Sodden Twites at Blackstone Edge Fell Race

At the back end of 2023 I bumped into Kev Shand at a Red Rose XC event, after 40 years of organising he felt it was time to pass on the baton, not wanting a class short fell race in the Pennines to die, I took the baton!

The day arrived and coincidentally so did the bad weather, what a baptism! Irrespective of the Amber weather warning, everything was on green at Lydgate, Littleborough. I Bog snorkeled around the race route placing out the flags mid-afternoon, introducing a minor-minor detour to avoid nesting Twites (instruction from Natural England) on the rough descent to the infamous bog.

78 runners rocked up on the evening, yes it was windy and yes it was raining but the Fellrunning community showed their usual true grit, adhering to full kit requirement, smiles on faces and eager to get on with it. A slight technical hitch momentarily caused alarm when the registration computer lost 10 runners from its screen, I blamed the water dripping from the roof of the cow shed doing a stout job imitating a colander, disaster averted by a frantic run around the runners by Kate Mansell collecting the outstanding vest numbers, thank you.

The race quickly got under way, coinciding with Clag thickening upon Blackstone Edge summit. Last year’s winner Jack Walton blazed / swam around the course finishing 40 secs ahead of 2nd man and 1st M40 Danny Hope, followed by a duo of Wharfedale Harriers, Danny Drake and Ethan Hassell. Mr. Hope in his own little world, left home without the minimum kit, ended up paying £60 for a set of waterproofs, hat and gloves from Decathlon on route, ouch! That’s dedication for an 8 times previous winner.

Ladies’ winner, Kay Welsby F40 placed well in the top 20, over 4 minutes in front of 2nd placed Hannah Prince of Todmorden, with Niamh Jackson in 3rd. Some great Vet category performances, M50 John Bramwell, F50 Emma Ball, M60 Stephen Booth, F60 Karen Forster, M70 Nick Harris and a new record for F70, Aileen Baldwin in a super-fast time of 55.15, excellent.

For sure there were 78 sodden runners at the conclusion of the race, but all seemed to relish the typical grim Winter fellrunning conditions in Spring here in the South Pennines, ha-ha.

Marshalls enjoying the weather

Lovely cakes and hot drinks provided by the local Church, Fantastic support from my team of marshals and Bev, thank you all and thanks to Shandy for a great race route, see you next year.

Todmorden Results:

PositionFirst NameLast NameTime

Report by Jonathan Wright, Photos by Gaz Pemberton

Helen TippingSodden Twites at Blackstone Edge Fell Race