you!

Martin Brady

The following two reports were written by Simon Halliday and appeared in the then (2007/2008) print versions of the Clayton newsletter.
They are reproduced here by way of a tribute to Simon who sadly passed away earlier this month. Simon was to turn 50 this year. His view on the world was… unique, as you will ascertain from these write ups of his Bob Graham Rounds, one summer (first) and then a winter round, both within the same year. Grab a brew (or a Guinness!), sit for a few moments and enjoy a good read.

A BOB GRAHAM ROUND, 12/05/2007, 72 MILES, 28000FT AND A BIT I

Sent in by Simon Halliday

To fully appreciate what went into this attempt at Bob Graham’s classic Lake­ land traverse we first need to wind the clock back a few years. Anyone who has trained with Clayton for longer than three or four years will no doubt remember a fat caver who was often, (daily?) to be found at the bar, or under it, in the Pendle Inn. My interest in running in those days was non-existent, in fact top of the list of pastimes then was Cave Diving and the consumption of a ridiculous amount of Guinness accompanied by an equally obscene number of cigarettes. An attempt of the Berger, (a deep French cave), required the aforementioned piss head to get a bit fitter and at this point the eminent fell runner Mick Lee enters our little tale.

I still remain unsure how, but he talked me into climbing Pendle Hill at night, we were after all used to the dark, and so a couple of evenings a week for the winter of 2003 saw myself and Mick plodding up the wall on the big end followed by the ever present Guinness. Little did we know that this was to be the start of the Barley Badger’s!

Somewhere along the way and a bet across said bar saw us starting to do a bit of jogging, (I don’t do running!), and a trip to Yorkshire for a bash at the Three Peaks, which were duly completed in 6:45. Not too bad for a fat lad smoking 40 a day.

The summer of that year we bottomed the Berger, and once back in England, Mr Lee kept dragging me up that bloody hill.

Things were getting out of hand when I actually entered a race, the Full Tour, and then in the new year I Joined Clayton and competed in the Three Peaks, I’m the one on the video getting through the Hill Inn check point about 3 seconds before they shut it, and yes I hadn’t done the required two AL category races, I’d only done one race period!

Around this time Mick gave me a small pamphlet written by another Clayton member titled Judith’s Run, an excellent read, I can recommend it, but it does have some side effects. I seem to remember reading it there and then and after a couple of gallons of Dutch courage, I announced in a somewhat slurred and possibly incomprehensible voice “I can do that!” to which Mick’s reply was “yes you probably can”, this was the beginning of an obsession which culminated in the following account.

The forecast isn’t that bad they said, it’s going to be clear by morning they said, at least it’s not raining they said, oh hang on; yes it is!. So why are we standing under cover at the Moot Hall, Keswick, in full body cover and waterproofs waiting to see If anyone’s going to show? Andy spoke to Pete that morning, “is he still doing it? I thought it was off’ was his reply! Pete shows with plenty of time closely followed by Dave dressed in enough gear to tackle a small alpine peak! Ah well too late to back out now, it’s only cold because we are standing around isn’t it? A few minutes to go and all the training will be put to the test, hours of meticulous planning in order to make sure everything runs smoothly will swing effortlessly into motion, shit! Where are the record cards, a quick dash back to the van and we really are ready this time.

With Martin and Richard taking charge of the first leg this intrepid bunch of five adventurers set off into the wild black yonder. Everything goes to plan till we get to the top of Robinson only to find these pens don’t like the wet. Doh! Hindscarth and Dale Head follow in quick succession and we are off to a good start. Some particularly interesting descent lines off and we end up on the road, only one slight problem, it appears someone has moved Honister Slate quarries, either that or we are on our way to Buttermere, ah well if there’s an easy way, there’s a hard way. A slog back up to the car park means we are going to be a bit behind schedule, but it could be worse at least it’s not raining, oh hang on, yes, it is.

