With no club championship to focus on last weekend, variety was the theme for Stainland Lions runners.
Nineteen Lions opted for the second round of this year’s Yorkshire Veterans AA league at Otley, where the mixture of sleet and rain made the muddy, off-road sections of the 5.8 mile course quite interesting.
Conditions eased as the race started, and Dave Watson of Holmfirth Harriers again showed his dominance, as he did all last year, winning the race in 31mins 59secs.
With many of their first division runners absent it was nevertheless a strong team performance from Stainland. Their first three men home were Matt Higham in 38.30, with John Bassinder in 42.18 and Martin O’Brien 43.41, their first three ladies being Aileen Baldwin 44.20, Helen Hudson 46.10 and Dawn Medlock Stainland 54.55, Baldwin and Hudson taking the first prizes in their respective F60 and F45 categories.
With Mark Preston 43.55, Paul McCormick 44.01, Paul Patrick 44.41, John Hirst 45.14, Steve Hallam 46.36, Alan Gibson 47.31, Tim Neville 48.23, John Ingles 48.34, Jonathan Taylor 50.51, Steve Boyer 54.28, Carol Lord 59.22, Jackie Barker 62.16 and Joanne Hirst 68.33, the team finished a respectable fourth out of 22 in the men’s and sixth out of 15 overall in the ladies’ in what is shaping up to be a very competitive league.
Two Lions made it to the Dewsbury 10K road race, re-arranged due to the snow and ice four weeks ago, Gavin Dodd finishing in 41mins and 9secs and Jane Potter 54:50.
Further afield one solitary Lion travelled to Cumbria for the scenic Haweswater Half Marathon. Richard Brown joined nearly 600 other runners on the startline in the village of Bampton to tackle the hilly course which heads out through superb forest scenery, following the road alongside Haweswater to Mardale Head and back, with the mountains providing a stunning backdrop.
Brown put in another solid performance, taking four minutes off his recent time at Liversedge and finishing in 1hr 39mins and 10 secs.
Meanwhile, Phil Tucker and Richard Hand battled the elements at the Fire Fighters ‘2UP’ Duathlon in Bolton, a run/bike/run event for teams of two.
Sixty-two pairs of competitors arrived at race HQ in wind and rain to be met with the news that snow was falling on the tops of the bike route and a decision was made to delay the start by over an hour which allowed the weather to ease off enough to get the event underway.
The run 6k (3.6m) was a mixture of road and trail, which the Stainland cross country duo relished, reeling in many of the earlier waves and going into T1 third fastest in 22mins 22secs, followed by a 57 seconds transition and out on the bikes.
The 28k (17.2m) bike ride on the undulating course was set to test even the strongest bikers, and with Tucker experiencing a chain problem they completed that section in 1hr 01min 44secs. The second transition took slightly longer at 65 seconds, as they, like most of the other teams, had trouble removing cycling helmets etc. due to cold, numb fingers.
Back on the road again for the second 6K run which, despite tired legs, the pair completed in only two minutes longer than their first, finishing third place for that leg in 24.21, and 11th team overall.
COMPETITORS from Calder Valley Fell Runners took to the hills in a couple of events where the conditions made for even more challenges than might have been expected.
Teams competing in the High Peak Mountain Marathon - an event which starts at 11pm at night and sends competitors off on a 42 mile tour of pathless moors - found themselves able to see only a couple of metres in front of them due to thick mist.
Doug Gurr of the ‘Calder Somnambulists’ team completed the route in 10h 49min, his fastest time ever, while Barbara Lonsdale and Alister Morris finished with team ‘For Goodness Shakes’ in 12h 14min.
Despite the relentless bogs, made worse by recent rains and which were less than helpfully broken up by large ditches full of water and more bog, seasoned adventure racer Lonsdale stoically completed her longest single day of racing to date.
Further north, competitors heading to the Lake District for the Black Combe fell race may have been prepared for the eight mile course taking in 3400ft of climb, including a vicious second ascent, but were perhaps not expecting a severe hailstorm.
Having selected the category A race as his first event back after nine months out with injury, Chris Standish was clearly not going for the soft option.
With some big names fighting it out for the top places, the first Calder Valley runner home was Tim Ellis who finished 25th in 1:19:59. Other Calder Valley finishers were: Andy Fleet 1:22:07, Graham Hill 1:28:23, Chris Godridge 1:36:45, Robert Paradise 1:38:30, Chris Standish 1:41:47, and Ryan Colbeck 2:18:08.
CALDER Valley fell runners invite allcomers to join them for ‘25-25-25’, a 25 mile run to mark the 25th year of the club, on Sunday, March 25. There will be plenty of opportunities to do shorter legs of the route on this social run, which starts and finishes in Mytholmroyd.
Further details are available on www.cvfr.co.uk