January 2005

2005 Issue 1


Section 2

Trail, Fell & Cross-Country


As in January 2004, we have had to have two sections of the newsletter because my stapler will not cope with stapling all the sheets into one booklet.

And for the 25 Striders who have joined since last year, and any other who didn’t read the explanation last time, the above is not a misprint.  Several years ago, in the race results section of the Daily Telegraph, amongst the fell race results was listed "Sylvia Watson, Valley Spiders".  And it seemed an appropriate name for a fell running club being as the sport requires keeping as many parts of the body touching the ground as possible.

Meanwood Valley Trail Race, Saturday 9 April 2005

Having a second page 1 in this Newsletter means I can have a front page advertisement for the Meanwood Valley Trail Race.  This will be the 10th race (it doesn’t seem 9 years since Geoff, Sylvia and I were sitting at their house the Friday evening before the race hoping that more than the 35 who’d pre-entered would turn up on the day).  That first race, the job of marshals was to point the way for each of the 60 runners as there were gaps.  Now that we regularly have 300 runners, the marshals’ job is to point way for the leader but then ensure the safety of the other runners, advise walkers and horse-riders, be ready to cope with any emergency and generally ensure that the race is incident-free.

Because the route for the senior race is narrow, we can’t take too many more entries otherwise people will complain about queuing.  Last year, for the first time, we also held a junior race which had 30 finishers - we will have a junior race again this year.  The junior race gives us potential to expand the event and we’ve already handed out entry forms at two junior cross-country races.

Even if you can only spare an hour on Saturday 9 April, we'll find a job for you.  If you are free for 2 hours or more, that would help even more.


In This Issue


A Very Successful Day At Harewood............................................................ 35

Cross Country............................................................................................... 36

West Yorkshire Cross Country League 2004 (Martin Horbury)......................... 36

Fell & Trail Running Reports........................................................................ 37

Duddon Valley Fell Race  5 June (Rob Bumstead).......................................... 37

Derbyshire Fell Races (spotted by Sylvia Watson)......................................... 38

Bramham Horseless Horse Trials (Eric Green)............................................... 38

Round Hill Fell Race 8 August (Martin Horbury).............................................. 38

Yorkshireman Off-Road Mar. 12 Sep (Mick Loftus)......................................... 40

The Lockwood Bounder 19 Sept (Simon Vallance).......................................... 41

Karrimor International Mountain Marathon - Brecon Beacons 30/31 Oct 2004 (Simon Vallance)        42

Thyon-Dixence Fell Race  1 August (Ingo Zoller)............................................ 46

Sierre-Zinal Mountain Race  8 August (Ingo Zoller).......................................... 46

Triathlon...................................................................................................... 48

Half Ironman UK Sherborne  22 Aug (Bill Murphy)........................................... 48

Trail Relays.................................................................................................. 52

Leeds Country Way..................................................................................... 52

Calderdale Way 12 December (Martin Horbury).............................................. 53

More Fell...................................................................................................... 54

Race Report - Cragg Vale 6 (GW)................................................................. 54

Fell Championship End of Term Report  (GW)................................................ 55

Fell Championship Points final scores........................................................... 55

Wimmin’s Fell Report 2004  (SW)................................................................. 56

How to run downhill  (Jerry Watson).............................................................. 57

Fell Calendar 2005...................................................................................... 58

Striders & Spiders Contacts.......................................................................... 60

Keep up-to-date with Striders Updates!.......................................................... 60


A Very Successful Day At Harewood

179 finishers in the 2 mile was a record by 32.

609 finishers in the 10 mile was a record by 43.

We sneakily put the entry fees up for those entering on the day, so I can
reliably forecast a record profit (£3000 plus) for St Leonard's Hospice.

More things went wrong than in any previous year
- we ran out of official race numbers
- the PA didn't work (and the battery in Geoff's megaphone was flat)
- mobile phone reception was unreliable
- Harewood were a little late opening the gates for the car park
- we caused a small traffic queue on the A61 (but everyone started on time)
- Yorks Water forgot to open the gates at Eccup Res
- the woman at the house by the drinks station wouldn't let us use her hosepipe
- a couple of marshals were unable to attend
- two runners had to be taken to hospital
- one ambulance went to the House rather than the village hall
- St John treated at least 6 more runners
- we ran out of milk for tea and coffee in the village hall
and I'm sure there are some more stories out there - please let me know

And despite all this (and perhaps because of all this)
- everyone coped brilliantly
- thank you to those who responded above and beyond their call of duty because of the circumstances
- thank you to those who had to work much longer than normal because of the extra numbers
- thank you to those who "just" had a regular day's marshalling directing and encouraging the runners (especially those who got cold standing around for an hour or more) (your turn for excitement may come next time)

And as a result we had all positive feedback from the runners

N B the woman who was injured rang to thank Mivvy for her help and the rest
of the team for their prompt action and to let us know nothing was broken


Bob, just to say congratulations on a splendid event yesterday and many, many thanks for all your hard work.  Please pass on our thanks to the team from Valley Striders too - they do a fantastic job.  Are you as tired today as we are? Janet and Judy.  PS Refreshments took £406 gross!  Amazing when you think most things were only 30p or 50p.


Cross Country

West Yorkshire Cross Country League 2004 (Martin Horbury)

The Striders had high turn outs in this seasons West Yorkshire league with final positions of 4th for the Ladies and 8th for the Men. There were some big fields in the league this year and it was even more competitive than usual so the final positions were excellent, particularly when you take into account that due to injuries, other races and the build up to Christmas meant that we never had a full strength team.

In total 16 ladies and 19 men took part in the 4 races. This included 7 women and 10 men who took part in three or four races to appear in the final league placings. Particular mention to Liz Ball who was third in Lady Vet 45 category.

One highlight of the series was at the first race at Shipley. We had 14 ladies running that day, that’s 3 teams, and I am told that when they ran on mass to the start line there was an audible gasp from the gathering field as the wave of white vests descended.

Other highlights included:

·         Sam winning race 3 at Ilkley;

·         Brian 6th overall in the senior men, with 4 extremely consistent performances 8th, 11th , 10th & 10th.

·         Lots of parent / child appearances together

o        The Geddes-Bartons - Julia, David & Maddy

o        The Harris’s - Mary & Sam

o        The Watsons - Sylvia & Gerry

Besides the usual team trophies the League produced a new Pilot table with combined results. This included the first 9 male counters and 6 female counters. Runners from 36 clubs took part in the league this of  which just over 20 had a significant turn out in either the mens or ladies races. With good turn outs for both men & women the Striders finished 6th in this table which is another excellent achievement.

Thanks to those who supported the league and I look forward to the Championship races in the new year.

Fell & Trail Running Reports

Duddon Valley Fell Race  5 June (Rob Bumstead)

This race is the easiest of the three races in the ‘Super Long’ Lakeland Classic Series (the others being Ennerdale and Wasdale, both of which are longer and involve more ascent over rougher terrain).  That said, the 20 miles and 6000 feet of ascent included in the Duddon Valley were plenty for me.

The weather conditions on the day of the race were of moderate temperatures in the valley, but cloud lingering over the tops.  These were better conditions for running than in 2003 when it had been scorching hot and sunny, but there was more potential for navigational errors this year.

The race starts from the Newfield Inn in Seathwaite (the Duddon Valley one, not the Borrowdale one), and goes over the summits of Harter Fell, Hardknott and Little Stand before dropping to The Three Shires Stone and climbing back over Swirl How, Dow Crag, White Pike and Caw.  I set off at what I hoped was a sensible pace and made sure I took the day’s steepest and most painful ascent (Little Stand) steadily, remembering the previous year when I pushed too hard early on and suffered in the heat later (i.e. for half the race!)

My worries about the low cloud were well founded as I made a distinct error coming off the summit of Hardknott, a smaller error on Little Stand, and took a dreadful route between White Pike and Caw.  I eventually got round in 4 hours 38 minutes, which I think was about 5 or 10 minutes faster than the previous year.  This was somewhat disappointing as I had been hoping to do 4:15 to 4:30.  I guess the navigational mistakes would have cost me some of this time.  I was obviously tired at the end of the race, but at least I didn’t feel as bad as in the heat of 2003.

