Darren Holloway Memorial Race 2013
Photographs from the event can be found here
Last October Darren sadly died while racing in his beloved fells doing the Ian Hodgson Relay race. As a measure of the respect that his fellow fell runners held him in the inaugural Darren Holloway Memorial race was held on 28th June 2013.
Cumberland fell runners found a challenging race that had not been run for several years called the Buttermere Horseshoe. With the enthusiastic support of the Pennine fell runners this was suggested as a fitting tribute to Darren and was renamed in his honour. The race was not for the fainthearted being 21.2 miles long and comprising of 9,100ft of climbing. Navigation skills were a requirement to run the race.
Initially the organisers were only anticipating about 50 runners but entries flooded in and over a 100 runners were at the start line.
Pennine were well supported but despite not being specialist fell runners there were several local runners who wanted to support the event. Ilkeston’s Jonathan Pitts was keen to run and arrived with his friend Andrew Hunter from Beeston Running Club. Long Eaton runners Bill Sheppard and Dicky Wilkinson also entered and a special mention for Phil Walters from Long Eaton who requested that he be allowed to run in an Ilkeston vest for the event.
The start of the race was at the village hall at a small village called Loweswater. After a few words from Neil, Darren’s cousin, Amanda, Darren’s wife, started the race.
The first section of race was downhill and on tarmac but that did not last very long before the serious part of the race started. The runners headed over the fells and the spectators headed across to the 4th checkpoint at Newlands Pass where it was possible to see the runners descending from Whiteless Pike and then starting the next section up the steep climb of Buttermere Moss towards Dale Head and then the Honister Pass. This was the only other assessable part of the course for spectators and was approximately half way. After that there were no roads close to the course and the runners had no option to drop out – the course had to be completed.
The race continued via checkpoints at Innominate Tarn, High Stile and Melbreak before the final descent into Loweswater. As the runners entered Loweswater the sight of the village pub greeted them but sadly for them the race continued uphill for a further 200 yards past the pub back to the village hall. The race was won by a local runner Simon Booth from Borrowdale in 4.02.27 and the first lady was Jasmin Parris in 4.36.38.
Dicky Wilkinson – 5.37.59
Andrew Hunter –6.04.46
Jonathan Pitts- 6.20.29
Phil Walters – 7.17.35
Bill Sheppard – 7.55.16
Amanda presented specially designed trophies to the first male and female runners.
Whilst the consensus was that the race was tough it was a race that Darren would have enjoyed and it seems very fitting that this race will now carry his name and hopefully continue for many years.
Another Report from Jonathon Pitts
Darren Holloway Memorial aka The Buttermere Horseshoe
Saturday morning and I am greeted by a sobering thought as I look around me. I am surrounded by the numerous peaks and ridges that have to be tackled in this morning’s fast approaching race. The Buttermere Horseshoe is hosted, organised, and marshalled by Cumberland Fell Runners. It has not been run since 1992, but after the sudden death of Darren last year it has been resurrected and honourably named in his memory.
The race is 34k in distance with an overall height gain of 2800m. In old money that is 22 mile with a 9000ft climb. A bit of a beast!
Although I am a Fell running novice, neither the distance nor the climb concerns me. What is troubling me is the fact that I didn’t want to run further or higher than I needed to, so I roped in a gullible fool in the shape of Beeston ac’s Andy Hunter, a top runner with fell running experience, familiar with parts of the route and most importantly, good at pre and post race theory.
We made our way to the village hall for registration and kit inspection. Once there, I was humbled by what seemed like a hero’s welcome; hugs from Amanda and Carole and the usual firm handshake and a pat on the back from Rob followed by words of encouragement like “rather you than me”
After a few touching words from Neil, Daz’s cousin to remind us why we were there, I tightened my laces, pulled my straps firmly on my back pack and trotted off like a spring lamb full of energy. My plan was to take it very steady. This is what I did, unlike the rest of the field that sped off into the distance. After a gentle couple of km [sorry no miles on this one due to map reading] we emerged from the woods. Ahead of me, disappearing skywards were a long line of runners, bent forward with hands on knees speed walking up the first climb to checkpoint 1, Whiteside standing at 700m. The clouds were whisping hurriedly over the peak, indicating a different climate at the top.
