> 2003 race reports

Guisborough Woods Race

30th December 2003

The results of the Guisborough Woods race show Phillip Addyman as counting for Claremont rather than NFR, otherwise we would have been second male team. It would be great if we could get more NFR runners at these Mandale / Middlesborough races (or North Yorks Moors AC races? - Ed); I'm sure we could give them a run for their money in respect of the team prize. The race was unusual in that the first ten runners were all seniors! This doesn't happen too often these days even in national championship races.

Guisborough Woods race results

Geoff Davis

Ian Hodgson Mountain Relay

5th October 2003

With acknowledgements to Borrowdale Fellrunners for providing the images.

And remember, if you build on the solid platform of the first three legs, run all the way up Red Screes, and slip a fiver to the marshal at the end, you’re bound to finish in the top ten.  With these and many other improbable words of encouragement from the NFR team, myself and Mike Jeffrey set off on the fourth and last leg of the Ian Hodgson Mountain Relay.  The cloud was closing in, the rain threatening, and the 1,100 ft climb of Red Screes towering ominously above us.  A top ten finish looked a tad unlikely.

The relay had started in beautiful weather; the autumnal chill dissipating once the sun climbed over the peaks.  Starting and finishing at Brothers Water, this 25 mile race includes 8,500 ft of climbing and is run in pairs for each of the four legs.  After assembling for the start at the campsite, those not running the first leg were able to enjoy the tea and cakes on offer at the marquee.

The first leg is the toughest, the 7 mile route climbing over Fairfield and St Sunday Crag.  There were about 60 teams entered, and David Armstrong our team captain and David Atkinson joined the mass-start on the climb up Hart Crag.  The rest of us jumped into Pete Scott’s van and drove to Patterdale to watch the runners arrive.  At just past the hour, tiny figures started to appear high on the crags above.  NFR arrived at 1 hr 24 mins in 33rd place.

Pete and John Humble took over for the second leg.  John led the way on the climb up to Angle Tarn, before giving way to Pete who led the charge down to Hartsop.  There John Dallinson and Paul Hainsworth took over the baton (actually the map), and followed the steady stream of runners up The Knott.  Aided by a good line off High Street, they arrived at Kirkstone Pass about 1 hour 30 minutes later.

John Humble and Peter Scott (photo: Borrowdale Fell Runners)

On the fourth leg Red Screes passed in a blur of rocky srambling, before a swift descent to Scandale Pass and then climb over Dove Crag.  As we looked for the ‘dibber’ [cunning electronic device worn on wrist] checkpoint at the top of Dovedale, Mike spotted another red ring on the map at the top of Red Screes.

Mike Jeffrey and John Duff (photo: Borrowdale Fell Runners)

Mike J do you think we were supposed to ‘dib’ on Red Screes too?
John D looks like it.
Mike J (rough paraphrase) Oh dear me.

Spurred on by this disappointment, Mike hurtled off downhill and I did my best to follow.  We actually managed to overtake a few teams, though the top ten finish will have to wait till next year.  As we had gained no advantage by omitting to ‘#dib’ on Red Screes, the scorer told us off but took no further action.  In the end the team finished 34th in a time of 4 hours 45 minutes.

John Duff (photo: Borrowdale Fell Runners)

All in all, a great day out, and thanks are due to our captain and organiser David Armstrong.  Next year I’ll definitely run up Red Screes.

John Duff

KIMM successes

Some useful performances in the Karrimor International Mountain Marathon set in the Langholm hills in calm conditions.

Steve Birkinshaw and Morgan Donnelly were winners in the Elite Class. A wonderful performance.

Jane and Lewis Grundy finished the Elite class too, managing even to win the Mixed prize, finishing 16th out of 30 pairs. They thought it was a good event and a good course - not too much navigation choice, but hard work all the same. Watching Steve and Morgan run past on the Saturday was quite inspiring to them! They were 20 mins down overnight on the leading mixed pair, but navigated well and held it together on Day 2. They knew they were the first mixed pair in on the Sunday, and had a 20 minute wait to see if the leaders (mixed) had held onto their lead. It turned out that they had pulled out with injury and the third mixed pair was way down in 28th place. It was a little bit of a lifetime ambition for them, and although it had a element of good luck (their words) in it ( and no Angela Mudge!) they were very pleased with their run and very happy all the same!

Other NFR competitors with more modest ambitions included Kath and John Dallinson, Jane Saul and the writer, Paul Jameson whose training for the event began on Friday evening when he got the call from Jane Saul - who needs enemies? Fortunately the event was the Short Score. Having done the Long Score class previously I imagined the Short Score to be easier. In terms of physical effort that is possibly true but in terms of decision making and navigation there is no margin for errors; we were 16 minutes late on the first day as a consequence of a decision made within the first two hours. I would certainly recommend it for the challenge; a smaller proportion achieved gold standard than in the other score classes. You get the pick of pitches on the camp site and score courses offer lots of discussion opportunities of possible route choices with your geeky orienteering friends long after the event.

Paul Jameson

Saltwell Harriers Fell Race

1st July 2003

At this race NFR continued their dominance of North East fell racing. In a race run in poor conditions (heavy showers, strong winds and misty) NFR won both the men's and women's team prizes and provided the overall winner, 4 of the first 10 home and the first 3 ladies home. NFR members were also prominent at the aprés-race prize giving and celebration in the Moorcock.