The race was won by Rob Jebb of Bingley in 2 hours 57 minutes and there were 58 finishers including only half a dozen women.    I didn’t think that this was many runners, but a couple of regulars commented that it was a decent sized field for a long race like the Duddon.  For the record, I came in 41st position.

I was the only Strider in the long race, but there is also a ‘Half Duddon’ of 11 miles and 3000 feet ascent, which keeps to the south of Hardknott / Wrynose.  This attracted a field about half the size of the full race, and Jim Towers (second claim Strider) ran this in 2 hours 26, finishing in 28th position.

For anyone wanting to run a long race in The Lakes, this is an excellent course, runnable as it’s not too rough underfoot, but the routes off some of the summits are not always obvious if the cloud is down, so a recce would be useful beforehand.  Some serious training would be equally useful.   

Derbyshire Fell Races (spotted by Sylvia Watson)

Bamford Sheepdog Trials, 31 May 2004, 4.5 miles, 1000ft, 3rd Jane Sutton, 43:25

Calver Peak F R, 2 June 2004, 5 miles, 900ft, 4th Jane Sutton, 39:54

Grindleford F R, 17 June 2004, 4.5 miles, 500ft, 3rd Jane Sutton, 40:28

Hunshelf Amble F R, 19 June 2004, 7.5 miles, 1300ft, 1st Jane Sutton, 66:50

Great Bakewell Pudding Race, 27 June 204, 6 miles, 700ft, 1st Jane Sutton, 51:27

Hope Wakes F R, 30 June 2004, 4 miles, 650ft, 1st Jane Sutton, 32:48


Bramham Horseless Horse Trials (Eric Green)

Both Brian and I came thru unscathed from the horses’ assault course apart from minor cuts. Brian came 4th not sure what pos I came but at least not last. There were 65 runners or at least nos issued, I think I came around 15th-20th, just beating a Horsforth Harrier (Kate) over the line. There were cups for 1/2/3 pos and medals for all finishers. We did 20 fences, but two which would have cut us to ribbons were taken out of the course. 1 water obstacle, 1 with rotting carrots, all the rest were fairly straightforward. Times were academic they were not taking times at the end only positions. Overall distance was approx 3.5 miles or so the man on the desk said.

We'd crowd support from Martin Horbury and family, but neither Brian nor I wore our Valley Striders vest, either we wanted to remain incognito, or we didn't want to rip it on the fences going round. There was only an Ilkley runner in club attire.


Round Hill Fell Race 8 August (Martin Horbury)

I was looking forward to this race partly because it is a lovely part of Yorkshire in the hills North of Otley but also because the 2003 Round Hill race was my first race after a couple of years out of running. I would therefore be able to see how I had progressed in the last twelve months.

This was a day of many surprises, the first of which was that Eric Green wasn’t there and it was a Grand Prix event. The second major surprise was that this was the day that it was very, very hot. Yes I know it was the 8th August, technically mid-summer, but this is the Yorkshire Dales.

There was much anticipation on the start line and I have to confess I was clocking what other Striders were about trying to assess the potential Grand Prix points up for grabs. There was somebody I didn’t recognise, it turned out to be Alistair Fale, could this be a quickie I don’t know and Andrew Cutts was there and he was first Strider at last year’s race. Good points up for grabs I thought.

One mile in and first tactical decision, I am right behind Andrew Cutts, feeling good, thinking shall I sit in and race for GP points or shall I press on and go for race position. I could see the leading group just in front and I would guess that only 2 of them were vets….. GO FOR IT.

So with great skill 10 minutes later as we started the first climb of the race I found myself completely isolated in 7th position. The leading 6 guys were 150 metres in front still in a bunch and I was a hundred or so metres in front of small group. THEN THE SUN CAME OUT. This was not a steep hill, just a long drag, but it was hard work and I could see ahead that 2 had broken away as they reached the first check point and started the descent. I decided not to look behind. 

As I started my decent I became concerned for the first time because I was finding this hard work. This was not a steep hill and was very runnable but today I just didn’t flow.  I pressed on and could no longer see anybody in front and was doing my best not to look behind. IT WAS GETTING VERY, VERY HOT.

At the bottom of the hill there is check point and you turn for home, about 4 miles to go. A mile further on and the route is a little unclear as it hits a short but steep hill. I am flagging a bit and am over taken by a chap in a Skyrac vest and definitely a vet. Hang in I thought try to keep in top 10. Being the sportsman I am, at the top of the hill this chap was about to bear left and take a wrong turn but I called him back.

What I didn’t realise at this stage was that the 4 guys who had been immediately in front of me had made the same mistake and if I hadn’t have been such a gent I would have been in third place in the race. A few minutes further on, last check point and another long drag of a hill. THINGS WERE GETTING VERY, VERY, VERY HOT and I was flagging. I checked over my shoulder to see that I was about to be over taken by two youngish chaps and could also see Andrew Cutts a comfortable distance behind. I used the two younger guys to drag me up the hill and even re-directed them when they missed a turn off as the hill levelled out.

It was now the run in, a mile to go and I am really struggling, completely drained by the heat and an extremely painful blister on my heel. I even, quite pathetically, tripped and ended in a bit of a heap. I lost a couple more places and looked over my shoulder to see if Andrew Cutts was any nearer and was a little surprised to see that Paul Hunter was not very far behind. That’s all I need a race, I haven’t run all this way to lose maximum GP points in the last mile. So I dug in, attempted to chase the two guys in front, which alarmingly had no effect whatsoever but eventually held off Paul by 12 seconds.

The presentation was held, outside the village hall, in Timble and much to mine, and Paul Hunter’s surprise we picked up first and second vets prizes as it unfolded about the missing 4. The first Vet to finish, Bob Pritchard from Skyrac was third. So a good result all-round 100 GP points and my first ever (and so far only) vets prize which happened to be nice bottle of red wine, which is always handy to keep on the right side of my understanding wife.                              


Yorkshireman Off-Road Mar. 12 Sep (Mick Loftus)

This event is a combined half and full marathon. The route is a classic Yorkshire Pennine one, across open moors, down rough tracks, along muddy paths and lots of up and down. It supposedly has 4000 ft of ascent.

The start and finish for this event are at Penistone Country Park above Howarth. This is a windswept place at the best of times. On this particular Sunday it was very chilly especially considering the roasting Sunday the week before in the LCW.

The two races set off together with the half marathon turning back at around 6-7 miles to loop back to the finish. There were 186 finishers in the half which was won in 1:34.

The full marathon course continued relentlessly on. Although there were occasional way markers a good knowledge of the course would have been an advantage. I did use my map but not my compass!

My tactics of starting slowly, following someone who knew the route and then slowing down some more, got me round in one piece. I noticed in the results 3 Striders in total.

11th  3:57 Mick Loftus

49th  4:53 Jane Sutton

73rd  5:44 Sara Dyer

There were 95 finishers.

It was won in a remarkable time of 3:04 by Chris Loftus (no relation!) of Keighley and Craven.

There was also a 'walkers' event over the same course with an earlier start. However, the fastest walker would have come 66th in the running race and the slowest runner (in a time of 10:30) second to last in the walkers event. That last runner appears to have been taking 24 minute per mile, surely there is some mistake?


Autumn Leaves 10 mile Fell Race  2 Oct (Rob Bumstead)

This race is run from Diggle over 10 miles and 1250 feet of ascent on decent paths, including a section of the Pennine Way, in the Wessenden Moor area.  I have seen it described as both a Fell Race and a Trail Race – the recommendation was to wear trail shoes, which I did, and this was fine despite the damp conditions underfoot.  A highlight of this race is the supply of excellent home-baked cakes at the end.

