It was a tremendous effort at the Bradford Millennium Relay as twenty blue and white vests were out in force on the West Yorkshire Dales. Our two teams finished well inside the top half and only a bit of bad luck squeezed the ‘A’ Team out of a possible podium position. Team Manager – John (Betjeman) Sutton – was really pleased with the Club’s performance on the day and gave the Club this brilliant report of the days events.

Full Results HERE


LEG 1 9.9m/1609ft
Early risers for Leg 1 started from Bingley at 8:00am and headed for Penistone Country Park near Haworth – home of the legendary Woodentops races – with perhaps the toughest section of the course to deal with. Paul Guinan and Brian Fogarty weren’t far off the front for Team ‘A’ until late in the game when a wrong turning put paid to their fine efforts. The Ironman duo dug in to their reserves and got back on track, but it’s fair to say they didn’t look happy chappies as they tagged Jason Harbour and John Sutton at the top of Penistone in 1.33:O9. Guiny and Brian lost about ten minutes and their misfortune had pushed them down to a disappointing thirteenth. Meanwhile Andy Heys, of previous Leg 1 experience, set out for the ‘B’ team with Allan Hartley and this pairing set an excellent benchmark for a top half finish, coming in at fifteenth out of the fifty teams competing. Eyebrows were no doubt raised as they caught a glimpse of Guiny and Brian. Andy and Allan trailed our wandering ‘A’ teamers by less than a minute to handover in 1.34:05.

LEG 2 9.4m/1287ft
From a typically cold and windy Penistone Hill, Harbour and Sutton set out over the Bronte Moors heading for the little known village of Laycock. The little and large pairing began to pick off a few teams, but a frustrating little two minute detour of their own cost them a couple more places. However, Jason and John ran strong together and nudged the ‘A’ Team up to eleventh with a the leg’s seventh best finishing time of 1.13:57 John Orrell and late recruit Martin Kerry were the ‘B’ teamers for this one. John had done his homework on this leg, whilst Martin also had previous experience. Hoping to get around in under 1.40, John exceeded his expectations and more to arrive at Laycock with Martin in a superb 1.27:22. Controversy for Martin before the start of his leg as the second claim Harrier spotted his first claim Blackburn Road Runners on the scene. Quizzed about his allegiances, Martin’s simple reposte was that he hadn’t been asked! As such, the Road Runners’ loss was very much a Harriers gain.


WP_20150628_007John Orrell told us that “From my point of view it was a ‘grand day out’ and would
like to thank Martin Kerry of Blackburn Road Runners for stepping in at
the last minute to partner me and fill the missing link on leg 2 for
the B team. With the temperature down to 13 degrees it was a bit chilly, wet and
windy on the top of Pennistone Hill waiting to start our leg. We took
over from Andy and Alan in 17th place and had moved up to 16th by
Bronte Bridge overtaking Ilkley Harriers across the first moor section.
Sadly though, we lost 4 places over the next 7 miles dropping to 20th
by the change over. A great effort was made by the rest of our boys and only girl Sarah
over the last 3 legs, (now running in more favourable conditions as the
temperature had soared to 22 degrees), eventually bringing the B team
home in 18th place in a time of 7.19.47.”


LEG 3 8m/811ft
As Jason and John arrived at the Laycock changeover to a most unexpected and generously rapturous applause from a tightly packed crowd of runners and officials, Gary Pearse and Mick Toms began their trek to the northern tip of Silsden. It was this pairing which really put Team ‘A’ in to contention towards the top of the leader board. Gary and Mick didn’t mess around, notching the fourth fastest leg time of 58:58 and ascending the team five places up to sixth. There may well have been a generation gap of some forty years between the effervescent Evan Cook and young gun Sarah Toms, but they proved to be a solid partnership, running the thirteenth fastest leg in 1.08:17 and maintaining seventeenth spot for the ‘B’ Team. This sort of off road stuff isn’t Evan’s bag, but despite injury niggles and the milestone of becoming a V65 later in the year, the one time sub 2.25 marathoner did himself and the club proud, as did Sarah who came in to the equation at short notice. In the Top Sun Tan awards, Evan and Sarah swept up the silverware, finishing first as individuals and a pair.


