Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Would you like ice with that?

Latest News Friday 3 February - Pennine Bridleway Relay Cancelled
Picture by Hannah Fanning
At about 11 o' clock this morning I dug out my phone from my rucksack, to check the twitter feed. Sure enough, the news I was fearing had come in.
 "The 2012 Pennine Bridleway Relay is cancelled due to considerable amounts of ice on the route." @gwright1950
I think we all knew it was coming but it's still a shame.

The Fell Runner's Forum is full of supportive comments from competitors and team managers;
"I have 4 x U20s and 1 x U17 and although I'm happy to risk a fall, I don't want to risk them" Blackburn Harriers Coach
"Full support from our club" Pudsey Pacers
So Calder Valley will have to wait another year to get their own back on Salford.........

Previously on Fell Running Briefs
It's the Pennine Bridleway Relay on Sunday, the first big test of 2012, the one where road running clubs try to show fell running clubs a thing or two (and vice versa) and a good natured 'War of the Roses' takes place.

But this year the battle has already started and it's between us and the weather, as the ice threatens to prevent the relay going ahead.

These photographs were taken on Wednesday and Thursday by organising club Rossendale Harriers. Leg 5 has three and a half miles of this, and the forecast for the next few days isn't looking too good..........
taken on Wednesday 3pm

taken on Thursday 3pm

The Race
We need to make things clear - It's not the 200 mile long distance route between the Peak District and the borders of Scotland! It's a 47 mile circular route through the South Pennines. The National Trail leaflet describes it as "a journey through the South Pennines, where you will encounter open moorland and hidden reservoirs, ancient packhorse tracks sweeping into valleys with gritstone walls, mill chimneys and canals offering a glimpse of past histories"
Map from the National Trail leaflet
The terrain is "a variety of surfaces including grass tracks, stone setts, stone causeways, aggregate paths and some quiet roads". This is why road runners can do so well on the course and why ice can create a problem.

This week's problem
Graham Wright of Rossendale Harriers told the Fellrunner's Forum on Tuesday;
"As of Monday afternoon the route is unsafe for the race to go ahead, lots of hard water ice despite the afternoon sun. The snow is mostly ok, it's the ice which is frightening !.....we will make an inspection on sections of the route early on Saturday morning and will email all the clubs our findings at 10.00 am. I will also post details on the event website and on the FRA forum. Whatever the outcome I hope that everyone understands our obligations as organisers with regard to safety. We have already had two broken legs on this race in the past which has been personally upsetting."

If the race goes ahead
I'm sure if the race goes ahead Yorkshire (fell focused) club Calder Valley will be looking to settle a score with Manchester based (can I say 'road and track' club) Salford who stole the show by 38 seconds last year. And there are plenty of other clubs who are vying for the opportunity to do better this year. Here's last year's top ten;

Results 2011 - link to full results
1. Salford - 4:49:10
2. Calder Valley - 4:49:48
3. Rossendale - 4:58:21
4. Clayton le Moors (vets) - 5:04:36
5. Horwich - 5:06:24
6. Blackburn - 5:08:25
7. Wharfedale - 5:16:05
8. Preston - 5:17:20
9. Borrowdale - 5:17:48
10. Todmorden - 5:18:14
Rossendale's Joe Johnston and Jon Moores on Leg 4 last year - picture by Rossendale Harriers
1. Clayton le Moors - 5:04:36
2. Rossendale - 5:20:25
3. Clayton le Moors II - 5:27:41
4. Darwen Dashers - 5:46:01
5. Wesham - 5:47:12

1. Accrington - 5:32:40
2. Chorley - 5:35:52
3. Burnden - 5:54:14
4. Otley - 5:56:30
5. Salford - 6:06:18

1. Calder Valley - 6:03:02
2. Todmorden - 6:09:38
3. Clayton le Moors - 6:12:05
4. Wharfedale - 6:23:36
5. Rossendale - 6:23:56

Fingers crossed it goes ahead as it's a great day and a great start to the fell running year.

If it does go ahead Fell Running Briefs will be there with paper, pencil, camera and phone! You can follow us on twitter (@fellrunninbrief) or read the updates which will appear in the top right hand corner of this page.
Rumour has it Bingley have recruited Torvill and Dean for their Leg 5 mixed team  

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