The days leading up to this year’s Chevy Chase were an organiser’s nightmare with an amber weather warning for rain and flood warnings throughout the region.
A month’s rainfall was predicted the night prior to the event which would fall on already water laden hills.
Torrential rain indeed came and an early morning inspection of the burns forced a decision to shorten the race route to avoid any burn crossings except using safe bridges.
The superb team of helpers and marshals rose to the challenge of a last minute reorganisation with the marshals setting off earlier to revised checkpoints and the registration team preparing to inform competitors of the route changes.
A total 77 walkers and 145 runners arrived for the event; unfortunately some from further afield were unable to risk travelling in the poor weather; although one runner had made it all the way from Australia!
The decision to alter the route meant there was some disappointment of not racing over Cheviot and Hedgehope.
But the revised route still proved to be a challenge, the distance was measured as somewhere between 15 and 16 miles depending on which line competitors took.
The extremely wet preceding month’s had resulted in extremely boggy ground. Although no heavy rain fell the hills were totally clagged in with visibility down to a few feet even at lower checkpoints. This resulted in some navigational errors with runners and walkers appearing at checkpoints from all directions.
A small group battled it out for the top places in the fell race with navigational precision deciding the placing. It was Carl Bell of Howgill Harriers’ in his first Chevy Chase who led the way in a time of 1:54:48.
In second was Hugh Aggleton of Mynyddwry De Cymru in 1:55:31. Phil Sanderson of Elswick Harriers was third and also first V40 in 1:57:39. Peter Rooney of South Shields Harriers was a delighted winner of the V50 category in 2:11:38.
Peter Reed of Northumberland Fell Runners (NFR) successfully defended his V60 title. First local runner was Bruce Crombie of Alnwick Harriers in 2:10:01.
The team trophy was won by the NFR team of, Nick Swinburn, Phil Green and Mark Watson with 28 points.
Angela Mudge won the ladies race in a time 0f 2:10:16 placing a commendable 8th overall. In second place was the diminutive, but tough Steph Scott in 2:36:43. Henrietta Bolton Carter of Wooler Running Club was cheered home in third place.
All of the first three ladies were in the V40 category. Marie Louise Drozdowicz was the winner of theLV50 trophy in 3:3:05. Pam Brown of Wooler RC won the first local lady trophy in 2:57:08.
The walk was fiercely contested with both men and lady walkers vying for the top ten places. Tim Matthewson was the overall winner with an excellent time of 3:38:16.
In second place and also first MV50 was Glenn Cartner in 3:46:25. Third place went to Keith Robson in 3:51:08. Dieter Hofmann strolled in as the first V60 trophy in a time of 3:51:05, he would also have qualified for a V70 prize! David Bertram was the first local man in 4:06:26.
The Ladies cup was this year won by Fiona Mckenzie who was also the first V50 with a time of 3:38:17. Angela Huddleston was second in 3:46:25, Angela also won the local lady trophy. In third place was Tara Bertram.
The first V50 was Christine Farnsworth and Margaret Thompson of Elvet Striders crossed the line together to share the LV60 trophy in 5:15:25.
The Cheviot Angels team of Fiona, Angela and Joyce took the team prize with 14 points.
The Geordie Douglas Memorial Trophy is presented to the oldest and boldest competitor and was won by Dieter Hofmann.
The Alan Gardener Trophy, which celebrates the Spirit of the Chevy was presented to The Young family, Susan, Kenny and Duncan.
These are dedicated marshal’s, who managed to get slightly mislaid in the mist for an hour on Friday evening whilst taking water to their checkpoint.
They still returned to help the next day and had great sympathy for those competitors who also became geographically embarrassed!
On line entries for the 2013 Chevy Chase will be available on-line from February 1.