Speaking to the Club after the Race Mick said that “I personally had a fantastic day, a great pairing with Gary and meeting some Blackburn runners that I haven’t met before, the only down side for me was looking at Gary Pearse’s lycra clad legs for 8 miles!!!! Sarah and Evan what a pairing 40 years age difference, Evan said Sarah got a bit exited and set off like a bullet then settled into a good pace when he got over the shock. All good fun and a very good well organised day”.


LEG 4 8.7m/1304ft
Jonathan Bridge had a score to settle with this leg having taken Mark Almond up and down Ilkley Moor – twice – in a much maligned navigational travesty a couple of years ago. There was to be no such drama this time around with no fewer than three recce runs under his belt and a well seasoned BMWR route specialist Chris Barnes in toe as his partner. Jon and Chris ran a very sturdy leg indeed and not only went the right way, but held the ‘A’ Team’s sixth place with an impressive 1.12:22 that was the fifth fastest leg overall. Tagging from Sarah and Evan were the experienced partnership of Richard Taylor and John Cookson. The temperature was rising as early afternoon saw the sun break strongly through the cloud gaps, but Richard and John were undeterred and ran well inside their target of 1.30, changing over at Ilkley in 1.23:33 and holding seventeenth for Team ‘B’. This was a particularly satisfying outing for RT who has done little in the way of race pace stuff of late.

WP_20150628_022Afterwards, Jonathan said that he was  “Delighted to knock 50 mins off my PB on this leg and looking forward to the Welsh Castles Relay . All credit to Sutts for his organisational skills”.

WP_20150628_026John enjoyed the day and told the Club “Leg 4 of the Bradford Millennium Way Relay saw Richard and me take on a leg 4 of 8.5 miles with 1261 ft. of ascent. Richard more than happy bog trotting and fell racing, and me less so ever since once unwittingly doing Pendle Fell race. So not exactly a match made in heaven! Our unspoken ‘team’ tactics, well not so much ‘team’, but more ‘my’ tactics, were to sit in behind Richard on the climbs and get pulled up the hills and for me to do my bit on anything that resembled level ground or downhill and pull Richard along with me. I thought that this was working a treat until at 5 miles when we got to the foot of the main climb and Richard, who at this point had obviously twigged, in gentlemanly fashion insisted I lead the way!!

I did my best, honestly I did, but my lead climbing through the lower level farm fields was short lived and as soon as we hit the tough stuff normal team tactics resumed and I fell in behind Richard as we plodded up to the 1261 ft. summit of the aptly named Black Hill. We eventually reached the top, swung a left, and began our 2 mile gradual descent to the leg 5 five handover point. Bliss you would think bar the fact that it felt like playing hopscotch for 2 miles with technical skills required, that my now tired legs had somehow lost, to place each step carefully on the rocky and uneven terrain. Well at this point the fact we were descending was now lost on me and so i again failed to keep up my end of the unofficial team tactics, as Richard who at this point could only be described as on fire, blazed a trail ahead of me. It seemed like a long final section but soon the terrain become more
forgiving and a gravel path allowed me to at least regroup with Richard as the unmistakable giant figures of leg 5 anchor men Danny T and Wilko came in to view, but not before we passed Jonny O clanking his goat herders bell!

Overall a great time was had. We gained one place in the first mile, passing a female pairing (who I suspect may still be out there), to move the B team into 16th, but just got pipped with only half a mile to go by a Chapel Allerton pairing, so in the end 17th position it had to be. Many thanks to Team Manager, John Sutton, whose persistence (and amusing emails) paid off in getting an A and B team out.

