by Chris Bowen
I took over as Fixtures Secretary in the Autumn of 2018, initially on a temporary basis. Thanks go to Alex Elsworth for his hard work in this role for several years. At the AGM on 2nd February, 2019, I was formally elected to the role.
2018 Main Championship
Alex chose an interesting selection of races for the 2018 Championship. As had become the norm in recent years, there were six road races, six trail races and six fell races. For each of these different terrains there were two short (less than 10k), two medium (10-20k), and two long (over 20k) races*. To complete the championship you have to do one race of each terrain and one of each distance, so in theory you could do one short fell, one medium trail and one long road. This would earn you a qualifying set of races and a T-shirt. Your points from the best 8 races count so, to have a chance of winning a prize, you really need to do at least 8 races.
We had an excellent start to 2018 with 20 people taking part in Hit the Trail. Over the year, 45 people did at least one race, with 14 doing a qualifying set of races. Surprisingly though, only 9 people did 8 races, which is a bit of a drop from recent years. This applied particularly to the ladies!
The Kinder Downfall race was popular as usual, as were the race around Tittesworth Reservoir, the Poynton 10k, and Lantern Pike. The Alderley Edge By-Pass was surprisingly enjoyable, in spite of the 26 degree heat at 8am and the lack of any breeze! Those who went to do the half marathon at Coed Y Brenin had great time on the one day of the summer when it rained – it was a relief! – as did the intrepid four who did the long and difficult Holme Moss fell race. The Roaches is always a challenge and had another select group of Striders braving the river crossing and the climb up and down Shutlingsloe.
Lucas and James H battled it out for the Overall Men’s Championship, with Wayne in 3rd place. Nathan joined the club during the year and had some very good results, as did Col and James R in the races they did. Lucas and Wayne were top in the Men’s V40.
The Men’s V50 turned into a bit of a battle between Mark W and Matt. Poor Mark was ill for the final race, meaning that Matt pipped him to the post to earn 1st place. Chris T was 3rd.
The Overall Ladies’ Championship came down to just Christine, Tracy and myself. In fact, the final positions came down to the last descent on the last race, which was the Shittern Santa Saunter. Christine skipped past me as we headed back down to Glossop, and there was no way that I could catch her! However, I had already won the Ladies’ V50 Championship so I wasn’t too upset.
2018 Summer Fell Championship
The Summer Fell Championship consists of 9 races which take place on mid-week evenings in the Summer. Your best 5 races count, and there are no age categories.
18 people did at least one race but, conveniently, it came down to the three people who did the required 5 races in both the Men’s and the Ladies’ Championship. Congratulations to James H, Wayne and Connor and to Megan, Anna and Julia.
2019 Main Championship
Last Autumn the Committee decided to do an analysis of previous 4 years’ Championships, to see which types of races were popular and would be likely to appeal to members, and encourage lots of people to take part this year. We noticed that the road races tended to be less popular, and that fell races were more popular, especially local ones. We also asked members for suggestions, and these ideas were taken into account when selecting the final choice of races.
We have reduced the number of road races to 4. We kept to 6 trail races, and increased the number of fell races to 8 – still making 18 races in all. You still have to do one of each terrain, and one of each length to get a qualifying set of races. Your best 8 scores will count as usual. As before, the person in first place gets 60 points, the person in second 59 points and so on.
We decided to start this year’s Championship by reinstating the idea of including a Park Run. We chose Lyme Park and, knowing that some may be cancelled, or the route changed in bad weather, we said that your best time on any full course Lyme Park Park Run in January or February – including New Year’s Day – would gain you championship points. So far 43 people taken part! James R and Nathan currently have the best times with Amelia well ahead in the ladies.
Apart from the Park Runs, the first race was The Three Halls of Stockport, which we classified as a trail race but actually involved a lot of road. It was a different type of event ,as you had to navigate to three Stockport landmarks, and this produced its own challenge for some people! Aidan won the event itself, as well as gaining himself 60 points in our championship, with Jane gaining 60 points in the Ladies’ Championship.
