I have been training for marshalling for a few years now; standing around and staring into the distance is something I am particularly good at. I can also clap and say “well done” a lot. Marshalling duties started with meeting the ‘Kettlewell Anniversary Advanced Party’ (Mike A, Dave M, Ice Cream and Flap Jack) in the afternoon so that so we could flag the course. Given the amount of tape we used we were preparing for visibility of about 10m: it was a beautiful sunny afternoon. Mike also used ducks on makeshift posts, because…well, because he is Mike and to be honest this seems to be one of the less strange things that goes on in his head (see ‘sharks’ later). Also, when I say we flagged the whole route, what I mean by that is, Dave M, Mike A and I set off up to the top of the hill, they carried on down the hill on the other side, whereas I went across the top of the hill and started flagging the (what I hoped was the correct) course for the final descent (I think we are building up a picture of why I like marshalling and not ‘racing’). The Kettlewell Anniversary Advanced Party, minus the ice cream and flapjacks, reconvened near the farm on the hill overlooking the field that seemed to have all the local moors allocation of sheep in. Turns out this was true; however, they were all to be released from the field prior to the race starting. We flagged the rest of the course together and returned to race HQ. By this point Adam, Richard F, Rose, Neil, Dom and many other people, had arrived and were setting up registration. After standing around and watching other people work, and about 30 minutes before the race started, I headed back off up the hill with the other marshals. Incidentally, the Scottish (midges) had started their invasion of England: specifically, the lowlands of Kettlewell.
Most of us walked up the hill together, repeatedly asking how Will broke his neck, and admiring his dedication to the course (come on, a pun is a pun, no matter how serious the bone-breakage is). There were some keenos though, the Checkpoint 2 crew, one of which was Helen, who ran to their marshalling post on the far side of the hill. It is this kind of ‘swottiness’ though that won her and her teammate the women’s pairs category at an orienteering event…which definitely existed alongside the male categories (it didn’t), and this isn’t a political statement (it is), and I am most definitely not digressing (I am). Incidentally, Dom was meant to go to checkpoint 2 as well with Helen & Co, but he had already used up his allocated injury-free month for this year, so instead he organised us from the midge zone.
As we headed up, the cloud-base was starting to lower; all that red tape may come in handy after all. People were ‘dropped off’ at their marshalling (in some cases, midge food) posts as we walked by; first to go was Sharon and her dog. I didn’t see her after the race but assume she wasn’t eaten alive. Then Arran, Will, me, and finally Ian arrived at ours. Leaving Will was devastating as he had a chocolate orange, and he was happy to share it. Once in position, we all realised that we had set off way to early and wondered around in small circles until our first runners come through. I knew when they were about to come past Ian as I could hear him prevent any short cuts by asking the runners to “go around the finger post and the turn right”. This, and one marshal’s booming clapping (the equivalent of Brian Blessed talking), was the soundtrack for the next hour or so.
Watching the first runners is always impressive, they always look like they are putting limited effort in, just bobbing along in the hills. Except there are two running along with sharks (Sarah McCormack and Joe Baxter); they took these off Dave M just after the hill in an exchange for tasty headache material. The rest of the runners came through and for the most part everyone looked happy, even the guy who had rolled his ankle and had a limp. Heading up the very back of the field, doing the equally great job of sweeping, where you run, but you are not allowed to overtake are Amanda S and Neil W. Once they go by, we can all go down the hill and get a pint. We see Richard F, Adam N and Mike A completely covered in future bites. This does not bode well for the pub. Indeed, Smidge failed us, with the Scots winning the battle after our pathetic, futile attempt at trying to sit it out for just one pint. I momentarily dream of the gin I could have won if I wasn’t me and could race men carrying sharks. I remember there is gin at home. I find Mark, who is excited to have done his first fell race, and we go home.
I think I have dragged this “we went up the hill, stood, cheered, pointed and came back down the hill” story for long enough now, thanks for reading.
— Meg Galsworthy
After having a year off official racing, the time had finally arrived to make my legs burn. The last time I ran Kettlewell Anniversary Fell Race was pre-Covid in 2019. I don’t have the fondest of memories of it. They were mainly “oh dear, this hill is longer than I thought” and “I’ve totally overcooked it”. This was probably my fault as I had never been to the valley before and not realised how many false summits the first climb had. This time around I was ready and prepped for the pain. I had nicely warmed up the racing legs two days earlier with the NLFR summer solstice race around Burley Moor.
