28-30 July 2017
105 miles (169 km); 22,493 feet (6,856 m) of ascent
The route started and finished at Coniston with a circular tour of the Lake District taking in Seathwaite, Eskdale, Wasdale Head, Black Sail Pass, Buttermere, Braithwaite, Blencathra Field Centre, Dockray, Dalemain, Howtown, Haweswater Reservoir, Kentmere, Ambleside, Chapel Stile and Coniston Fells. The route consisted mainly of paths and trails and much of it was boggy and underwater which added to the interest.
Finishers: 223 (221 within 40 hours)
First Man: Michael Jones; 20:22:19
First Lady: 6th overall; Sabrina Verjee; 23:15:22
Alison Wainwright: 188th; Dark Peak Fell Runners; 39:12:07
Steven Jones: 215th; Dark Peak Fell Runners; 39:41:51
Weather: Dry for the first half hour or so before drizzle set in which gave way to rain. Then there was more rain and it eased off before raining again. On Saturday afternoon the sun came out and it was quite warm before the rain started which got heavier later.
There was a shorter version starting at Dalemain of just 50 miles.
Finishers: 662 (all within 24 hours)
First Man: Casper Kaars Sijpesteijn; 7:34:07
First Lady: 3rd overall; Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn; 8:02:32
8-9 July 2017
100 miles (160.9 km); 14,107 feet (4,300 m) of ascent
The event starts and finishes in the Carding Mill Valley, Church Stretton and involves a tour of some fine hills in Shropshire and briefly across the border into Wales. The climbing starts straight away to Pole Bank on The Long Mynd. Then across country for an ascent of the ancient volcanic mound of Corndon Hill with its various burial cairns (some iron age and others for ultra runners who failed to reach the summit checkpoint). The survivors then tackled the jagged and uneven "path" on the Stiperstones on the way to Earl's Hill. There was easy running on the Betchcott Hills back to Carding Mill Valley and the half-way point. After road and trail to Easthopewood contestants had to pit their wits against cornfields lacking cleared paths along rights of way and follow tractor tracks to somehow find hidden stiles in overgrown hedges. Things improved running along Wenlock Edge until a pile of leaves turned into snakes and bees; a scarecrow came to life and starting chasing me and a 3,000 foot chasm opened up at my feet; at that point it occurred to me that there was a slight possibility that I may be hallucinating! After a 20 minute nap at the next checkpoint normal service was resumed to tackle the last few hills before an ascent of The Long Mynd again via Knolls. A final downhill dash led to the finish where the fun began the day before.
First Man: Alex McMunn; 24:55
First Lady: 7th overall; Angela White; 30:44
Steven Jones: 9th; Dark Peak Fell Runners; 33:12
Weather: Very hot - even at night.
LDWA North York Moors 100
Saturday 27 May 2017
102 miles (164.2 km); 11,370 feet (3,463 m) of ascent
First Man: Gary Upstone; 22:41
First Lady: 5th overall; Lisa Joanne Walbridge; 25:21
Steven Jones: 181st; Dark Peak Fell Runners; 39:07
A tour of trails, paths, roads, hills and so on in the heat of the cruel and merciless sun of the North York Moors. The checkpoints were bountifully stocked with a variety of delights to both sustain the entrants and delay their progress while indulging in the sumptuous banquet.
Dragon's Back Race
22-26 May 2017
196 miles (315 km); 50,850 feet (15,500 m) of ascent
A five day stage race covering the mountains of Wales. The first day includes all the Welsh 3,000's and the route works its way south covering just about all the rest of the mountains in Wales.
First Man: Marcus Scotney; 37:58:37
First Lady: 9th overall; Carol Morgan; 48:41:47
28th: Gregory Crowley; Dark Peak Fell Runners; 54:32:58
26th: Charlie Elliot; Dark Peak Fell Runners; 59:38:56
Saturday 20 May 2017
50 miles (80.5 km); 9,800 feet (2,987 m) of ascent
Route description: 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; 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.
Starters: At least 67
Retired: No details
First Man: Daniel Hendriksen; 9:52
First Lady: 5th overall; Helen Pike; 11:03
Steven Jones: Joint 30th; Dark Peak Fell Runners; 14:33
Trevor Matty: Joint 30th; Dark Peak Fell Runners; 14:33
Weather: Initially warm but on the second loop the rain started but eased off. On the third loop the rain was very heavy but it was dry again on the final loop.
