Sent: 17 November 2008 23:44
Subject: V S Update - Xmas do, XC results, OMM report


Valley Striders Christmas Bash 2008


After 12 months of training and racing you owe yourselves one night off - so why not come along to The social event of the year, the Valley Striders Christmas Bash 2008. For those of you who have not already logged this event into your diaries, here are the details:


Event: Valley Striders Christmas Bash

Venue: Old Leos Club

Date:  Friday, 19 December 2008

Time:  7.30pm 

Cost:   £9.50 per person


If previous years are to go by - this will be “one hell of a party” - there will be food, alcohol, a fantastic raffle, awards & presentations plus a few short speeches.


For your additional entertainment and pleasure I have taken the trouble to invite a few well-known celebrities to our humble Bash. For the gentleman I have invited Kylie Minogue, Cheryl Cole, Jordan & Angelina Jolie; and for the ladies there will be Justin Timberlake, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Brad Pitt and Jonathan Brownbill.


How can you ignore such a fantastic evening - to confirm your booking please email me at and send your monies (cheques made payable to Valley Striders) to the following address: Paul Furness, 15 Talbot Fold, Roundhay, Leeds LS8 1LU.


Alternatively, I will be at the club for Tuesday’s AGM (18 November) so you can give me your cash/cheques on that evening. Places are limited to the first 500 applicants so don’t miss out - book your place NOW!!!    


West Yorkshire Cross Country Race 3 at Wetherby


Full results at



   16 Laura Clark        0:23:50       95       

   18 Jane Halloran      0:23:57       94       

   38 Hayley Nancolas    0:25:08       91       

   63 Chloe Hudson       0:27:18       86       

   65 Sue Sunderland     0:27:25       85       

   70 Sharon Tansley     0:27:42       84       

   89 Madeleine Watson   0:31:02       83       

   91 Sara Dyer          0:32:48       81       



   26 Panos Aristotelous 0:36:41      100       

   47 Steve Webb         0:38:08       99       

   74 Jim Clay           0:39:59       98       

   81 Kevin Mcmullan     0:40:25       97       

   95 Drew Taylor        0:40:57       96       

  100 Jerry Watson       0:41:08       94       

  122 Dan Murray         0:42:38       93       

  126 Paul Hunter        0:42:53       92       

  144 Joel Giddings      0:44:11       90       

  155 Nick Barnes        0:45:05       89       

  159 Bob Jackson        0:45:39       88       

  160 Mark Hunter        0:45:43       87       

  189 Geoff Webster      0:53:30       83       

  190 Bob Wilkes         0:53:59       82       


Grand Prix points calculated on average pace.


Very dry conditions meant that 7 of us kept our spikes / trail shoes dry enough to turn out the next day at …


Peco Cross Country Race 1 at Ilkley


Full results will appear at


Provisional results – men 4th , women 3rd  



   12 Gwilym Thomas    

   22 Rob Bumstead     

   29 Dan Fisher       

   40 Steve Morley     

   47 Ian Sanderson    

   52 Ian Rosser       

   54 Paul Hunter      

   69 Joel Giddings    

   77 Gary Mann        

   82 Bob Jackson      

   84 Alan Hutchinson  

   92 Tony Haygarth    

  107 Malcolm Coles    

  115 Richard Adcock   

  124 Paul Sanderson   

  149 Geoff Webster    


  1 Abbey

  2 Ilkley

  3 Horsforth


  5 Kirkstall

  6 Woodkirk

  7 Rothwell



    3 Laura Clark      

    4 Catherine Farrow 

   20 Sue Sunderland   

   23 Sharon Tansley   

   58 Sara Dyer        


  1 Ilkley

  2 Horsforth


  4 Kirstall

  5 Dragons

  6 ?

  7 ?

  8 Abbey


Very wet and muddy conditions meant that these runners will have to work hard to get their spikes / trail shoes clean in time for the next XC 14 December at Wakefield


Grand prix tables now updated on website but there is a bug in the “penalty points” calculation that I’ll fix as soon as I can


OMM 08 - Wind, Rain and Headlines - from Mick Loftus


Mick Wrench and I arrived in good time for another go at the OMM Elite course.  As we got out of the car in Borrowdale in the dark, we were hit by a freezing squall.  After registration we retreated to the car and reassessed our kit.  We were aware of the exceptionally bad weather forecast, torrential rain and wind gusting to 100+mph, but the cold reality of the event morning made us repack again.  Out went our thin fleeces and wind proofs, in and on went Buffalo tops and full waterproofs.


At the start it had actually stopped raining and we ran in reasonable conditions to the first control.  The courses had been radically reduced in size but still involved the usual proportion of ascent and navigation in poor visibility.  After the first control the weather started to deteriorate again.  We were now quite high up near Eskdale Pike.  We had made the unspoken decision just to get round safely, this meant staying calm to make tricky navigation decisions whilst being buffeted by roaring winds.  We made good steady progress through the early controls.  At one point we turned from relative shelter to face the full force of the storm.  We hurriedly put on full water proofs, hats and gloves and did everything up tight.  Now after 2 -3 hours in the battle really began.  The rain had now reached the promised 'torrential' stage.  All the paths became streams.  The streams and rivers were getting higher.


