There was a good turn-out of Couriers for The Darrens Dash, held in poor weather from Longtown on Sun June 16th. Up front, Matt showed his old strength, while perhaps lacking his former blistering pace, to finish a good second behind top vet, Jon Pullen. Once again, Luke James was also among the leaders in 7th. Not a regular on the upper slopes, Dave Williams ran well for 1st V50 in 22nd overall, five places ahead of top V60, Steve Littlewood who had a minute to spare over the tenacious, not to say scary, Gary Gunner. In a warm-up for half a dozen track races the following day, Kev kept Steve in sight for much of the race, finishing a strong 39th. Despite carrying camera, tripod and dark room equipment to the summit to ensure some tangible if grainy record of his day out, Nigel pattered round in 61st [out of 85] giving his injury a bit of a tester.

The following week, on June 22nd, only Mr Littlewood came back for more over the 5.5 miles of the Coity and this was simply because he couldn’t resist the offer of a lift in the Chairman’s gleaming saloon [no, not shed, and it did gleam on the way back thanks to a geyser that went off under the bonnet and gave the chrome and paintwork a welcome buffing.] Back to the race, there was a battle royal in the V60’s [see Athletics Weekly letter] with the two Couriers going head to head with two Welsh speedsters from Parc Bryn Bach. For much of the race, Herington led from Littlewood only for Bryn Bach’s top man, Phil Miles to come past them both in the last half mile for 9th place overall with Herington [10th] and Littlewood [11th] just behind but clear of Bryn’s second man, Dai Smout, who finished 15th of the 41 starters.

On the Thursday before Coity, a group of Couriers were to be found in the Pandy Inn [no Phil Butler, we had decided to communicate only by word of mouth ], having undertaken a successful recce of the fell race route we propose to use on SAT FEB 22nd 2014, the race to be called THE HATTERALL HAMMER. We plan to start just up the road from the Pandy, whose genial landlord is very happy to accommodate us, go to the trig and come straight back down, a simple format, I know, but probably best for a mid-winter race. Terrain includes field, tarmac, stony path and lovely bouncy turf. Not accurately measured yet but around 5 miles and 1000 ft climb. Good news is that the owner of the field where we aim to start is the Chairperson’s milkman [well, his wife’s as he doesn’t touch the stuff] who is delighted to welcome us and is prepared to start the race [seated in the previously mentioned saloon and making it backfire, easily done].

Memo to Nigel: where are the photos of the recce? Tea at my place was conditional on their appearing within a week on the site.

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