1st  Paul Green         Sale      1:02:13

31st Robert Bumstead              1:20:23

112 ran
The Lockwood Bounder 19 Sept (Simon Vallance)

Having been persuaded that 2004 was the year that I should take part in the KIMM by my colleague and now Karrimor partner Neil, I thought I ought to be doing a few long and lumpy races to get me reasonably fit for the weekend.

A small entry in the back of the Striders summer newsletter publicised an interesting sounding event:

Sun  Sep 19  0830  LT   Lockwood Bounder Trail 22/3300' nr Skelton N Yorks. 

Quite hilly then, I thought and then, I wonder where Skelton is?

I looked it up on Multimap and thought I’d found it – quite near to Richmond – nice spot and not too far.  Thought I’d better check though and a spot of Googling found the Long Distance Walkers Association website publicising the (last ever as it transpired) Lockwood Bounder.  In fact it’s near to Skelton in Redcar and Cleveland just north of the North York Moors and skirts the Lockwood Beck reservoir (hence the name, clever eh?)

It was a fine day and an earlier start saw me driving below some of the landmarks on the route – Captain Cook’s monument, Roseberry Topping and Highcliffe Nab.  A good few runners set off with me accompanied by a greater number of walkers, all hoping to complete the 23 miles in under 10 hours (I felt reasonably comfortable that I could achieve this).  Up through allotments and onto the moors to the first control dangling from a fingerpost.  It was pretty blowy and the heather clad moors offered little in the way of shelter, so I was glad when the route took us into a conifer plantation that skirted the edge of the escarpment.  It was great being able to look to my right and see ships on their way to Hartlepool.  Second control (manned) couldn’t find the clip, never mind on we go, down the hill and pick up the Cleveland way towards Roseberry Topping, the next control.  (I don’t know about you but I’ve always thought that the hill sounded a little like a Birds dessert).

There were three of us together at this point, each taking turns at the front to mitigate the effects of a not inconsiderable breeze, and this dropped to two as we hit the climb up towards Roseberry.  And quite a climb it is.  Control at the top, grab a few sweets from the marshals and leap into space to start the descent.

The next section involved some quite tricky navigation, so I was pleased to be running with an old-hand who lived nearby.  He led me through the woods and paths that lead ultimately to the climb up to Captain Cook’s monument.  It transpired that he too was competing in the Karrimor this year and we spent a pleasant few minutes speculating on the type of terrain we might encounter.  As we started to climb, my new companion encouraged me to continue as he stopped to catch his breath on the sharp climb to the top.  Control clipped I set off at a reasonable pace eastwards on the Cleveland way.  It was busier here, with parties of walkers out enjoying the autumn sun.  I glanced at the map and identified a short cut to the road that led to the next control.  It wasn’t until I had decended about 600ft and run for a couple of miles that I realised that the control I was aiming for and the one I was supposed to visit next were different.  Oh sh*t!.  Back we go, up the hill, overtake some mountain bikers and descend and re-ascend to the next control.  Could have done without that I tell you.  A trio of lovely old fellas greeted me atop a very windy control and offered me all sorts of delicious fare.  I stopped to stuff down a heart-attack inducing piece of deep-fried pastry and set off, having dropped five places on my unscheduled detour.

A long road stretch from the control at Nab End into Commondale was on the whole rather dull and uneventful.  I was pleased that I had opted for my all-terrain trainers over my fell shoes at this point.  Thus far the off-road had been fairly dry and the road stretch (approx 4 miles) would probably have crippled me.

Two controls in short succession – one coming into Commondale, one leaving it - kept me on the road, before a sharp right turn had me running northwards back to the start.  In previous years this has been a bog fest, but erosion control means that a lot of the moor is now paved, so it was a question of leaping from flag to flag, and running on the softer stuff when it was available.  This felt like a long stretch – exposed and colder – before I arrived at the final control (the first on the way out).  Running alone without anyone in front of or behind me made the distance seem all the longer.

The final stretch reprised the route out, except that it was mainly downhill.  My main objective now, as I glanced at my watch, was to complete the course in under 4 hours.  I arrived at the village hall and burst into the room to announce my arrival – exactly on the 4 hour mark.  Sitting opposite was the guy I had left at Captain Cook’s monument.  He had assumed I’d shot off and completed the race - until he arrived at the hall 15 minutes before me.

Overall I was pleased with the day – ninth place overall, and, allowing for the detour, four hours for around 26 pretty hilly off-road miles.  The main reason for doing it was to train for the Karrimor.  My stamina and pace felt good.  I just needed to brush up on the navigation a little… Oh yes and a delicious meal at the end by the lovely ladies who kept making me cups of tea and telling me to sit down and rest.  Most welcome, just a shame they won’t be holding it again next year.

Karrimor International Mountain Marathon - Brecon Beacons 30/31 Oct 2004 (Simon Vallance)

What is the KIMM?  The following is taken from the KIMM website:

“The KIMM is a 2-day Mountain event where a team of two navigate their way around a 2-day course, in mountainous terrain, in a new location each year, carrying all food, stove, tent and equipment for an overnight camp.

The event is split into 7 categories, Elite, A, B, C and 3 score classes, Long 7+ 6 hours, medium 6+ 5 and short 5+ 4.The Elite distance varies between 75-85km (effectively 2 consecutive marathons) according to the terrain/year and height gain can be up to 3,000m. The score class is a points-based competition along a route choice probably unique to you and within the stated time limits which gives more challenging navigation.

All teams are fully self supporting. There is no team support and GPS and mobile phones are not allowed. The map and course are unseen until the whistle blows. Any team not arriving into camp on Saturday evening is deemed to have camped overnight en route or have made their own way to safety.

It’s always held at the end of October (the weekend that the clocks change) to allow weather and darkness to enhance the challenge...”

I’d never done a Karrimor before so it made perfect sense to dive in at the deep end and do the Elite category. Neil, a colleague, had asked me if I fancied it in 2003, but I’d found a plausible excuse to avoid it.  This year I was feeling pretty fit and so, after canvassing the opinion of people who’d done the KIMM in the past (most of whom said don’t do it!), I decided to commit to the serious training needed to get me round.

Day 1

Elite competitors got the chance to ride in a coach to their start.  We lined up in darkness and boarded. The journey was enlivened by a competitor in front of us who had mistakenly brought a pair of his wife’s knickers instead of a hat to wear in case of cold and a coach driver who wasn’t sure where he should be taking us.  He didn’t seem to understand that we would be given a map at the start and hadn’t a clue where he should drop us off.

We had seen a map of the area the previous night and it covered the west of the Beacons National Park (the Black Mountain).  Our drop off point was well off this map and this seemed a little puzzling, until we picked up our maps and realised we had been given a completely different map to the other competitors, with almost twice the coverage.  Oh well, we thought, this is the Elite category after all.

The start was resplendent with an enormous KIMM Start banner above a path heading all the way up to Corn Du and thence to Pen Y Fan. It was steep and long so we decided to take it steady and walk, saving energy for the remainder of the competition.

Control 1 was in the fog – up and over Pen Y Fan (should have gone round, never mind), Control 2 was two very stiff climbs away. We aimed north of Control 2 and managed to drop off into a valley about 2 miles further north than intended. Not used to the scale of the map yet, we had, rather shamefacedly, to ask a householder to confirm our location on the map.  We got there in the end, along with a number of other competitors, so it seemed we hadn’t lost too much time.

Control 3 was a long, long way from control 2 back up Pen Y Fan and then across some pretty boggy terrain: we took a southerly route by Ystradfellte reservoir like most of the rest of the field (apart from the winners).  It took us almost 4 hours to complete this section and we were 33rd on reaching control 3.

Between controls 3 and 4 we ran through a forest, then made a poor route selection to descend a very steep gully before gaining an old railway line.  Control 4 was hard to locate – a stream that started and ended within 200 metres – had to be pretty accurate to find it amongst lots of long, tussocky grass. .

Control 4 to control 5 was a long way, and as we emerged from the cloud on Fan Brycheniog we were greeted by the massive bulk of Bannau Sir Gaer which quickly decided to contour rather than scale.  We found Control 5 in the mist and quickly located Control 6, although by now it was very definitely twilight, with still two more controls to find.

