15/09/2009: Asbo and Adam take on the world

6th September – World Mountain Running Championships, Campodolcino (Italy)


The Scribe has received an e-mail report form Adam Osborne on his performance, and that of Adam Grice, as full British International Mountain-Goats, which had to be a ‘first’ for the Club, since it was “the first time a GB team has entered as previously (before it became an official IAAF event) home nations teams were sent.  The race was held on a testing and very fast three-lap course, a long climb (200m-plus height gain) followed by some dry, firm running and very runnable descents, with much of the narrow course lined with typically exuberant Italian fans, armed with cowbells, rattles, klaxons and air horns; even one bloke revving a chainsaw to add to the din!  Amazing atmosphere, much like the mountain stages of the Tour de France, especially when an Italian won the junior race and their women scored a 1-2-3 in their race (followed closely by GB’s Sarah Tunstall, leading the British women to a well-deserved silver medal; GB junior men had also earlier won team bronze).

After the melee of the too-narrow start, I moved steadily through the field, picking up about 15 places on the second long climb and descending better than at the Keswick trial, and, despite a fall on the last lap leaving me with a bruised and grazed thigh and a dead leg, I finished in a very pleasing 34th place, third Brit behind Salford’s Billy Burns and Morpeth’s Nick Swinburn, and just ahead of Gricey in 40th, who was struggling a little with the effects of the high altitude but descending strongly. This was enough for 7th team, a good performance in what was a very strong field.”

Both Adams, plus James Walsh, will be turning out for England in a fortnight’s time at Keswick in the first Commonwealth Mountain Running Championships; ‘Asbo’ promises further reports.

5/6th September – Home Countries’ Multi-Events International, Stoke


With elder sister Amy currently doing her Long John Silver impersonation after having an operation on that troublesome foot, it was left to Katy Marchant to represent England in this competition, in the event for Under-20s and Under-17s (where by the look of things each age-group ‘did its own thing’ over Hurdles!).  She didn’t quite hit her Best – to be exact, she was just 120 points short of it with 4478 in sixth place – and she had one of those frustrating competitions where she didn’t quite get PBs or season’s bests in any of the events but was never far away in any of them.  In two cases – missing out on season’s bests by a twentieth of a second in the Hurdles (11.53) and a Centimetre in the Long Jump – it was particularly agonising.  Her other marks, with season’s bests for comparison, were 1.58 High Jump (1.65), 9.92 Shot (10.34), 27.42 200m (27.32), 35.06 Javelin (35.91) and 2.41.08 800m (2.35.18).  In fact the whole thing was tantalisingly close to being an outstanding performance, which can leave an athlete feeling more deflated than missing out by miles; however, Katy’s not one not to bounce back.

6th September – West Yorkshire League Championships, Cleckheaton


It’s been a good season for Club records, and not a bad one for League records, but few have been put aside quite so decisively as the two Under-13 Girls’ Long Jump records were on the 6th.  Alyssia Carr not only added a full foot to both marks with her first jump of 4.86, but five of her six efforts were ahead of the old marks (League, 4.56, Club, 4.49).  Her series was 4.86, 4.62, 4.41, 4.62, 4.71 and 4.64; and Matt Barton reckoned that if she’d got her landing right five metres wouldn’t have been out of the question.  For good measure she also won the 80m in 11.0, while behind her Molly Allinson put up two PBs (11.6 in her heat and 4.04), and there were excellent efforts from Melissa Fletcher (11.7 and an outdoor best of 4.29) and Caoimhe Crampton (also 11.7, plus a Shot PB of 6.12).  Nicola Sawyer couldn’t quite equal her Shot best of a week or so earlier (she did 6.77), but an improved 800 (2.42.2) made up for it. Among the older girls both India Wilson (13.6 and 27.8) and Fran Coldwell (14.2 and 29.0) were a bit down on early-season sprinting form, though Fran won the Under-17 Long Jump with 4.79.

There was some very fair Long-jumping done on the Men’s side as well. Matt Barton was (as he told The Scribe) quite convinced that his 6.99 was actually a centimetre further, but he couldn’t persuade the judge to agree; while Tom Lindsay, warming up for the County Decathlon at the end of the month, added a centimeter to his PB (6.52), rather less even in percentage terms than the six metres or so he put on his Javelin (38.66).  Lower down the ages Bradley Robinson extended his best to 5.13 as well as putting up a PB 200 (26.5), and Connor Morley had a win in the High Jump (1.55 and a second in the Shot (9.92).  Among the youngest of all Tomas Szajdzicki added about a foot to his Shot best (5.39).

