Tour de Helvellyn
Saturday 17 December 2016
38 miles (61.1 km); 7,874 feet (2,400 m) of ascent
Starting in Askham the route generally follows footpaths and bridleways to St Peter's Church near Martindale; Boredale (Boardale on the British Mountain Map); Patterdale; Sticks Pass; Stannah Beck; Swirls car park; Birkside Ghyll; Raise Beck; Grisedale Tarn; Patterdale again and back to Askham. There were quite a few runners eagerly anticipating some wild winter weather featuring snow, gales, driving rain, poor visibility and generally exciting conditions. They were denied the chance to test themselves in adverse weather conditions since there were fairly clear skies; no rain or any form of precipitation whatsoever and good visibility. The unseasonally mild conditions while disappointing some runners did enable the scenery to be appreciated in full which was well worth looking at.
First Man: Jim Mann; Durham Fell Runners; M; 5:42:46
First Lady: 5th overall; Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn; North Leeds Fell Runners; F; 6:16:53
Charlie Eliot: 14th; Dark Peak Fell Runners; MV40; 6:43:50
David Harrison: 24th; Dark Peak Fell Runners; MV50; 7:03:29
Ian Loombe: 36th; Dark Peak Fell Runners; MV40; 7:23:42
Steve Adams: Joint 58th; Dark Peak Fell Runners; MV40; 7:46:36
Jo Barnes: 125th; Dark Peak Fell Runners; F; 9:13:09
Steven Jones: 178th; Dark Peak Fell Runners; MV50; 10:45:00
Warrington Way Ultra
Saturday 12 November 2016
40 miles (64.4 km); 820 feet (250 m) of ascent
A circular route commencing in Lymm near Warrington on a flat course following paths and trails albeit boasting huge puddles and mud courtesy of inclement weather the night before. In addition to solo runners there were also pairs and relay teams of four taking part.
First Man: Sean Fenwick; 5:29
First Lady: Erika Lamb; 25th overall; 6:45
Julie Bembridge: 2nd lady; 27th overall; Dark Peak Fell Runners; 6:46
Steven Jones: 84th; Dark Peak Fell Runners; 8:38
John Vernon: 114th; Dark Peak Fell Runners; 10:33
Weather: Light rain for a bit of the day but there had been torrential rain in the night
This was the final race in the Runfurther series of ultra races. Dark Peak Fell Runners were 7th for 2016.
Dusk til Dawn - Saturday 29 October 2016
50 miles (80.5 km); 8,858 feet (2,700 m) of ascent
The race started at dusk on Saturday (5:40 pm) at Hope College in Hope and participants initially visited the summit of Lose Hill before passing through Castleton and up Cave Dale along the Limestone Way to Miller's Dale and then Earl Sterndale. After wading through some bogs the route took in Shining Tor, Cats Tor, Windgather Rocks, Taxal Edge and Eccles Pike before the village of Chinley. The last part of the route went via Cracken Edge to Lord's Seat, Mam Tor and Hollins Cross before descending and passing the edge of Castleton back to the finish at Hope. Having run through the night the objective was to finish before dawn or at least in the twilight. There was also the option of a marathon or half marathon route for those not wishing to run throughout most or all of the night.
Starters: Not known (no details available)
Retired: Apparently quite a high percentage
First Man: Andy Brooks; MV40; Shelton Striders; 9:15
First Lady: Carol Morgan; joint 3rd overall; FV40; Nidd Valley Striders; 10:09
David Harrison: joint 3rd; MV50; Dark Peak Fell Runners; 10:09
Steven Jones: 55th; MV50; Dark Peak Fell Runners; 14:56
The weather was reasonable with no rain albeit a little bit cold but there was lots of fog and mist and in some parts it was so thick that it was barely possible to see the ground a few paces ahead let alone any landmarks or scenery.
Round Rotherham Run, Saturday 15 October 2016
50 miles (80.5 km); 2,625 feet (800 m) of ascent
A trail run around Rotherham following the Rowbotham's Round Rotherham footpath mostly over farmland and rural areas on sign-posted paths, bridleways and roads with very little ascent. The weather was mild and dry.