We ran with two other elite competitors who we had previously seen at Control 3 - Jan Tridimas and Paul Hunter.  Jan had been scheduled to run with Ranulph Fiennes, but he must have had too many Polar Bears to wrestle or something.  By now it was completely dark and we could see a number of head torches converging on a spot near to where the penultimate control should be.  Thankfully it was manned and we sped through, picking up a path to the final control – downhill on rocky terrain with only 45 minutes to spare before disqualification.  At this point my head torch packed up.  Yippee!  Lots of swearing ensued before the final control and the descent into camp through a veritable quagmire whence thousands of Karrimor feet had passed.

The campsite looked very strange indeed, a bit like a field full of dancing pixies, with thousands of head torches bobbing in the darkness: although this probably had something to do with being out for 11 hours and absolutely knackered – we just made the cut off time with 27 minutes to spare. 

We camped on a major thoroughfare and started the process of refuelling – 5 mugs of couscous later we were ready for sleep.  I was assured that I had had it easy – no rain and quite mild.  I even got some sleep that night, although with a strange feeling of having pitched the tent on gravel as people walked noisily past wearing plastic bags on their feet (keeping them dry for the morning).

Day 2

Having arrived late into camp we were on the “Mini-mass” start at 8.05 and slopped through the mud towards the first control.  Today promised to be technical as opposed to arduous and was a mere 34 km with 1300m of ascent.  A rest in comparison!

Controls 1 and 2 were close and in the fog. Control 3 was at the far side of some foggy bog. Control 4 was uphill of control 3 on a foggy slope.  It was, as you may have gathered, quite foggy at this point. The run to control 5 was amazing – we gradually dropped off out of the fog on a bearing and hit a drainage culvert that led towards Llyn y Fan Fach. Suddenly we were in bright sunshine and blue sky, with the massive headwalls of Picws Du and Bannau Sir Gaer coated in banks of brilliant white cloud.  We ran with the lake and the cliffs to our left for quite some time and then began to climb the flank of Waun Lefrith, before dropping into the col at Pant Tyle Gwyn.  Here we met a number of the A class competitors taking a more southerly line.  We seemed to still be ahead of the chasing Elite pack as we skirted round Carreg yr Ogof and into the valley to its west.  Great running here – flat and downhill for almost four miles, before locating Control 5 in a sink hole. 

As we climbed the hill behind the control, the mist descended again.  This made locating the next control very hard indeed – a pond in a sink hole, invisible from twenty metres away.  We found it, but in doing so, alerted the chasing pack of its location and led around seven pairs into the control.  Bah!

At control 7, we were a few minutes behind the main pack. On the boggy and long approach to Control 8 they gradually receded into a warm and sunny distance.  As we approached Control 8 we saw what looked like hundreds of people descending towards a knoll.  We had begun to catch up with all the other competitors as they approached the main river crossing.

We joined them all at the control and fell rather than ran down the steep and boggy hillside towards the river crossing. The Afon Twrch was interesting to cross - we were nearly waist deep in fast flowing water. Neil fell in soaking his pack. Good job this was Sunday not Saturday.

There followed a gruelling speed walk and run to Control 9 with teams approaching from a variety of directions.  We found the ruined sheepfold that was the control and, after scoffing a fistful of jelly babies, shot off for Control 10.  Neil’s compass seemed to be giving a different reading to mine and as we set off he aimed further south than I thought appropriate.  I caught him up and we compared bearings.  His was 3 degrees different to mine.  After a brief debate we decided to follow my bearing, and seemed to find the control.  Only it was the wrong one.  Some frantic searching eventually found us the control on the same bearing some 30 metres behind the first.  And again we led a group of chasing pairs into the control.  I was glad that the mist had lifted.  The control would have been very hard to find in the fog.

It all became very competitive now as a number of teams began to catch us up.  We fought valiantly but were overtaken by a number of teams with more at stake than us (like a share in the prizes). We navigated well to controls 11, 12 and 13 all a kilometre and less apart amidst more Elite competitors. We had a very fast run downhill to checkpoint 14 and then a jog to the finish.

We had done it – the primary objective had always been to get round and we finished in 25th position, later revised to 26th.  Not bad for a novice, although I have to say I benefited from Neil’s experience, particularly early on. 

Was it worth it?  Well I’ve been injured ever since, my back was rubbed raw by my pack and I was walking like an old man for about a week afterwards, but as time mellows the painful memories and heals the wounds it doesn’t seem that bad after all.  Will I do it again?  It’s still too early to say…

In Class A (40+ miles & 12000ft) Mick Wrench and Mick Loftus came 29th in 14:19.

Thyon-Dixence Fell Race  1 August (Ingo Zoller)

Everyone knows the English fells, and knows that they have everything a fellrunner needs - everything? Almost everything! Just one little thing seems to be missing, something inhabited mostly by small furry creatures called marmots, and quite a lot of other more or less rare animals. This little thing is usually known as "high altitude", and can be found in some places around the world. One place which has a lot of it (basically it consists out of it!) is a small country known to us as Switzerland.

Some British fell runners decided they'd like to taste its flavour, and met in a winter ski resort (Thyon 2000) on August 1st - right in the middle of summer. For some reason a few Europeans and even some Central and South Americans turned up for this meeting, and together they decided to race to the nearest water depot, the wall of it being known as "Grand Dixence" - just 10 miles away. Starting at an altitude of already 7000ft, this course involved another 2200ft of climb, and a few short downhills.

Good running right from the start, then a medium grade climb made sure the positions got shifted a lot. On the following downhill the next shuffle in positions occurred, the British (and German) fell runners mostly gaining a few positions here. Then a scenic, flat bit invited to have a good look around - the runners who accepted this invitation soon got invited to have a good look at the ground very soon after. But for anyone who remembered to lift his (or her) feet it was good smooth running, without much chance of gaining or losing a position here. On the next steep climb a few places could be won - the following downhill was even better suited for overtaking, and then the athletes already saw the wall - the "Barrage du Grand Dixence" - the finish! But no - they had to turn right up the hill again, another few hundred feet of climb, a long, but good runnable downhill, and then they reached the wall. Some of them managed to sprint along the top of the wall to the finish, others just licked their wounds and crawled, but all of them had a great sunny day out, and enjoyed the race.

Amongst the finishers:

1.: Ricardo Mejia (Mexico) 1h11m
6.: Billy Burns (Preston) 1:13
19.: Matt Whitfield (Norfolk) 1:24
20.: Stephen Bottomley (P&B) 1:25
77.: John A. Fish-Blair (Edinburgh) 1:36
95.: Ingo Zoller (Valley Striders) 1:40
97.: Andrew Ward (Edinburgh) 1:40
150.: Bev Whitfield (Norfolk) 1:47

(403 competitors reached the finish)
and supporting/walking/generally having a great day outside the competition:
Debbie Hardy (P&B) 1:56

Sierre-Zinal Mountain Race  8 August (Ingo Zoller)

(World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships)

Tracey leaves her mark?

This year’s international meeting was located in Switzerland, in a small town known as Sierre in the Rhône valley. A small number of well-known fell specialists joined the huge European community of mountain runners, add a few experts from the other continents, and you end up with the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships. You might wonder what our Olympic marathon competitor might have to do with this event - the answer is simple: Just before the start John Brown (the former UK marathon star) spotted a Valley Striders vest, and immediately recognized it as belonging to Valley Striders, Leeds, West Yorkshire! 

