Rossendale Way in a Day

42 miles / 6,600 ft ascent

4th July 2009


Job done: Paul Leary (Roch), Tim Richardson (Roch & R&P MR), John Mayall (Roch),
Ronnie Turner (Ross), Davina Raidy (Ross), Paul Heywood (R&P MR), Gail Todd (R&P MR) and Jenny Brown (Roch)

It wasn't easy but we did it!  5:30 am start on a hot day.  The approximate finishing times were as follows:

1st to finish - 9hr 15 min - a lad called 'Dale'
next to finish - 9hr 25 min - Paul Leary (2nd male) & Jenny Brown (1st lady)
next to finish - 9hr 28 min - John Mayall (3rd male) & Davina Raidy (2nd lady)

For a chuckle see the final paragraph below!


LOCAL WALKERS and RUNNERS rose at the crack of dawn last weekend to tackle one of the toughest local endurance challenges – the Rossendale Way in a Day.  

The challenge raises money for charities, including Rossendale & Pendle Mountain Rescue and Christies. The lead organiser was rescue team member Tim Richardson, who also happens to be a coach at Rochdale Harriers. 

The rescue team cover 350 square miles of East Lancashire and Greater Manchester, being on call 24 hrs a day 365 days per year. 

There were two challenges on the day, the first being the full 42 miles / 6,600ft of the Rossendale way, starting 05:30 am.  The second was a 25 mile route starting at Bleakholt animal sanctuary at 9am.  Both routes finished at Loveclough CPA social club near Burnley.

Although this was primarily a walkers’ event, the 172 entrants included some seasoned endurance runners. 

From Middleton Harriers there was John Brooks and Tracey Lawless, an ultra distance runner who last year completed the 145 mile Grand Union Canal run.  

The Rossendale Harriers contingent included Davina Raidy, ladies winner from last year’s Yorkshireman off-road marathon. 

Rochdale Harriers were represented by Jenny Brown, Paul Leary and John Mayall.   Jenny’s 2009 racing portfolio includes the High Peak 40 mile night race and the Jurassic Coastal Challenge involving three marathons in consecutive three days.  Paul Leary is Rochdale’s fastest regular fell runner and John is an experienced fell runner.  

The 42 miler was set to be a journey into the unknown for Leary, Mayall and Raidy – none of them had previously run further than 26.2 miles.

After an unplanned delay at the start, the Rochdale contingent eventually set off from the midge-filled clough slightly after the main pack.  The first 400ft ascent was slow going as they gradually moved their way through the pack. 

By the time they reached the Clough Head checkpoint, Rochdale were leading, although it was their intention to enjoy the event rather than race.   Paul was complaining of groin pain through having to run at a pace he found uncomfortably slow.  The Harriers took themselves by surprise when they arrived at the third checkpoint, Tor, before the Mountain Rescue vehicles.

The plan to join up with marathon runner Anna Blomfield at the 16.5 mile Bleakholt checkpoint was disrupted when the Rochdale team arrived there a full hour ahead of schedule.  This was largely due to the strength of Jenny Brown and Paul Leary.   

The 1,000ft ascent to Cowpe Lowe on a warm day caused Mayall to struggle with the heat and dehydration.  His suffering was set to last for about 9 miles, until the 30 mile checkpoint at the foot of Brown Wardle, Whitworth.   Blomfield, who joined the group at the top of Rooley Moor Road, provided encouragement through Healey Dell to Brown Wardle. 

At the foot of Brown Wardle, the team discovered a welcome oasis on what was by then the hottest part of a very warm day.  Mountain rescue had organised an inflatable tent area with refreshments, right in the middle of nowhere.  After a fifteen minute break in the shade, the fuel and fluids put Mayall back on track and the group set off with renewed vigour.

During the final 10 miles, Rossendale’s Davina Raidy suffered painful stomach cramps.  Her grit showed through as she kept going at a good pace regardless, with untethered farm dogs providing some incentive for a sprint up near Sharneyford.

At the final checkpoint at Water, Davina and the Rochdale runners heard that only one person was in front of them, by a margin of 15 minutes.  Paul and Jenny decided to up the pace to see if they could catch him.

Despite upping the speed, the three remaining miles were too few for Leary and Brown to make up the distance.

In the final reckoning, the front runner Dale completed the 42 miles in 9 hr 15 minutes.  Next over the line were Jenny Brown (1st lady) and Paul Leary (2nd man) (both 9hr 25 min), followed next by Rossendale’s Davina Raidy (2nd lady) and Rochdale’s John Mayall (3rd man) (both 9 hr 28 min).

Middleton’s Tracy Lawless and John Brook completed the course in approximately 12.5 hours.  

Afterwards Tim Richardson commented “We are hoping to raise about 2.5 to 3 thousand pounds from the event, which is a big help towards our £28,000 per year running costs.  The CPA social Club have been fantastic by providing their clubhouse free of charge as the focal point for the event”.

Mountain rescue were not the only beneficiaries.  A team from McBride were hoping to raise an addition £1,500 for Christies by taking part in this difficult challenge.

Tim continued “when the inflatable tent at Brown Wardle was first being inflated, the engineers thought it was a bouncy castle and inflated it upside down.  We all had a good laugh but finally the tent went up the correct way round”.



Fixtures & Results               Home Page