Blackstone Edge

Blackstone Edge Fell Race 20.05.2015/3.5m/1201ft

Skills & experience : Bog snorkelling

Race Report by Rob Andrew

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Andy Lee amongst others

As the season of midweek races gathers momentum , it seemed only right to make the short hop over to Littleborough for Blackstone edge. A short, sharp race that is designed to do exactly what it says on the tin….hurt you in the shortest time possible .

The race registration is at Knowl Farm nr Lydgate. No airs and graces, just a good honest registration point in a farm outbuilding. Four quid in the tin and done . The race itself dates back to 1983 and has been a British and English Championship counter on two occasions. The race is non-profit and has a reputation for bizarre prizes and great cakes.

Unusually, you can stand on the start line and see the complete route. Pre race chat was dominated by the tactical planning of getting through the bogs that lay ahead. Bogs, whose notorious reputation was enhanced as runners shared anecdotes from previous races. How bad could it be?

Four Rossendale runners made the start line: Scott Saddler, Andrew Lee, Rob Andrew and Nick Harris. It soon became apparent that it was going to be a Calder Valley domination as nearly 50 red and white vests swarmed around the remaining teams.

The race began with a mass sprint along the road , with runners desperately seeking to establish race position before the single file tracks. A clever ploy by the organisers to encourage people to get themselves into cardiovascular difficulty before the hills even begin. After the mass sprint, the climbing began through single file tracks – steadily rising . Overtaking required negotiating the mud, but the stronger runners soon made headway. Scott Saddler carefully picked people off , whilst Rob and Andrew began what turned out to be a good duel. Then the first round of fun began! A quick descent into the heart of some of the nastiest bogs the region has to offer. The air turned blue, as expletives rang out from runners losing whole legs to Blackstones natural defences .

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Rob Andrew in BLACK skull cap EDGING (get it?) out Andy Lee

With the bogs negotiated , the summit of Blackstone Edge lay ahead. This was a steep drag up to the trig point , which reduced even the front runners to a lactic filled stomp. As Scott predicted, this is where the race really began, with gaps opening up across the field. For mountain goats like Scott, this climb must have been the highlight of the day. For the rest of us, I’m not so sure ! Once summited, a rock strewn plateau welcomed tired legs, making it difficult to find your natural stride. Once across , everyone got ready for ‘Fun: part 2″ , a longer , fast descent down into the dreaded bogs. If Carlesberg did bogs, this would have been it. The traditional charge down the slope was halted continually by the loss of solid ground under your feet, with a few face plants thrown in for good measure!


Race winner Dany Hope (Horwich)

After gaining a sense of satisfaction and relief on arrival at the other side of the bogs, the route veered back up the hillside to cruelly remove it . With the last descent to the finish getting closer and closer , everyone dug deep to plough through the wet ground to hold positions or close gaps down. Myself and Andrew again traded places , neither wanting to give up the chase . The race returned at pace down the same single file tracks and along the road, finishing in the farmers field. A truly enjoyable, tough race with lots of talking points in the post race debrief. This was also a race of firsts for me. The first time I’ve been served water in an old pot noodle pot and the first time I’ve seen buckets of water issued with sponges at the finish. After competing the course , I totally get the need for the buckets! A belting race, highly recommended .

Thanks to Rob Andrew (Rossendale Harriers) for the race report.

All photos courtesy of Nick Dawson. Find his gallery here.


Howorth Hobble

Haworth Hobble

14th Mar 2015

Distance: 32m

Climb: 4400ft

In the week leading up to this years Hobble, Davina Raidy posted on Facebook that her running partner for the race had to pull out, so she was in need for someone to take their place. Within the hour Davina had two lads squabbling over who would run with her. Within the next hour Scott Sadler (Me) & Jason Craven had formed our own Team and persuaded the Race Organiser to let us have a late entry. Sorry Davina!!

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A few days later we were on the start line and raring to go. Davina had paired up with Richard Harrison so everyone was happy. Jason and I had agreed to try and take it easy and enjoy the run. None of us had run an ultra since last Summer and we were both still complaining about having a cold. The usual excuses I know but it helped us stick to the plan and enjoy the day.

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The race was great, perfect running conditions, excellent support with great food and drink at the checkpoints (including Talisker whiskey and jam doughnuts at 20 miles), and paced just right for a fast few finishing miles.

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My first time running this race and I think I’ll be back now that I have a time to beat.



Jason Craven & Scott Sadler – 5:32.10

Davina Raidy & Richard Harrison – 6:19.59

Neil Cornfoot – 6:37.03

Lisa Parkinson & Beverly Holmes – 6:37.23


Full results…


Thanks to Mick Howard for the photos.



Teenager with Altitude & Anniversary Waltz

Teenager with Altitude

18th April 2015

Distance: 15.5m

Climb: 7600ft


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Scott Sadler (Me) and Jonathan Melia turned out for this mammoth race. As is usual for the weekend of this race, the weather was perfect. Clear blue skies and warm temperatures.

I did a full recce of the race route 3 weeks earlier and it was clear that there are several sections where you have multiple route choices. I made my route decisions during the recce and stuck exactly to my plan on race day, even though I was sometimes tempted to follow others.

15.5 miles is long, but not really that long. It’s the climbing that makes this race so tough. Looking at previous results I was expecting to complete the race in about 3hrs 30mins. I decided not to wear a watch as I prefer to completely trust to feel on races with a lot of climbing. This worked well for me, and although I got a bit of cramp during the final climb up Cat Bells, I was able to run hard off the summit and finish strong. Happy with my effort I got my phone out of the bag to stop Strava and see how close I was to my target. I was surprised to see that I was 17 minutes down on my target time but I wasn’t disappointed as I felt like I had a great run and enjoyed every minute of it.

Next year I will be making a few changes to my route choices and I’m confident that this will help me reach my goal time. Not all of my route choices were bad but there were a few obvious places where I either lost ground, or others made ground on me by taking different routes.

Jonathan only decided to enter the week before and had very little knowledge of the route. This didn’t seem to matter as he also had a great run, finishing 20 minutes ahead of me. Top effort!

Jonathan Melia – 11th – 3:27.29

Scott Sadler – 26th – 3:47.06

79 Runners

Results here…

Strava trace…



Anniversary Waltz

18th April 2015

Distance: 11.5m

Climb: 3600ft

The Anniversary Waltz was also ran on the same day and this covers much of the same route (The second half anyway!). Two Harriers ran in this race…

Rob Andrew – 53rd – 2:07.57

Michael Toman – 68th – 2:13.49

192 Runners.

Results here…