PECO XC – The Season So Far

February 24, 2015


Junior Harrogate Harriers give the Seniors a Cheer!

Four of the five PECO Cross Country races have now taken place, these have been have been staged at Pendas Fields (Wakefield), Nostell Priory, West Park Fields and Bodington Fields (Leeds).  34 juniors, 13 ladies and 24 men have contested at least one event: Ever-present in Junior Year 4-6 have been Joseph Harris, Mark Wood, Jessica Thompson James Wood, Callum Slee, Ella Colbourn and Emily Young, while in the Junior Year 10–12 Joe Bryant, Amy Proctor, Rebecca Wood, Emma Proctor, Louisa Welton and Isobel Harris have also been regular competitors. Seniors Emma Robinson, Jodie Peary, Jillie Townend, Steve Nesbitt and Stephen Kirk have all kept a clean sheet. All the juniors have performed really well,particularly Amy Proctor and Joe Bryant who are leading their respective age groups with Jessica Thompson, Joseph Harris and Rebecca Wood lying second in theirs. The ladies are also performing well, as they top the second division and are second in the Lady Vet 1st Division and individually Emma Robinson is currently in 6th position overall. The men are struggling as our very top runners have chosen not to be involved with the exception of Jonny Johnson who placed an excellent 6th in race 4. With one race to go the men are 6th in the first division (out of 7 ) and 9th in the Vet Premier division ( out of ten ). The club are in second position in the Colin Morath Memorial Trophy, this is awarded to the club that makes the most progress over the season. The club needs a good turnout of members at the last race on Sunday 1st March at Roundhay Park, especiallyfrom the men if we are to avoid relegation. The ladies need to cement their position at the top of the league and individually. My thanks go to Claire Wood and Simon Claridge for organising the juniors and Sue Moul our senior Peco representative. Details of all things Peco can be found at

Tony Essex
HHAC Chairman

Si Lawson @ Harewood

Si Lawson @ Harewood

Cold, windy conditions greeted the 18 Harrogate Harriers who ventured down to Dewsbury for the annual 10K and the first race in our club championship, we’re reliably informed that it was huge relief when the race started and everyone could warm-up a little!  Nathan Smith got his season off to a cracking start with a PB time of 38:36 and first Harrier across the line, sub-40 times also for Mike Gill, Ben Shacklock and Adam Prentis.  First lady was Wendy Marks in an excellent 41:11, followed by Ros Moore in 43:43.   Well done to everyone for some brave efforts in bitingly cold weather.  Results

The following week brought much friendlier weather for the annual Rombold’s Stride, this is a 22-mile off-road event that follows a circular route around Baildon, Ilkley and Rombold’s Moors.  First Harrier home was Andy Dobby (time TBC) in 11th place overall, while Helen Price improved on her course PB by 21 minutes to finish 9th lady in 3:39:48.  Tim Palmer, Phil Birch and Martyn Price all finished a few minutes later, mud-spattered but none the worse for it.  Results

The BHF Harewood Half-Marathon brought great weather with it and a good number of Harriers went down to enjoy the sunshine.  Jonty Bright put in a superb effort to finish 3rd overall in 1:30:06, while Steve Trudgeon finished 11th in 1:33:41 and I suspect easily won his age category.  The results are hard to interpret from this race (for some reason most club affiliation is missing), however I think that Melanie Rice was our first lady, finishing in 2:00:56 followed by Angela Barker-Charleton in 2:15:23.  Well done to all who took place, this was a tough one and there were some great performances from the club.  Results

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 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.