Lakes Mountain 42
Saturday 8 April 2017
42 miles (67.6 km); 10,387 feet (3,166 m) of ascent (approximate figures)
Starting at Askham the route visited the summits of Loadpot Hill and High Street before passing Angle Tarn on the way to Patterdale. A steady trail up Grisedale led to Grisedale Tarn then a rocky path continued down to a fast track to the Wythburn Church car park. The ascent of Helvellyn took the race past an inevitable swarm of tourists then along to Whiteside before descending to Glenridding and back past Patterdale. Place Fell was the final peak to be tackled before a return to the start via Martindale Church.
First Man: Casper Kaars Sijpesteijn; M; 7:29
First Lady: 12th overall; Karen Nash; FV50; 9:19
Peter Eccleston: 50th; M; 11:32
Steven Jones: 73rd; DPFR; MV50; 12:55
The weather was very hot; too hot to run fast but extremely good visibility giving superb panoramic views. Dark Peak Fell Runners remain in third place after the third race of the series for 2017.
Saturday 1 April 2017
37.4 miles (60.2 km); 6,300 feet (1,920 m) of ascent
First Man: Kevin Hoult; 5:10
First Lady: 9th overall; Nicky Spinks; DPFR; 6:27
John Bottomley: 3rd; DPFR; 5:47
Steven Jones: 55th; DPFR; 9:09
There were also walkers on the long course and a shorter course of 26 miles for both runners and walkers.
The weather was mostly warm and dry but there was heavy rain before crossing the M62 by Windy Hill although it eased off fairly quickly then stopped.
The Runfurther results so far show Dark Peak Fell Runners in third position.
Saturday 11 March 2017
32 miles (51.5 km); 4,400 feet (1,341 m) of ascent
First Man: Thomas Payn; M35; 3:54:18
First Lady: 20th overall; Julie Briscoe; F40; Wakefield; 4:31:54
John Bottomley: 22nd; M35; DPFR; 4:35:56
Sally Fawcett: 26th and 2nd lady; F35; DPFR; 4:38:54
James Gregory:133rd; M35; DPFR; 5:50:47
Jim Paxman: 173rd; M55; DPFR; 6:12:22
Yvonne Beckwith: 232nd; F45; DPFR; 6:39:50
Alison Wainwright: 234th; F; DPFR; 6:41:26
Steven Jones: 319th; M50; DPFR; 7:50:10
John Vernon: 366th; M65: DPFR; 9:41:35
The weather was dry throughout and quite mild for the time of year. With good visibility and kind conditions the running was straightforward. The Haworth Hobble is a race for singles or pairs with mostly single runners taking part. No details of the number of starters or those retiring are available although quite a few did retire. During the event there were hot dogs, doughnuts, whisky and other refreshments. This year's race was used as the British Trial for IAU World Trail Championships with some good runners entering and six men breaking the course record and eight finishing in under four hours.
Sunday 5 March 2017
41 miles (66 km); 793 feet (242 m) of ascent
Due to a route diversion inspired by heavy floods the revised route for the day was about 42 miles. The path involved was completely inundated and it was not possible to see where the riverbank path or the river was and tackling the original route would have involved the use of scuba equipment.
First Man: Martin Bailey; MV40; 5:48:00
First Lady:17th overall; Patricia van Rooyen; FV40; 7:36:53
Steven Jones: 64th; MV50; DPFR; 9:12:27
There was heavy rain at the start but it eased off later.The ground conditions were very wet indeed and lots of fields were flooded and very muddy.It was hard going.
Sunday 15 January 2017 to Sunday 22 January 2017
268 miles (431 km); 36,729 feet (11,195 m) of ascent
First Man:Tom Hollins (supported);99:25:36
First Lady and joint 6th overall:Carol Morgan (supported);109:54:00
Steven Jones:DPFR;DNF - Malham
Weather:Interesting and very seasonal!
The Spine Race event consists of the full Spine Race involving a 268 mile (431 km) adventure up the Pennine Way starting in Edale and finishing in Kirk Yetholm in Scotland with an ascent along the way of around 13,195 metres (36,729 feet).There is also a "fun run" version called the Spine Challenger which lasts a mere 108 miles and finishes at Hawes (as does the Spine MRT Challenge).
260 runners from 22 different countries took part in the three versions of the Spine Race events.It is regarded as a gruelling race due the winter weather conditions; it being dark for most of the time; navigation; sleep deprivation and the terrain.
The Spine Race started with rain and snow and passed numerous fell runners coming the other way on the Marsden to Edale Trigger.There was plenty of scope to wade through icy streams and rivers on the Kinder Plateau, Bleaklow and Black Hill before settling down to more benign conditions.A number of runners were swept away in the torrents but were rescued by other runners or made it out on their own.For those taking part it was a memorable experience.
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.
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