Wednesday, January 3, 2018

English & British Fell Running Championship races 2018. Pre-entry dates and web-links.

Below are the fixtures for the 2018 English & British Fell Running Championships. Most of these races require pre entry, usually online and some fill up very fast, so check the entry dates for the races below and make a note in your diary.

English Championships

Edale Skyline - March 11th entries open Feb 1st via this page.
Clough Head - May 6th ...entries open Feb 1st, check this page for info.
Buttermere Horseshoe - June 23rd ...entries open March 1st via SiEntries. Further info here.
Sea To Summit - July 14th entries open Feb 1st on this website.
Turner Landscape - August 8th ...entries would appear to be open NOW. Info here.
Cautley Horseshoe - September 15th ...entries via Howgill Harriers website.

British Championships

Mourne Highline - April 14th ...entries opened Jan 1st, race now full! Race website here.
Tal y Mignedd - June 9th entry opens March 1st via Fabian4 website 
Buttermere Horseshoe - June 23rd ...entries open March 1st via SiEntries. Further info here.
Ben Nevis - September 1st ...FRA Fixtures list says "see race website for entry information".

There is some further information about the English & the British Championships, including last year's results on the FRA website here.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

English & British Fell Running Championship races 2017, with entry details

Below is a list of the English & British Fell Running Championship races for 2017 including information on how to enter each race, when online entry opens, closing dates, etc.
English Fell Running Champs

Long Mynd Valleys (M) - Sat 25th March. Entries via SI Entries, open on Monday 9th Jan 2017.

Weets English Champs (S) - Sat 27th May. No entry details yet, keep an eye on
Tebay Fell Race (M) - Sat 17th June. Enter via website from 1st March.  Limit 800.
Wasdale (L) - Sat 8th July. Pre-entry on form from CFRA website. Pre-entries to be submitted only between March 31st & June 30th. Limit 250.
Castle Carr (L) - Sat 3rd Sept. Entries open in July. See CVFR website for details, including entry limit.
Great Whernside (S) - Sat 23rd Sept. Entry on day only available if race not full. Entries open 1st August, limit 500. See race website for more information.
British Fell Running Champs

Donard Challenge (S) - Sat 8th April. Entries will close online on the 26th March 2017 at

Tebay Fell Race (M) - Sat 17th June. Enter via website from 1st March.  Limit 800.
Stuc A' Chroin (L) - Sat 6th May. Entry link on race website from 1st April. Limit 500.
Maesgwm Muddle (M) - Sat 12th August. Entry form on race website from 8th April. Limit 250.


Northern 12 Stage Road Relays - Sun 26th March, Haigh Hall, Wigan
Northern 6 Stage Road Relays - Sept 2017
Hodgson Brothers Mountain Relay - Sun 1st Oct
British Fell Relay Championships - Sun 15th Oct, North Wales

XC fixtures

Cumbria County Championships - Sat 7th Jan, Rickerby Park, Carlisle, Entry on day available.

Northern XC Championships - Sat 28th Jan, Knowsley. Must pre-enter by 13/1/17 here.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Keswick Ladies' Billy Bland Challenge

No one can quite remember when the excitement started, but it was certainly well back in the rainy months of winter, when Julie Carter, a Keswick AC member and Bob Graham Round completer, mooted the idea of attempting a Bob Graham Round Relay, the Billy Bland Challenge, with a Keswick AC Ladies team. Everyone was inspired!

Here is a description of the challenge from the website

The Billy Bland Challenge relay is based on the five legs of the Bob Graham Round, starting and finishing at the Moot Hall in Keswick. It covers about 66 miles, 28,000 feet of climbing and 42 peaks. The challenge is open to all teams of 10, split into five pairs. Each of the pairs is designated one of the five legs and a baton is passed from one team to the next. The relay is to be completed at any time in the month of June. Entry costs in the true spirit of the BGR, are free.

The Keswick ladies took on the challenge with a few aims: to have a great day out on the fells, to try and beat the Ladies team record of 16.04 hours, and to get as close as possible to Billy Bland’s times for each of the legs of his record breaking solo Bob Graham Round. The first one was definitely achieved, the second one has inspired us to have another go (55 minutes off the record), and the third one showed just how incredible Billy Bland’s solo Bob Graham Round record is!

So on Saturday 4th June, at 4am, the Leg 1 pair of Hannah Horsburgh and Catherine Spurden, our fastest runners, set off from Moot Hall. Unfortunately the cloud was very low between 4 am and 11 am. However, this did not bother Catherine and Hannah, and they set a new Ladies team Leg 1 record of 3.03 hours, smashing the previous record of 3.27. But how did Billy Bland do it in 2.16 hours?!

