C&C Billy Bland Challenge relay - 24 May 2015
On 24 May 2015, an almost exclusively C&C team ran the Billy Bland Challenge relay which “is based on the five legs of the 24 Hour Bob Graham round, starting and finishing at the Moot Hall in Keswick (…) and covers about 66 miles, 28,000 feet of climbing and 42 peaks.” (http://www.billyblandchallenge.org.uk/). To reflect the event which was a team effort, each pair has submitted a summary of the leg they ran and the 5 write-ups from the basis of the race report below. We hope that you will enjoy reading it and may it inspire some of you to join us next year when we are hoping to run the challenge again. Photos also uploaded to the gallery
Start of leg 1 (Scott & Bernie): Keswick Moot Hall 00:03
After a hot and sunny Saturday, the forecast for Sunday wasn’t great – a heavy band of rain was due to pass over the Lakes between midnight and early morning. Sure enough, it was grey and foggy as we left the Moot Hall. As we ascended the steep slope of Skiddaw, the rain arrived, and by the time we reach the 3000ft summit plateau visibility was down to less than 2 metres! The next several hours brought a succession of rocky scree, knee-deep heather, and thigh-deep bogs, eventually descending off Blencathra via the insanely steep “parachute drop”. Having lost about half an hour on our target schedule, we could only hope that the weather would improve and allow our teammates to recover some time.
Handover to leg 2 (Emma & Lee): Threlkeld 04:36
Waiting for a handover in an off-road relay is always a mixed affair of excitement and worrying about your team mates and so it was for Lee and me. But when we were off shortly after 430AM the anxious wait in the Threlkeld car park was soon forgotten. Our leg is a seemingly simple business of twelve peaks on an almost straight north to south line. Yet nothing is simple in poor weather when only one of you can navigate! The climb to Clough Head sets your calves on fire but rewards you with a magnificent view over the valley (or not, if no visibility). You then run/trot/walk (fell “running” means many things) along nine peaks, including Helvellyn, before going down towards Grisedale Tarn. Swallow your last gel for the cruel climb up Fairfield, then come Seat Sandal and the bumpy descent to Dunmail Raise where your team mates look as if they have had a long and cold wait. Squeeze of hands and the next team is off.
Handover to leg 3 (Scott & Kris): Dunmail Raise 09:26
With our spirits lifted by seeing our team mates safely off the hill and the gradually improving weather, we climbed strongly up Steel Fell, hitting the top several minutes ahead of schedule… and then on the open fells across to High Raise lost all the time we’d gained struggling into a very strong headwind! Pushing hard, we held to schedule right through to the highest point in England on Scafell Pike, fighting our way through the tourists to reach the cairn. The tricky up-and-down scramble of Lords Rake was then followed by the leg-numbing descent off Scafell – 3000ft in under 3km!
Handover to leg 4 (Katie, Pete Nelson, John Slater): Wasdale 15:31
Following earlier outstanding efforts against the weather the Lakeland skies had cleared by 3.20pm and there would be no excuses for a slow leg, particularly as I was lucky enough to run it with two Bob Graham Club members – John Slater and my uncle, Pete Nelson. It went like a dream (albeit a rocky, steep and windy one!) with satisfying climbs up Yewbarrow and Red Pike and some fun stuff underfoot on the dog’s leg to Steeple – just don’t look down. Stubbornness overcame stomach issues going up Great Gable (‘Just be sick and get on with it, then!’ – Pete) and by Green Gable we were going well with a few minutes to spare to stay inside the 20-hour schedule for this leg. We settled in to enjoy a classic descent to the team at Honister, finishing with an attempted sprint finish which was thwarted by my battered and wobbly quads.
Handover to leg 5 (Harry, Bernie, Kate Charles): Honister 19:55
After spending all day hearing how the others had done on legs 1 to 4, initial concerns about being up against the clock disappeared after great efforts on legs 2, 3 &4! We set off from Honister just before 8pm, Harry was like a coiled spring and soon reached the first top. Kate’s expert knowledge of this leg, better weather & daylight meant we shot over Hindsgarth and Robinson and were back in Little Town just before 9.30pm. Harry and I changed into road shoes for the 10k sprint back into Keswick, Lee took over the guide’s role from Kate’s excellent job. I tried to keep up with Lee and Harry! Nev made the right decision not to run and gave his full support to the team. We regrouped as we entered Keswick and ran the last 150m up to Moot Hall with the rest of the team cheering us on. We finished at 10.08pm with sheer relief and elation!
Finish: Keswick Moot Hall 22:08
A great effort by the entire team, completing the challenge in 22 hours 5 minutes. (Last year this would have placed us 2nd in the mixed team category.) Many thanks to Pete, John and Kate for contributing their local knowledge, and huge thanks for the support from Debs & Elizabeth, Chris & Rachel, Wendy & Dave, Barbara, and of course Nev!
We’re already planning for another attempt next year, so anyone interested please contact Scott White.
BUPA Westminster Mile - National Champions!
We had a dazzlingly fast squad of seven at the BUPA Westminster Mile, and our awesome Under-20s did something rather special in the National Junior Championships. Congratulations to Kieran Wood and Hollie Parker, British Athletics One Mile Road Champions. Amazing to have both champs in the C&C colours. Congratulations too to Tim Cobden (fourth), Curtis Wood (fifth) and Beatrice Fitzsimons (sixth). Hard to beat that, but the Richardsons, Ian and Karen, gave it a good go in the seniors, Ian coming back with a new PB.