Anyone familiar with the route knows the next leg is far from easy in daylight but with the clag down to the valley bottom making the lights next to useless? Looks like we are in for an interesting night. We duly depart having been refuelled by the ever-present Sandi, with Misters Browning and Sharples in charge of the compass, Andy Firth with the bag and Tim Edwards coming along because he wants a longer run, he’s also doing leg three, and I thought I was nuts! Leg two passed fairly uneventfully, a bit of fun on Kirk Fell and Pete’s shoe going into self-destruct mode, which meant he unfortunately had to drop out at Black Sail, but we were into Wasdale in one piece after some fantastic navigating. For the record the conditions could only be described as atrocious and to get us in without losing any more time deserves a mention, these lads did an amazing job with the map.

Luck was with us and no one had moved the car park this time, Sandi had the brews sorted and a quick refuel before the start of Leg Three.

A new team for the longest leg of the round, Dave Farnworth and Tim Edwards at the front, with Paul Toman and Paul Thomson supporting. A long steady climb of Scafell got us back into the clag, but at least it was light now. Nigel and Rupert had taken a rope for a wander round the highest peaks in the country, but we were to waste their time, in these conditions there was no way we were going to tackle Broad Stand. A descent of Foxes Tarn and we made our way round east buttress to shout back up, what looked like a very intimidating bit of rock. The leg continues over some of the roughest ground on the route and in rapidly worsening visibility we made our way to Bowfell travelling well.

What exactly happened here will remain a matter for conjecture, I would have bet my house that we would have got this descent right, but perhaps it is a measure of what the team was having to cope with that we somehow ended on the wrong side of the mountain descending the Band toward Langdale! It took a short while and the accosting of a couple a walkers to work out exactly where we were. This for me was the lowest point of the day, psychologically after the previous problems this really felt like I’d been kicked in the proverbials. It took some fantastic navigating to get us back on course, but after crossing the climber’s traverse, we made our way round to Rossett Gill where Mick, Simon and Geoff had valiantly waited whilst we went for our unscheduled jaunt. A very welcome mug of soup and we made the decision to carry on, we had to get to Dunmail regardless and anyway we had no money, so the ODG was out of the question. With the weather improving Dave and Tim demonstrated how it’s done on the way back to Dunmail, pulling time back all the way.

We arrived at the van and to my surprise the next team were preparing to leave. A cup of tea and I sat in Richard’s camper looking at the schedule and generally feeling sorry for myself. But with upwards of 15 people standing there to support you, not to mention the lads who had either gone or were due to arrive is was easier to carry on than stand up and tell everyone I had wasted their time, so I snatched a bottle of Lucozade and set off up Seat Sandal.

Navigating we had Andy Walmsley and Pete booth, Geoff Newsam had come up to carry and Bob Mitchell was recording times and talking. Now the sun was out and for the first time today shorts were on. The views across the Lakes really were breath-taking or was that the climbing.

Anyone who has done any ultra-distance events knows the feeling of going through a bad spell, but for me that was now past. This wasn’t going to be pretty and it certainly wasn’t going to be easy, this was now about hard work. Seeing Blencathra in the distance, constantly working out split times and knowing what time we had to leave Threlkeld was the order of the afternoon. And what a fantastic team I had with me, we didn’t put a foot wrong, neither travelling a yard further nor climbing a foot more that was necessary. Each top passed smoothly with Bob getting there in front, noting the time as the rest passed through, then having to work hard to catch up. On the approach to Sticks Pass, Jon Sharples was met who duly carried on but now keeping the team at Threlkeld informed of progress. As this section unfolded, we managed to claw back the time until we again met Sandi’s mobile kitchen, and
perhaps for the first time on the run were able to relax for few minutes knowing that we had probably done enough to get in in less than 24 hours.

Unbeknown to me a battle plan had been drawn for the last leg, this involved Paul Toman having to climb Skiddaw on his own to fix a light at the fence, and he had just had an epic on leg three! So once again we refuelled and set off mob handed to see what the three big climbs of the last leg could throw at us. Pete Browning (now reshod) and Martin Brady led the way up Halls Fell Ridge, with Steve Bury carrying the bag, who for some reason was wearing full waterproofs and doing a remarkable impression of the incredible melting man. Pete Booth and Jon Sharples both running straight through completed the team. Blencathra was duly beaten into submission in 8 mins under schedule.

