Athletics: Harrogate Harriers’ Grant battles fog of Northern Ireland

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On an important weekend in the fell running world, the first British Championship race of 2014 took place on Saturday in Northern Ireland.

The route is 10k with nearly 900m of ascent, climbing both Millstone mountain and Slieve Donard, the highest mountain in Northern Ireland, before descending all the way to the finish in Donard Park at sea level.

Harriers’ own Ben Grant made the trip and flew the flag for Harrogate. The difficult terrain, both the climbs and descents, was always going to make for a challenging race, but the weather compounded that.

The fog was so heavy that even in the lowlands navigation was extremely tricky, never mind when competitors were higher up.

Ben found this a real challenge of a race, and came in seventh V60, which is, as he says himself, his worst result for a decade. Nonetheless, he earned 131st position in 1:39:02.

Three hardy Harrogate Harriers travelled over to Heptonstall on Saturday for their 15-mile fell race, organisedby Heptonstall Hurriers. The race was started by the village’s priest following a short start-line sermon, and then they were off, following a fantastic route with some challenging climbs. Harriers clocked some excellent times: Ian Rowbotham finished 32nd in 2:22:24, Jake Turnbull, 41st in 2:25:03 and Nick Andralojc, 125th, in 2:50:17. Much enjoyed after the trials and tribulations of the course was the free soup, bread and flapjack, all provided in plentiful supply at the local pub.

In his 52 half-marathons challenge, Darren West took part in the 32nd annual Belvoir half-marathon in Nottinghamshire , held in its regular slot two weeks before the London Marathon.

Darren had an excellent race shaving nearly 2.5 minutes off his PB to finish in 1:32:55, and come in 83rd in a field 411, 11th MV50 of 62.

Another great fell race was also available at the weekend, the Rivock Edge fell race, attracting Harrier Pete Turner.

Weather conditions were very good with a small amount of hill top mist. At just under 11km, the sub 50 minute record time has yet to be achieved but was very nearly reached with a good time of 50:54 by Jack Ross from Staffordshire Moorlands AC. Minor problems with a small number of marker / direction signs being removed did not dampen a good race.

Peter finished in 1:14:06, to take 33rd overall.