The Hatterall Hammer 17/02/18



Yes, we all felt the earth move on Saturday. What fun! But Kev, our ever willing tail runner didn’t find it amusing.

“They don’t build mountains like they used to,” he complained. “These beggars crumble and shake soon as you put your foot down. Then I get into trouble with the runners in front for causing too much vibration and up-draught. Sometimes you can’t win!”

Certainly not when you’re tail runner, but all power to Kev for his help on the day and to the great crowd of Couriers and friends who turned out to make the race such a success: Sheryl, Bev ‘Vid’ Bishop, Brian, Russ, Carol, Sky, Ben, Dave, Hazel and daughter and to Mike Blenkinsop, whose presence alone at a race ensures an atmosphere of calm and professionalism. I hardly need add how much Clive and Tracy did to make the event happen..recceing in advance, setting out the signage, doing the finish tunnel, marshalling at the top (Tracy), recording (Clive), prize presentation (Clive). Thanks are also due to Jonathan Phillips the landowner who started the race and to Vasile, Maria and their team who provided a warm welcome and a fine spread at the Old Pandy Inn. As ever, we are grateful to Alan McCardle of the St Margarets Cider Company for supplying his potent bottled Herefordshire. Sweethearts like the Gunners did particularly well with a Valentine presentation edition to add to the statutory M70 prize (that was Gary). Don’t drink it all at once guys. You don’t want the earth moving again.

And to the race. In lovely temperate conditions, Andrew Tuckey from Bridgend, a 2.36 marathoner, dominated the field with his powerful climbing, exactly equalling the record set last year by Sam Gregory. The women’s race too had quality at the sharp end as Helen Brown, former British Champion, took the win, finishing high up the field. Another performance that cannot go without mention was that of Mike Fawcett who, after a few years of being plagued with injury, has found in his fifties that ultra-running in the toughest conditions is just the thing to recondition the body. At the Hammer he was an amazing 5th. What a battle it might have been if legendary M50 Mark Palmer had been running!

There was also a strong showing from the Couriers: Jake, who has progressed remarkably, adding strength to his speed through the season since joining the Club, started cautiously but tore through the field to finish 20th out of the 75 starters. Not far behind was Naomi, in a rich vein of form now she has a strong training group at Warwick University, finishing in 23rd and 4th woman, in the process taking the prized scalp of no less a fell man than Mike Link, who was 12 seconds down on her in 24th. There was a magnificent run too from Suzette Botha, doing her very first fell race. She is clearly a natural climber and was up with Naomi at the summit. She lost a few places coming down but still finished in a fine 35th spot. If she is available for the Summer Off Road Series, she could be a great addition to the team. A little way back were Richard Wall wearing the Couriers’ away Caribbean strip in 54th, one place up on Nigel who ran the whole race with huge grin on his face. “This was fun compared with what Sheryl puts me through on the road. That’s what I call ‘hammering’,” he said.


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