Kate Burge Sea-to-Summit Fell Race on the Isle of Man.

A write up after an amazing time over the weekend at the Isle of Man, with Claire Cobley, Ruth, Stu and Findlay Hutchison, Sean Willis and Suzanne Darke.

Saturday 14th July saw the Kate Burge fell race in memory of Kate who was sadly killed whilst cycling home from work on the Isle of Man in 2014. It was also an English Championships race in the 2018 fell running calendar. It starts in Laxey on the east cost of the island and climbs to Snaefell, the highest point of the island. It's a one way route of 8.5 miles and a staggering 3.8k feet of cumulative climb, across this distance and rough moorland terrain on climbing out of Laxey. The first three miles see a solid climb from the promenade to Sileau Roy at 396 metres above sea level, so a solid 1,500 feet climb from sea level right at the start. It's hard, and it's called the Sea to Summit for a reason. Saturday? Solid sunlight, with temperatures around 25 degree C, which made for tricky conditions on the first climb. There are three very hard climbs in the race: Clagh Ouyr, Mullagh Ouyr (the hardest due to tired legs and horrific heat), and the last climb to the summit of Snaefell.

Saddleworth Runners fielded three ladies: Claire Cobley, Ruth Hutchison, and Suzanne Darke. Three men: Peter Cobley, Chris Davies, and Sean Willis. The rest of the pack? Some of the best fell runners in the UK... gulp.

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1701913733

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/gp/petercobley/d4w28X

Kate Burge Sea-to-Summit: http://www.katesrace.co.uk/ and Results for 2018.

All had a cracking weekend initially arriving late on Friday from the catamaran ferry from Liverpool into Douglas at the B&B outside Peel around 11.15pm. Stu, Ruth, Finlay, and myself in one car, with Suzanne and Sean on foot camping outside Douglas. The B&B is a working farm called Knockaloe Beg Farm, that also has people visiting to see the animals and play; see the footage of me on the self-propelled go karts! It was and is a fantastic place in which to relax with excellent facilities, warmth and comfort, and lovely owners. We could not have asked more from Fiona.

Saturday was taken up with the race and the food and music festival after the race laid on for the runners in Laxey on a blazing summer evening. Finlay Hutchison was the small star of the proceedings and went with the flow of being shuttled about in a mostly graceful manner. We delighted in hearing him say "no" or "more"! It was also nice to unexpectedly bump into Chris Davies and his wife; as ever he was on good form.

One highlight was waiting for the tram back from Snaefell with lots of fell runners, bewildered tourists, and then a nice walk back to the promenade in Laxey.

Running Leg 3 of the Bob Graham Round as support, and Kilian Jornet.

The weekend just gone was amazing for a variety of reasons. The weather, the location, the running, the history being made.


Many, unless a fell runner, won't necessarily know about the Bob Graham Round, or the Bob Graham Club. Let me explain... Back in 1932 a Keswick Hotelier, with support from two friends, broke the Lakeland Fell record by traversing 42 fells in The Lake District in 24 hours. He was called Bob Graham, hence the name of the Round. It is classed as the pinnacle of fell running in the UK. Since then over 2,000 people have completed the Round, with many attempts failing. The route is a 66 mile circuit from the Keswick Moot Hall and back again, normally completed clockwise, climbing the 42 names fells, with 27,000 feet of cumulative climb - it is hard, in fact it is a super human feat.

Over the years the route has been refined and developed, with people able to run with support teams, GPS, known routes and so forth. But it is still a severe challenge. The route is broken into five distinct legs (Chris and Des's running support in brackets.)

It is highly planned with support crews meeting the runners at the change of legs. Food is taken on board, shoes changed, with minimum amount of time expended. Cars and people need to be shipped all over the place. Normally a runner on each leg as an absolute minimum will have one person navigating, and another carrying water, food, and kit - the "donkey".

Leg 1: Keswick to Threlkeld. (Richard Mackey, Nick Haynes, Sean Willis, Ed Steele)

Leg 2: Threlkeld to Dunmail. (Richard Mackey, Simon Jump, Ryan Townrow)

Leg 3: Dunamail to Wasdale. (Paul Taylor, Peter Cobley, and Gaynor Keane)

Leg 4: Wasdale to Honister. (Ozzy Kershaw, Scott Newburn, Ed Steele)

Leg 5: Honister to Keswick. (Martyn Hodgson, Monica Boland, Sandrine Fraisse, Jill Davies)

(I've not mentioned all the people who supported in between legs, drove, and provided moral support. It was and is a huge effort. Just look at the Flickr photos.)

