Race Reporting: Great Hucklow 2010
Great Hucklow Fell Race, Fast and Furious….
Local races can sometimes be a full gone conclusion when you see the starting line up. This years Great Hucklow Fell Race proved to be an exception with many of the area’s faster paced fell runners on hand to provide a race who’s outcome was not decided until the final run into the finish.
Both Gritstone Series leaders, Helen Elmore and Stuart Bond were looking for 5 out of 5 wins and effectively clinching the Series titles. For both it was going to be a day of ups and downs and one requiring plenty of grit and determination. For Stuart he was up agaisnt fast paced Rob Little (DPFR) and international orienteer Oli Johnson (DPFR). From the gun Stuart did what he does best and led the way, with the advantage of having won here last year.
By the time the leaders had cleared Abney Moor Stuart had a small lead, but was definitely under pressure with Rob close on his heels and Oli, not so far behind.
With the drop into the valley bottom, Stuart maintained a lead, but realised that Oli was making headway and had closed the gap, now running in second.
From the valley floor the route again climbs steeply for the last time before a wooded drop back into the village and a last road run to the finish. It was on the very last climb that Stuart put in a final effort, saying, ‘I knew I had to make a last effort, so I attempted a kick up the hill, knowing that Oli may be quicker on the descent’. The effort worked for Stuart and he was able to extend his lead by a few seconds, finishing a mere 39 seconds to the good. Oli definitely finished fast and Rob was not so far behind.
Stuart had to work hard for his win, racing hard all the way to the line. It was a deserved win, that made him sweat in more than just effort. It was a good race.
For the ladies race, it was definitely a case of ‘Race On!’ with Helen Elmore, Karen Davison and last years winner Christine Howard all on the start line. The initial ascent was lead out by Xanthe Wray, with the main contenders all in close proximity. With the descent of Abney Moor, and some very rough open ground ensuring everyone was working hard. Helen and Christine were trailing Karen – just!
Every runner has their good days and lets face it, their bad days. For the hard working Helen, today was going to be one of those days. Moving house and poor rest going into the race had taken there toll and Helen pulled up and effectively jogged to the finish. She was very diplomatic and new she had perhaps ran to fast to early – ‘Just one of those days’, she later said.
For Karen it was a lead all the way with Christine always within a few seconds. Christine knew that Karen was fast on the ‘ups’ and she also knew that she would have to use her ‘flat speed’ on the final descent and then onto the final road section. And so it proved with Christine finishing fast and winning by a mere 10 seconds – breathtaking stuff!
Great Racing… oh yes and entries were again up by 33%. Gotta be good!