Deejay’s Review of 2016

Polyfellers montage.jpg

What can I say about this year’s championship? Well to begin with I must digress a bit and take you back to the distant, murky past, when all of this started, well to 2013 anyway. This was when I, along with Barry Young and Trevor Wakenshaw decided to hold the first ever Poly Fell series. It attracted a dozen runners and we counted that as a bit of a success. However, in 2014 the series seemed to die a death after the first two races and we thought long and hard about bothering again. In the end we went ahead and even expanded it slightly, but I was full of trepidation as time for the first race, Brough Law, approached. Trepidation was doubled because I knew three of our stalwarts Gary, Chris and Barry were unavailable but despite this we managed to field slightly more runners than normal. What was more heartening was that seven of the eight were newcomers to the series and some were Fell virgins. However, my natural pessimism told me it could all be a flash in the pan and we might never see them again. I needn’t have worried, they returned and the numbers kept up throughout the 2015 season. Even more encouraging to see was the increasing number of ladies taking part. In short the season was a great success with a threefold increase in overall participation and a sevenfold increase on the ladies side. The reason for this was totally inexplicable,at least to me and I suspect it will always be so! But back to 2016.

As usual the season began with Brough Law and it began well with thirteen Poly runners taking part. It was already clear 2015 was no one off. This series saw the inclusion for the first time of two Lake District races and I was very happy when events justified their inclusion when nine ran at Coledale and seven at Fairfield. The new Alwinton race saw a record Poly turnout of seventeen and there were sixteen at Thropton and the Chevy. Amazing numbers! Now, the purpose of this piece isn’t to highlight individuals if only because there were just so many great performances throughout the year but it was great to see two youngsters, Will Robson and Scott Ellis doing so well. Indeed in the first half of the season, with Gary Robson struggling with an injury, the men’s title was shaping up to be a battle between those two and perennial contender, Chris Rowe. As it turned out the youngsters didn’t get enough races in and then Chris picked up an injury which let the now in form Gary in to win by a comfortable eleven points. Jon Heaney sneaked into second place as he gradually improved throughout the year. There should be a tremendous battle for the top half dozen places next year judging by the results of those who joined late in the season, notably Will Powis and Terry Brown.

For the ladies, well there was never any real doubt who would take this prize as long as she got in the required number of races and Katherine Davis duly triumphed. However she was kept on her toes by Ms Consistent, Rachel Inman along with Rachel Carr and Lisa Henderson. If these two relative youngsters stick at it they will be serious challengers for next year’s title.

All in all thirty eight runners took part this year and it was good to see another big increase in the number of men. Although there was no increase in the number of ladies running, those that did were doing more races than ever before which was good. All that remains for this season is the British Fell Relay Championship in October where our team will make history as the first Poly team to take part in this prestigious event. Some “All” eh?

But just because the championship is over, that’s no excuse to stop racing because there are plenty of races about to see you through to 2017. There’s the Natural Ability Race and Alwinton Show races in October. In November there are Dunnerdale and Kirby Moor in the South Lakes and Saltergate Gallows on the North Yorkshire Moors. In December also on the Moors are the excellent Eskdale Eureka and Guisborough Woods races, whilst nearer to home you have The Hexhamshire Hobble and Simonside Cairns. You could then round off the year by racing against the Brownlee brothers in the Auld Lang Syne race at Haworth on New Year’s Eve!

So what of the future. Well we are keeping the same format, i.e. a championship of thirteen races with seven to count. There will be one change because we are going to build on our increasing experience by sticking in another two, longer Lake District races in the 2017 series. In all there are eight new races to look forward to and five old favourites to savour have been kept and you’ll get the details of these at the unofficial presentation night on the 29th September.

To finish then, I’d just like to say I am completely amazed at how fell running has taken off at the Poly. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would ever be challenging good old NFR with the number let alone the quality of the runners who are representing us. Marvellous as that is, even better is the wonderful enthusiasm and sense of fun people have brought to the section. Anyway, I’d better stop now before I get carried away, but I’ll leave you with a few stats to ponder over. Roll on 2017 and up the Poly!

POLY FELL SECTION STATS

2013

2014

2015

2016

Number of Races in the Championship

8

9

10

13

Maximum number counting

4

5

5

7

Number of participants

12

10

33

39

Total number of male runners

10

9

26

32

Total number of female runners

2

1

7

7

Total Championship race entries

23

15

92

135

Total Male entries (ooer missus)

21

14

73

108

Total Female entries

2

1

19

27

Number who did four or more races

2

0

11

16

Average Poly turnout per championship race

2.87

0.7

9.2

10.38

Average Male turnout

2.65

1.6

7.3

8.3

Average Female turnout

0.25

0.1

1.9

2.08

Most Poly runners in one race

6 BL

6 BL

14 TS

17 ATT

Most Poly males in one race

5 BL, TS

5 BL

10 TS

14 TS

Most Poly females in one race

2 WG

1 BL

4 TS

4 ATT, CC

BL = Brough Law, TS = Thropton Show, WG = Windy Gyle, ATT = Alwinton 3 Tops, CC = Chevy

Miscellaneous

4 runners have competed in every championship: Chris Rowe, Gary Robson, John Baty and Ian Holland

8 runners have completed 10 or more races: Gary Robson 20, Chris Rowe 20, Mark Smith 15, Rachel Inman 14, Barry Young, Katherine Davis 13, Will Robson 12, David Johnson, Jon Heaney and Chris Oliphant 10.

Leading Race Winners: Katherine Davis 11, Garry Robson 10, Will Robson 7, Chris Rowe 5, Rachel Carr 4, Scott Ellis 4. John Baty 3.

Most runner up finishes: Chris Rowe 8, Gary Robson 8, Rachel Inman 6, Lisa Henderson 4, Will Robson 4.

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