FRA Relays 2015

Results, Photos

They found the Hops and Yeast after Barley

Wingman reports from the FRA Championships in Lancashire

On Saturday 17th October almost 1000 quality fell runners from the top clubs throughout the UK assembled on a rugged hill side in the small village of Barley 30 miles north of Manchester to do battle for the title of UK Fell Running Relay Champions 2015.

For the first since 2005 Newcastle AC had actually managed to get a plane full of maybes and all were excited about the challenge that lay ahead.  The event has over 150 teams of 6 runners competing over the same course, in four different relay legs, each leg with its own particular and peculiar challenges

By far the most completive category, with more than 100 teams taking part is the open men’s, Newcastle AC registered a strong line-up with David O’Flaherty out first (was this an astute tactical ploy by the captain or a desire from the runner to be finished to in time to see ‘Klopp of the Kop’s first game in charge), followed by the pairings David Steele and Paul Carlin, Phil Hodge and John Kelly on navigation and Seamus Lynch on the last leg. The current Northern Ireland Mountain running champion had a brilliant run to post the 5th fastest time of the day on his leg to move the team up by more the ten places to 19th overall –  a very credible outcome.

In the Ladies open event Vicky Canavan was on the first leg of 7km , handing over to Patricia McKibbin and Paulette Thomson in the 15km pairs leg, next on the navigation Sam McNeilly and Rita Devlin, again around 15km depending on route choice, on the 4th and last 8km leg Debbie Kendall. Newcastle ladies finished 28th Ladies open team. Representing Newcastle in  veterans men’s event were, Pete Grant on the first leg, Colum Campbell and Jack O’Hare on the pairs leg, Deon McNeilly and Eamon McCrickard on navigation and PJ McCrickard on the last leg.  The team performed well, finishing 16th in their category.

After a successful day of competition, the Newcastle teams set off in their rented minibus to sample the delights of Burnley’s hostelries. Fortunately driver Eamon is an established tea drinker, which is just as well because the directions coming from rear of the bus, made very little sense. Many, many roundabouts later, often with multiple laps round each, refreshments were eventually located. There is some irony in the fact that the team, who had for the most part found their way around the mountains, got lost on their way to the pub when aided by a sat nav!