Sat 20th Oct - Sun 21st Oct, 2007
KMC Fell Race weekend
Members: Vicky Alderton, Dave Bish, John & Virginia Castick, Robert Clark, Joe Flynn, Mark Garrod, Jim & Sandy Gregson, Sue Harkness, Michelle Harvie, Katie Horgan, Alan (L) Jones, Duncan Lee, David Lygate, Colin Maddison, Craig Marsden, Neville McMillan, Al Metelko, Kirsten Mundt, Lester Payne, Chris Thickett, Dave Wylie, Richard Yorke.
Guests: Fay Castick, Tony Dallas, Hilary Robinson, Collette Walsh.
(24 members and 4 guests)
A select group of seven members reached the hut on Friday night, and more arrived on Saturday morning. The preferred activity was walking the fell tops in glorious weather, and taking advantage of the perfect visibility to suss out the terrain for Sunday. Only Joe and Lester climbed on Dow Crag, Duncan and Vicky climbed en route to the hut, but a cold wind significantly reduced the enjoyment.
Sunday dawned dry, with 100% blue sky and sunshine, making navigation much too easy. But by 9am cloud was coming in from the SW and settling on the tops. Neville's prayers had been answered once again! But it didn't rain, so the weather was just right for the event.
As I was sorting out problems with manning the checkpoints, being one marshal short, a saviour unexpectedly appeared in the genial form of Chris Thickett offering his services. I kissed him on both cheeks (metaphorically speaking, of course), and promptly sent him off to the furthest checkpoint, with Dave Wylie. At this stage a dark horse arrived. New KMC member Richard Yorke had made an early start from home to run in the event. Maybe I should have known that anyone that keen must be a good runner, but he had no track record so he was put in the middle group. At 10 am the show got going, and heads were down, pouring over maps to work out an optimum route.
Course: Irish Row - Black Sails (NY 2829/0074) - Brock How (SD 2640/9944) - Goats Hawse (SD 2665/9828) - Irish Row.
Whereas in recent years the first group has set off at an amiable pace, ready to lapse into fast walking, this year the "slow group" were immediately into serious running. It was obviously going to be a very competitive event. They went down to the footbridge and up the track past the youth hostel, which surprised a few onlookers. Half an hour later the middle group set off, all following the same route. This left the fast group all scratching their heads, but when their time came, they all set off up the slope behind the hut, and along Coppermines Valley. Maybe the Levers Water route is faster. Dave Bish was fastest of the fast group, getting to Black Sails in 41 minutes, the same time as Michelle in the middle group. But Richard Yorke bettered both these times by four minutes.
Meanwhile, the route taken by the first group must have encountered a serious magnetic anomaly. These three, joined by Fay, stood on their own mini-summit and declared it Black Sails. A heated telephone conversation with the marshals, who really were at Black Sails (everyone else found them), did not change their mindset. Having not yet learnt humility(1) this group of four set off for checkpoint 2, thereby abandoning their prospects in the race.
But others also made serious navigational errors. Dave Bish, who was leading the fast group at Black Sails, took a detour over Wetherlam and back, only to meet Katie and her friends travelling in the opposite direction. That put them all out of contention. For the rest, the route from checkpoints 1 to 2 clearly was a challenge. Mark got it right, and Michelle got it wrong, with everyone else in-between. The difference was 20 minutes!
Brock How to Goats Hawse is straightforward, just uphill. And the Goats Hawse checkpoint gives a choice of route on the final leg. But apart from Richard the leading ten all decided to go over The Old Man. Craig must enjoy this descent and, as in 2005, put up the fastest time. But Michelle was only 3 seconds slower (pity about the second leg though!). Richard, who started 30 minutes ahead of the fast group, made a bad choice of route on this leg, and paid the penalty. He was over 6 minutes slower than Craig, and over 3 minutes slower than Mark. As Richard was 30 seconds faster than Mark at Goats Hawse, had he come over The Old Man, he might well have won. As it was, he surprised the timekeeper by bobbing up unexpectedly, 27 minutes ahead of the rest, having been in front of the field from the first checkpoint onwards.
