Sad News

November 8, 2014

Ken Fozard

Ken Fozard

It is with great sadness that I have to announce the death today of Ken Fozard after a short illness.  Ken was one of the greatest runners to ever compete in a Harrogate vest and an absolute bastion of Harrogate A.C. and more recently Harrogate Harriers.  His untimely death will be a significant loss to the club.

I have put together a short resume of his achievements and significant contribution to local athletics, which can be found at the following link.  Please take the time to read it and appreciate the running career of a truly great Harrogate Harrier.

Our sincere condolences to his wife Anne and family.

Tony Essex
HHAC Chairman

BOFRA Championships 2014

November 7, 2014

John Young at the Kilnsey Crag race (Dave Woodhead)

John Young at the Kilnsey Crag race
(Dave Woodhead)

Our own John Young was looking for a proper challenge at the start of this season and had originally set the Fell Runners Association (FRA) English Championship as his target, however a slight “mix-up” with entry dates (that wasn’t quite the way he described it) meant that he was going to miss the first two races, so he decided to contest the British Open Fell Runners Association (BOFRA) championship instead*.   This was a brave decision and meant that he would be running against some very serious competition, but it transpires that John did incredibly well and finished the series in 7th position overall.  This was superb running and just what you would expect from our Club Captain, our colours have been noted at the highest level – please be sure to congratulate John the next time you see him!  

* There are two official bodies that govern fell-running in the UK, this harks back to the days when there were both amateur (AAA) and professional cadres of runner.  The FRA is logically a descendent of the amateur running organisations and therefore the races tend to be of longer distances, while the BOFRA events trace back to the old days of professional fell runners and are short, steep and frantic, quite often they’re held at village shows or country fairs –  good for spectators!

John at the Cracoe fell race (Dave Woodhead)

John at the Cracoe fell race
(Dave Woodhead)

John has written a great account of his BOFRA season and it’s seriously worth a read (you can find it here), but a brief summary of his race season is detailed below:

1.  Kettlewell (13th place)

2.  Helm Hill (8th place)

3.  Cracoe (8th place)

4.  Ambleside Sports (7th place)

5.  Farleton Knott (6th place)

6.  Arncliffe Gala (7th place)

7.  Reeth Show (8th place)

8.  Burnsall Classic (6th place)

9.  Embsay (3rd place)

More information on BOFRA here

2014 BOFRA Championship Table here

Almscliffe Crag Handicap

October 26, 2014

The annual handicap race between us and Harrogate Nova cyclists is a highlight of our year and there was some fine competion this time around.  For those who don’t know, the concept is a simple one: Both runners and cyclists start from the Ken Moore bench on Whinney Lane and have to find their way to the summit of Almscliffe Crag – and return – in the shortest possible time.  Of course, this also means taking whatever is the shortest route possible, preferably without breaking any laws or trespassing on anyone’s land!

This was the 40th Edition of the Almscliffe Crag Handicap (there have been a few breaks over the years due to things like Foot & Mouth etc) and over twenty Harriers turned out to compete for the club’s honour, however this year it was the cyclists who came out on top, taking the victory by over 50 seconds.  First runner back was John Blacker who got back to the finishing line in 1:30:23, John also took the Most Improved prize, narrowly beating Alex Green with a 5.03 improvement on last year.  Fastest runner on the day was Chris Miller who put in a superb effort to finish in 49.34.

Well done to all who took part and helped marshall, not forgetting those who prepared the post-event bunfest back at the clubhouse.  Our particular thanks go to Harrogate Nova for yet another enjoyable competition, see you next year!

Pos Name Time Pos Name Time
1 John Blacker 92.23 12 Chris Miller 49.34
2 Alex Green 64.38 13 Chris Gibbins 52.15
3 Dan Atkinson 56.29 14 Brian Miller 60.16
4 Jillie Townend 80.39 15 Rob Athey 69.40
5 Stephen Kirk 60.22 16 Cathy Wright 61.43
6 Ben Grant 54.19 17 Jonny Johnson 54.01
7 Sue Moul 65.34 18 Jenny Hutchinson 63.19
8 Simon Childs 59.52 19 Issy Rowe 63.50
9 Andrew Dobby 50.17 20 Stephen Nesbitt 63.48
10 Dan Oxtoby 50.17 21 Jonty Bright 58.48
11 Richard Pennock 62.18 22 Ian Rowbotham 58.49


