08/09/2009: Scribe confused by mountainous complexities


The Scribe is unable, for different reasons, to include last weekend’s two major local events – the West Yorkshire League Championships and the Leeds Country Way Relay – in this week’s edition. In the first case, the results of Sunday’s meeting haven’t appeared on the League’s website yet; in the second, which he understands a rather ‘lashed-up’ Club team won by just over twenty minutes – he’s got reports on five of the six legs and is waiting for the last one. Full reports will appear in the next edition.


The Scribe has been firmly taken to task by Lunchtime O’Surf for two inaccuracies in the last Clubnews concerning the international mountain-running exploits of Club members. The race he stated was the European Championships (an event already gone – see edition of July 23rd, with suitable corrections) is in fact the inaugural Commonwealth Mountain Running Championships, which will take place at Keswick between September 18th and 20th. More over the Club’s participation is slightly greater than reported; on the Friday in the Continental-style Uphill Race (which will climb to the top of Skiddaw via Latrigg) both Adam Osborne and James Walsh will represent England, while Adam Grice will do so in the more traditionally British Up and Down Race (held on a course around Latrigg) on the Sunday. The events are part of a Commonwealth Festival of Running which will also see ultra-distance events over 24 hours and 100km (any takers from the Club??) and open road and fell races.


With the Club not involved in promotion, qualification or Final issues this year the track season is in a bit of a long wind-down, but there are still several events to note; and even at this late stage of the season the Ranking Lists, and even the Club Record book, are coming under attack.

Bank Holiday weekend saw Club members turning out in a number of meetings across the North, and the Under-13 Girl members in particular showing up well in the results. Three members went to the Scunthorpe Festival of Sport at Quibell Park, which featured multi-event competitions, and met with reasonable success. Neither Connor Morley nor Matt Campleman were able to set new figures in the Under-15 Boys’ Pentathlon, but both came reasonably close (Connor 1976, Matt 1551); of the two Matt was probably the more pleased, because while Connor produced a consistent all-round effort (14.0, 5.14, 9.47, 1.57 and 2.42.5) without breaking any ‘Bests’ Matt improved both his High Jump (1.42) and Shot 7.43) by a substantial margin. He was a shade disappointed with his Hurdles (14.7) and Long Jump (4.41), and Mum Alison reckoned that when it came to the 800 (2.43.5) he “did look kn***ered.” (her words, not The Scribe’s!)

The fireworks came in the Pentathlon for Under-13 Girls, an event which has only been staged this year with the ‘proper’ specifications (in previous years odd Under-13s have done the Under-15 event. To anyone who’s been following the Under-13 Girls’ results this year it would have been fairly obvious that if Alyssia Carr gave it a go she was likely to do something interesting if she could find a decent Shot Putt and get round 800 metres; and when she started the competition with a PB Hurdles of 11.7 interesting appeared to be the word! Adding to that a Long Jump (4.40) only marginally below Best, and a High Jump (1.43) of similar proportions which would win most age-group events, she crucially improved her Shot from 4.93 to 6.01 to rack up more points, and coped well enough with the distance (2.55.3) to break Melissa Fletcher’s inaugural record by a considerable amount with 2228 points, third-best performance in Britain this year. Unfortunately for Alyssia, the second-best performer, Derby’s Katherine Molyneux, also showed up at Scunthorpe!

Two other young ladies were busily setting PBs on Bank Holiday Monday. Nicola Sawyer (who did a Pentathlon in August that The Scribe only found out about this week – 1545 points, ranking her third on the Club lists) had an interesting range of events at the Doncaster Open, setting PBs in both Shot – a big improvement from 6.53 to 7.22 – and 1500m, running the event for the first time and recording a respectable 5.42.8. Over at the Trafford Medal Meeting at Stretford Gemma Keir metamorphosed into a thrower, and set PBs in both Discus (15.33) and Javelin (18.28).


Skiddaw rises to 3,054 feet, which in British terms is quite impressive; Gavin Chatterton has raced at 6,200 feet in Colorado while on vacation; and some of the races Asbo has run in this summer have gone up to 8,500 feet. However, when it comes to altitude, in early August three Club members – Chris Needham, Arthur Cooke and Jennie Guard – undoubtedly became the most elevated Leeds City performers when on August 13th they finished a race at an altitude of 14.100 feet. The race in question was the Pike’s Peak Ascent Race, also in Colorado, and the reason the trio was there was to celebrate Arthur’s wedding in Colorado Springs on August 6th (over which many congratulations, mate. It must also be rather unique for a member to have taken time out from his honeymoon to run a Half-Marathon on a course which climbs 7,800 feet from start to finish. For the record, their times (which for obvious reasons didn’t make the Ranking Lists!) were Chris, 3.24.21, Arthur 3.35.35 and Jennie 3.45.36. (The Scribe would have been more interested in their descent – there’s a rack railway on Pike’s Peak!) As an aside, as some years ago Maurice Calvert ran the Sea of Galilee Marathon, most of which was about 250 feet below sea level, does that give Leeds City the biggest altitude range of any British club?