First Man: Kevin Hoult; MV40; Stadium Runners; 6:29:50
First Lady: 21st overall; Karen Nash; FV50; 8:35:54
Gregory Crowley: 35th; MV40; DPFR; 9:14:15
Neil Drake: 104th; MV50; DPFR; 11:50:03
Jim Fulton: 105th; MV60; DPFR; 11:50:08
Steven Jones: 121st; MV50; DPFR; 12:13:46
John Vernon: MV60; DPFR; 12:56:22
Saturday 1 October 2016
50 miles (80.5 km); 8,000 feet (2,438 m) of ascent
Starting from the Old Cardington Lane at 1 pm on the Saturday the route visits the summits of Caer Caradoc and the Lawley before Pole Bank (part of the Long Mynd), the Stiperstones and Earls Hill and then over the border into Wales to the top of Corndon Hill. Back in England Black Rhadley Hill is tackled before going back up the Long Mynd to Pole Cottage prior to the final ascent up Ragleth Hill before finishing in Church Stretton in the dark (or after sunrise for the slower participants). Compulsory grouping applies after dark with participants grouped into at least threes. The event was blessed with ample rain and drizzle making the conditions very wet and muddy.
First Man: Simon Adney; 8:17
First Lady: 5th overall; Mel Price; 9:26
Trevor Matty: Joint 69th; 14:15; DPFR
Steven Jones: Joint 107th; 14:56; DPFR
King Offa's Dyke Race
Friday 8 pm 23 September 2016 to Tuesday 8 pm 27 September 2016
185 miles (297.7 km); 29,806 feet (9,085 m) of ascent
The course follows the Offa's Dyke national trail path from near Chepstow in South Wales to Prestatyn in North Wales. The route roughly follows the boundary between England and Wales and crosses numerous counties in both England and Wales; passes several towns and villages and ascends more hills than I care to remember including the Black Mountains and the Clwydian Range giving a cumulative ascent and descent surpassing sea level to the summit of Everest. There was a 96 hour (four day) cut-off with any resting or sleeping eating into the time available.
First Man: John Knapp 52 hours 26 minutes
First Lady: Michelle Bowen Joint 4th overall 62 hours 15 minutes
Steven Jones: Dark Peak Fell Runners 21st 83 hours 49 minutes
Weather: Initially good and no rain. Later there was lots of rain on the way to Knighton and in the night it was torrential. It eased off a bit but resumed at Chirk and got more intense on the Clwydian Range of hills but stopped again later.
The general consensus amongst the survivors was that it had been a tough event but thoroughly enjoyable (in a strange sort of way).
For those who didn't relish the prospect of the full 185 miles there was the shorter option of the Mercian Challenge 100 miles (which was the first 100 miles of the King Offa's Dyke Race and finishing at Montgomery):
1st Tom Bentley-Taylor 25 hours and no minutes
1st lady and 3rd overall Cristina Puccini 37 hours 40 minutes
Cumbria Way Ultra
Saturday 17 September 2016
73 miles (117.5 km); 10,000 feet (3,048 m) of ascent
Starting in Ulverston the course follows the Cumbria Way through the middle of the Lake District past Coniston Water; along the Langdale valley; up to Stake Pass; through Keswick; past Skiddaw House via the Latrigg Car Park; to the summit of High Pike; down to Caldbeck; through Dalston and finally to the finish inside Carlisle Castle. With an ample time limit of 27 hours there was plenty of time to stop for a pub lunch along the way and pop into a cafe or two for cold milkshakes and ice creams rather than racing about in the mid-day heat on an unseasonally hot day. The race starts in darkness and runners are greeted by the sunrise before too long and most runners will also see the sunset too and there was a superb full moon to illuminate the night and provide a distraction from weary legs towards the end. Along with solo runners there were relay teams of either two or five per team for those wishing to spread the journey between several runners. The results below represent just the solo runners.
First Man: Andrew Horrobin; Helm Hill; 14:11:20
First Lady: Sabrina Verjee; 4th overall; 14:41:23
Jim Paxman: 21st; Dark Peak Fell Runners; 20:11:06
Steven Jones: 37th; Dark Peak Fell Runners; 22:47:56
Ten Peaks Brecon Beacons Long Course
Saturday 10 September 2016
55.3 miles (89 km); 15,748 feet (4,800 m) of ascent
Route description: Starting from the Talybont Reservoir the course heads west to take in a number of peaks south of Pen y Fan and ultimately to the twin peaks of The Black Mountain. It then heads back east but about a mile further north to take in different peaks on the return trip including the rollercoaster ridgeline of Corn Du, Pen y Fan, Cribyn, Fan y Big and Bwlch y Ddwyallt prior to the slippery final descent back to race headquarters.
