National Cross Country Championships at Leeds
The 2019 National Cross Country Championships were held in the grounds of Harewood House in hot conditions for February. The course included challenging climbs and descents with a fast, long finishing section.
Halifax Harriers were represented in various age group races.
In the under 13 girls race, Nia Harrison-Sergeant came 84th, whilst in the under 13 boys race, James Duffy finished 254th.
James Johnson finished 254th in the under 15 boys race.
The under 17 men all performed well with Max Burgin finishing 37th, Ewan Wheelwright 144th and Harry Keighley 237th.
Laura Knowles ran in the junior ladies race finishing in 113th.
In the senior ladies race Katrina Oddy finished 277th (5th V50), whilst in the senior mens race Ben Crowther came 288th, Simon Johnson 801st, Ryan Barker 1106th and Heath Reilly 1975th.
All the Halifax HarriersH athletes put in some good performances in the heat against some of the best runners in the country in their age groups.
Ilkley Moor fell race
Halifax Harriers had 3 runners in a field of 264 at the Ilkley Moor fell race.
This is a tough 5 mile course with lots of challenging climbs and technical descents. The day was warm with dry conditions underfoot.
Halifax Harriers results - Paul Sutcliffe, 61st in 48:36, Sarah Langan 229th in 69:45 and Samuel Wright 240th in 70:55.
This race is the second in the Halifax Harriers Fell League, with Paul Sutcliffe leading the men and Hazel Berrett and Sarah Langan in equal first place in the ladies.
Halifax Harriers had nine runners at the Liversedge half marathon which is considered by many to be quite a tough race, but the total climb is no worse than many other local races. However, there is a bone shaking steep descent into Bailiff Bridge, then a flat section on Bradford Road as the race progresses towards Brighouse, before the climb up through Clifton to Hartshead and the finish at Roberttown.
Peter Clegg was first back for Halifax Harriers in 13th position in 1:24:43. Andy Wiggins and Will Stewart came in together in 1:27:16 (3rd M45) and 1:27:25 respectively. April Caufield was first lady back for Halifax Harriers in 1:32:29 (5th lady).
Other runners for the club were James O’Rourke 1:30:43, David Ingle 1:31:22, Simon Lea 1:42:45, Nigel Taylor 1:50:00, Margaret Deacon 1:57:30.
“What makes this route so challenging is the terrain. The boggy ground saps your legs of energy and it’s a constant battle with the tussocks and the mud. The weather is usually inclement on race day and you have to be able to navigate as very little of the route is flagged. Not surprising then that many people refer to it as ‘The Beast’. Only tough, seasoned fell runners need apply. This is not a race for the pretty boy athlete” – Ben Mounsey
Last year I entered Wadsworth Trog after a night out. I had no regrets. In fact, as soon as I’ve entered something, I’m 100% committed to it unless I’m ill, which very rarely happens, if ever. I credit this to the years of mucking around on my grandparent’s farm and never washing our hands after tending to the animals –-It clearly never did us any harm!
I digress. The Trog is renowned in fell circles as a ‘classic’, which in my eyes is the TV version of Steptoe and Son or Porridge- I like a classic!
Unfortunately, in true SS style, I managed to have a slight mix up with my dates and realised that it was far sooner than I had initially thought, so any intention of doing a recce in advance went out of the window. Quite anxious about people’s reaction when I mentioned ‘The Trog’ I began to realise that perhaps I had bitten off more than I could chew.
I nervously toyed between running the Trog or giving it a miss, for my navigation skills are on a par with a blind pigeon. Also, temperatures have recently plummeted to below zero- Lost and cold don’t seem too alluring! However, as I wrestled with the idea of getting lost on the moors, being found semi-conscious and reminiscent of an explorer that didn’t quite make the summit of Everest, I just knew I had to do it. I had also only had a diet coke at the HH quiz the night before and decided not to have a Guinness, which pained me. So, I had absolutely no excuse not to run.
Anyway, having not reccied the route, I decided that the sure-fire way to success was to keep up with the person in front. That was my strategy. Until there was no one in front…
The first 5 miles of the race weren’t so bad; the ice made a few of the descents a little tricky.
However, at this point I had not fallen over, nor had I broken an arm, so I felt that I was on to a winner. One thing I have realised about distance running is that the race never truly starts until it’s about to end. About half way through the race and my energy was well and truly sapped. I think the cold had a part to play and it was the first time I have ever eaten a full Trek bar and genuinely enjoyed every single mouthful. This ‘picnic’ was a welcome addition at this point in the race and gave way for a ‘second wind’. This bout of energy propelled me up another hill and past a lovely photographer who was handing out copious amounts of Jelly Babies. As I reached the summit, I can only describe what I saw as extra-terrestrial. A crater- like vastness which was dusted with icing sugar.
Despite the challenging conditions, I still felt pretty good at about 17 miles. The last two miles, however, became the hardest of the lot as I lost the runner in front and struggled to navigate the finish. I quickly realised that I was heading in the wrong direction (I could no longer hear the footsteps of the guy behind me). So I retraced my steps, caught sight of a flag, and headed down a dirt track.
Eventually, I spotted a marshal who pointed me in the direction of the final CP and headed up another great big hill. Reaching the summit of the hill, I ran down the final dirt track, did the “Victory lap” which I now know wasn’t optional, but actually the end of a very exhausting few hours of running.
I’d say the last few weeks of training have been fantastic for getting into shape and focussing the mind on distance and pace. It’s by no means a record-breaking fete, but it will serve me in good stead for future months and what I have planned.