Coniston Gullies Fell Race Results
Sunday 28 May 2017
Race ReportThe day started without promise for this year’s Spring Bank race at Coniston Gullies as low cloud and mist clung to the fell tops, reminding us of the previous day’s torrential down pours in the area. However, by the time the races set off, the sun had come out from it’s hiding place and shone gloriously for the rest of the day. The race itself is one of the shortest in the calendar, being just over a mile long, but it is one of the most technical short fell races on offer, making it a definite “marmite” of a fell race – runners either love it or hate it!
The start line is on a relatively flat track but the race soon does a sharp right turn on to the fell proper. From the start, the going is steep, although the first part of the ascent is on Herdwick grazed grass. Do not be deceived; as the terrain soon changes to an extremely steep boulder and scree fell side. In many places it is hand over fist climbing and at all points it is a lung busting, thigh burning climb to the top of Yew Pike, so that reaching the summit an achievement in itself. Racers are then treated to a relatively flat wander across the fell top before the descent commences. Whilst it descends via a different route, the clue is in the name of this race – gullies – as runners must now negotiate their way down a narrow steep sided gully that offers a bit of everything underfoot. It starts with a jump from an outcrop and soon becomes a scree slope. Just as your feet get used to the unique form of fell skiing, grass emerges to trip you up, requiring a change of technique. It continues in its technical, ever changing, nature until racers again meet the track and the short sprint to the finish funnel. 65 senior and 92 juniors were not deterred by the terrain as they lined up to do battle with “The Gullies!”
Senior race winner was Wharfedale Harriers’ Jack Smith (15.04) from Helm Hill’s Tim Cowin (15.52) and Annan and District’s Andrew Livingstone (16.30). Ladies race winner was Pudsey and Bramley’s Rachel Pilling (19.46), from Wharfedale’s Jean Powell (20.19) and Ripon Runners’ Sally Houghton (21.09).
The U17 race was won by Settle Harriers’ Thomas Marshall (9.40), ahead of Ambleside’s Ben Edmondson (9.52), 2nd and Helm Hill’s Robert Askew (9.53), 3rd. U17 girls’ winner was Dallam’s Rosie Woodhams (11.19) followed by Clayton le Moors’ Briony Holt (11.42) 2nd, and Rossendale Harriers’ Lauryn Gregg (12.23), 3rd.
U14 race winner was Ambleside’s Daniel Sanderson (6.07) ahead of Wharfedale’s Alex Thompson (6.18), 2nd, and Helm hill’s Henry Hunter (6.37), 3rd. Girls’ race winner was Ambleside’s Chloe Rylance (7.01) from Wharfedale’s Alice Jones (7.06), 2nd and Ilkley harriers’ Bernadette Raven (7.34), 3rd.
The winner of the U12 race was Calder valley’s William Hall (5.09), ahead of Keighley and Craven’s Sam Conroy (5.20), 2nd and Blackburn Harriers’ Dexta Thompson (5.23), 3rd. The girls’ race was won by Leven Valley’s Olesia Winder (6.06), from Helm Hill’s Sarah Smith (6.23), 2nd and Ilkley Harriers’ Hattie Bishop (6.41), 3rd.
Perhaps the most surprisingly competitive race of the day was the U9 race, eventually being won by Helm Hill’s Noah Wadsworth (3.36), from Ambleside’s Tom Ashworth (3.37), 2nd and Settle’s Jack Sanderson (3.42). Girls’ winner was Settle’s Lucy Bagot (4.30) ahead of Rosie Dry (4.47) and Wharfedale’s Betsy Willis (5.11).