Pendle Cloughs Fell Race 2016 Report.                                                       Pendle Cloughs Fell Race results 2016

The 9th running of the Pendle Cloughs Fell Race and the first under the English Hill Runners Banner attracted 40 hardened Fell Runners the highest number believe it or not for the last few years.

Over the years I’ve changed dates, days and time of year, but with no difference in numbers. The change of day this year from a Saturday to a Sunday and  not clashing with many other races is I feel a positive step forward, and with it being in April a few weeks before the Yorkshire Three Peaks will make it excellent training for this event.

Why such low numbers? I’ve never been quite sure, as other races on Pendle attract much larger fields. Possibly it lies in runners having to use some navigational skills or the various route choices between Check points daunt some runners.  Perhaps preferring the familiar surroundings of Barley, the security of a well worn groove, with a snake of runners to follow, and of course there’s always the obligatory Ogden tarmac to look forward to?

This race could be described as Pendle’s best kept secret; some runners wish it to remain so. I myself hope to retain a traditional Fell Race feel, low key, low impact, low cost entry. Remember the days when there were few pre race entry’s, where you could just turn up on the day, pay a few quid and race. Not having to plan months in advance, hovering over your computer keyboard on the much anticipated day that entries open online, or risk the race being oversubscribed, only in the mean time you  get injured, while the RO pockets your entry money.

I wouldn’t like to think the Pendle Cloughs Fell race could attract say 600 runners, or charge £11 + £2 race pack or £3 for a race map.  I am not doing this as a business venture, and as I hope a responsible race organiser have as little impact on the environment as possible. That is why I have set a limit in my Race Management Plan of 200 runners, some would probably say that’s a little over optimistic, realistically 80 to 100 runners would be just right, make it more viable, and I would then be in a position to reinstate the Vet and team prizes, and donate a little more to the local Charity.

Now to the race itself, the weather was perfect with the sun breaking through the early morning mist and frost, to reveal the previous days snow fall covering Pendle. Although the soft nature of the snow on the high ground combined with the muddy fields at the start and finish made for heavy going under foot.

Tom Brunt of Dark Peak and race record holder, won the race convincingly for the fourth time (“he’s going to need to put up a shelf at home for all the Pewter Tankards”) and came in first MV40 in a time of 2hrs 11mins 07secs, nearly 8 minutes ahead of Pudsey and Bramley pair Joe Baxter and Neil Crampton respectively.

1st MV50 in 8th place was Alan Life of Clayton who won the inaugural race back in 2008 and has always been a great supporter, this being his 7th time.

Fellow club mate Richard Bellaries had a great run, 27th place at Cp3 he picked his way steadily through the field finishing strongly even managing to pass fellow club mate Mark Nutter on the run in through the fields from CP 9 and finish in a very respectable 19th place and first MV60.

First lady in 32nd place was Fiona Fullwood of Dark Peak in 3hrs 49mins 30secs, although I believe like a lot of runners over the years she had difficulty locating CP 8 at the Well. (A tip here is to use the wall stile not the ladder stile on the Big End wall.)

Second lady and first FV50 was Catherine Mercer of Keighley and Craven.

Clayton as usual showed their support for this race fielding 10 runners, with other local clubs all helping boost the numbers, only Barlick Fell runners being unusually conspicuous by their absence.

Finally a big thanks to English Hill Runners for their help advice and support both in the lead up and on the day of the race, both Marshalling and at Registration, and a few members supporting the event by running.

Thanks to Lynne Whittaker for doing a superb job as usual on Registration and the Finish (and keeping myself and John in order), all the Marshalls and Sweepers, the Downham Estate, and finally all the runners, without who’s help and support the race wouldn’t take place.

Andrew Hirst

Race Organiser.