On the drive over, the temperature dropped and the clag set in on the summits. This would make for very atmospheric running during the race. Due to Covid the race organisers had decided to set the runners of in staggered starts. The two minutes between each group would help with the congestion going through the Slit, a narrow passage through rocks. Waiting in our pens my nerves began to build and the butterflies flapped in my stomach. Adam and Mike started the countdown. 3, 2, 1, GO! We were off, charging up the first climb, jostling to get into a good position before the Slit. There were lots of strong runners in the first pen who seemed to simply fly off up the hill and I soon lost sight of them.
As in all races I slotted into a small pack of runners around my speed. We began to play leapfrog with each other as we slowly chugged up the hill. The summit finally came after 12 hard minutes of fighting off the lactic acid. The descent couldn’t have come soon enough, but sadly it was over too quick. As I reached the bottom I caught up with Dave. He had been waiting at the top of the first climb with the inflatable sharks for the king and queen of the hill. A weird but fun tradition for Kettlewell Anniversary FR. [Ed’s note: the first woman and first man to reach the shark-holder get to carry a shark each for the rest of the race. Obviously.]
The beauty of running next to a chatty guy like Dave is that he gives you a hell of a lot of loud encouragement. His loud whooping and cheering definitely helped as I began the second climb.
This is where my previous battle on the course came into my favour. I had known to save enough beans in my legs to break away from my pack and I gradually started to reel in the next group. I browed the final top and began the fast grassy downhill. Due to the mist, the grass was very slippery and I slid over a couple times when trying to cut the corners. On one of my slips I ended up kicking a thistle and got a few spikes in my big toe. No time to stop and sort that out when you’re racing to the finish.
Last time, I was overtaken by a runner 200 yards from the finish. But this time, I got my redemption and pipped one last runner [Ed’s note: and Ollie also held off champion mountain runner Sarah McCormack: see photo]. A final sprint and I was over the line. What a rush, 40 minutes of pain but totally worth it.
As soon as I’d finished the leg pain stopped but another pain began, midges. Bloody midges. I hate midges. They were everywhere, swarming over the runners as they finished. I swiftly changed into my longs and with a buff high over my face and my hood up, I just about kept them at bay.
Mega thanks to Mike, Dom, Richard, Adam and all the rest of the NLFR team who put the race together and marshalled. It was another brilliant evening. Looking forward to next year.
Apologies for the delay in publishing the results. We had some issues with the timing device and despite considerable effort to retrieve the results involving many random computer cables, they seem to have vanished. Mike has spent a number of hours trawling through Strava to try to piece together the times, but we are fairly confident the order of runners is correct. For any queries, please get in touch.
|Position||Runner||Category||Time*||M/F Position||Cat Position|
More details https://www.nlfr.co.uk/races/kettlewell/
Results in spreadsheet format can be found here…
Photo credit: Ann Brydson
|2||Jack Cummings||M||Ilkley Harriers||00:37:53|
|4||James Warburton||M||Knaresborough Striders||00:40:35|
|6||Mark Irving||M||Bowland FR||00:43:06|
