Championship Fell Running – Duddon Valley

Saturday´s (2/6/07) Duddon Valley Fell Race was the first combined British and English Championship race of the year and the first long race of the British Championship. The race also kicked off the 2007 Lakeland Classics series.The race is a tough 20 mile circuit of the Duddon Valley that takes in the summits of Harter Fell, Hardknott, Little Stand, Swirl Howe, Dow Crag, White Pike and Caw. The race was won by veteran Ian Holmes of Bingley ahead of Tom Owens of Mercia and Rob Jebb of Bingley. The women´s race saw a Dark Peak one-two, with Janet McIver leading the field home, followed by Karen Davison in second. Sharon Taylor of Bingley completed the top three.The race was run in very hot conditions for the first one and a half hours, before cloud came over to give more bearable conditions for the last part of the race. Despite the hot weather times were very quick, with both the men´s and women´s winners within the previous record times. However due to an altered start, designed to prevent bottlenecks occurring with the bumper championship field, neither time will stand as the course record. Various estimates put the altered course as two to three minutes quicker than the regular route.For the men, both the British and English championships have seen a different winner in each race so far, giving a wide open competition in both championships. The women?s championship has seen a different winner in each of the British races, whilst Janet McIver has now won two English races and is comfortably ahead in the overall positions. Natalie White, the defending English champion, can no longer retain her title after not running on Saturday. Full results for Saturdays race can now be found here. The next race in the British championship is at the tough medium Carneddau race in North Wales on 24th June. The English championship has a break until 18th August and the medium length Weasdale Horseshoe.