Somewhat nearer home and lower down, Susan Partridge made her first competitive appearance since her recent wedding, and ran a sharp 34.35 in the Birchwood 10k near Warrington, finishing fourth among the ladies in 26th place. From what The Scribe remembers of Birchwood from when the relays were there (it’s a massive industrial estate) it won’t have been a scenically inspiring course, but Susan probably wasn’t looking round much.

Having returned from the Midwest, Gavin Chatterton probably suffered something of a culture shock when he turned out in the Spofforth 10k Trail Race on Bank Holiday Monday; he describes the course as “A bit boggy in parts, rutted in others and deceptively undulating with cattle grids (and cattle) featuring highly.” The race is a particular favourite of Darran Bilton’s, but Gavin notes that he “only managed to win this year by 2½ minutes. Possible signs that the old boy is slowing down, I hear you cry? Nope, Darran missed the start and didn’t hit the front until about 2k so his own course record remains intact, and the rest of us were vaguely in the same race. Anyhow, I was 3rd in 35.35, Tim Crossland 5th about a minute behind me (36.36) and James Dean put his triathlon boots on to finish 12th (38.24). A decent work out all round – well done us!”

It was a different story on September 5th when Gavin elected to join the Mountain Boys in the Lakes a week later, as Essex’s Finest “took part in the Lakeland Trails Derwentwater 14k Race up in Keswick. James Walsh looked like he had a good race at the front and he won in 51.52 (I think), while I had an utter nightmare and finished 8th in 1.00.27. Heavy rain had turned the main climb (about 1,400ft) into some kind of bog snorkeling event in parts. I just couldn’t get up the hill and went from 6th to 14th. I then managed to fall over twice and the second time as I was scrapping about on the deck attempting to regain form, energy and my remaining dignity, I seriously pondered immediate retirement from the sport. Sadly under the rain clouds of Skiddaw there is nowhere to go, so you might as well keep chugging on hoping things got better (by this stage, even ‘hope’ was beginning to look slim). I had a reasonable descent, though, and clawed back some places, but not my greatest hour by any stretch of the imagination.”

The fact that 98 runners finished the third Hyde Park 5k on September 2nd was a tribute to the power of mind over matter – mind insisting on getting round and persuading yourself that the steady downpour that left parts of the course well puddle didn’t matter! There was certainly a good Leeds City presence at the head of the field – four in the first six – though Adam Grice wasn’t really pushing himself any harder than he needed to run 16.12 and hold off Aidan Adams by two seconds. (It subsequently transpired that Adam had done a stiff hill session in preparation for his mountain exploits just before the race.) Still, it was good to see ’Flossie’ in action again, and just as good to see Trevor Wilks making a real effort to make it a full house in the first three; he missed out to Salford’s James Kovacs by three seconds (16.42) . Just over half a minute behind (17.19) James Dean appeared in his second race in quick succession, and looked sharp in 6th place; while further back the “New Dad’s Army” of Brad Keir (60th) and Mark Sawyer (76th) both produced substantial improvements in time over their first appearances – Brad by half a minute (22.34) and Mark by almost two (24.37).

There’s a famous seaside place called Blackpool, what’s noted for fresh air, fun and giving Mike Burrett prizes! It’s not the first time mike has had a good one in the Blackpool Illuminations 10k, but on Sunday he went over and won the thing in 32.49, which isn’t the sharpest 10k he’s ever run but was too sharp by 56 seconds for the rest of the field. No doubt he’ll claim it was all to do with his Little Stick of Blackpool Rock (copyright, G. Formby!)

A bit nearer home James Dean appeared to be casting himself as the Scott Mitchell of the 21st Century by running his third race in eight days and finishing third in the Sandal Castle 10k, a pretty strenuous off-roader which includes a climb to what’s left of the castle – which probably accounts for third being achieved with 36.45. Not a bad shot, though – and he had company in Ian Brine, who placed 98th in 45.54, and super-Vet Paul Monaghan (last seen at Chris Corcoran’s slap’n’tickledrome at South Leeds being sorted out) who was 456th in 62.28.