The fastest run to date (until the weekend) had been by a famous fell runner called Billy Bland at 13 hours 53 minutes and stood from 1982; yes, that time over that distance and climb, and that's fell runners for you. Unassuming, never heard of, amateur, get on with it. The women's record is currently that set by Jasmin Paris in 2016 at 15 hours 24 minutes.

Over the weekend, Chris Smith and Des Thorpe attempted the Bob Graham Round, setting off from Keswick Moot Hall at 7pm on Friday 7th July. They are members of the Saddleworth Runners, the fell running club I run for. They had 24 hours in which to complete the leg. I myself was running Leg 3 in support. At 6am on Saturday 8th July a person called Kilian Jornet set off with support - he's a famous mountain runner in our circles. More on him to come.

Myself and Leg 3

I was over the moon and nervous after my wife said I'd run as a Donkey on Leg 3. This particular leg is viewed as the hardest due to length and climb, approximately 17 miles and 7,000 feet of cumulative climb, taking in Steel Fell, Bow Fell, Scafell Pike, and Sca Fell.

We arrived at the handover point of Legs 2 and 3 at Dunmail Raise at 2.45am Saturday morning, and saw support crews gathered and headtorches coming off Seat Sandal as others were also attempting the Round.

We picked up the lads and were then off, straight up Steel Fell. It was already hot by 7.15am and this made the running hard, oh so hard. I'll let the pictures tell the story, but it was magical, with a clear day giving unbridled views of The Lakes at their best.

It was an honour to run with Des and Chris as support on Leg 3. Paul Taylor's navigation was "bob on", with Gaynor and I as "Donkey's". The packs were heavy: I myself carried gloves, hat, waterproof top and bottoms, bivvy bag, head torch, emergency food (plus the runner's food) and 4 litres of water, 3 with electrolyte. The heat meant the water was near enough consumed when we hit Wasdale.

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/gp/petercobley/KJaNc7

My Strava for Leg 3: https://www.strava.com/activities/1687428523

The End?

After tough running in extreme heat with temperatures in excess of 25 degrees C, they did it! Both Chris and Des coming in to the Moot Hall at 22 hours and 55 minutes!

Kilian Jornet?

It was an experience to chill out around Keswick on Sunday and to monitor what had been kept a top secret event - less fuss that way. He was supported by some of the UK's top fell and mountain runners. Both Claire and I were lucky to make it to the square outside the Moot Hall to see a 36 year old record broken as he came in at an amazing 12 hours 52 minutes. To greet him was Billy Bland, the legend. Was Jornet tired? Yes. Is he super human? Yes. Is he modest? Yes. Look him up!

But let's not take away from Des and Chris. They spent a year planning and building up to this. That is what it genuinely takes. Well done lads. You deserve it!

A rather HOT Saunders Mountain Marathon 2018

The 2018 Saunders Mountain Marathon started Saturday morning just gone from Grassmere in The Lakes and saw a number of paired and solo runners take on the two day adventure of fell running and navigation.

A regular for Claire and I, we ran as a team on the Fairfield course, which is a score event. To the newbie to fell running, this is where you are given a map on Saturday with checkpoints and you choose which to "nail", with the hardest to get yielding the most points. Fitness and navigation a must, as is your route choice whilst up against some cracking fell runners. You run for day one and carry all your kit for an overnight camp, then run again day two. If late you lose points. You have seven hours for day one, and five hours for day two.

From the Saddleworth Runners, were Stu Hutchison and Lee Bowden, Tanya Haynes and Sandrine Fraisse running as a pair on the Fairfield course, with Paul Taylor running solo on the same course. A great, but very tough two days with the heat being at least 25 degrees C and no cloud cover. Great company and chat at the halfway camp in a beautiful location at Borrowdale.

Strava Day 1: https://www.strava.com/activities/1673800283

Strava Day 2: https://www.strava.com/activities/1673804508

Shrigley Hall Hotel, Kinder, a Curry, Big Daddy and Golf.

The weekend just gone saw a get together with Mr Michael Thompson, Mr Richard Johnson, and Mr Andy Clifton at Shrigley Hall Hotel. A special occasion as we'd not seen Andy for quite a while.