Ultras and Multiples
Catching up on some of the other results, and hoping for some Billy Bland news.....
Neil White took in the Ox Ultra down in Wiltshire, covering 35 miles (and the rest), and took a rather impressive fourth place (out of 158) in 5:16. Blimey! And though we didn't send a full squad to the wonderful Tour of the Derwent Valley this year, Gerald Meah flew the flag in all four races, finishing 28th across the series despite being pipped by Paul Jones at the new Bluebell Inn leg. I love those races. Sigh....
Hatfield Broad Oak 10K
Some excellent running and some shiny PBs gained at the Hatfield Broad Oak 10K, down Stansted way - a rather popular one for C&Cs. I refer you to Christof's excellent report for the full goss.
Kevin Henry 5k Series, Race 2 - Saffron Striders
Race 2 of the Kevin Henry Series is almost upon us. It is 7:30pm on Thursday 21st May 2015, at Saffron Striders home event in Newport. All the directions are attached at the bottom of this news item. CTC took a clean sweep at their home event picking up 12 points, Haverhill are second with 9 and we are third with 8. We are hoping it is a long way for the triathletes to cycle to Saffron, so a chance for us to pull back some ground! Also a superb turnout by Haverhill in race 1, shows how many points can be had when over 60% of their club members show up - remember everyone scores a point for the club. All you need to run is your club vest. As always any volunteers to score will be great - just drop me an email on email@example.com. There is limited parking at Newport, so Saffron Striders request as much lift sharing as possible. See you there!
Club night - T&F special
Attached is a copy of the powerpoint that was up during the T&F club night special in case anyone would like a copy. It's got a few useful contacts and links. Any questions, please let me know.
Battles at Bosworth
A band of merry men made their way to Bosworth to engage in battle with 'northern-folk' and demonstrate that hills are just fictional constructs to keep flat-landers away. The band included the noble Knights of high mileage - St Ian Rich-hard-son and Sir Kevin O'Hell-I-can-run and the ever speedy Count Charles Ritchie escorting the delightful Maid Karen. The knights had engaged in fierce battle the week before on the Stravarian MTS having taken-down most of the rest of the plebian runners with a ton of miles. Despite the exhaustion from their efforts they lined-up with the mortals to engage in earnest battle. Count Charles led the charge with St Ian in pursuit. Sir Kevin and I tucked in safely, hiding from the faster Northern-folk who, fearlessly, headed out into positive-split hills. It was Sir Kevin who first discovered that the fair-Cambridge thigh is no match for the northern hills when carrying a kitchen sink. Just after halfway he carefully laid the sink down and merrily danced his way towards the finish collecting another negative split on route and a PB. I picked-up the sink and staggered in behind him, grateful that he had left an old PB in the sink for me to keep. The ever graceful St Ian appeared shortly afterwards claiming not to have seen any hills but also having happened upon a most unlikely PB and some silver too. He was followed by Count Charles, who had resisted the witchly 'come-hither and rest' spells, to also collect a handful of silver. After a brief rest the knights gathered their now destroyed legs to welcome the radiant Maid Karen of Orange. After much discussion the Knights claimed a great victory had been won and vowed to return for northern gold in the future.
Kevin Henry photographs
Katie S first lady at Anglo Celtic Plate 100k and the new National Champion
On Saturday Katie competed against and beat the national teams from the other home nations to be first lady and win the National Championships. The shield is full of illustrious names of previous winners, but is so big we may need to move house!
Anglo Celtic Plate 100k and National Championship
: Results (1)
Milton Keynes Marathon
4 C&C'ers went to Milton Keynes to run the marathon, 3 of them making marathon debuts. Conditions were favourable, around 15 degrees, a little wind and a bit of cloud to keep the sun at bay. MK is a tricky course with relentless underpasses, meaning a pretty rolling course, with a nasty bite at 22-23 miles. As usual the marathon is a cruel mistress. But there were still 3 stunning debuts. Nick Osborn had really pushed the boundaries by going for the mythical sub 3. A perfectly paced first half, was followed by Nick hanging on to the 3 hour pacer, only losing him near the end, but still achieved a magnificent 3:01! Neville Hawkins also strived for a quick first attempt with a strong first half and a second half that pulled on all his mental and physical reserves to finish in a very credible 3:41. The Steve Redgrave comment of never again will quickly subside, I am sure! A great PB from the ever smiling Liz O'Donovan in 3:52 and another brilliant first time performance from Rebecca Anderson in 4:24 - well done all - a clean sweep of PB's.
Also Caroline Archer achieved a PB of 1:44 in the HM - great work.
Fen Drayton 10K
The RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes reserve is a rapidly-changing bounty of animal life at this time of year. Wandering out there on Sunday we chalked up our first cuckoo call and spotted an early clutch of swifts, for example. It's also a pretty nice place to go for a run, so all the critters and migratory birdlife were scattered for an hour or so by arrival of the gaudily-plumaged, wheezily-chirping flocks of competitors in the Fen Drayton 10K. And with the heavy rain before the race, breeding conditions were perfect for undercracker bacteria too, particularly as the watery sunlight started to up the humidity on the busway. Nature's wonders in all their many forms.
Most naturally wonderful C&C on the flat but often rough course was Ian Richardson, yet another PB, and a sub-40 at that, earning him sixth place (39:41), a couple of minutes ahead of Rob Moir (42:09) and Steve Cresswell (42:30), and first C&C female was Joanne Pyle, an excellent seventh place in 49:49. Many excellent performances elsewhere amongst the squad, so follow the link to the full results. Well done all.