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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.

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