Dark Peak Ladies

Billy Bland Challenge

16th June 2013

Below is the report that is posted on my website (www.runbg.co.uk) and the reports that Willy Kitchen was posting on the Dark Peak website as he was receiving various texts throughout the day.

In 2012 when the Dark Peak Ladies did the Billy Bland challenge in foul conditions and completed in 18 hours and 51 minutes everyone thought that we could do a better time in good weather. I was willing to organise it again and put together a sub 18 hour schedule.

Leg 1 Ruth Batty, Debs Smith and Lynne Bland

The weather when we arrived was heavy rain and strong winds however by 3am though it had abated slightly and Ruth, Debs and Lynne set off carrying the same baton that did the relay in  2012! They had a great run even though it was claggy most of the way round and completed on schedule in 3 hours and 27 minutes.













Leg 2 - Heather Marshall and Judith Jepson

The clag looked to be lifting and I was confident they would be up on schedule by Dunmail so I met Jenny and was planning to be ready to go for 9.15am. However I was still sat drinking tea (but looking out of the window at 9.25 when I saw them come over the crest of Seat Sandal. Me and Jenny rushed to tie our shoes; luckily all our kit was ready to go. Heather and Jude had completed in the leg in 3.06 which is amazingly fast!














Leg 3 - Nicky Spinks and Jenny Caddick.

We set off up Steel Fell still sorting our stuff out and I was trying to turn a tracker on while chasing Jenny! We made good time across the Langdales and were glad when the cloud came across and covered the sun as it was getting too hot! Climbing Billy Bland's Rake we both felt a little tired and got some food down. We soon picked up after Great End though when the finish was in sight. Broad Stand was slippery and not pleasant at all so we lost time there but Jenny set off at a cracking pace down to Wasdale and I struggled to keep up. We finished in 4 hours 22 minutes !


Leg 4 - Kirsty Bryan Jones and Claire Oliffe

Kirsty and Claire were already half way up Yewbarrow when we'd had a cup of tea and so we hurried round to Honister as I thought they could be faster than last year. I got a text off Willy Kitchen to say the tracker had been working and to pass it onto Leg 5 runners. Arriving at Honister I met the others and kept a close eye on Grey Knotts! Kirsty and Claire appeared about 30 minutes ahead of schedule completing the leg in 3 hours and 28 minutes.


Leg 5 - Helen Elmore and Pippa Wilkie

Helen, Claire and Rachel had completed this leg in 2012 in 1.51 hours and so it was the only leg where maybe it couldn't be done faster. Helen and Pippa set off at a run up Dale Head though and so we drove round to Newlands and sat by the church watching for them. Low and behold they appeared at full sprint dropping their bumbags (along with tracker!) at our feet as they flew passed. We got to the Moot Hall and waited in anticipation. They appeared round the corner still sprinting and touched the Moot Hall having completed the leg in an amazing 1hour and 41 minutes.

So our overall time was 16 hours and 4 minutes!



Team Photo below - left to right - Claire Oliffe, Lynne Bland, Pippa Wilkie, Helen Elmore, Kirsty Bryan-Jones, Nicky Spinks, Debs Smith. The others had to get off home!


Billy Bland form and times

Billy Bland Challenge Data Entry Form 2013                
Club Dark Peak Fellrunners              
Category Ladies              
Start Date / Time Sunday 16th June 3am              
Location Runners Time of Day Team Time (A) Billy Time Delta Billy Team Leg Billy Leg Time  
          Time (A-B) Time    
Moot Hall   03:00:00   00:00:00        
Threlkeld Ruth Batty, Debs Smith & Lynne Bland 06:27:00 03:27:00 02:16:00 01:11:00 03:27:00 02:16:00  
Dunmail Raise Judith Jepson & Heather Marshall 09:33:00 06:33:00 05:00:00 01:33:00 03:06:00 02:44:00  
Wasdale Nicky Spinks and Jenny Caddick 13:55:00 10:55:00 08:45:00 02:10:00 04:22:00 03:45:00  
Honister Kirsty Bryan Jones and Claire Oliffe 17:23:00 14:23:00 12:05:00 02:18:00 03:28:00 03:20:00  
Moot Hall Helen Elmore and Pippa Wilkie 19:04:00 16:04:00 13:58:00 02:06:00 01:41:00 01:53:00  


Willy (Roving Reporter) Dark Peak ongoing Updates

DP women's Billy Bland Challenge underway

And last but not least ... not entirely sure of the time on the final leg - Nicky will no doubt give us all chapter and verse in due course, but it's somewhere between 1 hour 40 and 1 hour 43.  At least 10 minutes quicker than Billy B, and equals or betters Dallam's men's record for the leg set in 2011.  That's all, folks.

... and now for a bit of time travel ... 

7.04pm.  That's a new record in the bag - 16hrs and 4mins.  Huge congratulations to all involved.

7.10pm.  Actually, I think I prefer the tracker to the webcam.  Can't one of you run back with it to meet Helen and Pippa?

7.03pm.  Well they're all at the Moot Hall now eating fish and chips and awaiting Helen and Pippa's arrival.  Give us a wave, girls.  You can see it all as it happenshere.

6.55pm.  Relieved to report Lynn has stirred and is headed for the chippy.

6.52pm.  Clare reports she and Kirsty ran leg 4 in 3hrs 28mins, which is another leg record ... and only 8 minutes slower than Billy Bland.  The trackers in the car now, mind, so suggest y'all get on to the Keswick webcam now to keep eyes peeled for the returning hero(in)es.  I'll be back with the link in a mo.