There is also a Short Course option which is only 58 km with only 3,000 metres of ascent.It is possible to register for the Short Course or for those feeling the pace at Checkpoint 2 to divert to the Short Course from the Long Course to avoid The Black Mountain, Fan Gyhirych and Fan Nedd.
Transferred to the Short Course: 12
First Man: David Chetta; Mercia Fell Runners; 12:27:25
First Lady: Karen Nash; 12th overall; Krypton; 15:57:48
Steven Jones: 43rd; Dark Peak Fell Runners; 19:24:35
Weather: Heavy rain the night before and easing off in the morning. After about two hours the rain stopped. However, the deluge of rain had made the bogs even wetter than usual and the paths were flowing with water and the streams were raging torrents. The wet conditions slowed people down with most people seeming to think that they had taken about an hour off their time. In the afternoon it was very, very hot and one of the hottest days of the year making the going tough. After dark after the Storey Arms it got very cold and putting on lots of extra layers at that Checkpoint was a wise tactic. The fastest runners had already finished by then in daylight.
There was also a Short Course which was only 58 km and with 3,000 metres of ascent.100 people finished the Short Course with only 6 people retiring.
Lakes Sky Ultra
Saturday 23 July 2016
56 km; 4,500 metres of ascent; grade III scrambling and sharp ridges in the Lake District.Mike Robinson was there (and I was not) and he was quite enthusiastic about it.
First Man: Donald Campbell; 7:30:40
First Lady: 9th overall; Sarah Ridgway; Run Snowdonia; 8:38:46
12th: Mike Robinson; DPFR; 8:55:03
72nd: John Brierley; DPFR; 13:34:27
The race will be repeated on 14, 15 and 16 July 2017 for those who missed it this year.This clashes with something else already planned but I may well have a go at it in 2018.
Lakeland 50 / 100
Confirmed entries for the Lakeland 50 / Lakeland 100 for 28-30 July 2017 show that a few Dark Peak Fell Runners have managed to successfully negotiate the notoriously tight application process with entries selling out within minutes of going live.They are:
Dan Stowers (50 miles)
Peter Hague (100 miles)
Steven Jones (100 miles)
Alison Wainwright (100 miles)
I have also entered the recce from Ambleside to Coniston on Saturday 28 January 2017 if anyone is interested in sharing transport.
Grand Tour of Skiddaw
Saturday 3 September 2016
44 miles (70.8 km); 7,136 feet (2,175 m) of ascent
Route: From Lime House School to Caldbeck, High Pike, Lingy Hut, Skiddaw House, Latrigg Car Park, Skiddaw, Long Side, Ullock Pike, Peter House Farm, Fell Side, Caldbeck and back to Lime House School.
Fastest Man: Jacob Snochowski; Above 2000; M31; 7:03:06
Fastest Lady: Sabrina Verjee; 6th overall; F35; 8:14:12
Steven Jones: 36th; Dark Peak Fell Runners; M53; 11:15:52
Weather: Warm and humid at first but after Caldbeck it started to rain and then got worse on the top of Skiddaw with strong winds too.The rain eased off a bit later.
Some interesting ultras coming up soon ...
Date / Name / (mileage)
3.9.16 Grand Tour of Skiddaw (44)
10.9.16 Ten Peaks (Brecon Beacons) ( 55)
17-18.9.16 Cumbria Way Ultra (73)
23-27.9.16 King Offa's Dyke Race (185)
1-2.10.16 Longmynd Hike (50)
15.10.16 Round Rotherham 50 (50)
29.10.16 Dusk til Dawn (50)
12.11.16 Warrington Way Ultra (40)
Long Tour of Bradwell - Saturday 6 August 2016
32.7 miles (52.6 km); 7,218 feet (2,200 m) of ascent
Starters: 66; Finishers: 64; Retired: 2
Fastest Man : Ken SutorCheshire Hash Harriers 5:21:22
Fastest Woman :13th overall Lisa Trollope Unattached 6:50:57
Gregory Crowley : 8th 6:30:50 DPFR
Simon White : 40th 8:21:04 DPFR
Steven Jones : 45th 8:40:19 DPFR
Jim Paxman : 52nd 8:53:54 DPFR
Weather : A hot dry day and quite sunny. Dry underfoot.
