Lots of Harriers in bridleway relay test

editorial image

Todmorden Harriers fielded five teams in the Pennine Bridleway Relay on Sunday.

Over 100 teams of 10 runners took part in the event, organised by Rossendale Harriers, which followed a full circuit of the 47-mile Mary Townley Loop.

The run is split into fivelegs, of varying lengths from 5.5 to 12.5 miles, each run by a pair of different runners.

In near perfect conditions, Salford Harriers and Calder Valley set the pace, with Salford holding a narrow three second lead at the start of the final leg back to Waterfoot, which they managed to slightly extend to win in a time of 4:49:10, less than a minute outside the course record.

Todmorden Men’s A team put in a strong performance, with Sean Carey and Andrew Wrench recording the third best time of the day on leg four.

Team captain Nick Barber and Robin Tuddenham set the sixth best time on the final leg to gain a further two places as the team finished in 10th place with a time of 5:17:21, improving on last year by 12 minutes.

The ladies A team were in contention throughout but had to settle for second at the finish, in a battle for the ladies title.

Lisa Parsons and Kath Brierley put in a solid performance to hand over in fourth place, a few seconds behind third placed Calder Valley. But English Fell Champion Lauren Jeska and team captain Sarah May turned things on their head with Todmorden leading Calder Valley by over four minutes at the end of the second leg.

Ali Richards and Sarah Warburton put in a blistering run to set a new ladies course record on leg three, to hand over an eight minute lead to Jayne Williams and Sarah Glyde.

Calder Valley managed to claw a few seconds back on leg four, before a strong final pairing of Jo Waites and Gayle Sugden overhauled Todmorden’s Mel Blackhurst and Lucy Hobbs to win in 6:03:02.

The Todmorden ladies were left to console themselves that they had at least improved by 13 minutes on last year, to finish in a time of 6:09:38, which would have been good enough to win the competition in many years.

For the first time the club also fielded a Ladies B team, who put in a fine effort to finish second placed ladies B team behind Clayton le Moors B, in a time of 7:21:11 and 89th overall.

The Men’s B team finished in 32nd place in a time of 5:55:24, also 13 minutes faster than last year, with club B records being set on leg two by Andy McFie and Peter Bowles and on leg three by Marcel Ellison and David Baldaro.