Calva gave no problems, and we once again donned lights for the descent and crossing to Skiddaw. It was quite fitting that dark clouds started to gather and toward the end of a relaxed ascent to the last top it once again started to rain, and visibility was reduced to a few yards. An uneventful descent down the motorway to Latrigg, where we again met Sandi for the last time before the finish. As the gradient eased, we were now running fairly well and kept up a reasonable pace back into town, quickly donning club colours for a run up the main street before slapping the Moot Hall for the second time in a day.

The feeling of finishing to such support has to be experienced to be under­stood, the Clayton BG machine in all its glory, I think about half of Keswick was out to cheer us in. (did anyone get the numbers of those two girls?)
To single any individuals out for special thanks would be to risk missing someone else of equal deserve, you all played such a big role in making this attempt eventually successful. We had a lot of highs, one or two lows and by god did we have some weather! But if any one person should be mentioned (blamed?) it must be Mick Lee who kick started all this in the first place. I said I would, you said I could, we did.
Thank you all, it was a privilege to be a part of such an amazing team, this one we will remember for quite a while, right, next……….?


Sent in by Simon Halliday

The morning of 22nd of December dawned crisp and bright. The first day of winter 2007. At least that’s the plan. At 4am standing on Keswick high street a hardy band of Clayton Harriers have gathered to see me off on what is be a truly epic day, dawn is still a very long way off.

Martin and I set off in road shoes for the first leg up Newland’s to almost immediately run into Andy Firth and Mark Nutter who have come to give support, not only to this attempt but also to the local constabulary who enquire as to Mark’s alcohol consumption, turning up at this time on a Saturday morning, I’m inclined to think they have a point. The road section follows at an easy sedate pace, running up the Newlands valley the moon is nearly full, the sky clear and with temperature considerably below freezing the scenes have an almost fairy-tale beauty, I comment to Martin on how privileged we are to be here.

At the car park a quick change into fell shoes and the round proper begins, taking what for me is a new line up Robinson we eventually reach the first of the forty-two summits in good time. Conditions are now beginning to give a hint of the approaching front, the breeze picking up and the odd cloud drifting across the moon but nothing to cause problems Hindscarth and Dale Head are quickly despatched care being required to avoid the occasional ice build ups but Honister is reached in good time and up on schedule and this time it’s in the right place. Andy and Mark are to follow their own route back to their car whilst I say goodbye to Martin for the time being and am joined by Paul Thomson and Andy Robinson for the next leg to Wasdale. Sandi and Kath are dealing with road support and after a quick refuel we are once again on our way. I later learn that they couldn’t get the van off the car park and had to cover the ice with bracken to get traction.
Andy Robinson has never been on a BG support before let alone a winter run, and Paul being drafted onto a leg he doesn’t know at the last minute the navigation is down to me. Conditions underfoot are immediately different to the last section; we are now entering the first of the rocky sections and ice is a lot more prevalent. At the start of the climb from Honister to Gray Knotts I warn Andy of the ice, but he is still over in short order. This is a section of the round I know well having done a lot of training in this area and the summits are soon bagged, the short cut to the top of Gray Knotts saves a few minutes, Brandreath quickly follows and although visibility is by now rapidly decreasing we make good time to the Gables, Green Gable and the summit of Great Gable are reached again with care and some careful Navigation sees us down to Beck Head with no problems. The schedule had been calculated for day light in this region, but progress has been relatively rapid and head torches are still very much needed. Paul and I discuss the benefits of different lines over the coming peaks and Andy listens in, seemingly we are talking Chinese, although never having been on this type of support he seems to be enjoying himself and his enthusiasm is infectious. The long plod up Kirk Fell and we locate the trod to avoid the first summit and soon reach the true top, I lead a less than perfect line down to Red Gully but no time is lost and by Black Sail we have dispensed with lights. Pillar as ever takes an age but with Andy asking “is this the top yet” about a dozen times at least we have something to talk about. The run over to steeple is duly accomplished and whilst I go out to the summit Paul sorts some food. We return, crossing the wall on frozen snow drifts and whilst explaining that we must be careful to avoid losing height and going too far right I demonstrate my intimate knowledge of the route by leading an almost perfect circle back toward steeple all the while eating a jam butty. Next time paying a little more attention we are over Red Pike and down to Dole Head with no further problems. Yewbarrow is always a slog but the summit eventually appears and the descent to Wasdale is once again accompanied by Andy’s dialogue.

