A busy weekend of racing action started on Saturday with the second race in the English Fell Running Championship series at Weets in Lancashire. The ladies race was held in scorching heat with a number taken to hospital with heat stroke. This didn’t deter an excellent Keswick contingent with Cat Spurden (6th, 47:53) leading the team home, supported by Jenn Mattinson (16th, 53:48) and a particularly impressive performance by Trudy Beetham (20th & 6th V40, 55:19). The trio secured 3rd place in the team category behind Ambleside and Helm Hill. Zoe Webber (25th, 56:37) and Vic Haworth (54th, 69:26) were not far behind and Lesley Malarkey was 2nd V65 (73:49). The race was won by Vic Wilkinson (Bingley) in 43:54. Full results: http://fellrunner.org.uk/results.php?id=4080
Having watched the ladies, suffer in the heat, there was a noticeable change of mood in the men who were now busy with last minute purchases of sunhats from the Pete Bland Sports van. They needn’t have bothered as a thunderstorm struck midway through their race, and like a bolt of lightning Chris Arthur (Bowland) stormed round the course, taking the win in 38:03. Carl Bell (3rd, 38:49) led home four Keswick runners in the top 15, with Steve Hebblethwaite (7th, 39:43), Sam Stead (9th, 39:48), Mark Lamb (13th, 40:12) and John Battrick (31st, 41:44) ensuring the mens team’s unbeaten streak in national championship races now extends to four. Rob Brown (74th, 35:45), Dan Haworth (100th, 47:29), Chris Brewer (119th, 49:05), John Beetham (122nd, 49:19), Ross Butler (146th, 51:32) and Chris Smith (183rd, 56:21) all competed excellently and the travelling party were all rewarded with post-race ice lollies provided by Chris. Full results: http://fellrunner.org.uk/results.php?id=4079
With the race over it was time for our young guns to shine as news came in of Harry Bolton’s impressive 10th place at the England Mountain Running Trial held at Hutton Roof, followed by Nathan Postill’s excellent new PB of 1:21:20 at the Liverpool Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon.
Sunday saw the Keswick-organised Helvellyn & the Dodds Fell Race (sponsored by Kong Adventure) 15 miles and 5000ft of ascent from Threlkeld to Helvellyn and back. 124 runners took on the challenge and race record holder Carl Bell showed no signs of weariness from the previous days exploits, taking the win in 2:09:09. 2nd was Martin Mikkelsen-Barron (Borrowdale) and 3rd was Mark Lamb, another Keswick runner to display questionable sanity by racing twice in two days. Peter George (14th) helped Carl and Mark take the team prize for Keswick. New member Sam Hooper showed he is taking a liking to the fells by finishing 1st U23 in 3:03:25. Special mention also to Jacob Tonkin who improved on his time from last year by nearly 25 minutes to finish in 2:54:40, showing what hard work can achieve. Dave Prosser (2:44:53) and Damian Kimmins (3:08:56) also performed well over the arduous course.
Mel Price (Mercia) won the ladies race in 2:42:10, in front of Scout Adkin (Moorfoot) and Annie Conway (Ambleside). Keswick’s Lindsay Walker (3:29:59), Louise Brown (3:49:33) and Vic Haworth (3:49:58) all ran well to take the ladies team prize.
Cover photo: Woodentops.org.uk