Keswick Athletic Club played host to the second round of the English Fell Running Championships (in association with Inov-8 and Pete Bland Sports) on Sunday, and also provided both winners in a tremendously successful day for the club.
The race, based at Threlkeld Cricket Club, saw runners tackle a 4.5 mile route with 1900 feet of ascent. The three checkpoints of Threlkeld Knotts, Clough Head and White Pike provided for plenty of route choice, with many different lines being taken up Threlkeld Knotts in particular. This was often at the dismay of the many spectators who had taken position on what they thought was the best route, only to see the runners pass in the distance either side of them!
The Men’s and Women’s races were held separately, but neither managed to avoid the searing bank holiday heat. In the women’s race, Keswick’s Hannah Horsburgh delighted the home crowd by storming home in 41:58, over a minute ahead of second-placed Emma Gould of Mercia, with Sarah McCormack of Ambleside in third. Helm Hill took the Women’s team prize, but Hannah was excellently supported by Cat Spurden (12th) and Katy Kaars Sijpesteijn (14th) to secure the second team place for the home club, an excellent result. Other notable Keswick performances included a brilliant 24th for Suzy Lyne and 1st V50 for Sara Hodgson, and Jenn Mattinson (50:59), Helen Winskill (54:45), Kerry Cornforth (56:33), Zoe Webber (56:50), Victoria Haworth (57:35), Debbie Charlton (1:01:38), Lesley Malarkey (1:06:30), Nicky Butler (1:08:22) and Kim Clark (1:14:40) also represented superbly.
All talk ahead of the men’s race was then of a potential Keswick AC ‘double’, and, after a furious battle with Mercia’s Simon Bailey, Threlkeld’s own Mark Lamb pulled away on the descent to secure a famous victory on his home turf in 37:31. Keswick’s Dan Haworth came in a superb third, and supported by Carl Bell (15th), John Battrick (16th) and Sam Stead (21st), Keswick took the team prize to cap a memorable day for the hosts. Tristan Windley (41:21), Steve Halsall (41:37), Calum Tinnion (42:13), Simon Netherway (42:16), Steven Hebblethwaite (42:43), Chris Edis (43:21), Rob Brown (43:44), Harry Bolton (46:27, 5th U23), Jacob Tonkin (47:04), Dave Prosser (47:44), Craig Smith (49:03), Chris Brewer (49:29), Simon Hunter (51:12), Chris Naylor (51:32), Michael Mallen (51:38), Ross Butler (51:54), Paul Cornock (51:57), Chris Smith (52:36), Andrew Slattery (54:01), Nigel Horney (1:02:26), Chris Clark (1:13:06) and Martin Medforth (1:22:42) all showed the strength in depth for the club, finishing with varying shades of pink skin.
After cooling off in the river, the runners headed back to Threlkeld Cricket Club to enjoy a beer on the lawn, a Brysons Pasty and cakes provided by Threlkeld Primary School, who raised over £1500 in sales. West Cumberland Orienteering Club Juniors made over £250 in map sales, and the race itself raised over £2000 to donated to local charities.
A club spokesperson said: ‘ What a brilliant day, helped by the superb weather. A massive thanks to all the helpers and marshals, to Threlkeld School for the cake, to the Keswick Lions for managing the parking, and to everyone who supported the race in some way’