6th September – Leeds Country Way Relay


The twelve-strong team that circumnavigated the city in Kippax Harriers’ massive event could fairly be described as a bit of a lash-up.  Although it contained a couple of Harriers’ first-teamers, it was pretty well the squad that Martin Horbury could put together at short notice with assistance from Greg Hull; it included a couple of second-claim members (permissible within the meaning of the event rules, as ‘one of ours’ was running for somebody else!) and there was a veteran on five of the six legs.  Even so, it was clearly too strong for anyone else around; and the team selection also showed a great deal of tactical nous in loading much of the strength on the later legs.  At the end of seven hours’ running (plus thirteen seconds, if you want to be pedantic) the squad was twenty minutes in front of its nearest challenger.

Martin suggested that each leg provide a brief (or not as the case may be) report of its efforts; so herewith the Country Way In Their Own Words, with the minimum of editing:-

Leg 1 (Simon Hill and Phil Townsend, 6th, 1.18.50)

Phil reports that the pairing was “very much an unknown quantity and we wanted to limit losses for the team later on. Simon felt reasonably fit as he is doing the Nottingham marathon next week; Phil has just started back training and not run further than 8 miles with an 11.75 mile leg to come. So we set off cautiously with a target of 80 minutes in mind and picked teams off throughout the leg. The last 3 miles Simon felt the pace a little, compounded by swallowing a fly that make him puke, but he probably did a 10 mile PB en route, so that is unsurprising. We were very pleased to run just under 79 minutes and come in 6th only 5 minutes down.”

Leg 2 (Martin Horbury and Andy Whitley, 6th, 1.21.14, 6th fastest on leg)

Martin reports that “as is often the case on this type of event leg two had quite a bit of swapping and changing of the top few positions and the two teams who were capable of pushing us through out the day had poor runs. Pudsey & Bramley were first through in 1 hour 13 but their leg 2 pair included a young lady who didn’t appear to be one of the quality runners that have graced the club in recent years. Two minutes later there was a real mêlée as three pairs (Dewsbury, Horsforth & St Theresa’s) finished together in what resembled a 4 by 400 track relay handover with bodies all over the place. A further two minutes later Pudsey Paces came through followed by Simon and Phil shortly after, 5½ behind the leaders.   Five minutes in to our leg we were passed by Abbey Runners, last years winners, which I saw as not a bad thing because they needed to be much further in front of us at this point to get in the mix. Ten minutes further on we were passed by Airedale Athletic and Valley striders which was a bit disappointing even though I was sure they were teams that wouldn’t trouble us later.
At the half way stage we were joined by a Rothwell Harriers pair which included Paul Marchant who has recently joined Leeds City but had committed to run for his old club. That turned out to be quite useful because we ran with them for most of the rest of the leg and Paul who was much stronger than his partner opened the gates for us as we went along. We than passed the Pudsey and Bramley pair and much to my surprise the Abbey Runners pair who were walking, one of them holding an inhaler. A couple of minutes later we went past the St Theresas pair so we would stay 6th overall if we could hold off Rothwell.   With three miles to go on leg 2 you can see up the hill towards Hanging Heaton and I saw race leaders Dewsbury going through a stile at the top of the hill less than a mile away. At this stage I was pretty certain that none of the other teams had any were near a big enough lead to cause us any problems on the last four legs other than a major navigational cock up on our part.  There was bit of panic because we did get a bit confused cutting through some woods near the finish and for a brief moment thought I was completely lost but we picked up the correct path again and out kicked Rothwell to get home only 6 minutes behind the leaders.”

Leg 3 (Chris Needham and Ben Dyson, 3rd, 1.10.52’ 2nd fastest on leg)

Chris reports that “our stretch was quite uneventful.  We set off, and pulled in a couple of teams quickly, then steadily progressed passed a couple more, along the muddy valley base. Thankfully it wasn’t quite as muddy or dark as our recce. At one point we lost nine seconds by getting stuck behind four horses blocking the route. Towards the end the three short climbs took their toll and we just about closed the gap on Dewsbury, to finish 8 seconds off claiming fastest leg time.”

Leg 4 (Martin Roscoe and Chris Birchall, 1st, 1.10.28, fastest on Leg)

Doscoe reports that “Bendy and Kermit must have run a good leg to close the deficit on the leading teams, handing over in third place, 3:40 off the lead and 20 seconds off third. After only a few fields and stiles we had made up the twenty seconds and were in second place. A fairly gentle first few miles mainly down hill allowed the stiffness to be freed from Chris’s legs, still a bit tender after his five fetes races but at about half way we had seen no other teams and were still 2:35 off the lead.  The climb up from the canal/river at Apperley Bridge to Trinity and All Saint’s must have taken its toll on the leaders as we first caught sight of them in the landing lights of the airport. One last steep climb up to the cricket pitch at Cookridge and the leading team were just in front. On the flat finishing section into Golden Acre Park we managed to pick up the pace again and handed over the lead of just over two minutes to Trevor and Scooter. (leg time approx, 70:30). Thanks to our driver Ruth for getting us to the start and thanks to all those that supported us at the road crossings, your cheers and drinks were appreciated.”

