(Above- Matt Lusby nearing the top of Cader Idris)
A trio of Harriers tested their hill running skills when they went and raced at the Cader Idris fell race in North Wales this past weekend. 10.9 miles and 3,000 foot of ascent in the southern Snowdonia range isn’t to everyone’s liking but a good time was had by all.
Matt Lusby led the way for the Harriers with a 15th place finish. Not bad given that most of the runners in front of him will be running the fells in training and racing on a much more regular basis.
Meanwhile, we celebrated the achievements of some of our talented members at the recent Club AGM with Annual awards and this report carries some of the photos. Read on for fixture information - Track & Field; Somerset Series; and more Fell races.
(Below - Harry Barton is the 9th Wells City Harrier to represent Team GB and accordingly was made a Life Member at the AGM - here with an engraved glass presented by Chairman Graham Goldsmid - photo by Paul)
Cader Idris Fell Race
The 320 entries for this race sell out within an hour of becoming available. In fact this year’s runners had entered back in early 2020 only to see the race postponed that year and in 2021. It draws in a great crowd of fell runners from all over, with a core of tough Welsh hill racers.
(Above - before the race starts the centre of Dolgellau begins to fill up and the Steel Band is warming up - photo by Andrew)
It’s not a journey to be undertaken lightly just to get to the start line of this classic Fell race. I first raced here back in the late 1990’s and each time I went, I drove the 4.5hours up, did the race, and then drove 4.5hours home. In 1998 the winners were a couple of Gurkha army guys who literally looked like they were flying down the steep descent. I was quite pleased with my 22nd position that year (1.47, 3rd V40) and of course went back the following year imagining I could knock a few minutes off my time only to find conditions far worse, with rain and poor visibility at the top meaning a quick(er) time was out of the question, although I finished higher up (19th).
So always prepare for tough weather if need be, especially in the mountains, and know how to use the mandatory compass and whistle in case you get lost! In fact, this year saw pretty good conditions for racing and the start in the main square in Dolgellau was bathed in sunshine. The winning time of 1.22.59 was within 90 seconds of the course record.
This year Matt Lusby arrived in Dolgellau in the early hours of Saturday morning but still had the stamina for a top 15 finish on his debut at the race, finishing in a nippy 1.39 (15th). Yours truly was back in 157th in 2.24 whilst Andrew Pate also made his mark here for the first time in 2.54 (202nd). All three of us survived and enjoyed the camaraderie that fell running brings about, meeting up with guys we see on the fell running circuit (* see below).
(Above - after the race - Andrew, Matt & Paul - photo by Alice)
Harrier ANNUAL AWARDS 2021/22
Our latest TeamGB Hon Life Member Harry Barton was racing at Loughborough at the weekend (14.41 for his 110mHurdles) – he might be a tad disappointed with that time but he still ranks in the top 5 nationally this year for the event at u20. Good luck to him as the rest of the season unfolds.
Others amongst our Annual Awardees were no doubt training as hard as ever this past weekend for whatever challenges lie ahead – whilst u17 Hannah Blundy and u20 Dan Maydew will no doubt have SW Schools and English Schools in mind, our Marathon Shield winner Christian Green will probably continue to work on his track & road speed. (Christian ran 2.41 at London Marathon 2021 on his debut at that distance and incidentally ran 1.36 for 10th place at Cader Idris in 2019).
(Below Hannah Blundy - female athlete of the year; & Graham presenting the Harrier Marathon shield to Christian Green)
The other award winner at the AGM was Jon James who, whilst known by some as the lead coach at Tuesday sessions, continues to defy his age by posting some truly amazing times on the track and road in his V55 age group – currently ranked 4th nationally for his track1500m and road 5k, and 1st and 2nd respectively for 10k and Half Marathon. (V55, 2022 rankings).
Coming up: Track & Field
The deadline for juniors (u13s upwards) to enter the BMC middle distance meet at Millfield on Saturday 4th June is this Monday 30th May. Discuss with Club coaches if need be.
South West League Fixture – Sunday 5th June
The first of the 4 League fixtures for all age groups from u13 upwards takes pace at Exeter. Please advise Team managers of your availability for this fixture or for any of the other dates in the programme asap – team managers will select the strongest team as per usual, but at u13 level some prospect of a few guest places in addition to the 2 team places per event. Orange (YOAC) team vest worn - can be borrowed on day if you don't yet have one.
South West Athletics League information here, and see Harrier Team tab as usual for other information on what’s coming up....
Good luck to those selected to compete at their County Schools event on Saturday 11th June. A stepping stone to South-West Schools Championships & onwards to English Schools Championships for some age groups.
Crewkerne 10k road race – June 5th - organised by our friends at Crewkerne Running Club
Ash Town Trail race 10k multi-terrain – June 15th - lovely little run on a Wednesday eve.
Quantock Beast 10k race – July 3rd - entries apparently still available. Contact Paul for link.
(*) FELL RUNNING bit
Other Fell races coming up – all of these races have Harriers already entered. Click on links for information:
Saturday 11th June – The Oke Croak – 10.6 miles with 2,600ft of ascent on Dartmoor with some navigation required as you visit Oke Tor & Yes Tor from Okehampton
Saturday & Sunday 2nd & 3rd July – the Brecons Fans races – 2 races in a weekend (10.3 with 2,200ft climb & 3.5miles with 1,930ft of climb). Come and do one, or do both. Camp or stay in BnB.
Saturday & Sunday 10th & 11th September – incorporating the South of England Fell Running Championships on the Isle of Wight (from Ventnor). 3 tough races over the Saturday & Sunday. Do all three to count in the Southern Championships. Camp or book BnB. Discounted ferry crossing (50% off for those who have entered but need to book earliest to be certain)
Some Harriers are already entered for all three weekends…..ask me if you need any more information.
As of 25th May - 171 Harriers are paid up members for the year ahead. New Members always welcome - see joining tab on this website. Existing members (from last year): If you've not yet paid your Club fee or EA registration fee (if required) please ensure you do so asap. Contact me if you are having problems finding the request to pay e-mail.
CONTRIBUTIONS – REPORTS for the website & placing articles & photographs on to the website
The website is the public-facing platform (along with the weekly newspaper reports) we use to inform our members of what is happening and a record of achievements by all and any within the Club. It also acts as a very useful ‘recruiter’ to those interested in running and athletics to see the breadth of what we do – all ages & all abilities.
In case you missed other recent articles - click on links