Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round aka the Half Tour of Pendle


I've yet to title a blog post after a specific race, but, I thought this one deserved it.  What used to be famously and formerly known as the Half Tour of Pendle, was rightly renamed in honour of Clayton Le Moors and fell running legend Stan Bradshaw.  The route was also slightly adjusted to reduce erosion, but the name of the race is the topic to start with in this post.

A little about Stan...

Stan sadly passed away at the age of 97 in 2010, leaving behind a wonderful legacy in the sport of fell running.  He became only the second man to break the 28 year old record of Bob Graham, who in his famous "Bob Graham round", climbed 42 lakeland peaks in 24 hours.  He ran his first fell race at Rivington Pike in 1930 and due to being the eldest member of the Fell Runners Assocation (FRA) he was officially the worlds oldest fell runner.  To somewhat maybe top all those feats, he finished second in the inaugural Three Peaks fell race in 1954, which he went on to compete in 24 times and until his passing was believed to be the last survivor from the 1954 race.

It's the stories I hear about people like Stan that inspire me to want to do my best.  My Grandad had stories about him (along with many other of the top fell runners including himself) and a very big part of me wishes I could have met Stan in person, just to discuss a story or two and no doubt pick up a few tips and seeing him run/sharing a race course with him would've been a great honour.

more info about the legend himself at the following links;

http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2010/may/10/stanley-bradshaw-obituary

http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/sport/8101311.Legend_Stan_will_never_be_forgotten/


Race Day Itself

The race itself was my toughest to date.  I was a little wary before hand as I thought my navigation skills would finally come in to use at some point but in actual fact they didn't.  I was pretty confident on my knowledge after doing some of my own research via Google earth (modern technology eh!), even though that felt like I was cheating myself in the old fashioned fell running way but I had no time to recce the course so it was potentially either research or get lost on route...I know which I would rather spend time doing!  I also seeked the experience of my Grandad who dug out his map of the Full Tour of Pendle which he had been given when he raced it years ago, but, with it being a map of the full tour, you could also see the route of the half tour, so, with some slight adjustments, I had my map and was ready to rock and roll!

I arrived around an hour early at Barley village hall, the sun was shining and it felt like it was going to be the perfect day for running.  Good start!  I collected my number and was then pulled aside for a random kit check, the first random one I've had, but passed of course...the good start continued!

I dug out my slightly damp but clean Walsh's (just how I like them so they have that snug fit on race day!) and set off for a 10 minute warm up around Barley village.  I bumped in to James Buxton of Trawden, finally!  We'd tweeted each other for a few weeks and he became slightly famous for his mankini outfit at the Hurst Green Turkey Trot in December so it was good to see a somewhat familiar face, especially as I was the only Darwen lad at the race too.

post race wash down in White Hough Water

It started off nicely, I was at a comfortable pace and didn't get dragged along in the front wave like I sometimes do in the fell races.  Their pace is far too quick for me at the moment so judging where to start in the field correctly is always a bonus for me at the minute, especially when the race is over 10km.  We snaked along the road leading to the foot of Pendle Hill and started the climb, I ran up quite the majority of it which surprised me but it does help with it being at the start of the race, giving you that little bit of power to get yourself up there.

Once on top the side wind caught me a bit but I got myself in to a good stride going beyond the trig point to the gate at a decent pace before hopping over and taking a sharp left beyond the wall.  I knew that the next checkpoint was the Scout Cairn so headed for that along a footpath (not man made, more of a fell runner made path of footprints!).  I was in a close group of 4 or 5 runners and we seemed to be of similar pace at this point as we went for checkpoint three down at Calf Hill gate.

We ran down to the nick of Pendle and then along some steady, flat terrain (made a change, haha) passing Churn Clough res. and then between the trees, climbing again towards Upper Ogden res. with a climb of about 600 feet over half a mile, this one took it out of me most.  We then climbed again after checkpoint 5 with another near 200 feet climb over 0.2 miles but I found my second wind on this one and pushed on, knowing that there was only around a mile or so to go.  I finished strongly on an average pace of about a 6 minute mile, albeit with the majority on a downward slant.

really letting go on the final descent

Despite my initial fears of potentially getting lost/having to nav, I thoroughly enjoyed the race and even though I found it the toughest yet, it was probably the most enjoyable.  There's just something about the tough ones being the most satisfying and not just when you cross the finish line.  People seem so keen to travel these days, yet we have some many beautiful places on our doorstep, although so people's idea of fun will definitely not be to run up and around Pendle Hill on an early March morning, that's for sure!

Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round route

So after happily completing the Stan Bradshaw round, I am definitely planning on running it again next year.  The majority of the thanks goes out to Clayton Le Moors and Trawden for the organisation and marshalling of the race, I felt especially sorry for the poor chap who had to marshal at the Scout Cairn, it was as windy as anything up there and I even felt a bit chilly just looking at him, haha!  Hats off to the teams as usual, it wouldn't be possible without hours of planning and organisation many months prior to race day.

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