6.42pm.  Looks like they've hit the road.  Not too long now.

6.23pm.  Last year, Helen, Clare and Rachel Horn ran 1.48 for the final leg, and were thus the only leg to beat Billy Bland's own split times (a remarkable 1.53 for the final leg).  The men's record for the leg (subject to any relay completions this month) is held by Dallam at 1.43 ... wonder how close Helen and Pippa can get to that then.

6.02pm.  The tracker's woken up ... Helen Elmore and Pippa Wilkie appear to be in the col between Hindscarth and Robinson, which puts them more than an hour and a half up on schedule, and the team on schedule therefore to complete in something under sixteen and a half hours ... which would really be something else.  More soon.

5.05pm.  Well, either she's been stopped by the Cumbria Constabulary, is visiting a tea shop near Loweswater, or else the reception at Honister is dodgy.  Previous experience suggests this final explanation.  We'll be hoping to hear more news by about 6pm.  In the meantime, I'm still a bit worried that Lynn may remain stuck in her tent.  Either that, or there's a 'no speaking to the press' news blackout in operation.

3.12pm.  Confirmation from Nicky, en route to Honister by road, that they took approx. ten minutes off the schedule for leg three.  That means 4hrs 30 mins, give or take, and it's three leg records in a row.  Kirsty Bryan-Jones and Clare Oliffe now in charge of the baton.  For those who fancy a bit of alternative entertainment, the tracker is now making its erratic way by road in Nicky's van to Honister.  Any chance we can get her banged to rights for speeding?

3.02pm.  At the Co-op in Crookes buying cat litter. No news out of Wasdale yet. Perhaps they're following my lead and have gone for a pint at the Wasdale Head Inn?

1.31pm.  Just descending off Scafell summit.  They've picked up another 10mins by the looks of it. Tracker likely to fizzle out at Wasdale. Time to potter back from the pub. Hopefully by the time I'm home there'll be news that Lynn's stirred from her tent ...

12.59pm. Col below Scafell Pike and gaining.

11.49am.  Looks like they're at the foot of Billy Bland's rake, approximately an hour up on the overall schedule.  My lips are currently sealed as to what that schedule is, of course, but if you get yourselves down to the Norfolk Arms in Ringinglow, I might be persuaded to spill the beans.  Like all good hacks, I never reveal my sources (except when offered free beer).

10.59am.  Tracker indicates they're just coming off Harrison Stickle, which means they're holding, perhaps marginally gaining upon, the record schedule.  Bearing in mind last year's wet weather conditions, and Jenny's liking for Lakeland rock, my guess is we might see them nibble into the schedule a bit more over the second half of the leg - but I suspect there's not quite so much slack in this leg.  The schedule aims to knock 16 mins off last year's record split.  Dr - the Beast - Dave, is roping up on Broad Stand; 40 years young and no doubt leaving Grandad Sykes minding the kids, so the perfect Father's Day for all concerned.  Meanwhile, back in sunny Sheffield, your correspondent is trying to drum up support for a rendezvous at the Norfolk Arms ... or may be the Nag's Head.  Time to get the running kit on.

10.09am.  Brought to you by the wonders of modern technology, you can now follow Jenny and Nicky's progress on leg three via this link.  It may be that the GPS tracker is behaving a bit oddly, or it may be that Nicky's not quite got the full hang of the technology (always gratifying to be able to document her weaknesses), but either way they were last recorded somewhere just beyond Calf Crag, maintaining the advantage calved out over legs one and two.  If you're really interested, you can also follow a backlog of pointless training and navving in and around Upper Hopton and the Langsett Moors.  Your correspondent is finally raising himself to go enjoy a Father's Day breakfast, possibly courtesy of his best beloved daughter, but more likely not ... back soonish.

10am.  Shocking allegations of financial inducements to leg two runners. It's not entirely clear who offered the topshop vouchers in the event of them smashing the leg two time, but Heather tells me they'd "... better not be lying". It could get ugly yet.

9.32am.  Changeover completed, with Jenny Caddick and Nicky Spinks now on there way up Steel Fell. By my reckoning, that means Heather and Jude took a whole hour off last year's leg time which, notwithstanding much improved weather conditions, is pretty gob-smacking.  3.05 for the leg, give or take - Billy Bland took 2.44 and the men's relay record currently stands at 2.58.  Still dry, with cloud free tops.

9.29am. Jude and Heather sighted coming off Seat Sandal ... if Ruth can be trusted to distinguish runners from sheep this year, then that means they've absolutely decimated last year's leg two time.

8.59am. I'm assured there's no truth whatsoever in the rumours that errant members of the road support have been skip-sifting again.

8.33am.  In response to my request for an interview, Lynn offers "Yay. Not sure if I can get out of the tent though now!". I think this is a comment on how her legs are feeling rather than evidence for Fergie-like tendencies, but you can never quite tell with these cycling types ... 

6.27am.  Through Threlkeld, with the baton passing to Judith Jepson and Heather Marshall; the much improved conditions from last year clearly suited Ruth, Lynn and Debbie - that's a whopping 32 minutes they've taken off last year's leg time, which also means (subject to any results posted earlier this month) that R, L and D now hold the women's record for leg one on the relay, making it a full house for the DP women after last year's record breaking run.  Great stuff, folks.

3am.  They're off - Ruth Batty, Lynn Bland and Debbie Smith carrying the baton; the wind's dropped and the clouds are clearing.  What's less certain is whether they're also carrying the "three tubs of chocs" which the women's team picked up at Buckden Pike yesterday for winning the Yorkshire championship.