Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Bailey's Irish Cream

Simon Bailey leading Morgan Donnelly on the final descent of the Lad's Leap fell race on Saturday -
pic by Flaming Photography
'Bailey's Irish Cream' is the best way to describe what happened this St Patrick's Day, at the opening race of the English Championship. Not even 2011 British Champion, Morgan Donnelly, with all the luck that his Irish ancestors could muster for him, could stop Simon Bailey's rampage to victory.

And they're off! - pic thanks to Mark Sunderland
The race started with a lot of pushing and shoving as over 300 men jostled for position in the fairly narrow track. But as the route climbed through the fields towards the fell it was Donnelly, Bailey, Ilkley's Tom Adams, Helm Hill's Tom Addison and Dark Peak's Rob Baker, who were leading the men out.

Rob Jebb, who had to have been one of the pre-race favourites, had suffered with a chest infection in the week running up to Saturday's race and as soon as he hit the climb he said he knew he couldn't give it his best. Rob finished the race in 93rd place, handing out bragging rights to about 90 competitors that wouldn't normally finish within sight of him, showing what a great sportsman he is.

Near to top of the second climb - pic by Shaun
Morgz told us 
"I tailed Simon right across the moor up until the first short descent where I scared myself a bit, sliding across big slab of rock. I decided to finish that descent at my own pace and by the bottom Lloyd (Taggart) had caught me up. By the time I had got to the top of the long forrest track, I had closed right in on Simon again."

The FRB team were about 300 metres from the finish line with a clear sight of the whole final descent. It was amazing seeing the speed the men descended that fell side. Simon and Morgz seemed to have quite a lead, but then Lloyd appeared from nowhere and then the trio of Graham Pearce, Tom Adams and Ben Abdelnoor tore up any 'Downhill Skills' book Simon and Morgz had started to draft. All six finishing within a minute of each other.

1 Simon Bailey - Mercia - 44:16
2. Morgan Donnelly - Borrowdale - 44:27
3. Lloyd Taggart - Dark Peak - 44:48
4. Graham Pearce - Pudsey and Bramley - 44:59
5. Tom Adams - Ilkley - 45:02
6. Ben Abdelnoor - Ambleside - 45:13

It was a really exciting start to the Championships, Dark Peak won the team prize with lots of the 'Dark Peak Lite' runners that featured in the winning team at the FRA relays. Let's hope these guys continue with the season.
Ladies / Men
Men's Team / Men's V40 Team / Men's V50 Team / Ladies Team / Ladies Vets Team

St Patrick's Day Parade? Chris Birchill, Ted Mason, Gavin Bland and Fred Slemeck - picture by Bryan Mills
The friends/families/fans of the runners (or injured runners themselves!) did a fabulous job of reporting the action too, with dozens of photographers and film makers right around the course. We've tried to provide a link to all of them here.
Ladies Winner Emma Clayton with Leeds City's Adam Osborne (28th today)
And the sun shone - must be a good sign for a great new fell season!

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