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Edale Skyline 2018: Race Report

2018 03 11 Edale Skyline English Championship race 5 Edale Skyline 2018: Race Report
Jon Rylance, Ben Abdelnoor and Dan Golding before the start (photo: Norman Berry)
This roving reporter donned his flatcap, put pipe in pocket and caught the 6.15 steam locomotive out of Kendal to report on the goings-on at the first English Champs race for 2018. His remit was to get sound-bytes, recorded in black and white and – like all good tabloid reports of the age – factual or fallacious. It just didn’t matter…
Pete Bray 285x190 Edale Skyline 2018: Race Report
Pete Bray © SportSunday

First let’s report on the no-shows, of whom there were three: Sarah McCormack had been unwell in the lead-up to the race. A shame, given she’d put in the leg-work and had a reccie. DNS accepted. Gary Greenhow had been showing showing great form (High Cup Nick) and commitment (Carnethy), so there was nothing to be done: “Got a corn on my foot, the toe nail is coming off on the other foot, and now my knee’s gone lame from running like a duck to keep it all together.” DNS accepted. Jacob “Beast from the East” Snochowski decided to move house…

And now we can report on the DNF-ers, because – as S-Club 7 sang – there ain’t no DNF Club like the Ambleside DNF Club…

Jonny “Jenny” Malley had been out for a week with a bug, and hadn’t got over it. Broke down around Mam Tor, and finally collapsed around Win Hill.

Chairman Abdelnoor was disappointed to let the men’s team down, but hadn’t done the long training post-injury, and his little legs ran out of steam some time after Lose Hill… Choo! Choo!

Jack Wright 285x190 Edale Skyline 2018: Race Report
Jack Wright © SportSunday

And now, it gives me great pleasure to move onto the glory boys and girl, singular.

Staking a claim to be touted as the Club’s current #1 (see form guide from Fantasy Fell Running) Pete Bray (20th, 2.54) was certainly pleased with his result. Another of the Ambleside “Young Bunch” and coming through the race field Mike “Exocet” Barron (44th, 3.06) went past Messrs Malley, Tierney, Abdelnoor and Wright like they were standing still. “I was on flipping fire by the end of the race,” said Mike, “but I started slow and just couldn’t get going.” Captain Jack “Sparrowlegs” Wright hung on for 50th place (3.07). Despite looking fresh as he came off the penultimate climb of Win Hill, he admitted he was going backwards towards the end of the race.

Paul Tierney (55th, 3.09) wasn’t sure whether he was at the right event. “Call that a fell race? What were the 3 miles of flagstones doing in the middle of the race? I know a few Irish fellas that can’t lay paving that good. If I wanted a trail race…” Team-work was exhibited though with Abdelnoor pace-setting Paul through a mid-section low (before he was dropped), then Paul and Mike Barron working together towards the end of the race. And so it came to the Club’s final open-team counter, Fred Deegan (74th, 3.15); at the time of this reporter’s encounter on the fells with him on Win Hill, he was racing bare-chested (Swoon!). The explanation for this became apparent at the end: he’d left the house in a rush that morning (What? Jon?) and mistakenly grabbed the Club vest of his teenager daughter!

Neil Talbott (80th, 3.18) had a tough day at the office. “I shouldn’t really have started,” he admitted at the finish. Niggling injuries and doubts. But, if anyone knows how to suffer for a cause, it’s Neil. Chapeau!

Ben and Paul 285x190 Edale Skyline 2018: Race Report
Paul Tierney & Ben Abdelnoor

Jon Rylance (96th, 3.22) ran a fine performance despite not training for the distance, and hit his sub 3.30 target. Despite concerns of an expanding waistline (up from 32” to a 34”) Dan Golding (116th, 3.28) ran a solid V40 performance. Although it’s being said in hushed tones that he’s not too happy at being beaten by Gary Thorpe. Some described it as ‘a low point in his fell-racing career’.

