WYL and Yorkshire Fell Championships Race Report – 2011

Slemeck and Bellew dominate Yorkshire fell championships

This Saturday marked the Yorkshire fell championships which consisted of a strong field of well over two hundred runners. The race was an epic 5 miler in Great Whernside which involved insanely steep climbs and descents, leaving as much to the runners guts as their athletic prowess. In previous years the race has heavily featured Leeds University triathlon star Johnathan Brownlee, he however decided to miss this race after his coach (for those of you who don’t know him it’s me (the skinny guy with no hair from training)) advised him against it after a hard week of training. With Brownlees absence Slemeck looked to insert his authority from the start, while Bellew executed another of his infamous slow starts, not getting carried away with the pace of the field. After a mile or so Slemeck and Bellew found themselves together in a cat and mouse game with ameteur athlete and professional nutcase, the dosser Matt Lockyer who once famously asked a girl from Middlesborough if her parents were brother and sister, with all three running in top 10 positions. With the last few hundred metres approaching there was very little to separate the three athletes however Slemeck managed to sneak ahead of Bellew by a mere four seconds with Lockyer a further seven seconds behind. It is worth noting that the three athletes crossed the line in order of their number of parkrun victories (2 to Slemeck, 1 to Bellew and as far as I know 0 to Lockyer as yet), which proves that the Hyde Park time trial is the base to any runners success. The three finished in 7th, 8th and 9th respectively, with Slemeck taking the Junior prize. Allegedly Bellew was caught saying after the race “it’s because he’s a lanky bugger so he was able to leap over the bogs better than me”. Bellew also commented on the soreness of his bum however it has not been confirmed whether this was from the race or not. The overall winner of the race was Carl Bell from Howgill Harriers with the time of 31 mins 32 seconds, finishing over a minute ahead of his nearest challenger Ian Holmes who ousted out Chris Birchill for second place.

As well as the Yorkshire fell championships, there was also the West Yorkshire Cross Country League. This was held on a very blustery Saturday morning around a very open York race course which provided little protection from the wind. Fortunately LUUCCC had been watching Sky Sports News in the morning and knew the conditions would be ‘good to firm’ which provided them information to prepare their vital race plans. The women’s race commenced at 1.45 with a small but strong field with just under 100 runners completing the 6.5 km cross country. The race was won by Laura Kirk of Skyrac (24 minutes 53 seconds) broke away from the field with Clare Duck of Leeds City (25.15) and Katie Walshaw of Holmfirth (25.20) after about 3 k which provided the spectators with a fantastic race. Leeds Universities Women team put in three consistently strong performances led by Jessica White in 62nd (31.41) followed by Hannah Gornall 67th (32.05) and Fiona Wiles 79th (33.00). Jessica White, ever the optimist, seemed unphased by the conditions that slowed down many of her competitor said in a post race interview on facebook they were “really nice conditions but a bit of a headwind at times”

In the men’s race the university entered another strong but small team in a much larger field of two hundred athletes. The race was held over the same course but with an extension to the women’s race making it a full 10k. The race was won by Leeds City’s Simon Deakin who (after some late night power of 10 stalking) has been ranked in the top 10 in the UK for 10k in the past few years. Deakin completed the course in a stunning 32minutes 42 seconds. Leeds Universities team was missing their two men in form Freddie Slemeck and Alex Bellew due to their presence at the pre-mentioned championships. Fresh off his victory an aloof Slemeck was caught saying “As an international athlete I only compete in major competitions a local league meeting means nothing to an athlete of my calibre”. Leeds Universities team was brought home by Matt Crehan who ran a very brave race from the gun challenging the leaders of the racebut unfortunately faded throughout the race to finish a respectable 32nd (37.03). The second counter for the uni was Chris Smith (Mr Alzheimers) who showed promise for the forthcoming season with steady improvements from week to week, giving Crehan a run for his money to finish 35th (37.13). At the end of the race Smith had only to say “I ran round a field in York”, valuable information which I felt could add to the quality of this article. In his first cross country race for a while Luke Buswell finished 28th (37.32), to finish 3rd counter, a run which Buswell was bitterly disappointed with having hoped to challenge for the top 10. Some say his race was like one big car crash. Fourth and final counter was Tom Hearward in 46th (38.00) who ran a very impressive race considering his self confessed lack of training in the last year and proved if he could hit form in the right time he could carry out his dream of making BUCS A team.

Overall it was an outstanding weekend for the team with Slemeck and Bellew providing a masterclass of running while the teams participation at the West Yorkshire league showed two small but strong teams of both men and women despite the absence of star athlete Tom Powell.

Tom Powell

Press Officer

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