We have made good time, catching the support crew unawares. A quick bite and again a change in company. Over this the longest and toughest section of the round I am to be supported by Tim, Mark and Richard. Mark who lives in Wasdale has been up Scafell a few days previously to check out the west wall traverse and the decision is made to leave axes and crampons in the van. Richard leaves slightly ahead of the rest of us to have a look at the head of Deep Gully our thinking being that if the top is acceptable then rest of the descent should be easy!
On this the longest single climb of the run I realise that Christmas pudding and custard is really not good running food and I fail to find my climbing legs. As the approaching weather front hits with a vengeance Scafell is not a pleasant place to be. Half way up this most dreary of fells I recognise that I am beginning to dehydrate, hard to imagine after about four bottles of Lucozade but once I start to take on water I begin to feel more like a runner and less like a part of the fell. Richard has now pulled ahead and in the worsening conditions we break that cardinal rule and split up. This in itself shouldn’t have caused to many problems but when the strengthening wind (we are later told these winds were of the magnitude of 60 mph) brings rain and sleet my lack of waterproofs becomes very apparent.
With temperatures way below freezing, as soon as the water hits the ground it freezes and the top of the fell becomes a huge ice ring, the rocks to the summit cone are seriously verglassed and what would normally take only a few moments becomes a delicate climb in order to avoid injury.

We regroup and Tim leads us over to Deep Gully to meet Richard. Problem, no Richard and no tracks in the snow, conclusion Richard has not got to the head of the gully. I am now stood on the roof of England in running tights a Helly and a thin Pertex, in a storm, on the shortest day of the year and not thinking happy thoughts. A quick search of the summit plateau reveals nothing, though thankfully the lack of traffic at least tells us were he isn’t. Whistles are duly blown, vocal cords exercised but to no avail and we start to consider mountain rescue. It hard to imagine what they would have thought: And what were you doing up there Mr Halliday? And why was your friend on his own Mr Halliday? We come up with a plan to search down Lord’s Rake and back up Foxes Tam and if that’s not successful we will descend to Wasdale and call the Rescue. As we begin to make our way toward the Rake Mark thinks he hears a voice but in these winds it could have come from anywhere. More frantic shouting and we at last locate Richard, He has slipped and given his head a knock probably losing consciousness for a short time, and in visibility of a few yards it has taken us time to regroup, we are now seriously behind schedule and I know that I for one am in the early stages of hypothermia we don pretty much all our gear in an attempt to warm up and now regret our earlier e decision to leave axes etc in the van. Deep gully is completely banked out with snow and without the afore mentioned gear there is no way we can descend here. Knowing that the support team has left Wasdale I reason that we may as well carry on at least as far as Rossett for our next bail out point. I keep these thoughts to myself. We descend to toward Lord’s Rake and in the clag miss the entrance, the weather isn’t helping with the pressure dropping that rapidly that Altimeters are telling lies and we end up too low. Oh well if there’s an easy way there’s a hard way, this is beginning to feel like deja vu what has this leg got against me? We duly climb back up, my stomach feels sorry for the local birds and depositing semi digested chocolate in the process.

