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The Lakeland 50 is run simultaneously with the Lakeland 100 and begins in the grand setting of the 100′s halfway checkpoint at Dalemain House near Ullswater. Martyn and Helen Price, Rich Willis and Andy Holohan had entries for this incredibly tough race, all hoping that the Weather Gods would be kind following last year’s very hot conditions. This was a pivotal race in more ways that one: For Martyn it was his warm-up race for the forthcoming Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), while Helen has been having a great season and solidifying her reputation as an outstanding ultra-distance runner, meaning a good performance was essential. This was Andy’s first race after an extended period of injury and it was the first time that Rich had tackled a 50-miler – there was a lot at stake. This race was UK Athletics Ultra Distance Championship race, so (unsurprisingly) a lot of the UK’s best runners were gathered at the start.

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Rich Willis on the long trail to Coniston ….. (Sports Sunday)

In the event, everyone’s hopes were dashed and it turned out to be a blisteringly hot day; all competitors had to battle dehydration as well as a complex and technical route. Helen lived up to expectations and ran a superb race among a very strong field, taking 90 minutes (!) off her 2013 time to finish in 10:45:31, 8th lady overall and 1st LV40. The hot conditions were always going to exact a toll on Martyn, but despite being limited by dehydration and its effects he managed to trim an hour off last year’s time to finish in 12:00:58 and 102nd position overall. Rich suffered in the heat and his pace was curtailed accordingly, nonetheless he put in a spirited performance to finish in 13:18:07 and 189th overall. Andy battled on bravely throughout the night, showing real resolve to finish the race in 18:48:49 and 470th overall.  Results

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Marc Scott sets a hard pace from the start! (courtesy of Rachael Fawcett Photography)

Yet again Weather Gods smiled at the Harrogate Town Centre 10K and gave us a fine break in the weather, meaning the race went off without a hitch and in perfect conditions.  Runners from as far afield as the Isle of Man enjoyed a superb race, everyone had a great time and there was some cracking racing at the front of the field.  The race overall was won by Marc Scott of Richmond & Zetland Harrier in a superb time of 30:53 – just 8 seconds off the course record – while the ladies race was won by Sharon Barlow of Ripon Runners in 36:40.

Final results here

Summer Sizzlers!

July 20, 2014

Wednesday 9th July
Summer brings a varied selection of mid-week fell races to Yorkshire and one of the best is the Stirton race near to Skipton on Wednesday 9th July.  Covering around 5.5 miles and with 1,000ft of ascent up and around the well-known landmark of Shap Haw, it’s a great place to spend a summer evening. For the meagre sum of £3 runners are treated to a terrific race, plus beer, cheese and cake at the finish! A good number of Harrogate Harriers made the short journey and were well rewarded for their efforts.  The race was won by Ed Evans of Craven Energy, but Harriers coach Ian Rowbotham was first home for the club and 11th overall in 43:47, also taking the first MV50 slot.  David Fountain and Nick Andralojc had a terrific tussle, finishing in 15th/45:07 and 16th/45:08 respectively, this was probably the closest racing of the evening and meant that Nick, who has got steadily faster as the season has progressed, was rewarded with the 2nd MV50 slot.  Close behind was Phil Birch in 23rd position with a time of 46:28 and Guy Williams who was 30th in another great time of 48:45. Course PBs also for Martyn and Helen Price, Helen doing particularly well to finish 2nd lady overall in 50:45.

Nathan Smith once again broke his business trip up to Scotland with a Cumbrian race, this time taking in the Endmoor 10K on Wednesday 9th near Kendall. This is a small race of 93 people which has a gradual hill for the first 2.5 miles and then wends its way back to the village hall to finish spot on 10K. Having taken it easy for the first two miles Nathan slowly moved through the field and finished 20th in 42:32.

On the same day Wendy Marks took a trip up to the North East to compete in the Bridges of the Tyne 5 mile road race, an out and back route along Newcastle quayside. She was delighted to come away with a new PB of 33:46, earning 1st FV45, 15th lady and 107th of 349 overall.

Saturday 12th July
Moving on to the weekend’s activities, Martyn and Helen Price travelled to the North Yorkshire Moors on Saturday 12th July to compete in the Osmotherley Phoenix Off-Road ultra marathon, this is a 33-mile race that takes in a circular route over a large section of the Cleveland Way and involves over 4,000ft of vertical climb.  In recent years this race has taken place in extremely warm conditions and the 2014 event was no different, the lack of a cooling breeze only made things more difficult.  The Harrogate Harriers duo ran well and registered some impressive results: Notwithstanding some major problems with deyhdration and cramp, Martyn sliced over an hour off his 2013 time to finish 24th overall and 3rd MV50 in 6.46.18, while Helen – who was not similarly affected – put in a superb run to finish second in the ladies’ race in 6:22:42.

Their fellow fell-runner, Mark Robinson, opted for a different outing, the Lyke Wake race. Forty-two miles in total, thirty miles of it was on open moorland with no protection, an experience Mark likened to running in a furnace. With an initial aim of 9.5 to 10 hours Mark was very pleased to finish in 9:10, and excellent result in those conditions.

