Harriers Update, May 2012

The cross country and road relay championships may be over but the club’s endurance section has still been keeping busy. There were several Leeds City runners in the Three Peaks Race on 28th April this year. Chris Birchall has been a regular at the front end of this race in recent years, securing an excellent 4th place last year. In tough conditions, he ran 3:17:06 for the 24 mile course, which takes in Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, placing him 16th in a very strong field. Martin Gostling made his fell-running debut (at anything of this length, at least) and ran 3:42:15 for 57th after a fast start. Martin later admitted the race could be improved by being held over 5000m and round a track! Danny Jones is on a mission to run as many races as possible in preparation for an Ironman attempt and duly finished in 4:05:09. His position of joint 172nd suggests there may have been sprinting involved at the end, very impressive after a gruelling course such as this! Karen Hallas, also steeping outside her comfort zone, ran 4:19:39 for 18th woman, 251st out of 641 finishers (and many more who didn’t make it round).


At the first John Carr 5k at Esholt on 2nd May, Leeds City vests were prominent in the top 20, with Mike Burrett finishing 3rd in 15:43, whilst Leon Foster was 9th with 16:10. Pete Branney was 15th in 16:18, 1 place and 1 second ahead of Ben Dyson. Aaron Lowery and Steve Body ran 16:35 and 16:36 for 18th and 19th respectively, whilst Chris Needham was 30th in 17:11. Sam Convery finished 46th in 17:46 and Rob Gatenby ran 20:25 for 129th.


Aidan Adams comfortably won the Kirbymoorside 10km on 6th May, running 33:53 to win by over 30s. The next day, Mike Burrett also headed to North Yorkshire, finishing 2nd in the Tees Barrage 10k in 32:44, just 6s behind Richmond’s up-and-coming Marc Scott.


The 2nd Esholt 5km was on Wednesday 9th and saw a Leeds City victory in the shape of new member Jon Wills, running a very impressive 14:53. Pete Branney improved to 16:07 in 5th, whilst Ben Dyson also beat his race 1 time with a PB of 16:12. Steve Body improved to 14th and 16:24 with Aaron Lowery in 16th with 16:56. Chris Needham ran 17:33 for 32nd, just ahead of Charlotte Wills in 34th, making it a husband and wife double by winning the women’s race in 17:36! Jennie Guard was 3rd woman with a time of 18:32.


On 13th May, Leeds City entered a team in the Calderdale Way relay for the first time. This is a 50 mile race round the footpaths of Calderdale, run in 6 paired legs, and traditionally dominated by the fell clubs. Ben Dyson and Steve Body took the first leg, bringing the team home in an excellent 3rd after a sprint finish. Chris Birchall and Tom Edwards ran the tough leg 2, over Stoodley Pike to Todmorden, and moved up to 2nd with the fastest time of the leg. Trev Wilks and Martin Horbury lost a little time on the mostly-uphill leg 3 but ran strongly to keep the team in the top 3. Adam Osborne and James Smith tore round the hilly leg 4, running the fastest time by 3 minutes, moving up to 3rd and reducing Wharfedale’s 10 minute lead to just 4. Better was to come on leg 5 as Wharfedale’s pair lost their way and Pete Branney and Leon Foster capitalised with an excellent run (and another fastest leg time) to come home in the lead with just one leg to go! The final pairing of Chris Needham and Chris Wright were always going to be at a disadvantage; as last-minute substitutes for late drop-outs, they hadn’t had chance to recce their leg but they had a solid run to hold onto 2nd after Wharfedale came past again. 2nd in our first attempt was much better than expected and was a great team performance. The event is definitely winnable, especially as we now know our way around the route, and all the team are keen to try again next year!


Also on the 13th, Rachel Dyson finished 35th and 4th woman in the multi-terrain Ripon 10mile race. Meanwhile, at the Beverley 10km, Darran Bilton ran 32:25 to win a close race. Rumours of Martin Hilton’s retirement seem to have been exaggerated as he won the Knaresborough 10km (admittedly, more of a fun run than he’s used to) from clubmate Mark Bryant. Further north, Susan Partridge returned to racing after her marathon at the Glasgow Women’s 10k, finishing an excellent 2nd in 34:05.


At the 3rd John Carr 5k at Esholt, Pete Branney showed he is one of the club’s most improved athletes of recent months by coming within a whisker of winning the whole race! He ran a huge PB of 15:46 to finish 2nd and was given the same time as winner Quentin Lewis, whom Pete had caught in the final strides. A very well deserved performance for Pete! Greg Hull was 7th in 16:12 whilst Ben Dyson continued his good recent form with 10th place (16:30). Steve Body (12th) and Aaron Lowery (21st) finished of very strong series performances with 16:42 and 17:07 respectively. Sam Convery was 50th in 18:25 whilst Jennie Guard was once again 3rd woman in exactly the same time as the previous race, 18:32! Meanwhile, Martin Horbury finished 74th in 19:21. All this consistency meant that Pete finished 2nd overall series, with Ben 6th, Steve 10th and Aaron 11th, an excellent start to the summer from all!


On May 17th, Adam Osborne returned to mountain racing after a winter of injury, finishing 8th in the opening round of the World Mountain Running Grand Prix at Grand Ballon in France, 4 places higher and 1:30 faster than at the same race last year. Meanwhile, at the Inter-Counties Fell-Running Championships at Shining Tor, Derbyshire, on the 19th, Greg Hull finished 57th, combining some racing with his coaching duties. Also on the 19th, there was the Great Manchester 10km. After his excellent run here last year, James Walsh was a little disappointed to only run 29:41, testament to the high standards he has set himself over the last year. He finished 1 place ahead of new member Derek Hawkins, who was credited with the same time, and who will be a very useful addition to road relay teams.


The fellrunners took to the hills again on Wednesday 23rd at the Badgerstone Relays, a 3x2mile relay on Ilkley Moor. As holders, Leeds City had a lot to live up to and 2/3 of last year’s team took to the course again (the injured Simon Deakin was on photography duty). Adam Osborne led off, bringing the A team home in the lead with the 3rd fastest time of the night (13:57). He was closely followed by fell specialist Tom Edwards for the B team (14:17 (6th fastest overall)). Chris Birchall extended the A team’s lead, running 14:12 (5th fastest overall), whilst Greg Hull, no stranger to fell-running on Ilkley Moor, kept the B team in 2nd with a 14:39 leg. Martin Roscoe took the last leg for the As, running  a strong 14:19 (7th overall) to secure a 2nd successive victory. Rob Gatenby was surprised to be taking over in the lead for the B team but gave his all, as always, and maintained a top 10 position, the team finishing in 9th. Further South, Leon Foster ran 34:23 at the Bupa London 10k on May 27th, with Alex Davy a few places behind with 34.25.