The beaming pair then passed the ‘baton’, a tracking device, to Katy Moore and Trudy Beetham, our Leg 2 runners. Clough Head, which usually looms intimidatingly, was concealed by thick cloud, so the Leg 2 pair soon disappeared, and they stayed in clag all the way. Quite a lot of compass work was required, but after 3.43 hours Trudy and Katy emerged, smiling happily as they descended to a sun-bathed Dunmail Raise.

At Dunmail Raise the mobile Keswick AC nail-painting unit had come out in force, with Jo Gillyon and Catherine Evans showing off their freshly painted green and yellow nails as they received the tracker from Katy and Trudy. However, Cat and Jo immediately set their focus on Steel Fell, striding away with great purpose. They maintained a fantastic pace, despite the rising heat, and they whizzed up Broad Stand with the help of Julie Carter and Mandy Glanville. Julie and Mandy had attracted some incredulous looks as they carried the ladder up from Wasdale, with Moss their dog in a Keswick AC vest too! Cat and Jo then flew down to Wasdale, coming within 8 minutes of the Ladies Leg 3 record, but very happy with their time of 4.30 hours.

The Leg 4 runners, Rachel Findlay Robinson and Victoria Haworth, had been waiting nervously, trying to keep cool in the hottest part of the day, but they soon established a composed stride, making good progress up Yewbarrow and topping out before Cat and Jo had even finished their well-deserved ice creams.

Rachel and Vic did an excellent job of ensuring they visited every possible summit of the indistinct summit areas on Leg 4, and they came hurtling down to Honister in beautiful evening light, setting an excellent time of 3.51 hours.

Then it was time for the Leg 5 pair, Annabel Holmes and Sam Ayers to have a go, having waited patiently all day and avidly following the tracker on-line. Annabel and Sam had prepared extremely well for Leg 5, practising their route off Robinson meticulously, and even practising the final sprint to Moot Hall, so it is wonderful that they were rewarded with a time of 1.52 hours, the only pair on the team to beat Billy Bland’s leg time. However, the fact that Billy Bland ran nearly as fast as their fresh legs, after 60-odd miles of fell-running, is quite extraordinary.

In the gorgeous light of 20.59 on Saturday evening, Sam and Annabel touched the green door of Moot Hall, cheered on by several Keswick AC friends and family. The overall time was 16.59 hours, and we all agreed that it had been a great day out on the fells.

Thank you to everyone who helped the team: driving, reccying legs, nail-painting, supporting at Broad Stand, and cheering us on.

The numbers bit:

Start Saturday 4th June 2016: 4am

Splits (taken from time incoming runners arrive (so Leg 2 includes Leg 1/2 handover etc)

Leg 1 (Catherine Spurden and Hannah Horsburgh): 3.03
Leg 2 (Katy Moore and Trudy Beetham): 3.43
Leg 3 (Jo Gillyon and Catherine Evans): 4.30
Leg 4 (Rachel Findlay Robinson and Victoria Haworth): 3.51
Leg 5 (Sam Ayers and Annabel Holmes): 1.52

Total: 16.59

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Keswick AC smash record in 'Billy Bland Challenge'

A team of runners from Keswick AC wiped a massive 50 minutes off the record in the 'Billy Bland Challenge' Bob Graham Relay on Sunday, setting a time of 12 hours 24 minutes to beat the previous mark held by local club Ellenborough AC.

(L-R) Phil Winskill, Mark Lamb, Lee Newton, Dave Birch, Carl Bell, Sam Stead, Peter George, John Battrick, James Appleton, Steve Hebblethwaite (photo
The Billy Bland Challenge is a team relay over the route of the Bob Graham Round, a 66 mile loop over 42 Lakeland fells with over 27,000ft of ascent. The route is split into the 5 traditional 'legs', with a different pair of runners tackling each leg in an attempt to equal Billy Bland's legendary time of 13:53 from 1982.

Keswick's attempt was spearheaded by Steve Hebblethwaite and Mark Lamb. Setting off at 8am from the Moot Hall in Keswick, they stormed round the leg 1 peaks of Skiddaw, Great Calva and Blencathra before arriving at the changeover at Threlkeld in just 2 hours and 10 minutes, a new record for the leg. One of the intricacies of the Billy Bland Challenge is deciding the parings and which leg to place them on. It was clear that these two were well matched, pushing each other the whole way.

Leg 2 saw Sam Stead and Phil Winskill cover 12 peaks on the Helvellyn Range. They enjoyed the best of the day's challenging conditions and arrived at the next changeover at Dunmail Raise in 2 hrs 27 minutes, 17 minutes faster than the previous leg record. 