Peaks SkyRace - Sunday 7 August 2016
29.7 miles (47.8 km); 6,560 feet (2,000 metres) of ascent
Weather: A hot dry day and quite sunny. Dry underfoot.
While trying to sprint as fast as I could on the outskirts of Buxton about a mile into the race I fell heavily on tarmac.My water bottle dug into the lower ribs (broken ribs?) and various cuts and bruises.My target to finish in under seven hours transformed into a battle to finish.It is hard to run properly when you can't breathe and I was reduced to a brisk walk and jog while limping along.Eventually I was timed out at the Cat and Fiddle pub (the final checkpoint) where I was about 17 minutes behind the cut-off.Even so I was pleased that I had carried on and it was much better than to have retired earlier on and it was still a fun event.The next evening (Monday) I went to the Leicester Royal Infirmary to be checked out and I was examined but not X-rayed.The medic thought that the ribs were not broken but the muscles were badly bruised and it could take up to eight weeks before I was back to normal and my toe was probably not broken.The chances of resting are pretty remote since there will be a busy schedule in September with some interesting ultras taking place.
Fastest Man : Ben Hulkins Ronhill Cambuslang Harriers 4:36:12
Fastest Woman : 3rd overall Sarah Ridgway Unattached 4:56:39
John Brierley : 95th 7:23:44 DPFR
Steven Jones:DNF (timed out at the final checkpoint)
Chained 130 Ultra
Saturday 9 July 2016 - Sunday 10 July 2016
An ultra with a difference! It was tough and full details may well emerge in due course in Dark Peak News, Runner's World magazine or perhaps remain shrouded in mystery.
Ten Peaks The Lakes (Long Course)
Saturday 26 June 2016
45 miles; 5,600m of ascent
Weather : Good visibility and mild to warm. Some cloud and mist on the Scafell Massif and brief but heavy rain late in the afternoon and again early in the evening. Very thick mist on the top of Skiddaw.
Route description: Starting at Swirls Car Park near Thirlmere at 4 am the route visited the ten highest peaks in the Lake District plus two more mandatory peaks and some manned checkpoints.
There were 104 starters and 67 finishers and 25 DNF with 12 transferring to the Short Course.
Transferred to the Short Course:12
Fastest Man: Ian Symington; Calder Valley Fell Runners 12:47:23
Fastest Lady: Carol Morgan; FV40; 7th overall; Nidd Valley 14:05:15
55th: Steven Jones; MV50; DPFR 22:34:00
64% of Long Course starters finished and 71% of Short Course starters finished.
Overall a great day out over a tough course visiting some of the best peaks in the Lake District.
Saturday 14 May 2016
50 miles; 9,800'
Weather : warm and hot in the afternoon
Conditions : too warm to run efficiently and that slowed the pace but at least there was no rain and the visibility was excellent.
The event was centred on the Church Stretton School which operated as the start/finish/central checkpoint/base for refreshments and bag drop.The route consisted of four loops from and back to the HQ as follows:
Conquest:Caer Caradoc Hill (mildly observant runners would have noticed the iron age hill fort around the summit); The Wilderness; Willstone Hill and Gaer Stone.
War:Over The Long Mynd via the Carding Mill Valley; through Ratlinghope and back over the Betchcott Hills
Death:A double ascent of The Long Mynd.
Famine:Out to Wenlock Edge then back over Ragleth Hill.
The loops could be completed in any order and, indeed, in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction so long as all the self-clip checkpoints on the course were duly clipped into the race "passport".The permutations meant that at the start runners scattered in all directions and it was never possible to know where you were in relation to other competitors until the end.With everyone coming back to the race HQ at the end of each loop the organisers only needed one main central base to monitor proceedings and keep the runners fed and watered.
Finishers (all four loops):64
Finishers (only three loops):18
Finishers (only two loops):19
Finishers (only one loop):1
Retired:All but one finished at least one loop; 38 retired before completing all of the loops
Fastest Man:Colin Earl10:08:00
Fastest Lady:Kirsty-Jane Birch5th11:13:38
There were also seven entrants who did the Apocalypse 25 (just two loops).
Sally Fawcett writes:
Highland Fling Race 30th April 2016 - 53 miles, 7500ft
After the race was announced as the UK and Scottish Ultra Trail Championships for 2016, a number of elite runners entered. Competition was particularly fierce as this was also to be the selection race for the GB & NI team for the Trail World Championships in Portugal on 29th October. The British Athletics selection criteria states: At the trial, the first three eligible Senior Men and three Senior Women will be selected subject to them meeting the following selection criteria: (a) Has demonstrated the ability to be competitive and successful against World Class opposition in domestic and/or overseas international trail races of a similar length between 1 January 2015 and up to 10th June 2016.