Scafell Pike is reached without drama and on the way to broad crag I notice Montrail tracks in the snow and am reminded that Tony has talked about coming out to show support. As wise a head as that wouldn’t be out in this! On our approach to the Crag who should come out of the murk but Clayton’s very own GPS, Mr Peacock complete with a flask of hot Vimto, Tony – there is a little place in Heaven reserved for you. This turns out to one of those anomalies that occur on the fell, Tony had previously set off back from the Pike due to the bad weather but as one does on occasion decided to turn back just in case!
Ill Crag and Great End although icy offer no real problems and at Esk Hause Tony takes the short cut to Rosset to meet the support team, while Mark turns for the long run back to Wasdale, I should mention at this point that Marks humour throughout this episode prevented someone who was very low sinking that little bit further, thank you it was a pleasure to meet you. As we climb Esk Pike I try to eat a very posh cheese sandwich but my stomach is having none of it and I am really beginning to struggle on the climbs, Bowfell duly falls and because of our previous excitement we decide to give three tams a miss. A somewhat dicey descent through the crags drops us to Rossett where Geoff has valiantly waited, now kept company by Tony.
A special mention to Geoff who huddled at the top of a very icy ghyll for a long wait to watch us run down, quickly gulp the soup, sorry I couldn’t eat the sandwich’s, and promptly run off again. It transpires that Peter couldn’t climb the ghyll due to the amount of ice and that Mountain Rescue were lower down advising against climbing higher without crampons, if they only knew?

Rosset Pike, Pike O’Stickle and Harrison all follow and as we descend lights are once again turned on. The remaining peaks are knocked off in an sombre mood, each of us in our own world extending as far as our lights, I know I am weakening rapidly but still I cannot eat, only forcing down the odd jelly baby, the frequent shouts of “ICE” usually followed by some profanity as one or the other of us falls, breaks the monotony but I am finding it increasingly hard to run, the slightest gradient reducing me to a walk. Steel Fell is eventually reached and looking at my watch I am reminded of a previous run in more clement weather, but this time the mountains have teeth and I have nothing to fight them with. We Jog to the vans at Dunmail and I know we are almost certainly terminally behind schedule. I have been supported over the toughest leg of this route in atrocious conditions by some of the finest fell men it is my pleasure to know, lads take a bow.

At the roadside the team has changed once again, Sandi having flown south to warmer climes and has been replaced by Kaz Riley, Kath is still bravely producing food but I am to waste her efforts. I manage a cup of coffee before the slog continues, for this leg joined by Jon, Andrew and Paul. Seat Sandal feels to have grown and In my weakened state I again fail to climb well, this leads to more of the same as we ascend Fairfield, I slowly eat two dates only to throw up again and my frustration grows at this pitiful performance. Conditions at least have begun to improve, and a nocturnal mist pocket viewed from above treats us to a fine light show above Grasmere. On Dollywagon Jon produces a flask of warm milk with sugar, I feel childlike as he first tests It’s temperature and like a wayward infant I continue my crawl to awkward to reach places. On this leg Dollywagon Is a milestone and after gaining its summit psychologically I feel better, my physical performance however doesn’t improve. We soldier on and the tops fall until we reach Sticks Pass where two orange glow worms have braved the elements to bring us a picnic. Mick and Simon have arrived from St John’s in the Vale with more warm supplies. Mick having slipped on the ice during the climb has tom a groin muscle but still
made the top. I believe he had some choice names for yours truly on the descent, well without Mick’s Input we wouldn’t be here in the first place! After some soup, I couldn’t face anything solid, we again move on, I initially feel better but am soon once again reduced to a slow slog. Jon and Andy both know this leg well and the navigation proves no problem, Paul as always un­complaining despite the lateness of the hour or the slow rate of progress offering support and like the proverbial tortoise we make our way to Threlkeld. As we approach Clough Head Jon raises the question that has probably been at the front of all our minds. Do we carry on?
I know I’m weak on the climbs and for the benefit of anyone unfamiliar with
the BG that pretty much Is all there is on the last leg. As we slowly Jog on I experience a lot of contradictory emotions, the thought of a warm van and a cup sweet tea Is high on my to do list alongside taking another breath and a hell of a long way in front of a climb up Blencathra. But Mrs Halliday hasn’t bred any quitters that I am aware of and those of you who know me well may actually say I can demonstrate a stubborn streak, others would call it bone headed but I make the decision to carry on and give It my best shot. I tell Jon I am going to have a go but there Is a good chance I won’t finish in the allotted time. He ring’s down to the van and a short while later we arrive at the