Leg 5.  (Sean Cotter and Trevor Wilks, 1st, 1.00.35, fastest on Leg)

’Scooter’ reports that “we were unsure of how much lead we would get from the speedy Messrs Birchall and Roscoe, or indeed if we would have to ‘chase’ because they had teams to catch and, as ever with the LCW, there is always a chance of going the wrong way!  However, we need not have worried as the shout went up for Leeds City coming in first. Trev and I fancied get the fastest leg prize, so set off with intent.  Martin had given us an estimated leg time of 70 minutes – surely some mistake for a pair of fleet footed athletes like us?!  We had run the leg together in 2006 in a time of 62’50” so I was confident we would beat 70′, and thought that only Pudsey and Bramley might challenge us for fastest leg.  We maintained a strong pace throughout, and perhaps surprised Greg and Steve by arriving earlier than expected as they weren’t there when we turned the corner for the finish line! Thankfully they were not far away so after a slightly delayed change over I was pleased to see we had covered the leg in 60′ 35”, and put 12 minutes between ourselves and the second place team. The icing on the cake was winning fastest leg by a couple of minutes to round off a pretty satisfying day.

Leg 6 (Steve Body and Greg Hull, 1st, 58.14, fastest on leg)

Greg reports that “Steve and I had the honour of anchoring the team. As they were jogging down to the start the shout came up ‘Leeds!’ Caught by surprise by the speedy arrival of Trevor and Sean the changeover occurred at right angles.  Leg 5 had not relaxed in the lead, in fact they handed us an 11 minute cushion.  Similarly, we refused to cruise and on a very quiet leg they extended the lead to 20 minutes by the finish catching the finish line officials somewhat by surprise.  Thanks to our support driver Tracy and of course a big well done to the whole team, especially so to Martin Horbury for putting it all together.”

13th September – Yorkshire Road Relay Championships, Sheffield


For three or four years now The Scribe has been noting the generally poor turn-out for what ought to be the County’s most important team competition on the road; and this year’s event continued the trend, with only about thirty athletes in the younger age-group races, a handful of teams in the Under-17 and Women’s events, and only a dozen finishers in the Senior Men’s Relay.  It’s been suggested to him that the timing is wrong, and that the races might be better organised in, say, March, as a prologue to the 12-Stage events; and since the National is now held in February (it used to be later) there could be some mileage in the idea.  It’s also been suggested that the convoluted and restricted course at Don Valley doesn’t inspire people.  Whatever, there seems to be a general apathy about the relays; and Leeds City contributed somewhat to it, putting out complete teams in only four events (two of them seriously weakened) and a couple of individuals in two others. However, as three of the teams came home with medals some satisfaction was to be gained.

There were two individuals in each of the younger Boys’ races; in the Under-13s Kieran Savage made a promising first effort on the road in 7th place (8.03), but Aaron Lewis (17th, 8.55), also debuting found it a bit hard going.  In the Under-15s there was very nearly a medal to celebrate as Harry Foster had one of his best races, missing out on third by only two seconds and on winning it by only seven (10.49); Steven Eastwood (11th, 11.09) seems to have ‘gone off the boil’ a little since his track exploits, but didn’t run badly.  The only non-medallists were the Under-15 Girls, all on the young side and not really experienced at road racing; the trio who finished were Georgina Shaw (26th, 14.19), Beth Roberts (28th, 14.55) and India Wilson (30th, 15.54).

The success in the races came in the Under-13 Girls, where Bronze medals were picked up; but the highlight of the Club’s day came early as Gemma Keir, who seems to have done everything else besides running this summer, came back to her original event and stormed to her first County title in 8.17 in a close three-way finish, beating several of the girls who’ve had the better of her over 800 on the track.  Nicola Sawyer, another of the versatile ones of this age-group, had a solid run and wasn’t too far behind in 13th (8.47); and Danielle Griggs (9.59) did well enough in 27th place to hang on and bring home the medals.  In case there were problems, Gabrielle Scobie (32nd, 11.16) was also about.

On the male side two weakened relay teams put in an appearance, due to other people doing things elsewhere.  The Under-17 Men turned out a trio which brought home Silver, in a field where eight started and six finished, by running through to form strength; Alex Hart (6th, 11.13) provided a platform by staying close to the field, Robert Torch (10.52) closed on everybody except leaders Halifax and moved to third, and Elliot Todd rounded it off with the day’s fastest run of 10.05.