Previous course records were: Lee Kemp 7:02 (2013) Lucy Colquhoun 8:10 (2008) So the scene was set for a fast race, even the weather was perfect for ultra running after torrential downpours the day before. A frosty start soon cleared and the sun came out, even with the occasional light, refreshing shower! My aim was for a top 3 female finish, I wanted to back up recent good results, but mainly to try to gain another GB vest.
Results: Starters 700 Finishers 625 DNF 75
Top 3 Male: Donnie Campbell 6:51 Damian Hall 6:58 Kim Collinson 7:00
Top 3 Female: Beth Pascall (7) 7:52 Sally Fawcett (15) 8:14 Sophie Grant (16) 8:15 Other Dark Peak results: Bonnie van Wilgenburg (31) 8:50 Julie Bembridge (148) 10:26
Both the male and female course records were beaten convincingly. I'm now waiting for the selection meetings in June, when the squad for Portugal will be announced, hopefully, my Fling performance will be enough, fingers crossed. Here's my blog on the race: https://sallyfawcett.wordpress.com/2016/05/02/high...
Saturday 16 April 2016
61 miles; 11,000'
Weather : mild and good (patches of snow remaining in places) but very cold winds and colder later with some retiring due to hypothermia and frost-nip. The bogs froze with a crust of ice on top at night with the ice not being strong enough to support a runner leading to feet and legs plunging into icy waters.
Conditions : even boggier and wetter than usual!
Disqualified: 1 (lost tally)
Fastest Man: Konrad Rawlik 11:31
Fastest Woman: Karen Nash 15:45
Laurence Piercy: Joint 8th 13:18 (Lawrence?) DPFR
Steven Jones: 113th 19:41 DPFR
Neil Drake: Joint 168th 22:27 DPFR
John Vernon: 183rd 23:17 DPFR
At the awards and presentations the next morning (with some runners/walkers still out and yet to finish) someone received an award for their 40th Fellsman (36 successful completions) which gives a hint of how addictive The Fellsman is. It is perhaps roughly equivalent to two laps of the Three Peaks Fell Race followed by a Warts Run in terms of distance, elevation and the terrain and bogs. No wonder people keep coming back year after year.
Calderdale Hike (long course)
Saturday 9 April 2016
37.2 miles of undulating trails with 6,300 feet of ascent across moorland west of Halifax.The race took place in glorious sunshine making it a little too warm for the first half of the run but rain was threatened for late in the afternoon.The faster runners were able to get to the finish before the heavy rain started.I had to resort to my waterproof top before reaching the final checkpoint!Although the race was over a week ago the results have only just been released today.
Starters:54 runners on the long route
Fastest Man:Edward Davies 5:36
Fastest Woman:Nicky Spinks DPFR 6:18
Steven Jones DPFR 9:09
John Vernon DPFR Retired (saving himself for the Fellsman the following week)
There were also 25 walkers on the long course (19 of them finished) and a short course option of 26 miles with 25 runners and 65 walkers.
Saturday 12 March 2016
32 miles of undulating trails with 4,400 feet of ascent across moorland north-west of Halifax.
First men: Ian Symington CVFR and Ken Sutor Cheshire HH 4:16:01 (running as a pair)
First lady: Lucy Colquhoun 5:10:14
Peter Eccleston DPFR 128th 6:10:58
Jennifer Scotney DPFR 190th 6:42:43 DPFR
Steven Jones DPFR 214th 6:57:55
Alison Wainwright DPFR and Eleanor Wainwright 7:02:56 (running as a pair)
John Vernon DPFR 8:30:25
There were 310 finishers.There are no details of starters and those who retired.
Sunday 6 March 2016
41 miles of flat trails from Newport to Burton upon Trent with a bonus of flooded fields to wade through near the end courtesy of recent inclement weather. First man Alastair Payne 5:54:51; first lady Helen Corrin 6:28:58; first (and only) DPFR runner Steven Jones 7:59:25 34th place. 131 starters and 119 finishers. The route has only 242m of ascent and 267m of descent to it was effectively a downhill race and a good tune-up for future events.