HDSRL Handicap - Wetherby
Report by Andy Purll
A great night at the handicap in Sicklinghall last night – and didn’t we all enjoy those hills ! The rain didn’t put off 56 Ripon Runners as we sloshed through the cow pat fields and up the cruel tarmac climbs to hammer it home at the finish.
For those who have not done the handicap, it’s a unique experience, holding on for grim death as what feels like a thousand speedier athletes ghost past you and make you feel like the tail runner until you hopefully catch others at the finish as they tire from the early exertions.
As ever, the unpredictable handicap threw up some surprising and terrific performances. I have to admit, being a bit of a number geek, trying to work out who I think would do well, and failed miserably at guessing the eventual winners. It really is random, usually throwing a bias to the early starters, this year saw a mid field winner and 2nd place taken by a chap who started 2nd last – bizarre.
But winners, was what we had!
Step forward Lindsey Fallow, John Skinner, Donna Mitchell, Heather Clegg, John Garbutt, Chris Brown, Pamela Munro all won their age category on the night.
Not only that but Lindsey fallow was first lady home in the whole race with Donna not far behind in 2nd, terrific running.
Quickest net time on the night was Kim Brown in 36 mins 28 seconds and for the ladies, the ever waving (judging by the pictures) Victoria Morris in 41.04
Thanks to those who stayed and clapped the winners, only 10 months to prepare for next year, see you all soon and thanks again.
Results on the website at www.harrogate-league.org.uk
Alva Highland Games
Report by Gary Bastow
On Saturday I travelled up to one of my favourite races at the 163rd Alva Highland Games near Stirling in Scotland. It’s the biggest of the meets and draws clans from around the world back to home ground. From the Scottish dancing to track running and cycling, also the caber tossing etc is awesome to see.
The hill race is at the end of the show and is part of the BOFRA rounds and Scottish hill climbing championships. It’s round half the track over a wall, through a gully and straight up to the top of Wee Tory hill on a 1,237 ft sheer climb, and then round the top and back.
£175 to win it and also 75 quid if your first to the top! Too old for that now.
82 runners went off
I got 41st and second v60
Still got maximum points in the BOFRA champs as the chap that pipped me isn’t in it
And got the £25! Bah
Snowdonia Trail Ultra
Report by Claire Baker
On Sunday I completed the Snowdonia Trail Ultra. For the last couple of years I have read Stan Appleton’s great race reports from the marathon and last year the ultra so when the entries opened for 2019 I signed up. The organisers describe the events offered as a stunning Trail Marathon, Ultra Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k, starting and finishing in Wales’s outdoor capital, Llanberis and say it is one of the UK’s most challenging trail races. The Ultra encompasses 7000ft of climbing over 60km and visits the beautiful Cwm Tresgl and Cwm Pennant before rejoining the Marathon Route which circumnavigates and eventually climb Wales’ highest peak – Snowdon. The incredible route explores the trails, gorgeous panoramic views and tough climbs that make Snowdonia National Park such a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Visiting Rhyd Ddu, Beddgelert, Nant Gwynant, Pen y Pass and Snowdon. The ultra will also earn finishers 3 ITRA points.
Having never run in the area before I felt a little out of my depth at registration on Saturday afternoon, which was held at the start and finish field in Llanberis. A stroll around some of the route in the evening did little to alleviate my worries. Looking at the climbs and terrain I knew the run was going to be tough. Race day arrived and we woke to near perfect running conditions and clear skies. The race started at 6:30am and there was a 12 hour cut off (definitely no given on the terrain). The first 4 miles of the route were a continuous but runnable ascent over a mixture of terrain including tracks, open moorland and peat bogs. The next 10 miles were undulating until we had a continuous climb and then a technical descent and run into Beddgelert. The next 6 miles around two lakes were flat and my least favourite part of the route but at 27 miles we began the ascent of Snowdon. I knew this was going to be tough on tired legs as my Garmin was telling me I was going to need to cover over half the total climb in the race in the next 5 miles. The ascent was never ending and I passed lots of runners, including marathon distance runners who were really struggling. We were however rewarded with the most breathtaking views as the sky had remained clear. Let me tell you that Snowdon mountain keeps on giving and I was very pleased to reach the top! Miles 32 to 37 were straight back down the other side! There were medics or marshals every 300m and I don’t think I passed one who wasn’t bandaging or assisting a runner who had fallen on the descent. I managed to make it down in one piece but my legs were like jelly as I ran back into Llanberis and the finish in a time of 8 hours 25, finishing in 68th position overall and 10th Lady.