I manage to eat a bowl of custard and now Martin re-joins us to navigate over the final leg. Tim after our epic on leg three Is once again to run support as is Jon going straight through off leg four. I say a quick thank you to Paul and Andy and set off with 4:1O still on the clock.
The climb up Hall’s Fell Ridge is quite literally a crawl, Martin and Tim lead the way Jon staying behind, I think to catch me in the event that I actually fall off, this being a distinct possibility. We eventually reach the top 10 minutes slower than the standard summer schedule allows and I think the slowest I’ve ever climbed what is usually one of my favourite routes. In thick cloud Martin does a fine job of picking up the trods across Mungrisdale and we soon reach the cairn. I am struggling to keep them in sight and know that Martin is trying to drag me across the bleakest of moors and with Jon at my side offering words of encouragement I try to raise my game. At the river Caldew I don’t even slow down, the Icy water above our knees but I don’t seem to feel it, we reach the fence up Great Calva and this time it is Martin’s tum to keep me company, like a drunk I haul myself hand over hand to the top all the while talking to myself trying to dig for reserves that seem to be deserting me. The emotion is hard to describe, it is me against the hill, but my body is letting me down. This Is not somewhere I have been before, I have always found that extra bit when I’ve needed it the most but tonight the tank emptied hours previously and now we are without even vapours, the hill is definitely winning this battle and the war is almost over. Coming off Calva, for the first time in a while I find myself leading the way. On the trods through the heather I pick my feet up a little and at Hare Crag I manage a gel pack, the dark mass of Sklddaw beckons, I put my head down and decide to see If we can’t fight one last time. Agonising slowly the fence approaches but we are not quite beat, and I grit my teeth, dig deeper than I’ve ever been before, and tell myself its only one more climb. I can’t tell you who said what on the way to the summit. I know people were talking to me, all I could think of was put one foot in front of the other. As the summit trig approaches the wind makes talking hard but for the first time in many hours this run Is back on.

We set off with the lights of Keswick below, running across the snow fields at almost reckless speed. The lads in support setting up a relay to open the gates, they are having to work extra hard to catch back up. As we begin to lose altitude and with the increased pace things are hotting up. From full winter gear on the top I start to discard layers, now not only do they have to keep up but they have to sort my gear at the same time. As we hit the main tourist
path and the gradient increases it time to take the brain out, (some may say it wasn’t in in the first place) and now we begin to motor, I have a monolog repeating in my mind that sounds like something from a rocky film but the miles are decreasing. By Latrigg I am down to just a Helly and the sweat is running off but we still have a lot ground to cover before this is over. At the rise over the bridge Tim has stopped to offer some friendly words of encouragement and still we roll on, into the park and we would normally stop to put on club colours but there is no time tonight, Andy is waiting at the foot bridge we are nearly there, Paul is at the ginnel and I know we have beaten the odds and it’s in the bag but still we don’t slow, up the high street and to the Moot hall where I slap the door 23 hours 56 minutes and 56 seconds after leaving it, the fight is over.

This has been a very humbling journey for me, a journey on which I have learnt a lot. Selwyn Wright wrote that he owes Bob Graham an awful lot, I know what he means. To complete the BG in summer takes guts and determination. To do it in winter takes it to another level.
When I first started distance running and my interest in the BG grew I was told that a successful completion is 50% fitness and 50% psychological with a little bit of luck thrown in. Well In my experience you make your own luck and mine was in the gathering of a team such as this. Without the hard work and determination of everyone concerned this wouldn’t have happened. Particular mention must go to the support off the fell, to Chris Turner who sat by the phone so that we could coordinate the logistics, to Kath, Sandi and Kaz who looked after me throughout. Peter, Geoff, Mick and Simon for carrying gear up the pass’s, my heartfelt thanks go out to you all.

When we set out on this little escapade Jon said that he enjoyed an exciting run, I hope we didn’t disappoint, right next……………

Original copies scanned and emailed by Jon Sharples. Photos sadly omitted due to poor quality post scanning. Text edited together by Colin Woolford.