> 2009 race reports
22/03/09 Brough Law Fell Race - from John Telfer (photos: Pat & Rob)

At the start line

5 miles 1,250 feet

With the bittersweet memories of the brutal and boggy Borderer fading into the distance, the first hints of Spring swirled in the breeze around Bulby’s Wood car park as the gathering throng weaved their way along the Ingram valley still bearing its many scars caused by last year’s torrential rains.

Despite the allure of Mothering Sunday, or maybe on account of it, race numbers were up on the previous couple of years and also heralded the first year of Keith Cooper’s organisation, ably assisted by Will Horsley, Kath Dallinson, young James Green and a number of weather- and wind-beaten marshals along the way.

For a vast majority of the 47 runners the near vertical incline at the start gravitated against a fast start. However, Phil Sanderson (who I saw run up this slope at least three times before the off) was having none of it and gave the impression that this race was a sprint to Brough Law and back rather than a five mile schlep around the parish. From your correspondent’s hallowed, and very short lived, position near the front, Phil looked to have opened up a fairly wide lead from Will Horsley by the time the majority of us were just trying to get some air in our lungs on the first long drag up to Brough Law.

Brian Robson's had enough of this walking malarkey

Brough Law beckons

With the first long grind behind us the course steers a reasonably flat course to Ewe Hill before the gradual descent to Corbie Cleugh. With the dry and bouncy turf and a following wind it enabled a fair head of steam to be built before the short wheeze up the initial part of the ascent to Wether Hill, the only positive being that we were sheltered from the wind at this point.

Fast run off Ewe Hill (Wooler RC vests were out in force today)

The run up to Cochrane Pike was made a bit harder by being caught in the cross wind but from hereon you feel that the worst is under your belt and that home beckons. With the exception of the brief pull out of the Middle Dean Settlement it is all very runnable and increasingly downhill back to the finish.

The run off Cochrane Pike

The race was won by NFR’s Will Horsley in a new record time of sub 37 minutes having overhauled club colleague, long time leader and “whippet out of the traps” Phil Sanderson who had the consolation of being first V40. As Will was in charge of the prize-giving it was the first time I have seen somebody award himself first prize. I think the BAFTA’s and Oscar’s could learn a lot from this approach and would enable Kate Winslet a further opportunity to make a complete idiot of herself.

Honours in the ladies race went to Wooler’s Claire Bagness (who did not make a Kate-Winslet-like speech) with NFR’s Katherine Davis taking second spot. Paul Hainsworth of NFR was first V50 and fellow ex-Keswickian Les Stephenson took the V60 prize, ensuring that his trophy cabinet will be considerably fuller than that of his beloved Carlisle United come the end of the season.

First lady Claire Bagness pulls away from Phil

Les Stephenson took the V60 prize

Team prizes went to NFR men and the Wooler women. Special mention should also go to the one junior participant, Will Marshall from Wharfedale Harriers who finished in 4th place. Ahhr…. the youth of today…always in such a hurry.

An excellent run from young Will Marshall (Wharfedale) - 4th place

Although I do not expect this race to feature in the British Championship calendar in the foreseeable future, for a convivial, relaxed and low key event I personally cannot think of a better way to spend Mother’s Day.

Many thanks to Keith and all those who participated in the organisation and administering of the race, it is all very much appreciated.

John battles with Glen (both Glen and son Jack who was way up front had great runs)

John Telfer


more photos from Colin Sanderson

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