Tour of Pendle 14Nov2015
The Tour is an A Long fell race and one of the requirements of the FRA for A Long fell races, that appear in the calendar, is that there is a Bad Weather Course in place that can be used in case the weather on the day is judged unsafe. That course was designed by me in the comfort of my dining room, which I quickly realized on race day with only 2 hours notice before the start, was not practical. I had been watching the progress of the weather, hourly through Friday. A severe weather front was approaching from the west, forecast to arrive in our area around 15:00 on Saturday; high winds, heavy rain and low temperatures. That forecast had not changed on Saturday morning. The details from the Met Office where: heavy rain from 11:00 to 17:00, temperatures from 3 to 7degC, a yellow weather warning for the County, “Feels like temperature” -4 to +2degC, wind speed 28 gusting to 38mph, visibility Poor. This meant the slower runners and in particular the marshal’s would be out in that weather, so I made the decision to use a shorter course assuming everybody would be back in Barley before the bad weather arrived.
I suppose the easiest option on race day was to revert to the original course of the Half Tour, using check points 1, 2, 3, 4 & 11, then back to the finish on the Tour course; approximately 9miles and an AM category. However, if the bad weather was not arriving until 15:00 I thought there was enough time to include the climb up Mearley, so opted for a course that took in checkpoints 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ( 6 being moved approx 100m’s to a wall tee junction). At CP6 the runners would turn south east (right) and follow the wall to a marshal, then descend to another marshal doing a number check at Ogden Brook crossing, cross the brook, pick up the path and follow it to CP11 and on to the finish. Cutting out CP’s 7, 8, 9 and 10, removed the last 2 climbs and the exposure of the marshals and slower runners, to the weather front on a very exposed area of the course. I have used the data collected by 3 runners for the distance and climb and taken an average, the course was 13.9 miles / 2700 ft (22.4km / 823m). This makes that course a B Long.
We had 422 starters and 409 finished. A field this large and weather which meant the majority of runners had cags on covering their numbers, gave problems at the finish. I just did not have enough people controlling them, it needed at least 3 more marshals at the funnel, getting them to show their numbers and hold their positions until their number had been recorded. We also had some spectators running in with competitors and crossing the finish line with them. I will have this sorted out for next year’s race.
I would like to thank all the marshal’s who helped on the day, I make it 30 including me, thank you so much from me and all the runners. I would also like to thank all the people who let me know they could not race, it allowed me to allocate their numbers to the 52 people I had on the waiting list. The race reached the maximum of 500 entries 2 weeks before the start.
I suppose this year’s Tour will be remembered as the year the “Bad Weather Course” was used, hopefully, for next year’s race, which will take place on the 19November 2016, we will have a clear crisp day.
Lost property: pair of women’s black gloves, a greeny blue women’s Craghopper top size UK8 and a blue towel. I washed them all and if I could run like the gloves I would be in the England squad.
All the best for Christmas and the New Year.…………Kieran, 26Nov2015.