Back to the race - during the pre-start preparations the 'Black Bottom Jazz Band' from Montreux entertained over 800 competitors, light cloud covering ensured nice, comfortable temperatures. Just in time for the start the clouds lifted, the sun came out, the countdown started. In the front line there were the stars: amongst the world elite John Brown, Billy Burns, Ricardo Mejia, and from Leeds: Stephen Bottomley. Just behind them the masses, including me. The gun went, off they went, and after a short flat bit (100 yards) turned right up the road. Only for about 1/2 of a mile, then proper fell running terrain was reached. Medium wide to narrow tracks, steep, approximately 4000 ft of climb on the first 5 miles, including a few flat bits, then a few wide paths where a good number of places could be won or lost. After about 8 miles the course turned more difficult to run, rocky, slightly undulating, a few steep uphills and downhills included, but still generally turning upwards. The highest point was reached with only 6 or 7 miles to go (out of a total of 20), then the downhill started. It turned rockier - a good chance of losing your footing, and steeper - an even better chance of tripping and smashing a few bones on the way down. Luckily the fell runners avoided any serious crashes in this downhill section, and reached the really steep bits in the woods. About 2000 ft of downhill on the next 2 miles (here fell running experts do have an advantage!), then the sprint to the finish in a small village called Zinal.

World Champion: Ricardo Mejia (Mexico) (2:34)
Second: Helmut Schiessl (Germany) (2:36)
Third: Billy Burns (Preston) (2:39)
Further fell-runner results

8. John Brown (2:42)
9. Tim Short (Kent) (2:43)
24. Stephen Bottomley (P&B) (2:59)
40. Mason Duncan (Manchester) (3:10)
47. Steven Neill (N.Ireland) (3:12)
78. John Blair-Fish (Edinburgh) (3:22)
99. Paul Singleton (Kendal) (3:27)
147. Richard Rodgers (N.Ireland) (3:35)
151. Ingo Zoller (VS) (3:35)
166. Mark Kendall (N.Ireland) (3:37)
279. John Houghton (Lancashire) (3:56)
300. Gavin Williams (Sheffield) (3:59)
393. Michael Cronshaw (Lancs) (4:10)
417. Richard Hopkinson (Derbys) (4:14)
442. Mabbet Russell (Lancashire) (4:17)
450. Debbie Hardy (P&B) (4:18)
455. Denis Rankin (Belfast) (4:18)
517. Philippa Leach (Derbyshire) (4:26)
690. Dick Wall (Lanarkshire) (4:54)
706. Denis Foxley (Middlesex) (4:57)
795. John Scaife (Berkshire) (5:27)
832. Peter Fordham (Richmond) (5:54)

845 reached the finish... don't ask how many additional 'walkers' were on the course!


Half Ironman UK Sherborne  22 Aug (Bill Murphy)

 “the triathletes dashed past two by two, and there were a couple of Valley Striders too…”

In the run up there was considerable discussion of …guess what…. the weather. Hurricane Charlie having devastated a large part of Florida had scooted across the Atlantic and was predicted to hit the West Country on Sunday morning i.e. race day.  This was particularly ironic as the reason for this race having been relocated from picturesque Snowdonia to picturesque Dorset was the unpredictable weather patterns. Given that the 2003 event had been marred by an icy fog that delayed the swim start by 80 minutes I was not overly optimistic for the meteorological situation of the day.

I diverted via Southampton to get the bike serviced. It had been rather punished by two full Ironman distance races in 2004 along with the incidental training that went with them. It should also not be forgotten that while the majority of triathletes are racing snakes with all the body fat of a twiglet, I am an ex prop with all the “wiry yet muscular” frame that is normally associated with front row forwards… So, now returning to reality…the upshot was that the bike needed servicing. This also allowed me to do a quick reconnaissance on behalf of the new departure for this year’s event: namely there was another Valley Strider involved.

Andrew Wallace was staying in Ringwood in Hampshire which was almost on direct route from Southampton to Sherborne. After getting the bike fixed up (the saddle was showing signs of distress – but then wouldn’t most things if I had been sitting on them for a couple of thousand miles) and some serious carbohydrate loading (a few pints and a curry with mates from United Services, Portsmouth RFC) I set off via Ringwood for Sherborne.

It is difficult to get an estimate of travel times at 4:30 am when you are actually travelling mid afternoon on a Friday. I should have realised this and given up. It is all the more difficult when you get stuck behind one tractor and a collection of elderly holidaymakers showing evidence of premature (and not so premature) senility. What possesses people to drive at 30 mph on a dual carriageway??? I could only conclude it was a desire not to disturb the cat on the lap, or dislodge the layer of dust from the gearstick. However a wild guess was made of about 90 minutes to be on the safe side (on race morning Andrew – speed demon – Wallace did it in 50 minutes) and I arrived in good time for registration and the pasta party on the Friday night where I met up with the aforementioned Kiwi. Thankfully, the quality of the food had improved since last year. The discussion over dinner was draughting and more importantly, where was Hurricane (now tropical depression) Charlie.

“Wally” and I went our separate ways after dinner to return to our respective accommodation. I had been billeted (for want of a better word) with Mike and Gwyneth Sugg approximately 5 miles from the town of Sherborne. I had my own room with shower and bathroom facilities and they provided breakfast. Breakfast normally consisted of fresh fruit and produce from their own garden. They quite reasonably informed me that I would need to help myself on race day since that was a 4am start. However the plan for an early night was largely damaged by Mike Sugg opening a bottle of Scotch while we put the world to rights. We also discussed the impending Ladies Olympic Marathon that took place after HIMUK on the Sunday after the Sherborne race.

Sorry Tracey….relegated to second place event!!!!

Saturday morning dawned somewhat overcast – the forerunner to Tropical depression (now more of a tropical bad mood really) Charlie we all felt: ready to sweep wind and rain in from the west. That would of course be ok as the bike course was effectively a north – south route I heard someone comment. I found myself pondering whether this rather naive individual had ever cycled in the wind. The race briefing was delivered at 13:00 after which AW and I wandered around Sherborne, grabbed some lunch and wondered what we would do from 14:30 onwards. That evening I met up with John Fisher (another Leeds triathlete – see Ironman Austria race report) and friends where we discussed what we had been up to since the Bunfight at the Klagenfurt Canal (oh yes, and guess what…we were also asking “where was sub-topical irritation-Charlie???”).

Sunday arrived. I was awake at c. 3:45am I presumed it was the sound of rain beating against the window that did it. I finished the fresh raspberries, the fresh bread and made a significant dent in home made jam and honey and set off for Sherborne. It was dark, it was difficult to see, thoughts of wind and rain lashed waters roamed across my mind, but there were two things that kept popping into my head. The first was: it was very quiet for a large storm to be breaking overhead, and the second was “of course it’s dark you idiot – it’s the middle of the night!”

Those of you who ploughed through my race report last year will remember the traffic management problems at HIMUK. The Rotarians had given some thought to this and solved the problem completely. I drifted effortlessly into Sherborne Castle which was fog free. I parked and got ready to race. Dawn broke (poor lass) and guess what…in the words of many a race report….

“Race day dawned bright and clear…” For all the dire forecasts of the Met Office Hurricane Charlie had become not even an Atlantic Depression, it was little more than an Atlantic “not-such-a-bad-mood-after-all”.

The race started in two waves to avoid the melee of the previous year. The first wave included all the age group athletes under 35 plus all the professional triathletes (this included AW as a mere youngster). The second wave was everyone else. As we were getting into the water I found myself standing with Ian Kenvyn from Leeds who, like myself, was indulging in some active self-ceding for the swim start. This year at least I managed to make it to the start time before my wave began.

The swim was the usual grumpy brawl. This year in fact, it did become a brawl for me for two reasons. Firstly, I seemed to have major problems staying away from the main pack – which as a relatively poor swimmer I tend to do, and secondly someone (and I have removed the expletives to protect the innocent) tried to pull my goggles off!! As Auric Goldfinger once said “once is happenstance, twice is co-incidence and three times is enemy action” and I had certainly reached the Enemy Action stage with this guy. Ultimately he was foiled by two cunning plans: the first was that experience has taught me to wear my goggle strap under my swim hat, the second cunning plan was a particularly un-cunning right hook. The reason he was trying to slow me down was because I had over-taken him, so I reckoned that even if all else failed I would still get away from him in the water. The ploy worked and I left him vexed in the water – although not nearly as vexed as it left me….

