Fines well placed to take British championship

Helen Fines of Calder Valley pictured t at the Blisoc Dash
Helen Fines of Calder Valley pictured t at the Blisoc Dash

Calder Valley’s Helen Fines is favourite for the 2013 women’s British Fell Running title after running out a clear winner in last weekend’s Blisco Dash in Cumbria, the third round of this year’s series.

Blisco is a classic ‘short’ Lake District race. It starts from Langdale with a lung bursting first half mile up the road from the Dungeon Ghyll followed by a steep grassy track leading to Blisco mountain plateau and three rock steps to the summit, making a total of 2000 feet of ascent.

The race finishes with a headlong descent to the valley floor, calling for bravery, agility, and technical prowess.

Fines overcame the challenging route and searing heat to beat the course record, showing it could be her year for the British title after finishing runner-up in 2012.

With Todmorden’s Lauren Jeska a non-starter through injury, Bingley’s Vic Wilkinson and Jasmin Paris (Carnethy) posed the main threat.

Fines (45:26) came home clear of Wilkinson (46:31) and Paris (46:59). Judith Jepson (47:10) was also inside the old course record.

The win makes it two first places and a second for Fines. Only Wilkinson can beat her for the title after a win at Yetholm and second at Blisco.

A win at the Peris Horseshoe final round in September would put Wilkinson equal on points with Fines. However, a win for the Calder Valley runner would settle matters.

The win also put Fines firmly in charge in the English fell championship for 2013.

In the men’s championship, Calder Valley’s 17 year old Max Wharton stepped up to the senior competition. Unfazed by the top class competition, he came an impressive sixth (39.10), ahead of in-form clubmates Shaun Godsman (12th), and Tim Ellis (25th).

Jane Leonard was Todmorden Harriers’ sole representative in the women’s race, due to injuries and holidays, and she finished in 58:02 for 32nd place and second v55 to keep alive her medal prospects.

In the men’s race, a trio of Harriers battled it out with Nick Barber first back in 45:54 for 71st place with John Lloyd 77th and Craig Stansfield 79th.

Tod’s Richard Blakeley finished first v70 to keep him in the running for a medal also.

CVFR Positions - Men: 6, Max Wharton 39:10; 12, Shaun Godsman 40:17; 25, Tim Ellis41:32; 31, Gavin Mulholland 42:18; 60, Brad Travis 45:21; 91, Mark Wharton 48:56; 169, Rod Sutcliffe 59:07; 191, Dave Culpan 01:06:35;.

Women: 1, Helen Fines 45:26; 13, Sally Newman 51:39; 51, Sharon Godsman 01:03:14; 68, Gail Tombs 01:11:28.

Todmorden results: 71 Nick Barber 45:54; 77 John Lloyd 47:10; 79 Craig Stansfield 47:30; 104 Dave Collins 51:55; 130 Peter Bowles 54:22; 168 Andrew Bibby 58:38; 182 Mark Whitaker 1:03:28; 188 Richard Blakeley 1:04:08; 200 Peter Ehrhardt 1:14:03; 205 Paul Brannigan 1:22:08.