As Race Organiser I took on this race as it was my club (Bingley Harriers), my village, my main activity and my gala. Also it is a short race which can include juniors (minimum age 12), masters (veterans) of all ages, and give a good taster for those new to fell running who want to give it a go. For the younger runners (age 8 and upwards) there is also a challenging 1.6km race and in 2019 an extra loop and hill was added to give a 2km version for the older juniors so plenty of opportunity to get the kids running. But it’s a team effort and over 30 people are needed to make this happen.
My day started sorting some last bits of paper work – labels, numbers, results sheets etc and checking that nobody had any last minute emergencies or illnesses. Fortunately everyone was still available. The race is registered under the Fell Runners Association which is linked to UK Athletics – they provide insurance for the event on the basis that certain requirements are met. One of the requirements is that you have ‘Hypothermia’ leaflets available. With a hot day forecast I was reading up in a First Aid book about Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke.
Alan (Radio Co-ordinator, husband) and I planned to meet Gary Childs (Junior Race Organiser) on the gala field at 10.30 with a full estate car to set up the Bingley Harriers tent and equipment. Before 10 Gary called saying that the field was very busy and getting full, so we set off early.
At the field a kids roundabout had been set up quite close to where we normally put the tent so we set the tent back to make sure there was plenty of space for people to get through. In doing so we realised we hadn’t got the tent walls so Alan set off straight away back down to the Rugby Club and the equipment container to make sure he could get back before road closures for the parade started to kick in. Gary went off to check the junior race route and put stakes and flags up where needed.
Tent put up, water containers filled, tables, chairs, notice boards, flags, blue stakes, tape, and various other tubs of bit & pieces unloaded we took the car back home, and snatched a bite to eat before walking back up to the gala field for about 1pm, with Sue Cariss (Registration) and Richard Vesey (Marshal) who had just arrived.
Marshals in general were arriving at 1.30 and were a mix of those who knew better than me what they were doing and those who were new to race organisation. I had asked the Registration Team (Barbara Carney, Sue Cariss and Helen Morrell) to arrive a little earlier so they could set up and have Registration on the go by 1.30. Barbara & Sue, both regulars at Registration duties, would be teaching the ropes to Helen – a first timer. Sarah Flaherty (Timer) was trying her hand with a timing watch under close supervision from expert timer John Capenerhurst, and then organising results and helping with the presentations, alongside myself. Alan was busy sorting out most of the marshals and handing out radios and instructions to those who needed them – including me – using a walky talky radio once a year is not enough for me to remember.
With Alana Gill in place to do Event Massage, I had asked her partner Tom Clough to swap his normal Track & Field roles for being the Race Sweeper , following the last runner (at a respectful distance or chatting as the case maybe) and informing the marshalling points that they can stand down once he is past.
I spent time asking the Gala Announcers tent to turn the music down, the Gala team about Road Closure signs, ensuring the Gala Queen would start the fell race, confirming plans for the Junior Race start, checking that equipment and people, including the Army Cadets, were lined up for the finish route across the gala field and looking for Sarah to introduce her to John. Robert Adamson, John Smithurst and Heather Pearson were key ‘gala field’ organisers. With a targeted start time of 3.05 for the Senior Fell Race, which gave time for the Junior Race to finish, at 2.50 I went over to the Announcers tent to ask for runners to gather in the MemorIal Hall car park.
At 3pm I jumped up on the wall and gave the go-ahead for the road closures to be put in place via Radio links. I was just about to give my Race Starter’s announcements – short & sweet – thankyou for coming, caution road crossings, if retire must report back, lots of prizes, presentation at 4pm in the Memorial Hall, Gala Queen to start the race – when a radio message came through from Spring Lane. An ambulance had arrived at the road closure; Dave Weatherhead (in charge of Road Closure, with Road Traffic Manangement training) would speak to them and see if they could wait. I relayed this to the runners who started to move off the road – just in case – and we waited. It seemed a long time but wasn’t. Yes the ambulance could wait ‘5 minutes’. Starter’s announcements and then Ready, Steady and a perfectly timed Gala Queen klaxon blast – and the runners were off – charging down the road.
Radio message from Sally Robinson marshalling on Otley Rd at the Cenotaph and Saltaire Rd junction ‘All the runners were off the main road’, so the road could be opened again, then back onto the field to prepare for the finish. The ‘Gala Field’ team had about 10 minutes before they needed to have everything ready for the return of the first Fell Race runners.
The finish was down the side of the main ring on the gala field lots of people were sat watching dance groups performing. We were constantly having to warn people to move themselves, their feet, dogs, children, picnic rugs etc, back so they wouldn’t get trodden on by the runners, and the runners would not be tripped up in their dash for the finish. Dave Woodhead (Woodentops Photos) was ready to take finishing photos and helping too; thanks Dave.