After a mere 1900 m of frantic splash – I hesitate to describe my freestyle approach to the first discipline as actual “swimming” I was out the water and off on the bike. I took a moment in transition to encourage a chap who had struggled in the water and then I was off on the bike.

The bike course had not changed at all since last year. The sun was out, the sky was clear, the spectators were cheering (well, they were actually thinking – this is the same bunch of nutters who came this way last year…) and still feeling rather annoyed over the incident in the water I put down a bit of power on the bike to work off my irritation. The bike section was mainly uneventful to be honest. The only down side being almost run off the road by a camera crew – so much for road safety. I was passed by the Elite wave while still on lap 1. A few words of encouragement to Spencer Smith who I had chatted with after Ironman Austria where he had failed to finish (see footnote 1) drew a menacing glare – of course having “No Klagenfurt” shouted at him perhaps was not viewed as encouragement. The 90km bike route passed and I drifted into transition for the run in about 2:55ish. This was a personal best over that distance so I was feeling chipper.

The run was had been modified to make up the full 13 miles. It was noticeably short in the 2003 race. It managed to retain its rather undulating quality however. In fact it was up and down more times than….well, the strictures of the Obscene Publications Act restricts my comments, but I am sure you get the picture. God forbid that the Valley Striders Newsletter be relegated to the top shelf of your local Newsagent (see footnote 2) Anyway, back to the race.

I passed AW (going the other way – so I didn’t actually ‘pass’ him) on his last lap of the two lap run course and I actually had quite a pleasant 13 mile trot. It could hardly be described as a run. This had been a long season and I was struggling for motivation at this point, so I in fact took it relatively easy and enjoyed the sunny weather. At one point I even took the time to Waltz past one of the marshalling stations with another competitor who was wearing an Ironman Austria cycling top. This led to a cheer from the marshals – who by this stage were quite bored, a gasp from the poor lass who rather involuntarily became my dancing partner and a few damaged toes on my part (sadly, all my own fault). Alas, I do not see “Strictly Come Dancing” meets Ironman Triathlon as a television success. I also took some time to make a few encouraging comments to Jane Tomlinson who I also saw on the course and who finished in good order.

The finish line beckoned with Andrew Wallace cheering me on – along with everyone else to be fair as he was still feeling wildly enthusiastic about the whole affair. I crossed the finish line in about 5:45ish – in the process recording my slowest ever and I mean ever, half marathon time. Ho hum, c’est la guerre!

So the day began to wind down, competitors began to disappear and the prospect of the Ladies Olympic Marathon beckoned. Mike and Gwyneth Sugg had invited me to join them for dinner that evening – so good food was eaten, fine wine drunk along with some more of Mike’s Scotch and we settled down to watch Paula Radcliff not finish and to get widely excited about the fact that Tracey did finish in great order. So, although it is somewhat late – I am now delivering congratulations from Mike and Gwyneth Sugg.

Meanwhile outside the rain lashed down and the wind howled. Hurricane cum Atlantic-out-of-sorts Charlie had finally arrived.


Footnote 1 Not only did his wetsuit become undone during the 3.8km swim meaning that he had to take it off in the water, an age group athlete crashed into him while pulling away from a drinks station. You’ve got to say when it goes wrong for him, it REALLY goes wrong. Incidentally he also failed to finish HIMUK in 2003 due to a succession of accidents and punctures on the course. In fact, as he receded into the distance I was actually quite glad he was no-where near me.

Footnote 2  Actually, it is probably no bad thing that this august publication does not make it to the shelves of newsagents. I cannot imagine the Striders newsletter being sexed-up to boost sales. Bob tells me it is difficult enough to get race reports without having to try and get volunteers for the Striders page 3 girl as in “The Sun” or a front page model as in “Men’s Health”. We all know Paul Furness and Bren Kitson would offer their services (it would however be less clear which one was volunteering for which page…) All heads would turn, along with quite a few stomachs and I am uncertain the effects that this would have on our circulation.

Editor’s comment to footnote 2  Actually, Tracey did get a mention on page 3 of “The Sun” 2 days after London.  I’m sure many of you scanned all the newspapers for those few days but you may have missed this one.  Picture: Michelle, 21, from Oldham.  Text: Michelle was stunned by Tracey Morris’ Olympic standard marathon.  She said: “It was an amazing achievement and I hope she does well at the Olympics.  I could never run 26 miles like that – I’m too big-chested”

Trail Relays

Leeds Country Way

With a week to go, relays captain Paul Furness had done a great job and had filled all 48 places and all the recce runs had taken place or been arranged.

Then we we hit by an epidemic of injuries.  We searched the phone book and thankfully those who’d previously said “if you really need me” replied “yes”.  These included David Barton, Eric Cusack, Sara Dyer, Paul Hilton and Tim Towler. Erica was swapped from leg 1 of the B team to leg 6 of the Ladies and recce’d the leg on the Friday evening; even later subs on Saturday morning were Mike Brown and Julia Geddes, the latter being registered as a Strider in the process (welcome!).  Final problem: neither Elika or Julia knew leg 3; solution: Roy volunteered as navigator (special thanks).

So how did we get on?  The previous year, we had been runners-up in men’s, women’s and vets’ categories.  There will be no need to round up any of these trophies in 2005, but we still had a satisfactory day, 10th men’s team, 4th vets team, 4th ladies team and again the only club to have 4 teams.  Well done everyone, thank you, hope you enjoyed it and you’ll run again next year

The table of results shows the time for the leg, the ranking for that leg, the cumulative time and the team position at the end of the leg.  So, for example, Martin and Drew were the 5th fastest pair on leg 2 and took their team from 15th to 8th place.






Golden A
















































Rob Liddle





































































































































































Calderdale Way 12 December (Martin Horbury)

 On the 3rd December 1994 I invited myself on a Saturday afternoon run with some of my team mates at Keighley Road Runners. I had only been running for a few months, and  had was very much been a tarmac man. This run happened to be a recce of Leg 4 of the Calderdale way from Blackshaw Head to the Sportsman Pub on the main Keighley to Halifax road. This actually included the first few miles of Leg 5 just for good measure and was around 12 miles.

The following Friday night I got a phone call asking me to run leg three for the A team because somebody had dropped out and besides the fact that it was a complete disaster, I was hooked, I thought this kind of run through moors, farms, hamlets, mud, bogs, up hill and down dale was fantastic.

I was very aware that this was my 10th anniversary of the event so I took it upon myself to organise this years Striders teams. Organising 24 people to run round Halifax is quite a challenge given the combinations of who knows which leg, the busy race programme in the weeks before, where Halifax. Todmorden, Hebden Bridge etc are in relation to where most Striders live and the fact that it involves Geoff Webster.

A good example of what is involved in organising these teams can be explained in a particular week in mid November. Liz Ball was down to run Leg 3 but didn’t know the route but was keen to do a recce. On Monday evening, I phoned Geoff Webster to ask if he and Sylvia could take Liz on the recce the following Sunday, only to be told that they were busy. No Problem. After a series of phone calls on Friday evening as I travelled  back on the train from London there was a bit of team juggle and Liz was now on Leg 5, so I volunteered to take her myself.

Sunday morning, rendezvous near Halifax, Liz pulls up in the car behind me, out jumps Liz, out jumps Geoff. “Never done Leg 5 before so thought it would be interesting to come along”.  This was from a man who knew most of the legs, couldn’t decide which one he wanted to run, and then eventually dropped out on the Friday night before the race through ill health.

The race itself went extremely well with our mixed team finishing 2nd in that Category and 36th overall and our A team finishing 48th out of 94 complete teams. Particular mention to Sam who was the first Lady through Leg 1 by nearly 5 minutes, Keith Cluderay who came in for Geoff with less than 24 hours notice and Ross Anderson who gave me a cracking run on Leg 4.

Thanks to all those who ran and humoured me as I put the teams together.


