Report by Paul Hobbs
Red Rose Cross Country
After a busy season of racing on the fells and roads, Autumn brings in the eagerly awaited cross country season. When fell running takes a breather for the Winter, cross country ramps up, presenting fell and road runners with a muddy (if a little flatter alternative). Cross country is a fast and feisty affair, where road runners and fell runners meet. The Red Rose Cross Country League kicked off on Saturday at Leigh.
First off where the Juniors, with Jack Crummett achieving a very creditable top ten position against strong opposition. In the mens’ and women’s races, fifteen Harriers did their club proud in the first race in the series. Starting the series of races strongly is vital to achieve a good position overall across all races.
In the ladies’ race, Sarah Glyde ran a very well-judged race to edge ahead of Mel Blackhurst by just over ten seconds. Glyde came in 18th overall and Blackhurst, in 21st position. Nerys Rolinson and Claire Duffield, returning from a lay-off weren’t race behind. The ladies’ team achieved eighth position overall on the day. Nerys
In the men’s race, Nick Barber matched Sarah Glyde’s position, also coming in 18th. Dwane Dixon, who is clearly a man coming back to form after a catalogue of injuries, came in 90 seconds behind in 28th position. Slightly further down the field were ultra-supremo and newly converted marathon runner, Craig Stansfield. Targeting a strong finish in the veterans’ category again, the ever-green Todmorden Veterans were second team.
Withins Skyline Fell Race
David and Eileen Woodhead, organisers of the hugely popular fell races from Penistone Hill in Haworth this week received their well-deserved MBEs. The show must go on though and the popularity of Sunday’s Withins Skyline Race reflected all their hard work. Junior and Senior runners assembled in surprisingly pleasant conditions and revelled in the morning’s racing. In the junior races, Arran and Ethen Adams came in 12th and 13th respectively.
This year’s senior race features in this year’s fell championship. Paul Hobbs was first Harrier home in 16th position. First Lady Harrier was Rebecca Patrick. Special credit must certainly be due to Paul Brannigan, Mel Blackhurst and Dave Garner who all ran the Red Rose Cross Country on Saturday.
Six Todmorden Harriers made their way up the M6 for the classic Langdale Fell Race. The race features 14 miles and over 4000ft of climb over Pavey ark, Bow Fell, Crinkle Craggs and finally Pike O Blisco. Andy Styan’s remarkable record of 1 hour 55 minutes from 1977 may never be broken. Year upon year its reputation as one of the great race records grows.
Phil Hodgson was the first Harrier to complete the challenging route in a shade over three hours. Other Harriers’ to run this epic Lakeland race were Peter Bowles, Neil Hodgkinson, Jane Leonard, Sue Roberts and Mandy Goth.
Elsewhere, on the road, Richard Butterwick and Myra Wells revelled in the sunny conditions to coast around the 10k course in times of 38 minutes 29 seconds and 1hr 8 seconds.