At 19 minutes the runners started arriving – I was taking numbers and Sarah timing with the printer watch with John on back up timer. On occasion we would cross check numbers taken with times printed out – it is always a relief when you have the same number and happily we stayed in line. I was aware that drinks were being handed out to hot runners and there was a request to runners to keep the main ring clear for the childrens races.
After the first sheet of numbers (36) were taken I handed over the numbers board to Sarah. She was happy she could take numbers and do the timing with the runners coming in more spaced out by now. I headed back to the tent with the first sheet to start putting the results together – sticking the labels, carefully completed and highlighted for age category for each runner by the Registration Team, into the appropriate boxes. Alan helped me to begin with, shouting over the sound of the Dakota fly past. Lana was busy with some post event massage.
With the last runners in Sarah appeared with the timing prints and the second numbers sheet and helped me finish the results. Amazingly we had them ready for 4pm, just as the gala was finishing, and went off to the Memorial Hall to do the presentations. Gary was already there and ready to go with the results of the Junior Race and lots of chocolates & sweets. While the Junior presentations were on the go I quickly ran through plans for the Senior presentation with Sarah, who sorted the envelopes ready to hand out. Happily most people were there and all went smoothly.
Wandering back onto the gala field as it was emptying and the stalls being dismantled, I had already decided to get an ice cream and ‘take 5’. Sue, Richard and Alan were at the Harriers tent which was half way down. I managed to persuade them that we all deserved an ice-cream ;-). Gary had gone off to make sure the junior route had been fully cleared of stakes and markers. Most of the other marshals, having done their bit, had returned their equipment and bibs, and gone (no need for them to stay!). Some I had not seen at all, and others only very fleetingly but I am always very aware that I am absolutely reliant on their willingness to help, experience and sometimes specialist training, to make this event happen, run smoothly and be a success. The full list is below. Thank you to all who helped and marshalled, used their skill and experience, or learnt new roles, from Becky Weight (Race Organiser) and Bingley Harriers.
|Registration||Fell – Barbara Carney, Sue Cariss, Helen Morrell Jun – Gary Childs, Helen Childs|
|Time Keeping||Fell – John Capenerhurst, Sarah Flaherty Jun – Gary Childs (Jun Race Org’r)|
|Radios / Comms / Field / Microphone||Radio||Alan Weight|
|Race Start||Radio||Becky Weight (& JC & SF Timers)|
|Start Line (Road)||Becky Weight (& JC & SF Timers)|
|Road Closure (Sheriff Ln Jnctn) – Mem Hall||[Gala team – Bill Hall], Robert Adamson, Heather Pearson|
– Spring Lane
|Radio||Dave Weatherhead, Keith Jones, Tony Kingham, Sue Jones|
|Set up finish route and funnel across gala field and in main arena||Robert Adamson, Becky Weight, Alan Weight, John Smithurst, Heather Pearson, Bill Belcher|
|Glen Rd / Saltaire Rd junction for out only.||Pollyanna or Andrew Lickley (with pram?)|
|Quarry Bottom||Rose Green|
|Glen Road Crossing – out & back||Radio||Jane Lewis, Graham Smith, Tim Beckett, Reuben Mantle|
|Trig Point||Radio||Ian Goodyear|
|Otley Road Crossing||Dave Weatherhead, Keith Jones, Tony Kingham, Sue Jones|
|Acorn Turning||Sally Robinson|
|Acorn Stile||Richard Vesey (& Jack)|
|Gala Field Stile||Heather Pearson (or one of Reg’n Team if HP needed on field)|
|Finish Field||Alan Weight, Robert Adamson, John Smithurst, Cadets?|
|Finish Funnel & Numbers||Fell : John Capenerhurst & Sarah Flaherty (Timing) Becky Weight (numbers), Jun : Gary Childs (Watch) Jun : AN Other (Numbers)|
|Drinks||Sue Cariss, Barbara Carney|
|Ensure Junior runners are clear of finish before senior runners come in||Sue Cariss, Barbara Carney|
|Sticky Labels & Results||Fell : Becky Weight & Sarah Flaherty Junior Race : Gary Childs|
|Junior Race Organiser / Race start / timing||3 Radios||Gary Childs (26 Jun – 9 marshalls)|
|Juniors – Gate out (near Acorn)||Richard Vesey (& Jack)|
|Junior – various roles & marshalling locations||Andy Jebb, Emyr Rees, Eva Watson, Helen Childs, Mari Johnson, Michelle Garbutt, Nicky Clay, Sarah Temple|
|Presentation||Fell – Becky Weight,Sarah Flaherty Jun – Gary Childs, AN Other|
Thank you to all who helped and marshalled, used their skill and experience, or learnt new roles, from Becky Weight (Race Organiser) and Bingley Harriers.