Leg 1

Leg 2

Leg 3

Leg 4

Leg 5

Leg 6








Jerry Watson





Jules Barltrop

Paul Hunter





Sylvia Watson



0:52:20 (65)
































1:21:50 (39)

1:21:50 (39)










































Ed writes: The mixed team were just 3 mins 33 secs behind category winners Pudsey & Bramley.  We had beaten P&B by a similar margin in the Bradford Millennium Way Relay.  Roll on 2005!

More Fell

Race Report - Cragg Vale 6 (GW)

Only two Spiders turned out here, although a third (MickL) was camping nearby but failed to start. The two who did start (encouraged to do the race by aforementioned non-starter) were GW and Sylvia.

This race is suitable for those who like good footpaths, a sunny afternoon and a village gala with plenty of cups of teas and buns.

The start is outside the Hinchcliffe Arms in Cragg Vale village, which is also the start of the second leg of the Calderdale Way Relay. The route follows a good footpath through some woods and up onto the moor. After a short run on a moor-land path there is a long level run round Withens Clough Reservoir (highly recommended for those who enjoy V.S. Handicaps). This flat bit requires runners to make a bit of effort to get some speed up and having done 10 miles over the moors the previous day our two heroes found this more than a little strenuous. Once the reservoir loop is completed it is back across the moor and down through the woods for tea and buns. No prizes but a good afternoon out. (Bacon butties, bouncy castle and maypole dancing are advertised as added attractions for this year’s race).

Fell Championship End of Term Report  (GW)

Congratulations to Steve on winning the Fell Championship for the 3rd time. Commiserations to Andrew, who was on for a hat trick, but wasn’t fit enough in the first half of the season to get in the race. Congratulations also to BobJ on buying some proper fell shoes to enable him to score more points and beat GW in the Burley Bridge Race.

Most applause however should go to Jane Sutton who provided V.S. with 3 wins in fell races in Derbyshire. Maybe she can be persuaded to represent the club in next year’s 3-Peaks race?

Further congratulations must be handed out to Martin Horbury for his successful organisation of  2 teams for the Calderdale Way Relay, one of the which - the Mixed Team – ran Pudsey & Bramley (fell specialists) a close second: P&B gained revenge for the V.S. Mixed Team beating them by 2 minutes at the earlier Bradford Millennium Relay.

From my own experience of organising teams for this event I know only too well how difficult this can be. Runners get injured or ill and have to drop out with the consequence that the organiser has the problem of finding a suitable reserve, and there is always at least one runner who is fussy about which leg he runs; who he runs with and whether he’s got time to recce. This sort of chap usually changes routes and partners at least twice and then phones up the night before the event to announce that he can’t run after all. Fortunately the club doesn’t have anyone I can think of in the current membership who is vaguely like this so Martin probably found that his period as organiser was a thoroughly relaxing experience.

Fell Championship Points final scores

Steve W 486, GW 454, Sylvia 279, Andrew 241, Bob J 236, Brian 231, Sara 215,

Jane S 171, Mick L 157, Hutch 137, Martin 127, Mick T 122, Rob B 122, Eric G 115,

Peter L 103, Paul Hunter 92, Simon V 78, Roy 76, Lisa 68, Tony H 67, Jerry 64,

Rob L 63, Alistair 63, Bob W 54, Steve O 40, Tony F 40, Drew 37, Madeleine 30, Richard 30, Mal 28, Tim 28, Terry 26, Paul W 24, John H 24, Jules 24, Sam 24,

Ian 22, John B 22, David B 22, David C 22, Janet 21, Caroline 20, Mivvy 20,

Hayley 19, Keith 19, Mark 17, Laura 17, Mary E 17, Liz B 16, Jackie 16, Ross 14,

Lily 13, Erica 12, Annemi 12, Simon R 10, Mike B 10, Jim T 10, Bill 9,

Elika 9, Julia 9, Paul F 8, Debbie 7, Lyn E 7, Eric C 5, Paul Hilton 5


NB Anyone finding their name on the list and can’t remember doing a fell or trail race – this is because points were awarded for the Bradford Millennium Way and Leeds Country Way – both trail relays.


Wimmin’s Fell Report 2004  (SW)

Congratulations to out Madeleine (Watson) having completed her first season as FRA (Fell Runners Association) statistician, especially as she had to keen an eye on GW’s progress in the vets’ championship.  Unfortunately she couldn’t scrape together enough points for him to win anything though he was 8th V … in the English Championship.

Our most successful fell runner, male or female, was Jane Sutton who won 3 fell races in Derbyshire.  Those were the Hunshelf Amble 5m/1300’ on 19 June, the Great Bakewell Pudding Race 6m/700’ on 27 June and the Hope Wakes 4m/450’ on 30 June.  She was 3rd at Grindleford 4.5m/500’ on 17 June.  In order to encourage her further success, maybe we could get a wimin’s team together to run in the Sheffield / Derbyshire area to give her some support.  And maybe she’d write a report (like the excellent ones we used to get when she was in NZ).

Sam and Mary Harris, Jules, Laura Clark and Liz all ran well (as did Sylvia, ed) in the Calderdale Way Relay, coming so close to taking the 1st mixed team prize.  Sadly we had 2 men on the last leg … need I say more?  Other wimin runners in our other team were Sara and Mary Egan.  So there’s clearly plenty of interest in fell running amongst the wimin.

A welcome return to competitive running by Liz Ball sees her already picking up prizes on the fells – 1st LV50 at the Coley Canter on 28 Dec and leading Valley Striders to team prize.


Burley Bridge 20 (and a bit) Trail Run (GW)

Six Striders went spidering around Rombalds Moor and the canal towpath in the 2004 event. Alan Hutch was first back to the run HQ in Ben Rhydding in a time of 3h 6m. Not far behind came RobB in 3:14 with BobJ in hot pursuit to finish in 3:15. Next in was GW at 3:18 followed by the dynamic duo of EricG and PeterL in 3:40. This race will be in the 2005 VSGP as well as the Fell Championship so let’s have a big turn out. A meal and tea is included in the entry fee, with tea and buns to be had at the checkpoints.


Coley Canter (GW)

Mention must be made of the result of the Coley Canter (28th Dec. 7 miles of hard fell/cross country) where not only was Liz Ball the 1st Vet but the team achieved the rare distinction (in fell races) of winning the Team Prize. Alas, not realising this and being on a tight schedule the V.S. crew left before the presentation and so forfeited some extremely valuable goodies. For the record, however, the team consisted of Liz and Steve Ball, Sylvia and GW. Consolation may be taken from the fact that the V.S. success was published in Athletics Weekly.

Most fell races end with a downhill finish, and so does this V S News, too!

How to run downhill  (Jerry Watson)

These thoughts are a personal list of things that work for the author. The author is not responsible for any accidents that might occur when trying to implement these techniques!

Recent and not-so recent races have to led me to the conclusion that there are a lot of people out there who do not know how to or will not try to run fast downhill. Running downhill is an important skill that can be learnt. It is important because it can be used in a race to get away from or catch up the groups and individuals that you are racing against. And it doesn’t hurt quite as much as trying to do it on the uphill.

The techniques are often more relevant to cross-country and trail, but can occur in those euphemistically named undulating road races as well.

