Groughs, Bogs & “Hail Measles”

Competitors from Calder Valley Fell Runners took to the hills this weekend in a couple of events where the conditions made for even more challenges than might have been expected. Teams competing in the High Peak Mountain Marathon – an event which starts at 11pm at night and sends competitors off on a 42 mile tour of pathless moors – found themselves able to see only a couple of metres in front of them due to thick mist. Doug Gurr of the ‘Calder Somnambulists’ team reported being pleased to have completed the route in 10h49min, his fastest time ever, and reckoned that the sound route knowledge gained by having completed the race half a dozen times previously helped him and his team overcome the poor visibility. In the same event, Barbara Lonsdale and Alistair Morris finished with team ‘For Goodness Shakes’ in 12h14min. Despite the relentless bogs, made wetter and boggier by recent rains and which were less than helpfully broken up by ‘groughs’ – large ditches full of water and more bog – seasoned adventure racer Lonsdale stoically completed her longest single day of racing to date.

Further north, competitors heading to the Lake District for the Black Combe fell race may have been prepared for the 8 mile course taking in 3400ft of climb, including a vicious second ascent, but were perhaps not expecting the ravages of the hail storm which stung like buckshot on any exposed flesh. Having selected the category A race as his first race back after 9 months out with injury, Chris Standish was clearly not going for the soft option, however he perhaps wished he had compromised on his tough guy appearance in shorts and t-shirt when the hail left him looking like he had a dose of measles. With some big names fighting it out for the top places, the first Calder Valley runner home was Tim Ellis who finished 25th in 1:19:59. Other Calder Valley finishers were: Andy Fleet 1:22:07, Graham Hill 1:28:23, Chris Godridge 1:36:45, Robert Paradise 1:38:30, Chris Standish 1:41:47, and Ryan Colbeck 2:18:08.