Charlesworth Chase – 17 May 2014

5.2 miles / 1201ft / 1 (or 1-half) pint of Ale

Perfect blue sky above the The Craven Arms, Appletreewick. Photo by Graham Scaife

There was a lot of head scratching going on at the Craven Arms pub in Appletreewick, scene of the third Charlesworth Chase race on May 17th. For anyone who’d turned out at Jack Bloor, Coniston or the relay, it was the longest stretch of races in sunny weather since 1907. Or something like that. The event was set up in 2012 by Sarah and Nick Charlesworth on their wedding day as a sort of fell race meets It’s a Knockout meets the Wicker Man, with Sarah running up Simon’s Seat in a wedding dress being pursued by a lot of sweaty runners, including her husband to be. As an added twist, all finishers are required to sink a pint of ale outside the pub before staggering the last few metres to the finish. Marshals are on hand to penalise any unlawful spillage.


Rachel, Charlie, Alex, Graham, and Rhys.

Its always a fast start, but thankfully not as fast as last year when the leading pack was chased by a herd of cows. Groups of sheep looked up quizzically as the pack of brightly coloured runners flashed by, wondering what had made these people want to toil in the fierce sun when they could have been sitting in the Craven Arms. And toiling we were. It was hot. The climb is partly shaded, but after a mile or so the trail hits the bare rocky moorland of Simon’s Seat, and there is nothing but a long, runnable climb ahead. Pudsey stalwart Steve Bottomley was on hand to offer shouts of encouragement, having cycled up.


The Pillings set off together – Photo by Graham Scaife

Ian Holmes continued his domination of the race, coming home in 37 minutes, ahead of Ted Mason and Nick Charlesworth. Rachel was continuing to show her good form and hit the finishing road well ahead of the next female runner. Unfortunately, an important gap in her training regime was ruthlessly exposed by Gill Myers of Wharfedale, who overtook her in the drink off and beat her to the line by 2 seconds. Graham was very disappointed and immediately prescribed an intensive intervals session of 16 x half pint reps with Jaegerbomb recoveries.

It all comes down to an Ale Race for 1st and 2nd place ladies – Photo by Graham Scaife

It was another good race for new member Rhys, who had the added handicap of having to wear a tiny vest he’d borrowed from Charlie. This meant he could only partially inflate his lungs and just about manage 20 degrees of arm movement on each side. Despite this and having cycled there from Leeds with Charlie, he finished strongly and felt thwarted when the marshals only let him have the one pint at the finish. Next up were Graham and Charlie, neck and neck* for most of the way and coming in 39th and 40th. It was also a welcome return by Michael, coming back from injury and finishing just outside the hour. Then it was back inside the pub for soup and rolls, and a presentation with almost as many random award categories and spot prizes are there were runners.

(* in classic Charlie style he ran with me on the climb, encouraging me to catch Rach; and then flew off on the descent to help push Rach into pre-drink-first-place; and then leisurely sipped his pint at the line while I caught up! — Graham)
  • 7th Alex Jones 0:42:00
  • 17th Rhys MacAllister 0:46:06
  • 24th Rachel Pilling 0:47:21 (2nd lady)
  • 39th Graham Pilling 0:49:31
  • 40th Charlie McIntosh 0:49:44
  • 72nd Michael Rees 1:00:43

(Full Results)


  1. June 18, 2014
  2. November 7, 2014

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