Duddon – 30 May 2015 – 18 miles / 6004ft of ascent
Round 3 of the English Fell Running Championship, & the first of the 2 designated long races. After the relatively gentle introduction in round 1 & 2 of Flower Scar and Stretton Six Summits this was much more of a big beast.
Duddon is a classic fell race covering 18 miles around the head of the Duddon Valley with 6000ft of climb over Harter, Hardknott, Little Stand, Swirl How, Dow Crag, White Pike and Caw.
It is also part of the Lakeland Classics Trophy, comprising Duddon, Ennerdale, Wasdale, Borrowdale, Three Shires & Langdale.
The race registration & start are in and around the delightful village of Seathwaite, which includes the handily placed Newfield Inn for post-race rehydration. But be wary, there are actually 2 Seathwaites in the Lake District, so make sure you go to the right one.
It was great to see so much maroon & gold on the start line, a full team with plenty to spare.
Rob obviously found the conditions to his approval as he trotted round for his first English Championship win of the season in 2.44.01 only a whisker outside Ian Holmes record from 2007. He had broken away from the chasing pack with Rhys Findlay Robinson of Dark Peak but managed to pull away & win by over 2 minutes.
Great performances then from Jamie Parkinson (also 1st Under 23), John Heneghan, Matt Lockyer and Graham Pearce to make up the team & all finish within the top 30, also giving Pudsey & Bramley a 2nd place team finish overall.
Joe Baxter was just a couple of places behind Graham having taken a small wander around between White Pike & Caw.
Next in the supporting bunch of Charlie McIntosh, Martin Hurst, Niall Bourke & Dave Alcock. Dave setting a new trend in race hydration systems with his bright orange Tommee Tippee mug strapped to his bum bag.
Finally there was the dynamic duo of Graham & Rachel Pilling. Graham escorted Rachael around the course without incident apart from when she threw herself in the stream in the finishing field & had to be dragged out to much amusement to the waiting throng.
Rob Hope 1st 2:44:01. Jamie Parkinson 12th (1st U23) 2:54:26. John Heneghan 17th 2:58:24. Matt Lockyer 20th 3:01:20. Graham Pearce 27th 3:07:43. Joe Baxter 29th 3:09:38. Charlie McIntosh 51st 3:19:38. Martin Hurst 69th 3:26:07. Niall Bourke 82nd 3:29:29. David Alcock 90th 3:33:09. Graham Pilling 216th 4:24:56. Rachel Pilling 218th 4:25:03.