The next race is the Carsington Water Half Marathon which you can do on either the Saturday or Sunday, but unfortunately this race is already full. We tried to avoid races that fill up quickly, but this is becoming increasingly difficult. We will try to notify the club when race entries open and when we think places might fill up. However, there are lots of others to choose from during the year: some are more challenging; some are less so and doable by everyone.
The Pavilion Gardens 5k is on 9th March and is another free event. For those of you who don’t like road, this is the easy way to get your road race ticked. The Whitehall Wiggle, in aid of the Thomas Theyer Foundation, will be a fully marked course, and we followed the route on an Away Run last year. Mount Famine and the Kinder Trog are always popular local fell races, as is Windgather. We have included a Lake District race as requested – we chose Newlands Memorial which was formerly the Anniversary Waltz – it’s not too difficult as Lakes races go, but it won’t be marked and you will have to find your own way round. Entry is now open.
Entry is also open for the Congleton Half Marathon and the Cheshire 10k – make sure you enter the one in November as they also have one is March. This is a fast course for anyone wanting a PB. Bollington Three Peaks gives you a bottle of beer for finishing and the Warslow Beer Festival race is, well, part of a beer festival! Also in Bollington is the Bollington 10k. We have included Fell n’ Back which raises money for the Buxton Mountain Rescue Team – if you don’t want to run this one please contact me to offer your help with registration or results if you are free. Last year we had several Striders helping, which was really appreciated by Dave and the rest of the Buxton MRT.
Last year, 11 members did the Bullock Smithy, which was more than did some of the Championship races so, by popular request, it is included. A mere 56 miles! This is a GVS tradition, and there is plenty of time to build up your endurance and to take part in some recces.
At the end of the end of the year we have the Dovedale Dash which is quite an experience if you haven’t done it and Litton Christmas Cracker. Both these races involve getting your feet wet!
Summer Fell Championship 2019
As usual we are starting the Summer Fell with Herod Farm, known to us as “Horrid Farm”. It’s usually a warm evening and makes us feel that Summer has arrived. We finish this Championship in August with Cracken Edge and, in between, we have races of varied length and difficulty, including the Wizard 5 at Alderley Edge, Sheldon, and the Boar’s Head, all of which are not too hard . The May Queen race is the night before Mount Famine in the Main Championship but we thought that this might encourage you to do all three races in the Three Days in May series as you would just have to dash up Lantern Pike on the Sunday to gain lots of points in the Hayfield Championship.
Do take part!
The committee hope that you feel that there is something for everyone here. If you don’t usually do the Championship, then I would encourage you to have a go! It does get easier to stand on the start line – I still often wonder why I’m there but once I get running, I feel fine, even if I’m on a race that is challenging for me.
It’s always fun to be at a race with other Striders and, as a club, we are always very supportive of each other, with fast runners usually staying on the finish line to cheer the rest of us in! It’s also a good way to get to know other club members, especially if you car share. I will try to organise some recces if I can in the week or two before some of the races. Keep an eye on Facebook or Cluster to see the latest notifications and arrangements.
Full details of the chosen races – and results as they become available, are on the Main Club Championship 2019 and Summer Fell Series Championship 2019 pages. Full rules for both championships can be found here.
- Overall Club Champion: Lucas Jones
- Ladies Champion: Christine Hill
- Men’s Champion: Lucas Jones
- Mens Vet 40: Lucas Jones
- Mens Vet 50: Matt Biglin
- Ladies Vet 50: Christine Bowen
- Summer Fell Men: James Hobson
- Summer Fell Lades: Megan King
* Editor’s note: In previous years, the classifications were: short – 5 miles or less; medium – 5-10 miles; long – over 10 miles. This year, the committee decided to bring the definitions into line with the FRA definitions.