Paul Jameson

Skiddaw Fell Race

6th July 2003

As well as an NFR championship race this was also part of the British and English Championship. It therefore had a large field of over 350 runners. 13 NFR members ran (8 men and 5 women) with two of our finest finishing in the top 30 of a field that looked like a who's who of British fell running. NFR fielded teams in the senior men's competition, the VET 40 men's, the senior women's and were one of only two clubs fielding a women's Vet 40 team - well done the women!

Although conditions were more or less ideal this was a very tough race with a very steep descent over rough ground. I know this was a new experience for one or two of our runners, although everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I hope they will be back to the lakes to sample a few more of these classic races.

Skiddaw Fell race results

Geoff Davis

Windy Gyle Fell Race

29th June 2003

This third running of the Windy Gyle Fell Race was a record turnout with forty two runners taking part. (40 in 2000, 31 in 2002). This was despite a number of other events taking place on the same day. All finished and the times were generally faster than previous years.

As previous years there was a minimalist approach to course marking. Considering the conditions that were encountered route finding was always going to be a problem to those unfamiliar with the course. As it turned out even those familiar with the route went wrong. Garry Owens (NFR) and his party approached Russell's Cairn on Windy Gyle summit from an unconventionally North Easterly direction. It is tricky to find the summit when the visibility is down to a few meters but all got there in the end.

Adam Fletcher (Berwick Harriers), leading the field took a roundabout route to Plea Knowe which he approached from the north but he held onto the lead to finish first in 1.05.04.

Gary Owens was lying tenth at Plea Knowe but ran strongly down The Street to finish second overall and first vet 40 in 1.08.21. He was followed closely by Ben Abdelnoor (St Bede's) who has recently returned to the area and looks set to do well in local races.

Despite being one of those to go adrift on Windy Gyle Karen Robertson (NFR) finished strongly in eleventh place (1.10.45) to become first senior lady. Jane Walker, whose reconnaissance of the route earlier in the week paid off, was first FV 40 in 1.21.41.

John Humble (1st MV50) put in a fast time of 1.10.40 to finish tenth, two minutes faster than last year. Kath Dallinson was first lady vet 50. NFR took first men's and ladies team prizes.

Thanks to Tony and Helen who did a great job on registration and finish, to Ray Scott and Alan Walker for marshalling and to the members of The North of Tyne Search and Rescue Team and the National Park Wardens SRT for their assistance in both marshalling, the provision of emergency cover and communications between check points. In these current days of risk assessment you can believe me that their presence was a great reassurance on the day, particularly when you consider the weather conditions and the scope for something to go wrong, like getting lost with no map, compass, waterproof etc and then twisting an ankle?

Windy Gyle fell race results

Keith Cooper

Alwinton Fell Races

17th May 2003

Marking the course in the mist and rain of Friday evening I must admit I thought that it was going to be a bit on the poor side for weather on Saturday. As it happened the 0600 weather forecast predicted a break in the weather around mid day and they got it spot on. As a result, apart from being wet under foot, conditions were good (some would even say too warm and humid) for this the seventeenth running of the race.

Gavin Bayne and Steve Beattie (both Morpeth vets) led up to the open fell. There Gary Owens(NFR) V40, was able to use his fell running experience to gain the lead after Bloodybush. This was the position he held for the rest of the race despite experiencing cramp on the run down the track from Cushat Law and after the struggle up The Racks. On the run down to Alwinton Jeff Ross(NFR) very nearly caught Garry and they finished with only 11 seconds separating them in a time of 1:46. 03 and 1.46 14.

Karen Robertson (NFR) led the ladies all the way around the course to finish tenth overall in a time of 1.57.36. She had, she said, struggled that day but this may be due to her finishing 10 minutes 42 seconds faster than last year. Second lady, Louise Wilkinson finished in 2.07.34, almost a minute faster than Karen’s previous year's time.

The race attracted forty vets of the fifty eight entrants. Phil Lancaster (NSP) V60 was exactly a minute behind Karen in eleventh place. John Dallinson and John Humble, V50’s finished 15th and 16th and Claire Bagness (Wooler) was first lady vet.

The short course race attracted only three entrants and the junior course only two (only one of which was a volunteer). Local Shepherd David Milburn, who works around Wholehope, completed the course in a fast time of 44:04.

Richard Cooper and Grace Johnson (the volunteer) enjoyed the junior race which they ran in waterproof jackets as an extra challenge.

We were lucky to be able to have North of Tyne Search and Rescue Team in attendance and marshalling despite a heavy commitment and factors which led to the Alwinton round being held on a separate day this year. Unfortunately there are a lot of fell races in June and it is difficult to come up with a suitable common date. This may mean yet another change of date next year.

The race was well supported and I would like to thank all those who helped on the day. Also; Alan Walker, Sally Welsh and Susan Jeffries for their invaluable assistance in marking the course on Friday.

See you at Windy Gyle.

Alwinton Fell Races results

Keith Cooper

Cronkley Fell Race

4th May 2003

Look at the results from the Cronkley Fell race held on the 4th May 2003. It is part of the Durham Fell Challenge series run by Quakers Running Club. NFR men made up three of the first seven runners home (including first V50 & 2nd V40) and NFR women made up half of the Ladies field including 1st Lady senior and 2nd Lady V40.

Cronkley Fell race results

Paul Jameson

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