Weekend racing: Big guns warm-up on the fells
One week out from the opening round of the 2012 British Fell Running Championships some of those most-likely-to hit the fells to stretch their legs and lay down markers ahead of the Coledale Horseshoe
There were wins for senior men Joe Symonds (Clachnaben) and Rob Jebb (Pendle), with Katie Walshaw (Pendle) and Olivia Walwyn-Bush (Peel) taking good women’s wins. Lloyd Taggart was also racing at the Peel Hill Races against some speedy oposition.
With quality races at the Fron Four in Wales, Pendle and Rivi Pike in England, the Peel Hill on the Isle of Man and Clachnaben up in Scotland, there was an opportunity for most to get out and test themselves ahead of the big championship race this coming weekend.
Clachnaben Hill Race
Up in Scotland it was the first round of the 2012 Scottish Hill Running Championships at Clachnaben, with plenty of talent on show. Joe Symonds running for HBT took the win, ahead of Chris Smith and Robbie Simpson. Catriona Buchanan won the women’s race.
Symonds tells MST:
“I knew I’d be in for a good race with local runner and two-times former Clachnaben winner Robbie Simpson in the field. What I didn’t know until the racing got underway was that another international athlete was lurking on the start line. The pace was intense right from the very start, being set by a visitor from London – the English International fell runner and former Aberdonian, Chris Smith.
“I reached the summit of Clachnaben with a 20 second lead and tried to run fast off the top. Both Chris and I slipped occasionally on the fast but rugged descent, taking a face-plant a piece. The main path was being snowdrifted out-of-bounds, and the rest of the ground was sodden from snowmelt. I took a nasty twist to my right ankle and through compensating ended up hyper-extending my left knee.
“Chris came storming past me as I slowed. Fortunately we were only a couple of hundred yards from the large track which completed the final 2 miles of the course. As soon as we hit the track felt strong, with no ill effects on my knee, so I cranked up the pace again. I passed Smith with about a mile of running left and then powered on to the end.
Over in Wales it was the second edition of a new race up in the north, which is gaining a reputation as a classic and beautiful event. The Fron Four race produced a reversal of the 2011 result as Rob Grantham took the win ahead of last year’s winner Matt Fortes. Lisa Grantham made it a double win for the Granthams as she won the women’s event, finishing 10th overall.
Jebby fires-up at Pendle
The Pendle Fell Race promised to be a cracking dust-up with runners such as Rob Jebb, Rob Hope, Darren Kay, the Addison boys, Andy Peace, Vic Wilkinson and Katie Walshaw all present on the start line. So it proved, as Rob Jebb took a 30 second win ahead of a returning-from-injury Rob Hope. Mark Addison was third, tucked in behind Hope.
In the women’s race there was a very good win for young Katie Walshaw, finishing over a minute up on Victoria Wilkinson, with U23 runner Mel Hyder taking the third spot.
The Pendle race was party to some great ‘media’ coverage too, with Bethanie Murray retuning a cracking little film, now online at the athleticos site. Lovely in depth report from Fell Running Briefs here, with results now online via the UK Results site.
Finally, over on the Isle of Man it was the Easter Festival races with the Peel Hill event taking place on Saturday. Road and XC man Matt Janes was victorious, with England international Olivia Walwyn-Bush winning the women’s race. Results for the men are here, with the women’s results here.