Rich Stevens (128th, 3.31) “enjoyed the pleasure of running in the company of Jons Rylance and Deegan, Golding and Thorpe”, the latter three being part of the Golden Balls era (see also Nick Sharpe and Si Stainer). Rich seems to be getting to grips with racing and suffering, rather than running and smiling. Matt Beresford rounded out the V50 team in style (188th, 3.50) although was a little disappointed pre-race. “I only joined Ambleside from Kendal to get in the team photographs. But there wasn’t one!” Should’ve joined Helm Hillock Runners and all their glitzy camerwork…

Our sole lady, and with much respect to Jane Reedy (369th, 4.53) for battling like a trooper. “I had a truly awful run,” were her exact, and concise, words.

Alas, nothing’s perfect, and this roving reporter didn’t manage to speak with Gary, Todd, Chris or Paul Wright; apologies. But… with Chris Atherton (83rd, 3.18) not running in the green-and-blue vest of joy, it felt like a snub. Good run though, and he does deserve a pat on the back. Todd Oates (108th, 3.26) would have had to head off on his 16-hour drive into the deep smog-filled south; plenty of time on which to ruminate. And Paul Wright (316th, 4.28) would, I imagine, have probably been more concerned about his lift back to Cumbria with Deegan, and the whereabouts of the car keys. A good result too for Paul in the V55 category.

And the final word, as most words do, comes from Gary Thorpe (106th, 3.25) whom this reporter inexplicably couldn’t get hold of. When I asked his whereabouts, he was apparently seen skipping across the hard-standing car park area, merrily chirping away to himself his little ditty: “I beat Dan Golding. Now who’s laughing?! I beat Dan Golding. Now who’s laughing?!”

All photos (unless otherwise stated) are from (and copyright) SportSunday – please see their gallery for more.

Post-script: Fantasy fell-running statistical analysis

After being inundated with requests, some small analytical soundbites from the Fantasy Fell-running competition can be provided:

Most fancied

Four people voted Pete Bray, clear winner on the day, as their top tip.
But in joint first place in this category with five votes each were Garry Greenhow and Ben Abdelnoor. Clearly this was the kiss of death for both…

Most under-rated performer

In fourth place, Mike Barron (5 places – predicted 7th, finished 2nd).
Third, Chris Atherton (6 places – predicted 13th, finished 7th).
But Ambleside’s glorious underdogs are jointly Jon Deegan (10 places – predicted 15th, finished 5th) and Gary Thorpe (predicted 19th, finished 9th).

Largest range

A clear winner, with Jonny Malley given one vote for 1st and another for 20th – perhaps the latter had inside information on Jonny’s recent illness?

Lowest standard deviation

An indicator of consistency throughout predictions, the top three in reverse order were Paul Tierney (std dev 2.43), Gary Thorpe (1.72) and Paul Wright (1.64). Kudos to Gary for making the punters look foolish.

Results without DNFs

Had DNFs been excluded from the results (as per non-starters), the top five would have been:
1st: Dan Duxbury (22 points)
2nd: Paul Tierney (26 points)
3rd: Matt Elkington (30 points)
4th=: Gary Thorpe (32 points)
4th=: Mike Barron (32 points)

Overall averages

But the most fascinating result of this analysis was this extraordinary fact: the average of all predictions would have won the competition (narrowly, with a score of 58). That entry form would have looked like this:

Place Name
1st Peter Bray
2nd Ben Abdelnoor
3rd Garry Greenhow
4th Paul Tierney
5th Jack Wright
6th Jonny Malley
7th Mike Barron
8th Neil Talbott
9th Jacob Snochowski
10th Sarah McCormack
11th Todd Oates
12th Jon Rylance
13th Chris Atherton
14th Dan Golding
15th Jon Deegan
16th Matt Beresford
17th Rich Stevens
18th Jane Reedy
19th Gary Thorpe
20th Paul Wright

Clearly we are more than the sum of our individual parts – maybe we should average our lottery numbers?