> The Chevy Chase Race 1975-1986 - Peter Whewell

Chevy Chase Fell Race 1975-1986 results:

1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | ... | 1985 | 1986

In the 70s/80s, as now, there were always two events at the Chevy Chase, the Walk and the Fell Race (I think in those days the participants in the Walk had to wear boots). Clearly some of those entering the Walk did run, though the top times in the Walk were up to an hour slower than the fell runners in the Race.

In the 70s the Fell Race was still men only, no ladies allowed so they had to go in the Walk! I have an old entry form for 1986 Race [here] which gives the rules for the Race which included carrying full waterproofs, map, whistle and compass and emergency sustenance even then. It was up to 1986, at least, a shorter course than the present course. It was the same to Langlee Crags but then we came down to the river at the bridge and went back along the road to Wooler Hostel, making it 17 miles “approximately”.
The Race used to attract small but high class fields. Before the era of specific fell-running clubs many of the local fell-runners ran for Morpeth, though there was a good smattering from other local road clubs (I ran for Blaydon Harriers at the time). Some of the local runners were good local road runners and ran the occasional day on the fells, but a few such as Andy Phillipson were on the fells full time.

Looking through the 1976 Race results I see that Commonwealth marathon champion and Newcastle to Morpeth supremo Jim Alder ran, though he was only fourth! Obviously his only day out on the fells, but another reason for this relative failure would be that in the 70s there weren’t so many tough fell races around and the Race attracted top fell runners from Yorkshire and the Lakes. For instance in 1977 I see that the greatest fell runner of all time, Billy Bland was only second (probably too much road and not steep enough for him?). In 1978 and 1979 the Race was graced by the legendary Andy Styan, who two year earlier set the fantastic Langdale Fell Race record (1977) which still stands today! I see that in 1979 he got the Race record down to 2 hours 8 minutes.

From 1981 onwards the top fell runners seem to have found pastures new and deserted the Chevy Race.  In 1981/1982 the Race was won by Mandale Harriers runners. Mandale are now deceased but were eventually born again as North York Moors A.C. From 1983 on the field seems to have been of mainly local runners. My own best time was 2.37 in 1982.

Only a few names from the combined results are still fell-running as far as I know. Both Billy Bland and Andy Styan have been retired for years, though Billy turns up to watch the Borrowdale Race at Rosthwaite and two years ago he looked supremely fit when I saw him there on a mountain bike. I was interested to see Keith Cooper was running in 1982 and 1985.

Mr L. Hislop used to run the race and after wardening at Wooler YHA Hostel he moved to the Newcastle YHA but continued to run the race until it was taken over by Wooler Running Club.

Anyway for possible interest of NFR  I have included copies of the sequence of Chevy Race results that I entered which is from 1975 to 1986 inclusive, but without 1984 which I must have missed, having contracted ME about then through too many long distance races.

Peter Whewell

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