Our route now took us half the way up Great Gable (you may have seen footage of this).  Many runners from various routes were now concentrated on the long slog up hill into the wind and rain.  We noticed that the wind was making small rivulets of water run up hill!


This was the last significant climb of the shortened route.  The wind strength on the way to the next control was quite extraordinary.  We were running down hill now but gusts would stop us in mid stride and just hold us still, or else we had to crouch side-ways to the wind to keep on our feet. However, we weren't too exhausted and actually it was rather fun, we knew we would get to the finish in good time.


After the last control the course dropped down into a river valley down towards Buttermere.  This should have been a 15 minute blast to the finish, instead it quickly turned into a genuinely risky ordeal.

The problem was the rivers and streams.  They were now swollen into raging torrents of white water.  The finish was on the right-hand bank of the river at the valley bottom.  We were high up on the left bank.

The options were to cross the river where we were, to go back uphill and contour around the valley crossing tributaries until reaching the right bank or descend on the left bank to a bridge at the valley bottom.  We watched some other runners try option one, they failed and were almost swept away.  We had already crossed numerous big streams braced together for support but this looked way beyond us.  I don't think option two really occurred to us so we set off down the left bank.  It was a steep and wet descent.  We crossed several large tributaries to the main river, each one was a serious challenge.  Then we met our match, a slightly more significant stream was now 3 - 4 metres of powerful white water.


We were with a couple of other teams at this point.  One of the others found a point where there was a large rock on our side of the river and jumped.  We could not see where he landed from where we stood.  We rushed down to see him grinning from the other side.  One after another we jumped.  We all landed just in the far edge of the water.

We all did it without hesitation, sometimes it is better not to think too much about things!


Still barely believing what we had just done we continued down towards the bridge.  As we got closer we saw that all that remained visible of the bridge were two handrails sticking out of the swirling water and even more daunting was the fact that there were 4 or 5 metres of swollen river either side of where the bridge presumably stood.  There was no way to get to the handrails even if you could hold on to them.


We noticed other runners further downstream where the river filled the entire valley bottom.  They were grouping together with linked arms and were going across slowly.  We joined up with another team and did the same.  The river at this point was approximately 100m across.  We saw some of the other teams make it across although in a certain amount of disarray.  A mountain rescue landrover pulled up on the far bank but we thought that the coast guard might have been more use.  We waded across carefully. We couldn't see where the original stream bed and hence the deepest section was. We did find it, Mick, who was at the end of our line fell into a deep hole.  We clung on and he dragged himself onto the submerged bank and we pressed on to the far side.


Much relieved we ran into the finish a few hundred metres away.  Then we were told that the event was cancelled. We were a bit stunned, relieved and disappointed.  We were told to shelter in a barn for a while and then make our way back over Honnister Pass to the start 5 miles away.


In the barn there were hundreds of steaming runners.  Some were in a bad state on arrival.  We met a women who had been swept away she thought for 200m. She said that she had thought that she was going to die.  She was shivering violently from cold and shock.  Her partner looked after her and I saw her in good spirits later.  After some food and a rest we set off up the road to Honnister Pass.


The climb to the pass although on a road with hundreds of other people was probably the hardest part of the day. The wind was extreme.  I saw two people blown over.  The river next to the road was a scary hazard and at points it was over the road.  Rocks the size of tennis balls were being washed down the road.  The rain stung your face like needles.  After a desperate staggering climb we reached the pass and the slate mine shop and cafe.  There we were told that we could not go down into Borrowdale, it was flooded and cut off.


After a short deliberation we set off back down to the finish.  This was much easier but there was confusion everywhere.  There were loads of people still going up, we told some that we had been sent back but they refused to believe it.  Back down at the barn we found ourselves a good spot and made camp.


It gradually became clear that we would have to spend the night in the barn.  Now this barn was not some cosy wooden affair with lots of dry straw.  It was a modern steel and concrete shelter, only partially closed off at each end.  The floor was mud covered concrete.  There were eventually around 700 runners staying the night.  We were packed so closely together it was hard to get out to go to the toilet in the still raging tempest outside. As I heard someone nearby say, "This is not the highlight of my life so far".


The night was uncomfortable but reasonably dry and safe.  In the morning we climbed Honnister again and jogged back to the start. There was hot food and drink, and lots of muddy grinning runners.  We saw Anthony Fryer and exchanged stories.  His was very similar to ours except they had chosen the second option when faced with the raging river.  They had spent the night in the barn a few metres from us but we had not seen each other.


Luckily Mick's car was not under water and we were able to make a good getaway.  However, whilst clearing the boot Mick had to sponge out the 2 litres of water that had appeared overnight!


Post Script: The media coverage was inexplicable, screaming headlines of 1000 runners missing etc.  Much of it was inaccurate and caused a lot of needless anxiety to family and friends.  There was much foolish comment.  I was very glad to see that the organisers held firm and simply said you've all got it wrong.  Talk of the huge cost of the rescue was nonsense.  Many Mountain Rescue Personnel were actually competitors.  We were largely oblivious to the coverage until we reached home.  At least it made us minor celebrities at work.