Another really big week of racing for the Lions. Highlights include wins for Tanya Blake at Coniston Trail Half Marathon and Gavin Mulholland at Kirkstall Abbey, strong performances by Ashley Cavalier and Derek Parrington at the Calderdale Way Ultramarathon, a valiant attempt at the epic Bob Graham Round by James Penson and his loyal support crew, and not one but two Vets’ races in the same week.
The Bob Graham Round
James Penson made his third attempt at the famous Bob Graham Round this weekend. The BGR is a fell running challenge in the Lake District, where runners are tasked with reaching the summits of 42 peaks in 24 hours. James is a seasoned ultra-runner, having completed the Marathon des Sables and numerous other extreme distance events, and he had great support from Lion friends running sections of the route with him, but after 13 hours and 60km, he became unwell and had to retire. James is an inspiration to other club members, and no doubt he will be back for another attempt.
Kirkstall Vets and Whitby Vets
Not one but two Vets’ races this week, with Kirstall Abbey on Tuesday evening and Whitby on Sunday. The Whitby race is a keenly anticipated annual fixture, affording the club a day out at the seaside and a chance to run on private land in the beautiful grounds of Mulgrave Castle. The castle is an ancient ruin (not unlike the runners!), and, unlikely though it sounds, was owned until very recently by supermodel Elle MacPherson, who apparently leased the shooting rights to the estate and might have enjoyed having a go at the Yorkshire Veterans’ race in her back garden had she been at home. Whitby is one of the few places in the UK to have even steeper gradients than Halifax, and the Mulgrave Castle course features a memorable uphill finish. This unrelenting wall of a hill reduces the majority of the runners to an undignified Death Shuffle in front of all the finish line officials, spectators and photographers.
Vets’ Captain Gavin Mulholland took the win at Kirkstall Abbey, and there were category wins and placings for a number of Lions at both events. The Lions are currently sitting pretty in the Yorkshire Vets’ League, leading five of the six team categories.
Calderdale Way Ultramarathon
First, a quick recap: last month saw huge numbers of runners take on the Calderdale Way Relay Race –a six leg relay event run in pairs, which covers 50 miles of the Calderdale Way. But on Saturday, this same route was raced all in one go as an ultramarathon. Running one leg of the relay is gruelling enough, so hats off to Ashley Cavalier who ran all six legs by himself in a single day. Ashley’s excellent run secured him 6th place. Derek Parrington took the shorter (but still ultra distance) route option, also finishing in 6th place.
Result (50 mile route): Ashley Cavalier 10:05:17
Result (28 mile route): Derek Parrington 5:28:38
Wharfedale Trail Half Marathon
The Wharfedale Trail Half Marathon starts and finishes at Threshfield near Skipton. With over 2,000 feet of ascent, the route follows well established footpaths, including the Dalesway, and the views from Scott Gate, Mastiles and Boss Moor are quite breathtaking. Aileen Baldwin and John Ingles endured wet and muggy conditions on the day, with Aileen picking up the 1st F65 prize (and going on to race again in Whitby the very next day, where she also won the 1st F65 prize, because she’s awesome).
Results: Aileen Baldwin 2:07:03 (1st F65), John Ingles 2:12:24
Coniston Trail Half Marathon
Tanya Blake put in a superb run to finish 1st Lady (and 8th overall) at Coniston Trail Half Marathon. Billed as “the most picturesque half marathon in the UK”, the beautiful route sets off from Coniston along a 13.1 mile journey through National Trust woodland. The course then returns to Coniston down ancient bridleway trails to the shores of Coniston Water, before returning to the finish at Coniston Hall. Speaking after her win, Tanya said, “It was unexpected. Very tough in the heat but stunning scenery!” Craig Miller was hot on her heels, finishing in 24th place overall and 3rd M40.
Results: Tanya Blake 1:38:20, Craig Miller 1:42:46
Nearer to home, new Lion Kevin Robinson was taking on the hilly Huddersfield Marathon. Notorious as the toughest road marathon in the UK, the two lap route has a hilly opening few miles before a kinder run in to the finish. Kevin’s time was enough to give him a top twenty finish.
Result: Kevin Robinson 4:25:15
Yorkshire Mountain Bike Marathon and Fast and Flat 100 Miles
The club’s cyclists were also out in force this weekend. On Saturday, Sally McGregor, Karen Thorne, Claire Guest, Sarah Lunt and Richard Crombie took part in the Flat and Fast 100 mile sportive around Doncaster and parts of South and West Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Tony Mott completed the Yorkshire Mountain Bike Marathon, cycling the 40 km route in 3 hours 10 minutes. The route, which passes David Hockney's famous Thixendale Trees, starts and finishes in the grounds of Birdsall House in the Yorkshire Wolds.