Four on 14 take two!

Coniston 14 & 2UP Firefighter Duathlon Weekend

Day 1 Coniston 14

First I knew about it was Warren telling Andy Ratcliffe, “Karen doesn’t know about it yet but we’re doing a duathlon the day after Coniston 14.” To be honest yes I could have killed him and I thought maybe he was actually trying to kill me, but entry fees had been paid and therefore nothing I could do but suck it up. Warren was adamant that this was just what I needed, all part of my training,”just think of it as a long run over two days” he kept saying.

Up bright and early for Coniston on the Saturday to glorious sunshine if not a little on the cold side. But who cares about the cold, we are runners and its much better than sweltering heat. Met Andy and Gary and had a pre race coffee to settle the nerves before a mile warm up. Elizabeth was there to take the position of chief supporter and photographer for the day.


The start was very congested and it took time once the gun went to weave through people and try to get into a pace. Trying to get into a pace was also hindered by the fact that it is an up hill start. The course is undulating (Cumbrian for hilly) and in comparison to our other favourite Derwent 10 whilst the climbs aren’t as steep, there are more continual ups and downs with this course so less time to recover between climbs.


I started probably faster than I needed to, I went up the road from the start and turned left before Warren even passed me (so no change there then Dave). But I felt good and managed to keep a steady pace until the evil climb between mile 11 and 12 at which point I dropped a minute off my pace. It didn’t feel like a minute slower at the time it felt more like 2 or 3 but after the climb there’s a big descent into Coniston and I was back on pace.


imageWarren was further up the road, I never even glimpsed him for 13.6 miles. He had a time of 7 minute miles in mind which he thought was realistic on a hilly course. Once again the Harriers Sessions had paid dividends as he kept an average pace of 6:46 and only hitting 7:05 for that evil climb.

The worse part was the water stations with the massive cups, my first attempt at a drink what with the sun now coming out was disastrous. I don’t even think any of the half cup of water that I tipped towards my face went into my mouth, but i did look like I had just stepped from under the shower, I was drenched. I would have had more luck pouring the cup over my head and letting it trickle down into my mouth. I did improve my technique by the 2nd and 3rd stations as I eventually got some water on board.


Closing in on Coniston I knew I was on for a good time, I just needed to keep on pace for the last mile and keep Gary Wane within my sight. My right calf was tightening on the last mile and I was praying all the way to the finish line that cramp would not set in but I finished in a time of 1:43, just a minute slower than my half marathon PB. Warren finished in a time of 1:34 leaving us both feeling confident for Manchester……now all that remained was the duathlon.


Four do the Coniston 14

On Saturday 19th March, 4 Harriers made the journey North to the Lakes. Their aim, to conquer the Coniston 14 race.


I arrived in plenty of time and parked up on John Ruskin school field. I love Coniston and have been there many times racing. Last year I had taken part in the Coniston 14 race but shin problems meant I left down heartened, I was determined that this year would be different. I was training well and had high hopes of a sub 1hr 45 time. I met up briefly with Andy Ratcliffe, Warren and Karen. We had a quick brew and discussed the race. Soon after I was doing an easy mile warm up enjoying the views of the lake and surrounding hills.


At 10.50am, the Harriers contingent met up for pre race pictures and before long we were in the masses waiting for the start. At 11am, we were off. Andy soon disappeared and Karen and I saw Warren just ahead but gradually pulling away. The first mile and a half was a constant uphill, the largest ascent of the race. Karen and I weaved through the masses and were soon in space. By mile 3 we were in Torver and going downhill at last! We had lost sight of the lake by now.

This continued for a mile and I had lost Karen by now but knew she wouldn’t be too far behind me. Eventually I was running and the sun was peeping through the clouds at times. There’s something about running in the countryside that makes it that bit more special. I went through 10k in about 43m40s (which was over 1 min quicker than my Blackburn 10k race back in February and on a hillier route). That was when I made my choice. I’ve always given every race I do 100% and tried to run to a plan. My brain and legs were saying ease up as there’s more hills to come. Part of me was willing myself to push on, keep going. I can’t explain it, it’s like I had an angel on one shoulder saying stick to the plan, ease up and a devil on the other saying death or glory. I opted for the devil inside me and held my pace.

From 7-10 miles was a constant rhythm of inclines followed by a downhill. My quads were screaming in the ups, my calves on the way down. I was steadily passing people but holding my pace.

At mile 11 I was at the bottom of THE hill. This was the hill that everyone who completes this race winces in terror as they recall it. Just as you’re tiring and getting mentally preoare for the run in, you hit an uphill of constant false tops. Just as you think it’s funny vet, it goes up again. 130+ft of uphill in less than a mile.

