Leary approaching the final ascent
(picture reproduced here with the kind permission of Keith
Parkinson Computing Services, Todmorden)
AREA fell race Grand Prix series got off to a flying start last
weekend with the Noon Stone race near Todmorden.
The series involves athletes from 5 clubs competing in up to
eleven established fell races, with the best six results counting.
hindsight, Noon Stone was not an ideal opening race to encourage
newcomers to the fells. As
if the 2300ft of ascent over 9 miles wasn’t enough, much of the
course was unmarked and passed over very difficult terrain.
tussocks and heather took their toll with several members of Rochdale
Harriers falling up to half a dozen times.
The bogs were a wild card, trying to claim fell shoes for their
own. Very strong
winds added to the challenge, blowing out the contact lens of one of
the Rochdale team.
race attracted a very high standard of competitor.
John Brown of Salford Harriers and Janet McIver of Dark Peak
won the men’s and ladies races.
first finisher from eight was Paul Leary. Although Leary is relatively new to fell running he completed the race in an
impressive 1 hr 34 min 9 sec. Mark
Walker followed two minutes later, slicing 4 minutes off his previous
best time despite the punishing conditions.
In third position for Rochdale was Bob Graham Round veteran
Nigel Shaw (1.38.12). Martin
O’Reilly’s fast descending skills took him past Norman Eames in
the final stages.
this was a particularly tough opening event due to the terrain, it
still attracted around 47 athletes from the five Grand Prix clubs and
over 160 from other clubs. The
few races in the series are much more suitable for newcomers to
The results for Rochdale were as follows:
Leary, 1:34:09; Mark Walker, 1:36:37; Nigel Shaw, 1:38:12; Martin
Norman Eames, 1:38:36; Stephen
Leak, 1:39:39; Dennis Lucas, 1:41:58;
John Mayall, 1:45:49.