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Ice, Mud & Brass Monkeys!

January 18, 2015

Angela Gill in action at the Brass Monkey

Angela Gill in action at the Brass Monkey

The perennially popular Brass Monkey Half-Marathon once again lived up to its name, conditions were absolutely freezing cold meaning an icy course and not a little caution being required!  Over thirty Harrogate Harriers made their customary pilgrimage to the Knavesmire and some fine performances ensued, despite many moments more akin to Bambi on ice than running a half-marathon!

Andy Grant was first Harrier across the line in 1:14:01 and 13th position overall.  This was some way off Andy’s best, but he’s had a tough season and I think we can forgive him for one “bad” result!  Our first lady was Wendy Marks who, despite being unhappy with the icy conditions, put in a very respectable 1:35:22 to finish 42nd lady overall and 5th FV45.  There were lots of other great performances, but of especial note were PBs from Ros Moore (1:38:20), Geoff Hirst (1:29:26), Rob Garbutt (1:24:59) and Adam Prentis (1:27:42)

The race was won by Dan Jenkin from Durham City Harriers in a rather nippy 1:08:58, while first lady was Shona McIntosh from Hunters Bog Trotters (better known for their fell-running prowess) who finished in 1:16:13.  Results

Helen Price at The Hebden 22 Fell Race (SportsSunday Event Photography)

Helen Price at The Hebden 22 Fell Race
(SportsSunday Event Photography)

Meanwhile – and at quite the opposite end of the running spectrum – the Harriers fell runners were also in action this weekend in the hills of Calderdale.  The race in question was The Hebden, a tough off-road event that follows a circular route around Hebden Bridge, taking competitors high into the surrounding hills and fells before a final loop to the East of Cragg Vale and into Mytholmroyd, a sum total of 22 miles and 4,000ft of ascent.

As you would expect from recent weather conditions, the race was very hard indeed with ice, snow and driving winds to contend with, at one point deteriorating to a full-on blizzard.  Nonetheless, this is an expected hazard of winter fell running and the Harrogate contingent acquitted themselves with distinction:  Andy Dobby (making a welcome return to the fells) was first Harrier across the line, taking 9th position overall in an excellent 3h36m, while Helen Price did superbly to finish 2nd lady in 4hr08m, trimming 21 minutes off her course PB in the process.  Martyn Price and Mark Robinson put in similarly strong performances to finish well up the results sheet.  The race was won by Ben Mounsey of Calder Valley Fell Runners, while the ladies were led home by Josie Greenhalgh of Horwich RMI.  Results

Darren West at Birmingham ....

Darren West at Birmingham ….

2014 will be a memorable year for many Harrogate Harriers, but for Darren West it will be one to be savoured as he has completed a challenge that many will have thought simply impossible – he has successfully completed an incredible 52 half-marathons (you may care to read that again) in order to raise money for his supported charity, Martin House Children’s Hospice.  This superb Boston Spa-based organisation provides care for children with life-limiting illnesses and Darren undertook to raise no less than £5,200 for them during the course of the year.  As we approach the end of the year, I am pleased to tell you that he is nearly there – a fantastic effort and the whole club is immensely proud of his achievement.  The man himself put a few words together:

“…… The challenge to run 52 half-marathons in 2014 was never going to be easy.  The events themselves were hard enough, but maintaining my fitness throughout the year was also going to be difficult.  The hardest part of my challenge to raise £5200 for Martin House was the logistics behind each event: Planning when to travel, how far to drive for same day events, where to stay and what effect that would have on family life.

Darren & Coralin Harrison

Darren & Coralin Harrison

My first event didn’t go without a few hiccups: As we headed out to Lea Town (Preston) I was unfortunate enough to get a speeding ticket, leaving a memorable mark on what was going to be a long year!  The New Year Half-Marathon did have it’s up side however, as I ran my first PB of the year of 1:35:15.  It was also necessary to run a few back-to-back races. January only had 3 UK half-marathons that I could run and December was looking ominous as the last race date available was the 14th December. So, it was no surprise my year involved Saturday/Sunday running, 7 in total, the first was on the 18th January running the CTS Anglesey Half, a tough 15 miles off-road event where torrential rain battered me from start to finish, followed by the 19th January Brass Monkey in York on a more than welcome flat course. Needless to say, neither race produced a PB.

