> 2004 news round up

Read a report of KIMM 'A' 2004 – Brecon Beacons by Paul Hainsworth complete with photographs taken with a disposable camera which luckily he didn't discard during the event.

Steve Birkinshaw and Morgan Donnelly just missed out on winning the KIMM Elite Class, 6 minutes behind the winners Mark Seddon and John Hunt. Read reports on the KIMM website . I have it on very strong authority that the conditions were misty at altitude, making control finding rather difficult. NFR were also represented in the Elite Class by Charles Stead (and Robert Johnson) in eighth position and David Atkinson and Jerry Sharp in twenty first position. In club terms I suspect that this performance is unprecedented. In the A class Dave Armstrong and Paul Hainsworth were thirty-seventh and in the Medium Score, Ed and Anna Watson were 170th. Well done to all those who took part.

On Sunday in Hamsterley Forest one or two fell runners were spotted orienteering when they should have been running in the Ayhope Skyline. The forest was awash with orienteers, fell runners, horse riders and mountain bikers on a warm autumnal morning. I thought we took part in these activities to get away from it all.

Philip in his pursuit for accurate distances in fell running has come up with a distance of 17 miles for the Pentland Skyline from his GPS as opposed to the quoted 16 miles. No inconsistency there. The shorter distance is that on a projected horizontal surface whereas the GPS calculates distance in three dimensional space. Which is a long way of saying it must have been a horrendous climb. I would like to see an account of the race from any source to remind me of the route which is only a dim and distant memory. I hope you can still climb the stairs at the Cumberland Arms in Byker for the AGM. Some NFR members were spotted disguised as road runners on the same day at the INOV-8 Trail Race at Tunstall Reservoir. Continuing on the theme of distance, the race was advertised as 8 miles but it turned out to be less than 6 miles as measured by a runner with a low tech pedometer, albeit with a computer. The excuse, tongue in cheek, was that the GPS does not work in woodland. Can anyone shed any light? Inov-8 generously provided running shoes to winners in all categories. An excellent race on moorland, open pasture and woodland, perhaps too flat for purists and rather short. That's why I enjoyed it so much.

At some point this year I thought I was reasonably fit, having done a fair number of fell races, that is until I took part in the October Odyssey, an orienteering event at Dukes House Wood on Saturday and Simonside on Sunday. I was shocked at how unfit I was. Orienteering puts different stresses on your body. Above all you never get the chance to get into a rhythm. I did get the chance to show off my descending abilities from the summit of Simonside. One guy was really impressed which shows you can fool some people some of the time.

Around 50 runners took part in the Stanhope Common Fell Race today. In breezy, bright and dry conditions the runners set off through the woods. Despite the route being taped the footbridge across the burn lured some across it, but fortunately with a cry from behind. The stiff breeze generally helped on the climbs. After the final climb up the velvet path, the run in from the road on grassy paths down past the old workings is exhilarating. The finish across the ford was sensibly abandoned for one on the north side of the main road in the side street. The overall winners in a dead heat were Colin Donnelly and Joe Blackett. The first woman home was Karen Robertson who is now, I think, in an unassailable position in the North East Counties Ladies Open Fell Running Championships. In this race everyone goes away with a prize. As always, Keven's organisation was underplayed and efficient. Considering the attraction of another race it was a good turnout from NFR with notable runs, the most notable being John Humble's run. Great to see you running.

The Simonside fell race from the Thropton Show had 123 runners who set out on a beautiful early autumn afternoon to the sound of bagpipes looking forward to the delights of a varied route including a river crossing, footpaths across fields, a road run, a slippy ascent up a forest path, a scramble up the rocks and heather to the summit, a breakneck descent (for some) down the rocks, a run along squidgy forest paths and a fast descent down winding forest tracks, grassy hillside and tarmac road and finally plunging across the stream to return to the show field. I know of at least one person who took the shortcut through the nettles and an apparently longer but shorter route to the summit. The first man home was Matthew Whitfield from Bingley followed by Morgan Donnelly. The first woman was Alison Raw of Darlington.

Ruth Fletcher and Peter Reed had brilliant runs in the Great Langdale Marathon – a fell run on tarmac with spectacular views which could be appreciated without falling over. Julie Cross, myself and Gary Owens all completed the half marathon, so good that Ruth and Peter went around again finishing in around 4:36 and 4:05 respectively – believe me, these were good times. I managed a personal worst and still was pleased with my time.

NFR Success at Wasdale Fell Race

Wasdale Fell Race Results

NFR had the most starters and finishers of any club at this year's Wasdale fell race. Arguably the toughest race in the calendar, at 21 miles and 9000 feet of ascent over the most unforgiving terrain in the Lakes, NFR had 8 members among the 71 starters and 6 in the 49 finishers. Although we couldn't quite repeat the triumph of 1998, when we were first team, we did manage to finish third, beaten only by Borrowdale and Cumberland Fell Runners. This is a race to break the heart of the bravest fell runner and as a result, has struggled for entries in recent years. However, this year we were there in greater strength than anybody else, turning in some very good performances, notably Jane Grundy who was one of only four women to complete the course.

Two renegade NFR runners (I was one) completed the Swaledale Marathon in a time of 4:57.

The latest additions to Bob Graham round articles are from David Atkinson, Jerry Sharp, Chris Little (who was actually inspired by accounts on the website), and from Lewis Grundy. So someone does look at the website.

Geoff Davis

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