16 May 2015 – Charlesworth Chase Fell Race (Simons Seat) – 5.2 miles / 1201 ft
Having long since claimed Sunday the 17th May as my own in the calendar at home, it was disappointing to learn that we couldn’t even muster a team together to defend last years mixed team win in the Calderdale Way. Not wanting to lose the quality time id pencilled in I thought I’d look for some other race going on that weekend.
I therefore decided to have a go at the Charlesworth Chase. I’d heard tales of this race from a few club members; mainly that the running up and down Simons Seat is only half (well a full pint really) of it. And so it was that we arrived in Appletreewick about 10am on Saturday morning. One point to mention is that if you want to park anywhere near the pub it starts from you need to get there long before 10am, unless like Ed you decide to come on the push iron.
For a shortish fell race the price of £6 does seem quite steep, but you do get a free pint of ale at the end, so its not that bad really. Looking at the course map before we start, it seems that the race is not too dissimilar to the Simons Seat race P&B used to hold back in the early 90’s, that is until the Duke decided he didn’t like common people running over his land for some reason or another!!
The race itself starts outside the Craven Arms on the main (only) street in Appletreewick, and this morning the conditions are quite good for a fell race; not pissing it down and not too warm. There seem to be around 80 to 90 runners assembled on the line, with seven, yes 7, P&B vests in amongst the rabble.
The race itself sets off quite fast as the first mile takes us down through the fields and along the bank of the River Wharfe. Then it’s a steady climb on a decent track up through the plantation. From here I can see that Ted Mason has started to pull away, closely followed by the maroon and gold of Joe in 2nd. Old man Navis (looking good for 50+) is the next P&Ber in the chasing pack, followed by Alex, who looks to be getting stronger as the going gets steeper. Further back its me, Shane and Ed all not too far apart followed by the ever present Mike.
As we pass through the fell gate and head up to Simons Seat the path quickly changes to a stream of rocks but then intermittently keeps changing back to either a flagged path or a strange bouncy type track. As I begin to approach the top Ted Mason hurtles past me on his way back down, followed a few seconds later by Joe. The next P&Ber on his way back down is Alex who has by now changed places with John. As I come off the top I notice Shane and Ed are not too far behind me, followed by Mike a bit further back.
Once back through the fell gate it’s a nice fast run back to the River, and its at this point that I now start to worry about whats to come. My usual tactic with about a mile to go is just go for it, but today my thinking is don’t get back too knackered but to make sure there’s enough of a gap between me and whoever’s behind me.
Upon reaching the pub Sue shouts out that I’m about 16th, but I know thats about to change in the next few minutes. Before your allowed to cross the finish line all runners have to down a pint of ale, which are all neatly lined up on the table. I know that even in my youth I couldn’t down a pint in one go so approach this with some trepidation. All my body seems to want at the moment is oxygen, a nice pint of Yorkshire ale is the last thing it seems to be craving. I try down as much as I can in my first gulp but when I bring the glass back down notice its only gone down by about two inches, I also notice Shane now fast approaching the finish. I’m about a third of the way through my pint when Shane grabs his, he limbers up and that’s it, gone in two gulps, and off to the finish. About 3 minutes later and 5 places lost I eventually stagger over the line burping uncontrollably, but all in all a good mornings fun/run.
Joe Baxter 2nd 37:50. Alex Jones 9th 42:30. John Navis 12th 44:06. Shane Green 18th 45:44. Scott Alder 21st 46:56. Ed Barber 23rd 47:22. Mike Rees 56th 57:21.