> 2008 race reports
20/09/08 Simonside Fell Race - from Phil Green

Steve Walker and Aled Greenhalgh at the finish - photo: David Coxon
Steve Walker and Aled Greenhalgh at the finish - photo: David Coxon

This year’s running of the Simonside Fell Race as part of the Thropton Village show was run against the background of the very wet summer which had caused several of the Northumberland Shows and their attendant fell races being cancelled. This was then made worse by the horrendous floods which affected the Coquet, and Wansbeck valleys, damaging homes and businesses of our friends and club mates.
The race was organized at roughly two weeks notice by the people below (mainly from Northumberland Fell Runners).

A field of 80 runners took to the hills (down on previous years, possibly due to the clash with the cross country at Sunderland and the Three Shires in the Lakes). It was a quality field having some fine local runners and some excellent runners who travelled a fair distance to race up Simonside.
The forecast was good however the Coquet was still running waist deep and the water very coloured when Paul went out to mark the course on Friday night. This ruled the ford out, requiring everyone to go over the bridge. The race was got underway with Thomas Green’s football whistle.
The course was quite clarty, and judging by the colour of the competitors legs on return they could have done with a trip through the river.

plenty of smiles at Thropton - photo: Terry Hart

Nick Swinburn of NFR and England led throughout being in first place at the top, and finishing 3 minutes ahead of Ted Mason of Wharfedale Harriers. Phil Sanderson of NFR was third man home.

The ladies were Aly Raw of Bingley Harriers 1st in 19th place overall, Karen Robertson 2nd in 23rd place and Bev Whitfield 3rd in 26th place.
Unfortunately, Claire Bagness was overlooked during compilation of the presentation results and should have been 1st V40 lady. This meant that Sue Mitchell from Calder valley should have been second V40 lady and Kath Davis third V40 lady. Denise Tunstal was therefore moved down to 4th V40. Enjoy your chocolates and thanks for coming Denise. I have a bottle of wine to wing its way to Claire!

1st men’s and ladies' team was won by NFR.
1st local male was Brian Robson (perpetually unattached despite much badgering by many).
No local lady declared.
The junior race was won by James Woolett of Alnwick Harriers.

The main problem on the day was that the stop watch was started late so our times are slightly short if anything.
This problem was corrected as the field got to the mid part of the run down the show field, return finish times were taken at the same spot on the field. I apologize for this slight technical hitch in the timekeeping.
This was our first running the event and there are several things which will be done differently next year. However as the positions are correct this will make no difference to results in the NECCA hill and fell racing results.

Kath and Dave get to grips with the results - photo: Terry Hart
Kath and Dave get to grips with the results - photo: Terry Hart

Thanks to Terry Hart, Kath Dallinson, David Coxon, Paul Appleby, Graham Wilkinson, Peter Reed, Garry Owens, George Atkinson, Peter Hayle (sweeper), Neil and William Gammack, James, Thomas, Matthew and Sharon Green for help as marshals and timekeepers and providing refreshments. Also, thanks to Jane Walker for offering what support she could through adversity.

Finally many thanks to the show committee allowing us to step in at the last minute and the people of Coquetdale for their support in cheering on the runners. Thanks again to the people of Thropton who marshalled the centre of their lovely village and allowed us to run through it.

Let’s look forward to next year and some guaranteed PB’s if that’s your thing or just some good company in the clarts n heather on Simonside!

Phil Green

photos from David Coxon | Terry Hart

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