At the finish, Mark was 2 minutes 36 seconds faster than Richard, who was just 8 seconds faster than Duncan. Among the ladies Kirsten ran a very consistent race, finishing fifth fastest overall, only 1½ minutes behind Craig. On the other hand, Michelle has the speed, pity about the direction! Second fastest on the first leg, fourth fastest on the third leg, and almost the fastest on the final leg, but lost at least seven minutes on the second leg. From being over 4 minutes down on Kirsten at Brock How, she finished only 18 seconds slower.
The handicap system produced a close result; Robert Clark being just 18 seconds faster than Colin Maddison. (I won't mention what might have been had there not been any disqualifications.)
Richard Yorke put up a very impressive performance to come second overall, particularly as he was on his own for most of the race, and he collects the Concordia Trophy for the fastest first-time KMC runner. In other years with less competition, either Kirsten, or David Lygate could have been worthy winners of the trophy, but that's the luck of the draw.
And the winners of the trophies are:
|Ken Beetham Trophy
|Shelagh Manning Trophy
|Fastest handicap time
|Fastest first-time entrant
The intermediate times, and split times, are in the tables. My thanks to all the checkers, especially those who did what they were not sure they were capable of, in getting to the checkpoint and back; also to Vicky and Duncan for producing food and drink very efficiently and reliably.
Thanks to all who took part and helped to make my last KMC Fell Race a memorable event. I feel confident the event is in a good state of health.
(1) MOUNTAINEERING: The Freedom of the Hills, Ed.4, Chapter 5 Navigation, p97, under the heading "LOST"
Route: Irish Row - Black Sails - Brock How - Goats Hawse - Irish Row
Distance: 7.2 miles or more for some
Height gain: 3,490 ft. or more (not less!)
|Mark GARROD 2:11:39
|Richard YORKE 2:14:15
|Duncan LEE 2:14:23
|Kirsten MUNDT 2:27:42
|Michelle HARVIE 2:28:00
|Kate HORGAN 4:20:31
|Fastest on Handicap
|Robert CLARK 1:52:48
|Colin MADDISON 1:53:03
|Duncan LEE 1:56:23
|Richard YORKE 2:14:15
|Fell Race 2007 Results
LOCATION: Irish Row (Yorkshire MC Hut), Coppermines Valley, Coniston SS 293984
This is the event all your year's training has been working up to, and it's definitely based on Irish Row, Coniston this year. The course is still a mystery, but it is bound to be within 20 miles of the hut.
On Saturday it is climbing - traditionally on Dow Crag, though there are many crags around Coppermines Valley, and there is Hodge Close Quarry for the E2 Lakeland slate afficionados. Alternatively some may take a sneaky walk, hoping to guess where the course will be. As usual, the Fell Race is on Sunday. Attendance by Committee members is compulsory, either to participate, marshall, revive the also-rans, or feed the hungry with bread and soup.
The idiosyncratic handicap system will be tweaked and spun again, so come and take your luck.. Trophies for fastest male, fastest female, Shelagh Manning handicap, and the Concordia Trophy, but only for KMC members. Guests can participate for the sheer hell of it! Approaching Coniston from the N, along the A593, turn R immediately before the Black Bull pub. After ¼ mile the track goes L steeply and the surface deteriorates. Take care to avoid immovable boulders, especially if arriving in the dark on Friday night. Continue along the track towards the youth hostel. Irish Row is the line of cottages directly above the small footbridge on the R. Park responsibly; there is off-track parking on the L, 50 yds or so beyond the footbridge.
There are around 25 hut places, but please book ahead with Neville (£6 pp/pn) especially for Saturday night. Please note that to be on this meet, you must participate in the fell race, either as a runner, marshall, or official kitchen staff! The course will start and end at the hut. Course details will be posted on Sunday morning at 10.00 am.
Start times (three groups) will be 11.00, 11.30, and 12.00 noon.
This will be the last time I organise the KMC Fell Race, so make sure you are in it.
Contact Neville to make hut bookings, for further information, or with offers of help.