National Fell Relays 2014

October 17, 2014

Sally Houghton in Full Descent Mode! (John Leech Photography)

Sally Houghton in Full Descent Mode!
(John Leech Photography)

This was a big day for Harrogate Harriers: Somewhat incredibly, we managed to field three full teams for the National Fell Relays, a fact that reflects how popular the off-road discipline has become in the club. This year’s relays were held in and around Middleton Fell, this is a little-known corner of Eastern Cumbria and it proved to be a superb venue, matched by outstanding organisation from the hosting clubs of Dallam R.C. and Howgill Harriers.  We had teams in the Open, V50 (Mens) and Mixed categories against what can only be termed formidable opposition; All the big fell clubs (Dark PeakCalder Valley, Borrowdale etc)  had multiple entries and counted current and former British champions among their number, so we knew it was not going to be easy!  Each team had six members and there were four legs to run, legs 1 and 4 were both of about 5 miles and ran individually, while legs 2 and 3 were 8.5 miles and 7 miles respectively and ran as pairs.  Leg 3 was the navigation leg and competitors did not get maps or route instructions until they were approximately 400 meters into the race.  Things kicked off with a mass start and the 2014 British Champion Rob Hope (Pudsey & Bramley) showed his class by taking the field apart and easily coming into transition in first place, however Dark Peak showed just what a force they are by taking the lead during the navigation leg and with that the 2014 Relays Title.  Somewhat controversially, Calder Valley and Borrowdale Mens’ V40 teams came home in second and third places but were awarded the V40 1st/2nd prizes while Mercia and Wharfedale were credited with second and third place overall.  Apparently those are the rules.

So how did the Harriers contingent do?  Pretty well as it happens :-)  Our Open Team lads ran their hearts out to come home in a very creditable 41st place overall, a great result out of the 217 teams that entered and to be truthful, they would have probably been a good bit further up the order if Knights in Shining Armour John Young and Barry McGuire hadn’t stopped for a few minutes to assist a couple of totally lost damsels in distress.   These poor ladies were from a club from “Down South” (Cheshire actually, but that’s South isn’t it?) and John and Barry quite properly stopped to direct the poor girls back on to the proper line while other more ruthless runners charged past.  Ten out of Ten for chivalry lads!

Ros Moore Working Hard on Leg 1 .... (Dave Woodhead)

Ros Moore Working Hard on the Leg 1 Climb ….
(Dave Woodhead)

Our V50 team were less fortunate and suffered a devastating blow when Paul Render (on leg 2 with Brian Miller) was forced to retire with a nasty calf injury before reaching CP1 on Eskholme Pike, meaning that those on legs 3 and 4 had to partake in mass starts and would not have been in contention for a place.  So how about the Mixed Team?  Well, it’s a story worth telling:  Ros Moore  did superbly to hang on and pass the baton to Martyn and Helen Price who were running leg 2.  They used all the experience at their disposal to pull back a lot of places on the long descent down to Wrestle Gill and navigated straight to a cleverly concealed checkpoint, while other teams overshot and had to contour back around the tricky terrain at the foot of the hill – there’s a lot to be said for studying the map carefully!  David Fountain and Nick Andralojc charged off on the navigation leg and put in a phenomenally strong performance, going straight to each CP with no problem and handing over to Sally Houghton who was on leg 4.  Sally went out there – in deteriorating conditions – and simply buried herself to bring the Mixed Team home in THIRD PLACE overall.  I hope she remembers the entire Harriers contingent yelling and cheering her in at the finish, she really did us proud.  According to the Compere (who was fantastic) we were the rowdiest club on the day and I think this is something to be proud of, quite apart from some great running from everyone who took part.

So well done to all concerned, but particular thanks to club fell running POC Helen Price for all her work and organisation, thanks also to chairman Tony Essex who travelled up to Middleton to support and stoically endured some pretty nasty weather in order to support our teams.   Next year’s relays will be held in Scotland and Harrogate Harriers  will again be entering teams  – watch this space!!

Harrogate Harriers A (Open) – Andy Grant, Chris Miller, Chris Gibbins, John Young, Barry McGuire, Jake Turnbull

Harrogate Harriers B (V50) – Ben Grant, Brian Miller, Paul Render, Harry Dowdell, Simon Watson, Ian Rowbotham

Harrogate Harriers C (Mixed) – Ros Moore, Martyn Price, Helen Price, David Fountain, Nick Andralojc, Sally Houghton