Wells City Harriers again had teams competing in the 103 mile Cotswold Way Relay this year. Having made their debut in 1994 the Club is an ever present at the tough fell running Relay, where teams of 10 runners cover the distance from Chipping Campden in the north to the doors of Bath Abbey. It was the 25th year of a Harrier team effort and without doubt the event on Saturday June 29th saw the hottest conditions ever.
The Harrier teams coped with the conditions, though some other competitors needed medical assistance during or after their stages, especially those that competed in the early to mid-afternoon when temperatures soared. One of the Harrier teams was 2nd Veteran team (11th overall) in 15 hours, 7mins 47 seconds, whilst the other, running in the Seniors category, was 66th overall in 19.05.44. There were 103 teams in total, so over 1,000 runners taking part during the day.
Andrew, Oli, Paul, Damien & Rod in front of Bath Abbey doors
With the early legs having an early start of 7am, 6 of the Harriers camped on the Cotswolds the night before and were able to sample a local pub to fuel up the night before. Chris Walker was one of the Harrier debutants at this event and he led off the Veterans team over the initial 12 mile leg (392m of ascent), in a time of 1hr 29mins (8th) with team mate Damien Pick finishing close behind in 1.34 (17th). Chris's time was the best of any in the Veteran teams. Andrew Tindal ran well for the veteran’s team on leg 2 over 12 miles (525m of ascent) from Stanway House in 1.40 (16th), with Harrier team Manager, Paul Chadwick, running for the 22nd time at these relays, also competing leg 2. In 2.08 (72nd).
Chris & Damien get us underway at 7am from Chipping Campden
Andrew Deamer(1.03, 8th) and Alice Knight (1.25, 63rd) had solid runs on leg 3 from Cleeve Common to Seven Springs, a distance of 8.3 miles (327m of ascent). Alice was the only woman member of the teams this year so a big shout out to the other Harrier women to start training now for next year. Debuting in the Harrier Veterans team on what is considered one of the toughest of the 10 legs - leg 4 12.8 miles (406m ascent) - was Adrian Noble (1.48, 22nd) who coped well – it can only get easier next year when he selects a different leg! Andrew Pate had a steady run on this leg to finish in 2.21 (78th). Their leg included the notorious Coopers Hill, infamous for the annual Cheese Rolling contest.
Paul & Andrew T before leg 2 outside Stanway House; and Adrian after his leg 4 with Paul; and Andrew D & Alice looking happy after leg 3
Leg 5 saw Andy Piper (1.44, 30th) and Dave Cory (2.02, 62nd) run on from Cranham Corner to Ebley Mill, Stroud (11.8m, 307m ascent) and hand over to Justin Thomas (1.19, 12th) and Pete Clothier (1.48, 70th) for leg 6 (8.8m, 409m ascent) finishing at Dursley. Matt Rawlingson- Plant (1.14, 35th) and Nick Marsh (1.11, 24th) came late into the team for the first time to tackle the shortest leg, leg 7, (7.3m, 292m ascent) and ran hard to Wotton-under-Edge where Nick Brooke (1.58, 26th) and another debutant Rod Little (2.32, 67th) took over for a very hard and hot leg 8 (12.1m, 404m ascent) finishing at Old Sodbury. (note - legs 2, 4 & 8 are definitely the hardest legs!).
Pete & Justin ready to go from Ebley Mill (leg 6)
Nick M & Matt looking chilled out after their leg 7
Rod, Nick B & Paul before Nick & Rod set off from Wotton-under-Edge on leg 8
By leg 9, starting at 3pm at Old Sodbury the heat was really beginning to tell, but Steve Masters (1.23, 20th) and Mike Rusca (2.10, 103rd) both managed to get round, the 9.3m course with 240m ascent. On this leg they crossed one of the busiest roads - the A46 - three times, helped at one poiint by fellow Harriers who were marshalling at that point. This left just Oli Frost (1.25, 20th) and Andrew Robinson (1.49, 72nd) to complete the glory leg10 (9.8m, 240m ascent) into Bath, and finish soon after 5.25pm. A glorious day out on the fells for the Harrier teams. Start selecting your legs for next year everyone! (& more training). It surely can't be as hot again, can it?
Steve & Mike before a very hot leg 9 starting at Old Sodbury
Big thanks to those who helped Paul with marshalling the road crossing of the busy A46 near the M4 junction: Helen Rutter, Flora Brooke, Andy Piper, Pete Clothier and Dave Cory. We should also remark that Team Bath have seriously upgraded the organisation of this Relay race and thank them for the timely information, licencing and insurance cover, and general good organisation of the race, which undoubtedly helped ensure the race was able to be held safely on such a hot day.
Those that were left standing after such an exhausting day out on the Cotswolds were able to have their photo taken as per normal in front of the Abbey Doors before going for the customary drink in Bath with family and friends. ( More photos to be added this week)
The Original Harrier team in 1994: a couple of these guys still train on a Tuesday night.....
For those that enjoy Fell running, the next Fell Race in the County is the Crook Peak Race in August. Members should also consider competing in the South of England Championships hosted by Ryde Harriers on the Isle of Wight in mid-September where 3 races of varying distances take place over the weekend. Discounted ferry tickets are available (50% discount) for those that enter early. Speak to Paul if you need more advice or information on this. Details on the Harrier calendar.
The new training programme for the Tuesday sessions at Millfield are now available on the training tab. Monday training sessions for junior continue through July.