Harriers on Top of The World

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Profile and satmap

THE AUSTRIAN town of Bludenz was the location for this year’s World Masters Athletics mountain running event.  This is the premier race of its kind, attracting nearly 1000 athletes from 30 nations. 

The day before the race included a parade of nations, with athletes from as far afield as New Zealand, Canada, Mexico and Rochdale taking part.  On the start line we could smell the chocolate from the Kraft Suchard chocolate factory.  Race preparations the night before included hydration with specialist local sports beverages. 

This year seven members of Rochdale Harriers competed.  Ladies coach Brenda Robinson flew out in advance to recce the location. The remaining six athletes traveled later from Switzerland via Liechtenstein, picking up a 120 Euro fine en route for not having an Austrian toll road sticker in a Swiss hire car.

On race day the athletes set off from Dublenz town centre in age groups separated by 5 years, approximately 20 minutes apart.  The 9.2 km course started with a small loop around Bludenz town centre with tremendous support from the town folk.  The course then zig zagged up Muttersberg, initially with a path of similar steepness to Rooley Moor Road and then with an exceptionally steep and rooty  section from 3 to 4.5 km.  The temperatures were around the mid 20's.

The race finished near the cable car station at 4,500ft above sea level.

Rochdale’s John Mayall commented “the race route was relatively short but the mountain rose steeply out of nothing, making it very hard work. The scenery on the way up was absolutely stunning.”  “We had loads of support from the crowd.  Some was from Brits, but quite a lot was from German supporters who thought we were from their home country because of our club colours of black, gold and red.”

The journey down was much easier - by cable car - followed by relaxation in the hotel's invigorating sauna.

The following day the Harriers started early with a 5 mile jog in the mountains before catching the cable car to 4500ft.  After a hearty lunch at a beautiful alpine restaurant, Dalby, Leary, Leak and Mayall tackled the 6500ft mountain behind Muttersberg amidst blue skys and perfect weather conditions.

The finishing times for members of Rochdale Harriers were as follows: Kris Robinson, 59.05; Paul Leary, 64.14; Stephen Leak, 67.08; Michael Moran, 69.16; John Mayall, 70.16; Ray Dalby, 76.13; Brenda Robinson, 89.06.

 Next year’s World Masters mountain race will take place in Dolní Morava, a remote ski resort in the Czech Republic.  The course is 11.5 km with 625 metres of ascent.  Initial searches suggest the area is exceptionally cheap, with good hotels available for around £10 per night. 

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Victory for Matt at Cowm

MATT PROCTOR celebrated what is thought to be his first victory in a local race as a senior.  This season Matt has been chasing track times less and instead running a wide variety of races for pure enjoyment, trying everything from hardcore fell races to road.  As the season progressed he has regularly been finishing in the top 5.  At the Cowm multi terrain race earlier in the year Matt suffered on the ascent through the quarry, which allowed a few top runners to increase their lead.  This time around however Matt held on much better uphill and his superior speed on the descent and finishing straight bagged him the race.  

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 Final Fell GP Race on 6th October

AUTUMN LEAVES is the final race in the 2007 local clubs’ Fell race Grand Prix. The race takes place on 6th October, starting at Diggle near Saddleworth. The course is relatively good under foot, stretching to 8.5 miles with 1700ft of ascent.  Afterwards there is a cake competition and all the free cake you can eat.