> 2008 race reports
01/03/08 Noon Stone Fell Race - from John Duff

Saturday 1st March

Gary Jones & I ran the Noon Stone Fell Race on Saturday.  It’s a tough 9 miler from the Top Brink Inn near Todmorden in Lancashire.  There were over 200 runners at this well-organised race which has been an English Championship in previous years.  The hills aren’t high by Lakeland or Cheviot standards (the high point is 420 metres) but the race still packed in 2,300 ft of climbing. 

The race started with a dash along the lane before a stiff climb up to the ridge.  All the height was immediately lost after a brief run along the ridge.  There was another climb to Stoodley Pike (which I had last visited 20 years ago on the Pennine Way) before a descent to Withens Clough Reservoir.  Here the strength of the wind was apparent as it was whipping up white horses on the water.  After a stream crossing, there was a climb on to the moor where the fun really started: 2.5 miles through bog and heather straight into the wind.  There was a bit of a trod, but not much.  Fortunately the clouds were high otherwise this would have been a navigational challenge.  At some stage we passed the Noon Stone, but as it is not marked on the map I was none the wiser as to where it actually was.

After what seemed like an eternity, we reached the westerly point of the race at Warland Reservoir and turned for home.  There was one final descent and climb back up the ridge for good measure, before the last dash down the hill to the finish.   It was too cold to hang around, so tea and drinks in the pub afterwards was very much the order of the day.

Gary had a good run, finishing 14th in 1 hour 19 minutes.  I came 58th in 1 hour 30 mins.  The results are on www.todharriers.co.uk.  John Brown (Salford) won the race and Janet McIver (Dark Peak) was first lady.  This was a cracking race, and one to add to your ‘to do’ list.

John Duff

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