Press Report 20th October 2019 from Nick Budd

Andy Roberts and Bryan Carr Photo: B Lomas

This week’s press report

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Polly Kennerley Photo: B Lomas
Emma Weston and Bryan Lomas. Photo B. Lomas

Saturday saw the holding of the British Fell Relay Championship which drew to the Derwent Valley over 200 different clubs and 1500 competitors to compete in this year’s event.  One of the teams taking part this year was the Congleton Harriers. 

Derwent Valley in the Dark Peaks is the home of the Derwent and Howden reservoirs which were constructed at the start of the 20th century to meet the increasing demand for water to support the industrial cities of the East Midlands and South Yorkshire. The two dams created are truly striking and they played a major part in WW2.  The topology of the area and their structure made them ideal training ground for the famous dam buster raid on the Ruhr valley with the specially modified Lancaster bombers of 617 squadron roaring across the water at a speed 240 mph and a dangerously low height of 60 feet.

The valley is an area of fragile outstanding beauty and whilst used to tourists it is not geared to deal with the sheer volume of competitors which created logistical problems for the Dark Peaks Fell Runners club who were hosting the event.  Car sharing, parking at nearby Bamford and the bussing of competitors up the valley was the order of the day.

The annual relay championship is a tough event, attracting top runners from across the country. It is, however, also open to lesser mortals in clubs who can demonstrate that they have competed in similar events in the past.  The teams compete across four legs. Legs one, two and four are across marked or partially marked routes with some sections that must be followed explicitly and with some parts where runners are given discretion to find their own route. Maps for these legs are made available pre-race to enable runners to plot out their race strategy.  Leg three is the “navigation leg” where the runners only receive the map showing the checkpoints they need to get to when they commence their run.  Legs one and four are run by a solo member of the team whilst legs two and three are pairs of runners. 

For the Harriers Lucy Rusbridge took the first leg, a 7.65k, 360m climb, finishing 221st in 1:09:43. Bryan Lomas and Emma Weston followed on leg two, a 12.3k, 484m climb finishing 134th in 1:31:26.  Bryan Carr and Andy Roberts then picked up the baton on leg three, an estimated 11.2k, 520-570m climb, crossing the line in 131st place in 1:57:38 to hand over to Polly Kennerley who took on leg 4.  She finished the 7.85k, 375m climb in 227th place in 1:17:59.  Overall the Harriers finished a very credible 167th out of the 224 teams to finish and 17th out of the 25 teams who had entered as a mixed team.

Lucy Rusbridge Photo: B Lomas
Fell relays by the Derwent dam. Photo B. Lomas

On Sunday there was some more fell racing with Sarah Proudmore and Dave Whittaker competing at the Wirksworth Undulator Fell Race.  Proudmore and Whittaker finished 94th and 95th out of the 165 runners who took on the 8.4 mile, 1260’ ascent race in times of 1:27:15 and 1:27:22 respectively. 

Elsewhere Josie Galbraith participated in the 13.5m Goyt Valley Challenge and Peter Ling participated in the Glastonbury Festival 10k.  In both cases results are yet to be posted.

The club is always keen to see new members whether you are a speedy racer (on or off-road) or more of a social runner.  So, if you are thinking of thinking of joining then just come along to one of the regular/ club runs for a few weeks and try us out for size; you will be made to feel more than welcome with no obligation to join.  Regular club runs are held on Monday and Tuesday with speed training runs on a Thursday.  You can find full details on our Congleton Harriers website:   You can also connect with the club on Facebook where details of club activities are posted regularly.