This was one of the hardest 37 mile races I’ve ever run. The climbs were long and tough but the descents were also long and technical and there was lots of chances for some nasty falls so you had to really concentrate on your footing all the time but I did enjoy the challenge and would definitely recommend the events, maybe just not as a first ultra! There are a number of our club runners that would absolutely love this race and fly round a lot faster than me. Would I go back next year? Yesterday I said absolutely not but never say never!
Lyke Wake Challenge
Report by Colm O’Cofaigh
I did the ‘Lyke Wake Challenge’ race on the weekend. It is a 40’ish mile race, superbly organised by the Quakers Running Club, that starts near Osmotherley and heads eastwards across the North York Moors to finish at Ravenscar by the coast. It largely follows the route of the famous Lyke Wake long distance walk with great scenery in some of the more remote parts of the moors. For 50 years it was run as the ‘Lyke Wake Race’ until the Quakers took it over in 2015 and re-named it the Lyke Wake Challenge. It is handicap race in that runners are allocated a start time between 4 am and 10 and based on their previous or predicted finish time. It is an absolutely brilliant race and I recommend it highly. This was my 4th time doing it. Conditions were misty to start with but gradually improved throughout the day, ending up fine and sunny. I completed it in 8 hours 52 minutes which was a PB for me.
Skirefare Half Marathon
Report by James Stuart-Mills
Andrew Harker and I completed the Due North Skirfare Half Marathon on Saturday – on my part in search of a replacement for the Dales Trail series, much missed!
There was a relaxed start above the river Skirfare just south of Kettlewell for about 110 runners, many in club vests. After a short briefing we headed up towards Arncliffe, briefly on the road (Littondale 4 runners will know this stretch). This was the last easy running at the 200m valley bottom before heading up a stiff climb to 510m over from Arncliffe to Starbotton. A pleasant track took us through woods and pastures before another climb from a small water station in Kettlewell up to 510m on Langcliffe. The route then took us back via Kettlewell with another smaller climb. In all it was a 14 mile route with approx. 800m of climb. This was a hot muggy day but there was plenty of water at the two water stations, and we were checked off efficiently twice en route. There was a bottle of beer, some skyr yoghurt and some Whittaker’s mints for finishers, and a dollop of cold pasta (not so nice).
I finished in 3 hrs 11 mins to find Andrew looking as though he’d been there for a while! The results aren’t out yet but that would have placed me 46th out of 71 in the previous year.
DT20 vets might be interested in a comparison. The winner of the last DT20 in 2017 finished in 1.20 (JSM 2.23), and the winner of last year’s Skirfare finished in 2.03. There is a bit less climb in the DT20 and I don’t remember the climbs being as steep as Skirfare. This was a much smaller, low-key event than the DT series.
Overall it is a good race and well organised, marshalled and marked. The lack of a route description or map on the day was a bit disconcerting but not really an issue. So – I reckon Skirfare is a solid challenge and I’d recommend it as an alternative to the Dales Trails (although maybe not a week after doing the Burn Valley half), and I’d rate it as midway between the DT20 and DT30. This was the second in a series of 3 races, the first being at Burnsall and the third in Skipton on 31 August, which takes in Sharp Haw and the pretty village of Hetton which has a v convivial but pricey pub.