It wasn’t until later in the year where my form peaked. On the 30th March I ran the Belvoir Half Marathon, a small event in the quite village of Hose, it was a warm sunny day and I felt great, completing my year fastest half-marathon in 1:32:55

Races came in all forms: flat, undulating, road, trail, mountainous, off-road. But the most unusual was the Morecambe Crossbay challenge. 13.1 miles of nothing but sand. It was a hot day and this was not going to be a good event for any first-timers. I was well prepared with hat, hydration pack and sunscreen, crossing the estuary between Hest and the South Lakes while the tide was out. Great fun, but tiring and I completed the race in 1:49:48

I want to thank Jenny and the children for putting up with this cantankerous git, who got them out of bed at 5a.m. in the morning to travel to remote race venues, where some didn’t even have coffee shops to the disgust of my wife. There were days when we didn’t talk to each other for the duration of the journey and at one point…. Well, I could rant on but the truth is she and the boys have been solid and my year would never have been completed without their backing and support.

My club (Harrogate Harriers) have been fantastic and I have had support from friends at numerous events.   I hope I don’t miss anyone (if so I apologise), but thank you to Emma Prentis, Coralin Harrison, Wendy Marks, Sue Moul, Dan Simmons, Simon Childs, Tim Palmer, Tim Broomfield, Ian Rowbotham, Nathan Smith, Rob Athey, Tim Richardson, Sue Simmons, Sally Houghton, Alex Green and Jodie Peary.

I would like to thank everyone for their support and good wishes and wish them a healthy and happy New Year”.

If you wish to help Darren reach his target (or go beyond), you can do so at his JustGiving.com webpage.

You can also read more about his epic challenge at his “52 Halves” website.

complete listing of Darren’s 52 half-marathons and all respective finishing times.

Alastair and Jonny Brownlee in Full Flight! (Courtesy of Debi Nicholson)

Alastair and Jonny Brownlee in Full Flight!
(Courtesy of Debi Nicholson)

It’s not every day that a normal club runner can line up alongside an Olympic champion – or to be more precise TWO Olympic champions – but that’s exactly what happened at this year’s Chevin Chase, as local triathlon heroes Alastair and Jonny Brownlee were both on the starting line ready to do battle with the other 930-odd athletes who had turned for this popular race, held every Boxing day and attracting considerable crowds.

The race starts in Guiseley and follows a mixed road/trail route of about 7 miles, climbing over Otley Chevin before a fast descent back to Guiseley – definitely one where the road runners have the advantage.  Harrogate Harriers had a terrific turnout with over 33 members determined to shake off the excess turkey and Christmas pudding!  Some exceptionally fine running ensued, providing great entertainment for the spectators gathered on The Chevin.  The race was won by Alastair Brownlee in a fantastic 37:03 – a new course record – with brother Jonny very close behind in 37:27, Ilkley fell runner Tom Adams put in a superb effort to take third place in 38:08.  The ladies race was won by Georgia Malir (Ilkley) in a fast 44.14.

Phil Sagar leads the Pack (yes, that is a guy dressed as a chicken!)

Phil Sagar leads the pack (yes, that is a guy dressed as a chicken!)

From a Harriers perspective, the performance of the day undoubtedly belonged to Chris Miller, fresh from his victory at the Mytholmroyd Fell Race last weekend he put in a scintillating run to finish in 7th place overall in a fantastic 40:54, a superb time and he could have easily been a place further up the field.  Good running also from Jonty Bright, finishing in 44:29 and 27th place overall.

Some excellent running from Dan Atkinson, Rob Garbutt, Nathan Smith, Dave Harrison and Adam Prentis resulted in well-deserved sub-50 minute times, meanwhile the first three Harriers ladies all finished within 20 seconds of each other!  Sarah Gill took the honours in 54:25 (3rd LV50), Victoria Tremlin in 54:35 and Helen Price – running a very short race by her usual standards – in a course PB time of 54:41 (3rd LV45).

Well done to all, the club was well represented at this race and you did us proud!

Results

We Have a Winner!!

December 24, 2014

Ben Grant, 2014 FRA MV65 Champion

Ben Grant, 2014 FRA MV65 Champion

As many of you will be aware, our own Ben Grant has won the 2014 FRA MV65 English Fell Running Championship and was only narrowly beaten in the MV60 British Championship, a title he has won several times in the past.  He was unable to attend the FRA Awards Evening, so at a recent run around Swinsty/Fewston he was presented with the the trophy by Dave Tait of Dark Peak Fell Runners, a former English/British champion himself.  Needless to say, this is a remarkable achievement and marks Ben as an exceptional runner and one of whom Harrogate Harriers is inordinately proud – be sure to congratulate him the next time you see him.  Well done Ben, fantastic performance!

English Championship Results