LEG 5 11.6m/1366ft
The afternoon was indeed warming up rapidly and Chris Davies shed garments as he waited to set off with Shaun Livesey on the final leg. First the long sleeved top, then the hat… it was only fitting that Chris set off from Ilkley Moor b’aht ‘at in this weather. Afterall, Shaun doesn’t hang around and pushed Chris who, in fairness, is more renound for his road and cross country endeavours. But it proved to be a fine partnership as they soon hunted down Pudsey Pacers who had a few minutes on them before Bridge and Barnes checked in. Having now shifted the ‘A’ Team up to fifth, with three miles to go they spotted the hooped vests of Keighley Vets and could smell blood. The rest is history as Chris and Shaun flew past them to secure fourth overall back at Bradford and Bingley Rugby Club and the third best time of the day in 1.15:36. An excellent run which capped off an excellent team effort. Paul Wilkinson and Danny Teare flew the flag home for Team ‘B’ with Danny deciding to actually leave Ilkley Moor wi’at. Not everybody has a thick grey carpet like that of Chris Davies to fall back on. Paul and Danny know each other well and whilst suffering a bit as the afternoon reached 22oC, kept their composure to clock 1.46:29 and in the final reckoning, ensure a really great result for team ‘B’ who finished eighteenth. As John Orrell put it in a nutshell, “A grand day out”.

WP_20150628_016Shaun commented “myself and Christopher Davies ran leg 5 for the a team. Chris was reliant on me guiding him round having not done a recce. We were sent on our way by the leg 4 runners Johnathan Bridge and Chris Barnes in 6th position. We soon picked off Pudsey within the first mile. We continued our way along the route until we made our way to the iconic landmark the cow and calf. At the three mile mark we turned right and tackled the one and only tough climb on the 10.7m route. To my surprise and I’m sure to his, Chris seemed to struggle, after a few words of encouragement we made the top. After crossing the Moor we hit the road where Jonathan and Chris were, they told us that fourth were 2 mins ahead. There was still a good 5 mile to run and I just knew we would get them. We ran through a single track wooded section and crested the brow of the hill and we could see them, at this point you hit a downhill tarmac section. Me and Chris flew past them. With only 3 mile to go we continued at a good pace and rounded the last bend and over the finish in fourth. Chris ran really well, it’s always difficult when you don’t know the route or how to judge your effort in relation to it. All in all a good day out and a well done to everyone who ran. Also thanks go to skip, John Sutton”.

Chris added “Chris “I always enjoy these team events, it’s always good when we can come together as a club for the day. Enjoyed running with Shaun Livesey, he guided me round leg 5 brilliantly, just disappointed that I was found wanting a little bit at the 3 – 4 mile mark on the main climb, I felt I let myself down a little bit their but once we got through that I found a decent rhythm again to get to the end of the race. Shaun is right, it’s not always easy when you don’t no were your running so I feel if I could do the same leg again next year I could do al ot better. Well done to the team, 4th place is a great achievement and thanks to John Sutton for organising the whole thing”

WP_20150628_025Paul said “Sunday was a fantastic day for the race. Me and Danny had a bit of climbing to do for the first few miles on leg 5 but we pushed other through it and it was quite enjoyable after that with some nice scenery along the way.overall it was a great team effort and great day out”. For Danny it was the “First time out in a long distance fell relay for the club and it was great. Wilko and I took turns on the front, keeping each other motivated as the temperature kept going up. Didn’t have much in my legs for the last 2 miles ( feeling Saturdays Park Run I think). The pint and free butty went down a treat!”

“My first foray in to team management proved to be a successful one in the end. But in fairness, it took nineteen others to pull it off by actually turning up and doing the business, so a big thank you to all you guys for that and the preparation you put in. From my own personal point of view, I thought it was a cracking event and I enjoyed the day entirely. I particularly enjoyed my leg with Jason and I think it’s fair to say that bro-mance blossomed! I will be happy to put this event on the agenda next year. I don’t quite know how the hell Accy Road Runners put FIVE teams out for this, but it would be great to get two out next year again. Maybe with a bit of fortune in the injury and availability department, some honours too.
Thanks folks

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