STRETTON HILLS English Champs Fell Race, 17 Mar
By Rebecca Patrick
The English Championship began on Sunday with the Stretton Hills fell race, also in the Todmorden Harriers Fell Championship. Just short of 6 miles , but with over 2000 feet of climbing, this is a tough race, worthy of this year’s championship. Guaranteed a big crowd puller, the weather was relatively kind to both runners and spectators, with just the odd hail shower, compared to Saturday’s horrendous rain. The race starts over at Church Stretton, Shropshire and runners have to self navigate to 5 checkpoints with tough ascents and descents.
Carl Bell of Keswick won in 45.04 and Nichola Jackson of Ribble Valley Harriers was first lady in 51.01. Of the nine Todmorden Harriers competing Jon Wright was first back in 52:19, 73rd overall and third V45, Nick Barber came in in 57:26, followed by Dwane Dixon in 1:03:24. Annie Roberts had a great run in 56:49 and was 12th woman overall. The women’s V40 team had a good run and all three came in tightly packed: Rebecca Patrick in 1:04:29, Claire Duffield in 1:04:41and Melanie Blackhurst in 1:06:04. Jane Leonard was fourth V60 in 1:21:07 and Sue Roberts finished in 1:37:17.