> 2002 race reports

Gisborough Moors Race

7th April 2002

As all at the race know - WE WERE ROBBED!

Morgan and Charlie Stead, first and second on the day, were disqualified on the technicality that they failed to go to the 4th (unmanned) checkpoint, even though they went almost within spitting distance and the route they took was longer, involved more climbing, worse running surface, dragons and biting insects etc. etc.. Ben Grant from Harrogate was also disqualified because he followed our trusty pair rather than the safer policy of only following Mandale vests. So be warned, Joe Blackett (Mandale), next year you are history!

And, what's more, the NFR 'A' team of Morgan, Charlie, David Armstrong and Gary Owens would have easily destroyed the Mandale first team ON THEIR OWN TRAINING GROUND. That's not easy to do, especially if they keep putting these technicalities in the race rules! (Ed - going the right way a technicality?!)

Well done to those fine NFR runners and for everyone who finished. Another good club turnout. These results are really putting the Club on the map. Morgan was a whole Roseberry Topping ahead of me at the dog-leg and far out in the lead. For those further down the field, the course was as long and as fast running as ever with warm conditions and dry underfoot. Jane Saul was memorable for winning a spot prize - well done. In her local Derby against Paul Jameson, however, she lost by a minute. Keith Cooper beat Pat in their private competition too, so perhaps it was a man's race. Personal thanks to Geoff Davis for leading me to believe I could eventually catch him and to Stewart Gardener for his deliberate mistake in the forest so I could sneak back in front after he had left me for dead. If I could have just stuck with the first lady for a little longer...

Andy Curtis

Brough Law Fell Race

24th March 2002

This race was organised by NFR member Ray Hayes and was new to the fell running calendar this year. A good Club turnout was expected as the race kicked off the 2002 NFR Championship program and we featured 24 out of the 40 runners. Another 10 were unattached so perhaps some might be persuaded to join. To increase the climbing and keep the race within the A category rules, Ray had started the course by a climb up the bank we would eventually finish by running down – a nice touch which added to the race and at least ensured a slower starting pace. From the top of this hill, we descended rapidly to the road again, then set off around a 5 mile course, although I haven’t the faintest idea where we went. All I remember was some good running terrain (mainly short grassy tracks), a steep descent and climb through a stream valley about half way and the welcoming top of the last hill (Brough Law) with a glimpse of its interesting rocky hill fort through misty eyes. Must go back and have a look some time. The descent was gradual and on a good grassy track, then fast and furious down the steep starting bank. The winner was a local hill runner, well known in the professional circuit; I wonder if he wants to join NFR. Thanks to Ray and his team for a fine race, good weather, prizes and company – an excellent start to the championship.

Brough Law results

Paul Jameson

Doctor's Gate Hill Race

24th February 2002

The sudden change in weather with the snowfall and freezing conditions caused all sorts of problems. As organiser of the event, I arrived at Hamsterley Forest on the Sunday morning to find that Saturday's melting snow and the below zero temperatures overnight had left the access road along the valley floor covered with ice and for safety reasons, the Forestry Commission had closed it down. This left me with the problem of how do I get to the race start two miles away. Two cars were dispatched to try the alternative route of getting to the Grove but subsequently returned reporting that the other road was just sheet ice and that there was no way the Grove could be reached.

So what now. Well, after a quick discussion it was decided that we would have to start the race from where we were and that an alternative race route needed to be found and quick. Two of us went out to devise a route while the other four set up race registration and sorted out runners who had started to arrive.

A quick two and a half mile route was marked out in the forest and the decision taken that we would make this a two lap race which would fetch it up to its original race distance. The runners were assembled, apologies given for the confusion, explanations given about the race route and then the runners were set off only a couple of minutes later than the race time. Panic over or so we thought.

The race had been underway for about ten minutes then the next thing happened. Groups of runners started to appear from the trails in the woods. Between ten and fifteen runners had somehow actually managed to make it down the steep road into the Grove itself and had been wondering what had happened to the race before they had set off to find it. Once again the explanations and apologies were given and fell runners being what they are, graciously accepted them but not without a bit of good-natured leg pulling. However, it was decided that because of the confusion, this race would be treated as a one-off and would not count as part of the Deadly Durham Fell Race series. The original Doctor's Gate race would be re-staged in April and hopefully pass without a hitch.

Anyway back to the race itself. At the end of the first lap it was a close thing. Barry Stephenson, back home on a weekend trip from Loughborough University, was leading but only by a couple of yards from Morgan Donnelly of NFR. This pair was then closely followed by Barry's teammate, Alasdair Tatham. Barry kept the lead for most of the way up the long drag of the hill before Morgan's fell strength started to pay off and he started to pull away from Barry. Morgan eventually finished fifty seconds in front of Barry with Alasdair another two and a half minutes behind.

Doctor's Gate results

Paul Jameson

Carnethy Hill Race 2002

Well folks

Saturday 16th February saw yet another Carnethy Hill Race. For those not in the know, Carnethy is one of the best known, and best loved?! events on the calendar, taking place in the Pentland Hills just outside of Edinburgh. A short race at approximately 6 miles but quite sharp involving a net ascent/descent of some 2500 ft, and with a most excellent Ceilidh in the evening.

This year's Carnethy saw a superb turnout of 12 by NFR runners amongst the total entry of 383. Although the day was dry, it was decidedly breezy and downright cold hanging around at the start and finish, and I think everyone was happy to get on with it. After the first major climb, there is normally a chance to recover as a ridge run ensues. This year the wind was straight in the face at the top making the recovery feel like a continuation of the hill. I'm sure times would have suffered as a result. The middle of the race sees a descent round the back of the hills before the second and final major climb to the top of Carnethy Hill itself which is followed by a nasty steep descent through deep heather to the finish. I'd say that's a bit of a leg wobbler meself like ... or was it just me?

Anyhow, Dexter was first NFR runner home in a cracking 59:06 and 37th position, closely followed by myself, Gary Owens at 63:22, Geoff Davis in 65:24, Morgan Frances in 69:13, Stewart Gardener in 69:16, Andy Curtis in a shocking 70:46 (only joking Andy), Stewart Jones in 72:17, Ray Hayes in 73:58, Jane Saul in 80:57, Susan Davis in 89:23, and Charlotte Roberts in 91:42. Rob Jebb of Bingley won in a fantastic 48:00 over a minute ahead of second, and two mins ahead of third! Angela Mudge of Carnethy HRC was first lady with a typically stunning 54:20.

Definitely a good show of performances from NFR's "top" athletes, and worthy of ninth prize in the Men's team competition (...and no, that wasn't out of nine). In fact NFR's men scalped some notable clubs, including Hunter's Bog Trotters and the Ochil Hill Runners, with all teams ahead being very noteworthy clubs indeed. The women's team finished seventh with some very good performances. No comments on the total number of teams, girls, but definitely a big well done.

Post race niceties included the usual tea and biscuits in the field, and pie and chips back in Penicuik. All in all a very good day out, well recommended for earmarking in the future, and a credit to Carnethy Club for their organisation of such a good event.

Hope to see you all there in 2003.

Carnethy results for NFR runners

Nigel Scott

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