Also on Saturday was the Addingham Gala Fell Race which Liz Sandell decided to take part in. This route is all uphill to start with the descent on the way back, taking in 6 miles and 1000ft of climb overall. Liz thought it was an excellent race and the perfect length for her, but found the heat somewhat challenging. She completed the race in a great time of 1:12:14.

Sunday 13th July
The following day offered some more fantastic choices for racing. There was a good turnout of Harriers at the Burton Leonard 10K. It was muggy, muddy and very undulating, and with a tweaking of the route beforehand turned out to be, in fact, 6.5 miles in length. After a dramatic few moments before the start when a sudden torrential downpour and huge gust of wind resulted in two gazebos blowing away and several competitors having to frantically hang onto the poles of the marquee as it tried to take off the race got underway. The route is a circular one through fields, a ford, some stiles and a short road section. Harriers’ Andy Grant had a storming race and won the race very decisively, two minutes clear of second place, in 36 minutes. Next Harrier over the line and 13th place overall was Simon Watson in 45:07. Wendy Marks was next, as 2nd lady and 23rd place overall in 47:30, followed closely by Dave Askew in 24th place with 47:55. Sarah Gill was 3rd lady and 27th overall in 48:36.

Many Harriers chose the beautiful surroundings of Eccup for the 10 mile race there. A popular race, it offers a scenic, undulating route taking in the reservoir, brilliant marshalling and a very bright green technical t-shirt gifted at the finish. Paul Stockburn was the first Harrier over the line, securing 1st M55 place and 43rd overall with a time of 1:04:54. Next was Graham Molyneux, 58th overall in 1:06:34, and then Richard Willis, 81st overall in 1:08:19. First Harrier lady was Emma Robinson, who was 168th  overall in 1:14:29. She was followed by Sue Simpson who crossed the line in 1:16:11 for 2nd FV50 and 188th overall, then Sue Moul in 1:18:38 for 3rd FV45 and 242nd overall.

Darren West is still doing a sterling job with his 2014 challenge having added two more half marathons to his tally over the last two weekends. On Sunday 6th July he competed in the Morecambe Crossbay Challenge which is a half marathon with quite a difference: 13.35 miles entirely on sand whilst racing the tide. Crossing rivers which were up to the thigh, seven miles of the route straight into a headwind and a baking sun meant that this was a very demanding run, as evidenced by the first finisher being a time of 1:25, the last finisher 3:40, and 88 runners dropping out mid-race. Darren did excellently to finish in 1:49:58 in 35th place. The next weekend, on Sunday 13th, Darren was back in the North West for the Windmill Half Marathon in Lytham St Annes. He found the course a little uninspiring and that coupled with the muggy conditions resulted in what he felt was a disappointing race for him, but a great time nonetheless of 1:40:29, 91st overall in a field of 481.

Hitting The Wall!

July 20, 2014

Harrogate Harriers had an excellent turnout for the entirety of the Harrogate & District Summer Racing League and were rewarded last week with excellent results both for teams and individuals.  Harriers won the first male team, first supervets and first elite categories, with 1st Male going to Mike Burrett, 2nd Male to Andy Grant, 1st M40 also to Andy Grant, 1st MV60 to Ben Grant, 1st FV50 to Sarah Gill and 1st Young Male to Ed Beecher.

Sunday 29th June
A number of Harriers, some first-time fell racers, took to the hills for the Settle Hills Fell Race. Seven miles in distance with 1312ft of ascent, the course is extremely challenging with lots of very steep ascent and even steeper descents requiring nerves of steel. Fantastic views all round made this a very memorable event for all involved. The heat of the day was particularly pronounced in the last mile in the valley but the finish line soon came into view with tea and cakes to follow.  Nick Andralojc was the first Harrier over that line, 35th overall, in an excellent 1:10:37. Guy Williams, in his first foray into fell-running and his first race of the year after recovering from an injury, was very close behind, 39th overall in 1:12:50.  Sally Houghton was third for the club, 57th overall and 8th lady in a time of 1:16:19. Dan Simmons was next, in 77th position overall, with 1:20:41 on the clock, followed by Liz Sandell in 1:30:59, 92nd place, and Emma Andralojc in 1:58:59 for 103rd position.

Also in the last week of June was The Wall Ultra Marathon which Paul Rock, despite being a relative newcomer to running, decided to try his hand at. He had done his first marathon in May, in Geneva, and was very pleased to finish that in 4:17, so the 69 mile, two day event in Carlisle seemed to represent the next step up for him! Traversing from Carlisle to Newcastle in two stages of 32 and 37 miles Paul was running for a total of 15:24, an experience he describes as “brutal” but enjoyable.

The World Heritage Site, Hadrian’s Wall, was the setting for a wonderful circular-route half marathon last weekend. Extremely hilly with beautiful views the route really was mixed terrain with grassland, paths, forest tracks and small sections of road. The four Harriers who made the journey did themselves and the club proud, all four earning top 3 positions in their categories. Darren West was the first Harrier over the line in 1:42:14, earning himself an excellent 36th place overall and 3rd MV50. Wendy Marks was just behind in 1:48:25 which gave her 1st LV45 place and 73rd overall. Sue Moul was 136th in a great time of 1:55:19, 2nd LV45, and Coralin Harrison finished 404th overall in 2:38:18 for an excellent 1st LV65 place.