The Senior Men’s team was to say the lest a bit of a lash-up, consisting of two Under-20s, a first-year senior, two runners at the long end of the thirties and a Veteran, with two of their number making a first appearance in a Club team since moving from elsewhere; and only a couple of them would be in contention for a full-strength team.  This is not to belittle their efforts; they were good enough to beat all bar two of the (mostly full-strength) opposition that could be turned out from the rest of the county.  Martin Horbury reports that the team “started pretty strongly with Paul Marchant (20.19) running a well judged first leg, closing on Keighley’s Will Smith as they entered the stadium for the second time but he lost out as Willy kicked on the track.  Dale Worton (22.31), also making his first senior appearance for the club, hung on well for the first lap but suffered a little on the second and lost three places while Matthew Pierson (19.49) ran the fastest leg of the day to put Holmfirth in the lead.”  On Leg 3 Hallamshire went into the lead and “stayed there for the rest of the race, but Geoff Belcher (20.38) judged his leg fantastically well and pulled back three places on his second circuit to put us back into second.  Trevor Wilks (21.38) and James Lavin (21.29) pretty much ran isolated for all their legs held the second position as Hallamshire extended there lead but tellingly Bingley’s Tim Midgley finished strongly ,and their last man, Lee Athersmith, set off around 20 seconds behind Sean Cotter (21.55). Feeling no apparent after-effects of a Steeplechase in the Cup final the previous day, he moved into second within the first half mile, and though he didn’t extend his massively he never looked like slowing down. Sean hung in well to get what he described as his first “meaningful” medal for the club.”   Half a B team – Martin himself (24.05), Eddie Mason (22.48) and Danny Davis (22.47) – also turned out.


When Darran Bilton was e-mailing round to raise a Yorkshire & Humberside team for the inter-regional event included in the Nottingham Robin Hood Half-Marathon he reckoned he might not turn out himself as he was “running like a carthorse.”  The Scribe is glad he didn’t ask for a lift on the cart!  The Old Person finished 4th (behind a couple of Birchfield Africans and Andrew Pearson) in 69.02, and led home the successful regional team which also included Mike Burrett (12th in 1.12.00). As Yorkshire & Humberside won both Men’s and Women’s events he reports that he was “absolutely delighted with the squad’s performance,” and “complimented the athletes on their commitment, enthusiasm and outstanding performances.”  In the associated Marathon Simon Hill finished 81st in 3.10.48, and reckoned he’d “gone a long way towards exorcising the demons of London.”

A couple The Scribe wasn’t told about ….  Simon Deakin ran the Edinburgh Half-Marathon a week ago and moved to 11th on the All-Time List with 66.50.  It could, of course, be that he’s on holiday up there …..   On the same day at the other end of the country Susan Partridge ran 75.26 in the Bristol Half-Marathon.  (This lot only goes to show that the Power of Plonk has some uses!)

There were some good performances at the final Ingram’s League meeting at York on August 8th that The Scribe hadn’t picked up until this week (he’s been busy, you know!)   Among the good marks were a couple for Hannah Ukandu, who set a new Best Long Jump (4.28) equalled her High Jump PB (1.30) and had a respectable first go at Javelin-throwing (15.53); is there a multi-event in the offing, one wonders??   Liam Braithwaite (60.5) had another experimental go at 400, while Louie Hurley (14.8) was only a tenth off his best Hurdles.  Also hurdling well were Alyssia Carr, who further lowered her Best to 11.5, and Caoimhe Crampton, who came down to 12.7.

Nicola Sawyer’s two PBs at the Doncaster Open Meeting on August 31st, reported last time, weren’t the only Club feature of that event.  In the same age-group (Under-13 Girls) Caoimhe Crampton tried 100m for the first time and ran 14.2 – quick when you’re not twelve yet! – and chucked a decent Shot (5.85), while Stacey Evenden went for the hammer and put up a respectable 28.63.  On the male side Jacob Gardiner did three events, the peak of which was a PB High Jump of 1.75.

More interesting efforts came out of the York Open on September 12th, but for once it was a young male athlete who struck attention most forcibly; John Hubball, racing for the first time since joining, ran the fastest 800m by a Club Under-13 this year with 2.28.0.  There was a win for Connor Morley in the Under-15 High Jump (1.60), plus a second in the Shot (9.36) which according to his Mum wasn’t one of his better efforts; something about prophets on home territory springs to mind!   There was also a fair bit of good sprinting, mainly from the ‘usual suspects’ – Alyssia Carr (11.7 Hurdles and 13.5 100m), Caoimhe Crampton (12.8 and 14.5) and Melissa Fletcher (12.5 and 14.7) in the Under-13s, Liam Braithwaite (25.5 200m) in the Under-15s and Sam Clark (30.1 plus a 3.86 Long Jump) among the Under-13 Lads.  There was also a 9.29 Shot Putt from Matt Barton – just to show he could!

The Scribe has had a number of marks – including a few PBs – reported from Sunday’s Wakefield Open Meeting, but as the full results haven’t appeared yet he’s holding them over until next time.