Here I made an error of judgement. My devil said go on… I went. I pushed hard up the hill. My legs were aching but I was soon up it. On the following incline though I got jelly legs. I lost my rhythm and wobbled. People were passing me in a constant steam and I couldn’t do anything. My pace had slowed and I was worrying my call on 10k was the wrong one and I was now paying the price…

On about 12.5 miles, Karen has caught me up and I tucked in just behind her trying to hang on for dear life. Before long I was at the 13 mile marker and passed the 13.1 half marathon sign. I’d done the half distance in 1hr 37mins and 20 something seconds. I was only a couple of mins outside my half marathon PB (which I got on a flat course). This inspired me to push on and I did. I surged. Every muscle in my leg was aching and I felt like I was running in sand. As I entered the centre of Coniston, the crowds clapping and cheering spurred me on again. I heard a, “Go on Wigan!” and I went again. By now I felt like I was flying. I found fed the last corner and just out everything into the finish. I crossed the line, stopped my watch and held back the sensation to vomit…


I felt dizzy and horrible and lay down. After a few mins, I stood up and looked at my watch. My time was 1hr 42mins and 53secs. I’d beaten my time from 2015 by over 4 minutes. The devil had been right. As much as it hurt me, I’m going to start listening to him a bit more when I’m out running. Not in my day to day life mind, just to clear that up…


March 21/22 Weekend roundup

Last weekend was the usual Harriers mix of superlative performances, PB’s and prizes but shock, horror, Dave and Jayne weren’t racing!

Coniston 14

First up was the Coniston 14 In the Lake District, much like Dave & Jayne’s Dentdale run, it’s a Half Marathon with 5% extra free thrown in. The course follows the roads around Lake Coniston which makes for splendid views.










There were four athletes making the trip north but only three managed to fit into their vests…we don’t name names that wouldn’t be fair on Nina’s fiancee.

Romping home in a superb 1.25:30, 2nd V45 and 9th overall was Andy Ratcliffe. Andy was well rewarded for is efforts, winning a fully fitted carpet with some running shoes thrown in.








Tim and Nina came in with an excellent 1.30:35 and 1.45:31 respectively and then enjoyed the rest of the weekend in the sunny lakes. Well done on those times.

For details of how Gary’s race went have a look at his detailed race report.

Well done for some superb running!


Fleet Half Marathon

Sunday was Half Marathon day. Heading south to Fleet was Dan Gray. Dan reported back that he struggled in the race, slowing down near the end but still managed an excellent 81.17, a time most of us only dream about! Well done Dan!


Wilmslow Half Marathon

Back nearer to home were seven Harriers competing at the Wilmslow Half. A very popular event that always sells out well in advance. Leading the Club home in a new PB was Chris Smullen, fantastic work! There were plenty more brilliant times….

Chris Smullen 80:11 PB

Warren Moorfield 87:43 PB

Paul Bryers 89:59 PB

Barry Abram 90:06

Julie Platt 91:36

Darren Jackson 96:17

Karen Schofield 1.42:00 PB


Well done everyone, four new PB’s overall, excellent work!



Coniston 14 by Gary Wane

A sunny day greeted me on the morning of Saturday 21st March. Perfect weather for the Coniston 14 race. I’d been building up my runs after a shin niggle and after a painful (very) massage on Tuesday, I was good to go.

The drive up was straightforward and I arrived at Coniston hoping to drop under 2hrs. I met Andy, Tim and Nina before we went to chill and prepare for the race. The sun was out so it was a perfect time to buy some new running sunglasses. My warm up started with 10 mins on the park with Imogen. Then I thought I’d better get to the start line.








Just before 11am Nina and I went to the start working our way as far forward as possible. Tim and Andy went straight to the front.
The race started suddenly and we were off. The first 2 miles was spent jogging up and down inclines whilst weaving around the running traffic.



By the the time we reached Torver the field was spreading out. I had been running with Nina but decided to back off the pace more to 7.45 min miles from the 7.30 or so I had been doing letting Nina surge onwards. Soon I was in my groove and feeling good as the miles ticked over. I saw Nina briefly on 7 miles as my legs wobbled after a mini stumble going down an incline. Within a minute, Nina was back ahead of me and slowly pulled away from me throughout the remainder of the race. I was struggling by now. A few runners passed me at this point as I dug in. The views kept me going. At 11 miles we hit the last hill. I ran up it and was now struggling. Then it went up again. Gutted!!! Soon it was over and I saw a few people who had passed me slowly coming towards me on the steep downhill. I passed the 13 mile marker soon after and hit a wall. I tried to speed up but when I looked at my Garmin, somehow my pace was slowing. We entered Coniston town and I was on empty. I dug deep again and managed to pass a couple more people and hold off a runner behind. As soon as I crossed the line the first feeling was relief and then breathe.

Well done Dad!









A fab run with fab views. My time of 1hr 47mins 2 secs was well below my expectations. I had also somehow to managed to run my 3rd fastest ever half marathon during the run. Bonus. All in all I was chuffed with my run.

Brew with a view!