Coniston and Coiners

The English Fell Running Championships continued on Saturday at the Coniston Fell Race, which is the first medium counting race in this year’s Lake District centric championship.

With Kentmere Horseshoe being the other medium scoring race and Ennerdale and Sedbergh Hills, in the nearby Howgills, being this year’s long counters, Borrowdale Fell Runners hold a distinct advantage over other fell running clubs for this campaign and their band of merry purple vested men were out in force to dominate proceedings in this most classic of lakeland races. Morgan Donelly, Ben Bardsley and Jim and Phil Davies all over forty and all demonstrating their longevity at endurance running packed into the top twelve places overall. With their younger club mate Martin Mikkelson-Barron coming home in eighth, Borrowdale easily won the first men’s team.

In the individual race Tom Addison of Helm Hill continued his brilliant start in his quest for the coveted title, the young international mountain runner just outkicking Rob Hope of Pudsey and Bramley to finish a second quicker than his highly decorated and more experienced rival. Borrowdale’s Morgan Donnelly was third, ahead of seven times winner and course record holder Ian Holmes, who excels at the rough technical descent from the top of Coniston Old Man to the finish.

Calder’s red and white vests put on a solid show with Karl Gray, Gavin Mullholland, Alex Whittem and Ben Mounsey all inside the top twenty five places. Tim Ellis, who has been going well in lakeland races recently, had a slightly below par run to finish in 45th.

Run of the day at Coniston was definitely from Victoria Wilkinson from Bingley. Victoria smashed the course record by over three minutes to finish in 1:17:11. What is most remarkable about her performance is that she won the three peaks fell race in one of the fastest women’s times ever only week ago. From a Calder Valley perspective, the irrepressible Sally Newman continues to make a strong claim for the Women’s V50 title with a fine run.

Much closer to home, Katie Walshaw of Holmfirth Harriers, notched up an equally impressive performance at the local ‘Coiners Fell Race’ on Bank Holiday Monday. The race, which starts in Mytholmroyd, takes competitors through the bogs of Erringden and Bell House Moor and around Stoodley Pike. The race is named after the infamous counterfeiters from Cragg Vale in the 18th Century who produced counterfeit currency by clipping the edges of coins and melting them down with base ores to produce new coins. And there was nothing fake about the performance of the Holmfirth based athlete, who didn’t just clip Jo Buckley’s previous ladies record, but took six minutes off it to win the race outright and get pretty close to the men’s record. It’s highly unusual for a woman to win a race outright and there were audible gasps of amazement as Katie flew into the finish field a full forty seconds ahead of second placed Christian Homes of Wharfedale, with Abbey Runner’s Phil Livermore in third.
Tim Black returned to racing with a fine sixth place ahead of Joseph Crossfield in ninth and with Ashley Sharp a little further back, Calder Valley’s men had a successful outing to win first team on home soil.