  1. Have confidence in your footwear.  You must be sure that you can grip. This may not be a problem on the road, but is essential for off-road. If wearing spikes go for the longest you can get, which nowadays are probably 15mm. Do not get caught out wearing anything too short like  9mm. In my 35 years of running cross-country I have never had too long a spike in, but several times too short.
  2. Let your legs go.  Let the natural cadence of your legs take over as you go downhill. You may feel out of control, but have confidence in 1) above. Try it on a Tuesday night hill session on the steep section by the churchyard. In reality you are letting gravity do its thing. Its free so use it! If you have confidence in the surface then you will find that you will have increased stride length as well.
  3. Keep your weight forward.  Positively think about keeping your weight forward and high. By keeping your weight forward I mean vertical to the ground and not leaning in to the hill. Think about running tall - though try it by keeping the hips high and forward rather than hunching the shoulders. You also gain from utilising gravity more effectively.
  4. Try and get onto the balls of your feet.  If wearing spikes this is good because this is where the spikes are. It also enables you to move your feet more quickly.
  5. Think about moving your feet quickly.  Essential on downhill when you are not totally convinced of where you are putting your foot – rocks, stone, and tree roots are common causes of this. Fast feet means less weight on the ground, less danger of turning an ankle. It also means you are still moving fast.
  6. Learn to pick your feet up if on rough terrain.  You are likely to be doing this anyway if you are moving your feet quickly. Think about running on hot coals. A similar technique can also be used in sprint finishes where there can be a tendency to increase stride length without moving your legs quicker.
  7. And do not lean back.  The big no-no.   Too often you see people slipping their way downhill with their weight over their backside. This all wrong. This will move your centre of gravity lower making you less stable so more likely to fall over. It automatically uses your legs as brakes so slows you down and uses the rear of the shoe where there is often less grip. It also puts more pressure on your legs and tenses the muscles, so tiring the muscles out more quickly and causes more jarring that can cause injury and post race soreness.
  8. Do not look down at your feet.  Again this will slow you up. Look forward to where you will next be putting your feet – your brain should be able to cope!
  9. Use your arms.  Remember that you may need to use your arms to balance – though this is likely to be a natural response anyway.
  10. And relax!  Letting your legs go my well increase your stride length, so relax and make the most of it.

Try some of these out when you next come to a downhill – you may feel like you’re flying. And from experience I can say they are especially useful when doing relays in a pair and Steve Webb is murdering you on the uphill!


Fell Calendar 2005


Sun Jan 23 1130 T  Stanbury Splash 7/1200', PenistoneHill,Haworth

Sun Jan 30         Tigger Tor 10, Tigers Rugby C, Hathersage Rd

Sat Feb  5 0900 TG Rombalds Stride 23 pre-enter

Sat Feb  5          Ogden Moors 6/, Ogden Res

Sat Feb 12 1000 FP Wadsworth Trog 20/4000', near Hebden Bridge

Sat Feb 12 1000 FP Wadsworth Half Trog 9/1500', nr Hebden Bridge

Sat Feb 26      F  Noonstone 9, Lumbutts nr Todmorden

Sun Feb 27 1130 F  Ilkley Moor 5½/1260'

Sat Mar  5 0800 T  Trollers Trot 24 pre-enter

Sat Mar 12 1130 F  Windmill Whizz 6/800', Ogden Res, near Halifax

Sat Mar 12 0800 T  Wuthering Hike 31/4400', Haworth

Sun Mar 20 1030 F  White Horse 7/1000', Sutton Bank Top, Thirsk

Sat Mar 26 1100 F  Midgley Moor 5/1250', Booth, near Halifax

Sun Mar 27 1030 T  Guiseley Gallop approx 10k

Sat Apr  2 1400 F  Pendle Fell, 4½/1400', Barley Village Hall

Sun Apr  3 1000 TGP Baildon Boundary Way 1/2 marathon pre-enter

Sun Apr  3 1030 TP  Blubberhouses Moor 25 good tracks, Norwood Community Hall, Timble, near Otley pre-enter

Tue Apr  5 1900 F  Bunny Run 3/300' (moor), Guide Inn, Keighley

Tue Apr 12 1900 F  Bunny Run 3/300' (moor), Guide Inn, Keighley

Tue Apr 19 1900 F  Bunny Run 3/300' (moor), Guide Inn, Keighley

Sun Apr 24 1000 FP Three Peaks 24/4500', Horton near Settle, pre-enter but NB entrants must qualify e.g. Wadsworth, W. Hike

Tue Apr 26 1900 F  Bunny Run 3/300' (moor), Guide Inn, Keighley

Mon May  2 1300 F  Cragg Vale 5½/570', near Hebden Bridge

Tue May  3 1930 FR Bunny Run Relay 3 * 2½ miles

Wed May  4 1930 F  Lothersdale 4½/600', near Skipton

Sun May  8 1000 T  Bluebell 10, Heath Rugby Club, W.Vale, Halifax

Tue May 10 1915 FG Jack Bloor 5¼/1150', Ilkley Moor

Wed May 25 1930 F  White Lion 3¾/800’, Kildwick

Sat May 28 1430 F  Hutton Roof Gala 7/1300', nr Kirkby Lonsdale

Mon May 30 1300 F  Austwick Amble 8/1200' nr Settle

Tue May 31 1930 F  Rombald's Moor 3/700', Skipton

Wed Jun  1 1930 F  Chevin 3½/900' Fell Race, Otley Clock

Sat Jun  4 1030 T  Wharfedale Off-rd 26/2500', Grassington RugbyC

Wed Jun  8      FR Badgerstone Relay at Ilkley

Sat Jun 11      T  Ulfkil Stride 24 from Buckden

Sat Jun 18      F  Buckden Pike 4

Sun Jun 19 0800 TR Bradford Millennium Way 5 pairs * apprx 9miles

Fri Jun 24 1930 F  }  3  { Wicken Hill Whizz 3/1000'

Sat Jun 25 1500 F  } day { Tom Tittiman 4/600'

Sun Jun 26 1130 F  }event{ Reservoir Bogs 8/1000'

Sun Jun 26         Settle Hills 7/1500’, North Ribblesdale RugbyC

Fri Jul  1 2000 F  } Wharfedale { Uphill Road Race 3/950'

Sat Jul  2 1100 F  }  Triple T  { Fell Race 12½/3000'

Sat Jul  3 1100 F  } Kettlewell { Fell Race 1½/500'

Tue Jul  5 1915 FR Danefield Relay at Otley 3 * 2½/500'

Wed Jul  6 1930 F  Black Rocks 5½/850' Matlock Rugby Club

Tue Jul 12 1930 F  Stoodley Pike 3½

Wed Jul 13 1930 F  Stirton Fell 5½/800' Stirton near Skipton

Sun Jul 17 1130 F  Oldfield Gala 5½/550' nr Keighley

Sun Jul 17 1100 F  Holme Moss 16/4000' Brown Hill Res Holmbridge

Sat Jul 23 1430 F  Turnslack 8/2000’ Calderbrook, Littleborough

Sun Jul 31 1100 FG Round Hill 9/1100' Timble nr Otley


F=fell  T=trail  R=relay  P=pre-enter  G=alsoGrandPrix


Trail Training Runs

Martin Horbury is planning some long distance training and recce runs on Saturday afternoons.  All will be round 16 miles.  Call Martin on 393-5597 if you are interested

March 12 – from Timble to Round Hill, Beamsley Beacon and back, will cover part of Blubberhouses 25 Race and all of Round Hill Fell Race.

May 20 – will cover 16 miles of Wharfedale Off-road Marathon – Kettlewell, Kilnsey, Arncliffe, Malham area.

July 16 – part of Yorkshireman Off-road Marathon (Haworth area, race is in September).

We will also be organising recce runs for the Bradford Millennium Way Relay in June.


Weekend Away 4-6 March

Eric Cusack writes:  Anyone interested in a weekend away up in Northumberland?  Friday & Saturday 4th & 5th - 6th March.  Bed, breakfast &  5 course dinner at The Riverdale Hall Hotel, Bellingham. A reduced rate for Striders, family & friends - £50 per person per night.  Lots of Running trails, Walks, Swimming, Golf, Fishing etc.  To book or for more details phone me 01943 878154 or email or look on the hotel website



e-mail (note new email address)


Keep up-to-date with Striders Updates!

We have over 130 Striders or potential Striders on the e-mail distribution list - if you have e-mail and are not receiving the Electronic Striders Updates that come out every two weeks (sometimes more often), e-mail the address and ask to be included.

These Updates are now also available on the Valley Striders website, so if you have internet access but don't have email (or can’t use your work email for private use), then look at the website every few days.

If you have neither email nor internet, then do you have friends with internet?  If so then ask them to print the Updates from the website.

No email, no internet, no friends(on internet)? No problem!  Phone me and I will make sure that every 4-6 weeks you will be sent printed versions of the Updates.