|7||Daniel Lame||M||Ilkley Harriers||00:43:08|
|9||Brian Pennington||M40||Howgill Harriers||00:43:24|
|10||Ben Holmes||M||Ripon Runners||00:44:06|
|11||Robert Cranford||M40||Howgill Harriers||00:44:15|
|12||Ben Timbens||M40||Keighley & Craven||00:45:07|
|13||Jm Roberts||M40||Keighley & Craven||00:45:20|
|14||Phil Livermore||M40||North Leeds FR||00:45:28|
|15||Kirsty Hall||W||Ribble Valley||00:45:31|
|18||Jane Sheard||W40||Pudsey & Bramley||00:45:49|
|19||Helen Wood||W||Ilkley Harriers||00:45:57|
|21||Jonathan Whitaker||M50||Harrogate Harriers||00:46:39|
|22||Charles Casey||M||Harrogate Harriers||00:46:46|
|23||Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn||W||Keswick AC||00:47:05|
|24||Paul Calderbank||M60||Ilkley Harriers||00:47:22|
|26||Sean Robinson||M40||Howgill Harriers||00:47:48|
|27||Lorena Lozano||W||North Leeds FR||00:48:03|
|29||David Middlemas||M40||Valley Striders||00:48:41|
|30||John Singh||M||Saltaire Striders||00:48:50|
|31||Alan Hirons||M50||North Leeds FR||00:48:58|
|32||Aidan Curley||M40||Abbey Runners||00:49:26|
|33||Sunny Cheema||M||Abbey Runners||00:49:48|
|34||Helen Price||W40||Harrogate Harriers||00:50:03|
|35||Mark Lay||W40||Long Eaton RC||00:50:10|
|36||Mark Jordan||M60||Harrogate Harriers||00:51:00|
|39||Chantal Busby||W50||Ilkley Harriers||00:51:38|
|40||Jonathan Stubbs||M50||Settle Harriers||00:51:57|
|41||Martyn Price||M50||Harrogate Harriers||00:52:04|
|43||Graham Moffat||M50||Howgill Harriers||00:52:38|
|44||Nick Oddy||M40||Keighley & Craven||00:52:49|
|46||Andy Challiner||M40||Horsforth Fell and Dale||00:53:41|
|47||Sarah Gill||W50||Harrogate Harriers||00:53:43|
|50||John Graham||M50||Bowland FR||00:54:05|
|52||Theresa Oldroyd||W40||Harrogate Harriers||00:54:56|
|54||Nick Andralojc||M50||Harrogate Harriers||00:56:23|
|57||Daniel Oxtoby||M40||Harrogate Harriers||00:57:05|
|58||Elizabeth Sandell||W||Harrogate Harriers||00:58:10|
|60||Sue Moul||W50||Harrogate Harriers||01:02:09|
|62||May Crawford||W||Helm Hill||01:03:18|
|64||Ian Hartman||M60||Baildon Runners||01:04:13|
|66||Andrew Gitten||M50||Black Combe Runners||01:06:24|
More details: https://www.nlfr.co.uk/races/kettlewell/
Results in spreadsheet format can be found here…
|26||476||Everrett Smith||Nathan||Harrogate H||M40||49.07||M||25||2|
|48||164||W hittaker||Lynn||W harfedale||F55||54.15||F||5||1|
Full details https://www.nlfr.co.uk/races/kettlewell/
|3||Luke Maude||M||Barlick FR||37.14|
|9||Rob Furness||M||Horsforth Harriers||41.32|
|10||Paul James Carmen||M||Ilkley||41.44|
|11||Tim Hawey||M40||York and K’boro||41.58|
|13||Keith Emery||M||K’boro Striders||43.07|
|17||Tim Palmer||M45||Harrogate H||45.31|
|21||Paul Calderbank||M55||Ilkley H||47.33|
|24||Ian Rowbotham||M50||Harrogate H||47.51|
|26||David Fountain||M||Harrogate H||48.14|
|27||Lorena Lozano Sufrategui||W||NLFR||49.28|
|30||Nick Androx||M50||Harrogate H||50.00|
|34||Emma Robson||W||Harrogate H||50.57|
|35||Chantale Busby||W45||Ilkley H||50.58|
|38||Jann Smith||W45||Ilkley H||51.03|
|40||Mary Gibbons||W40||Ilkley H||51.41|
|43||Stephen Kirk||M45||Harrogate H||51.59|
|50||Chloe Hirst||W||Harrogate H||54.34|
|51||Dan Simmons||M55||Harrogate H||54.43|
|52||Mark David||M50||Nidd V||54.57|
|55||Mark Seymour||M55||Harrogate H||56.22|
|57||Tim Broomfield||M60||Harrogate H||57.50|
|59||Paul Robinson||M50||Nidd V||58.40|
|62||Andrew Biddle||M60||W. Pennine Runners||59.11|
|66||Elizabeth Sandell||W||Harrogate H||01:01:08|
|67||Sue Morley||W60||Knaresborough S.||01:03:57|
|71||Tony Carr||M50||Ripon Harriers||01:15:30|
|72||Jane Rowbotham||W55||Harrogate H||01:24:15|