Leg 3 is arguably the most arduous leg of them all with 13 of the highest tops including Scafell Pike to cover between Dunmail Raise and Wasdale Head. Carl Bell and James Appleton had clearly taken note of the forecast as they sprinted up Steel Fell attempting to beat the incoming rain.
Carl and James sprint up Steel Fell (photo

 They carried this speed all the way to Sca Fell, the final summit of their leg before a small mistake led them on the wrong path on the descent. The team's supporters, who were able to track the runners' progress online via a GPS tracker, watched on helplessly as Carl and James sped towards Burnmoor Tarn. Luckily they noticed their mistake and only 10 minutes were lost and they still managed to hand over at Wasdale Head in 3 hours 10 minutes, another leg record.

When Keswick AC held its breath

By this time, the weather had deteriorated dramatically with heavy rain accompanying low cloud. Fortunately, two of the teams best navigators were up next and Dave Birch and Lee Newton expertly found their way across Leg 4 in atrocious conditions, arriving at Honister in 3hrs 12 minutes in what was undoubtedly the performance of the day.

Thanks to their team-mates efforts, leg 5 runners Peter George and John Battrick had the luxury of 2 hours in which to break the overall record, but they only needed 1 hour 25 minutes to finish the team off in style to rapturous applause at the Moot Hall, with another leg record to boot. Despite the  team's amazing performance, all involved had a new found appreciation for Billy Bland's incredible solo effort of 13:53.

Peter powers towards the Moot Hall (photo

The Billy Bland Challenge; a true test of stamina, navigation, tactics and teamwork. A fitting tribute to a legendary athlete.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Pennine 39

Result: Pennine 39: 39 mile trail race with 1,500 metre of climb, 18th June 2016
Neil Ford 2nd out of 51 in 6.31 hours.
The Pennine 39 race is a fairly new event, organised by the same company that runs the Tour de Helvellyn. Run entirely on the Pennine Way, it starts in Bowlees in the upper Tees Valley and heads past Cow Green Reservoir, before passing the spectacular High Cup Nick and descending into the Cumbrian village of Dufton. The next section starts with a big climb to four tops, including Cross Fell, at 890 metres the highest point in the race and the highest top in England outside the Lake District. The route then traverses moors via an old miners track before dropping down to the pretty village of Garigill for the final riverside run into the finish in Alston.
Although the weather can be testing on Cross Fell, it was very calm on the day of the race, with a lot of sunshine and no wind or rain. Most of the race route was attractive but the old miners track was hard and stony, wearing both the patience and the feet of runners. My own experience of the race was marred by the lack of a checkpoint and feeding station at Garrigill, as the organisers had been let down by a volunteer and the replacement had not turned up when I came through the village.
I’d been banking on getting some supplies at Garrigill for the final four mile section but the lack of anything to eat and drink caused me to stagger for a mile or two. I eventually resorted to drinking from the River North Tyne (not recommended!) and then knocking on a farm door for some food. Thank you to the kind lady who provided me with bananas and an apple! I had expected to be overtaken by a horde of other runners by the time I reached the finish line but must have had a big lead on the chasing pack. I was very happy to end up in second place, albeit a long way behind the winner. There was a fairly small field despite the race being part of the Runfurther British Ultra championship.

Neil Ford

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

English & British Fell Running Championships 2016 - details and pre-entries

Here is a list of all the 2016 English and British Fell Running Championship races and their entry can click on the races, for a link to details of each race.

English Fell Running Championships

Black Combe (M) - March 12th (pre-entry is nearly full! Enter online here)

Up the Nab (S) - May 7th (Entry by post on universal entry form to organiser, by 30th April)

Sedbergh Sports (S) - July 9th (Entry available via Howgill website from April 1st)

Borrowdale (L) - August 6th (On official form on website only obtainable after May 31st, limit 500)

Pendle 3 Peaks (M) - August 20th (Entries open 10th January via website, limit 600)

Langdale (L) - October 8th (Enter online on the SportIdent website from 1st August)

British Fell Running Championships

Donard Commedagh, N. Ireland (M) - April 9th (Entries on line via NIMRA website by 26th March, no limit on numbers)

Pedol Cwm Pennant, N. Wales (L) - June 11th (Online entries open on 1st February, limit 300)

Sedbergh Sports (S) - July 9th (Entry available via Howgill website from April 1st)

Merrick, Scotland (M) - September 17th (Entry £4. See website for entry details. There may be entries on the day if the race isn't full)


Northern 12 & 6 Stage Road Relays - Sat April 2nd
National 12 & 6 Stage Road Relays - Sat April 16th

Calderdale Way Relay - Sun May 15th

Hodgson Brothers Mountain Relay - Sun October 2nd
British Fell Relay Championships, Scotland - Sat October 15th