I'd not seen Mike in a while, and certainly not seen Andy in a long time with the same for Richard and Mike; so we were all looking forward to it and choose a rather nice venue - Shrigley Hall Hotel, an excellent location for me calling in on my father on Sunday. We gathered Friday for food at The Windmill in Whiteley Green with Andy getting in for around 9pm and then joining us, with Saturday seeing a marvellous walk across Kinder from Hayfield with the weather clement with excellent views. Good chat was had on what ended up being 8 miles and 2k of climb. Back to the hotel, a couple of hours sleep for me, then off to the curry mile to Mughli for Indian Tapas which was excellent followed by a high street wander, cake and biscuit purchasing. A fell run (gentle) was squeezed in above the hotel with excellent views, breakfast, and some "golf" if that is what you could call it... Can't wait for the next catch up.


Cake Race, Coiners Fell Race, and Old County Tops (Gulp)

The Cake Race was my first attempt at organising a fell running race, and by no means an easy choice.

Bank Holiday Saturday, 5th May 2018 saw over 200 runners participate on a glorious but scorching hot day with the temperature in excess of 25 degrees C. Planning started back in the last quarter of 2017 and I'm pleased I started early as it made for smooth running of the race, and a complete understanding of where we were at each stage. Consents had to be gained from the likes of Yorkshire Water and National Trust Marsden with support from a team of Marshalls, helpers, and Holme Valley Mountain Rescue. What made the ran the more stressful was the first use of Fabian4 for online entries, and Racetek for tracking; big thanks is due to Ellie and Adrian from Fabian4 who were on site to support us.

All went seamlessly. Yes, there were a fee glitches, but that's what happens in a big race! The photos below sum up why it was worth it. Happy runners and helpers, with all having a good race, whether running or not.



Monday of the Bank Holiday saw me race at Coiners fell race at Mytholmroyd, and boy what a race that was, 7 miles with a long climb to Stoodley Pike in 30 degree heat; a beast. But fun. I got an idea of what the Cake Racers had felt.


This weekend is a gulp moment, as I am entered into the Old County Tops fell race running as a pair with Gareth Evans from the Saddleworth Runners.


Yes, 37 miles and 10k feet of climb this Saturday...


Typing away on a cold and damp week in the North West

Well, typing away during a cold, damp, and dank week in the Man Cave office in Saddleworth. Thankfully it is nice and toasty in the house, with the wood burner on. Claire is with her parents descending on Hebden Bridge. Does Ronnie know it's deep secrets? I wonder. I may take him out for a pint and divulge all. Ted is engaged in "Ted TV" which entails sitting on top of a sofa, looking outside of the window, and woofing at bystanders who foolish pass in front of his domain.

This week has been a nice recovery from the Anglezarke Amble, as organised by the LDWA, on Saturday. 25.2 miles and approximately 4k of culmulative climb from Rivington and back, taking in the Pike, Winter Hill, Darwen Tower and Anglezarke Moor and reservoir. A beautifully scenic race normally, but Saturday's conditions meant it was appalling weather, cold, damp, raining all day, with snow underfoot, and very boggy conditions. All runners struggled, some more than most. At times I could not feel my fingers even with SealSkinz gloves on, to the point that I could not handle running vest buckles or my phone. On getting wet you chilled right down to the core and the only option was to move, or drop out. We were nearly broken at the second to last checkpoint prior to Great Hill with Claire really struggling with the cold, and the bad cough she had. That said we pushed on, completed it, got the time on our feet which will be helpful for the Edale Skyline in March... gulp.



Updating the Found Us website with new roles.

Well it's the start of 2018 and I have decided to upload some roles to the Found Us website. Please do have a read and pass the word. That said we don't really post roles as we are not a traditional recruiter. We generally craft roles for senior people and clients as we meet business needs, part of the consultancy offering of Found Us.

So, we don't really have roles to promote since we promote people and clients, matching both to each other and working together collaboratively to define a person's place in a company.

It works and we are proud that after four years of hard work we excel at bringing senior people together "off radar" and in a professional manner. We create the right roles for people, and find the right people for businesses.


Well it is the Trigger this Sunday 14th January 2018.

Well it is not long until the Trigger fell race which is this Sunday 14th January 2018, one of the more daunting fell races that I have undertaken - approximately 24 miles and 5,000 feet of cumulative climb, at a time of year when weather conditions can be atrocious. It is classed as an (in)famous fell race over the moors.


Of my friends I ask a favour. Ryan Townrow is a one of the Saddleworth Runners, who I run with, and a great guy. Sadly his beloved niece is suffering from a terrible condition called MPS III (Sanfilippo Syndrome) that will shorten her life. To raise money for the care of his niece Ryan is racing the Trigger and then running from Edale all the way back to Marsden, the Trigger in reverse; so approximately 50 miles and 10,000 feet of cumulative climb.

If you could donate to his JustGiving page, then I'd be grateful.