There was only one pace to the top and it didn’t feel much slower than running, you had to move at the speed of the person in front and behind. Towards the top my phone bizarrely started to ring, I immediately thought of Andy who was behind me and out of sight. Earlier we had been laughing at the state of his Inov fell shoes. They looked like they had done ten rounds with a pit bull, then with his feet placed in them his toes poked out the sides. I was convinced they would disintegrate and he would not finish. He was fondly attached to them and insisted there were lots of miles left in them. I stepped to the side, stopped and turned around to see him emerge through the clouds; his shoes intact and still attached to his feet. I took the call and booked a boiler service for Tuesday.
We dibbed at the CP and started to run along the ridge. To our right there was the 500m drop of Gasgale Crags. Awesome sight. Underfoot it was very slippy, the rocks and boulders were greasy and moved as you stepped on them. Care was needed. A female runner, directly in front of us went down hard. Her chest took the full impact on the rocks and her head took a knock giving a nasty cut under her eye. Although badly winded she insisted she was ok. Already the marshals from the next cp were on there way. They saw everything so we left.
From Hopegill Head [770m] a sharp descent of 250m across the heather onto the path that immediately climbs to Grassmoor [850m] Then from Grassmoor another big descent followed by a huge climb to Whiteless Pike. If you haven’t got the picture yet, these are some serious ‘ups and downs.’ On the approach to Whiteless I was flagging, Andy was ahead. I dibbed and then I saw him disappear over the edge; he clearly had decided to quit and commit suicide rather than walk back down the mountain. I trotted over expecting to see him at the bottom of a ravine; instead I was met with a stunning drop of 450m peppered with runners bounding down over the heather to the stream far below, and yes, up the other side. This scene was viewed from below at the cp and it was said we looked like sheep throwing themselves off the mountain. At the check point; Amanda and family were there flanked by Rob and Carole. Their support was top stuff and I got second wind…………until the climb started in earnest again. I was a third of the way round.
Time to dig in.
From here it was a long trek to the next cp; I was struggling to keep up with Andy. He is very good on the down bits, he attacks them fiercely. In the blink of an eye he can put some serious distance between us. I decided to let him go and navigate myself. Runners were scattered all over the moss bogs and the going was extremely tough. I put my trust in my compass and kept a close eye on my map. The miles [yes miles!] slowly rolled by and the check points dibbed.
Suddenly I went down in a heap in a soft bog, I couldn’t think why. I picked myself up and carried on. The same thing happened again minutes later. The reality of tired legs was beginning to hit home. I roused myself and for a few minutes I felt stronger. Until in front the horrific sight of Hay Stacks appeared. If it was to be any steeper I would have needed a climbing rope.
I trod slowly up with the sound of Julie Andrews singing ‘lonely goat’ in my head. This torturous tune had been with me a while as it was Andy’s alarm call that woke us this morning. I began to think about Daz. What a trouper, a seriously good runner to achieve all he did living where we live. You can be a good runner but this stuff really does sort the men from the boys.
I tagged onto a young couple, Chris and Catherine from Keswick Runners. Chris was struggling terribly with cramp and I thought he would not see it to the finish. Catherine was switched on, she had done her homework. We contoured round the high bits and cut corners where we could.
Two more peaks, High Stile and Melbreak and the distant finish of Loweswater was getting ever closer. My only criticism of this race is the last 100m takes you past the Kirkstile Inn ,where the temptation to stop, lie down have a pint and go to sleep will be too difficult to resist. True to form the smiling face of Rob was there, pint in hand to encourage me to the finish. I passed him, but not before taking the top off his Loweswater Gold. Nectar! [I later found out the brew was intended for Long Eaton Phil—sorry mate]
I finished in a time of 6hr 20mins; the winner completed the task in just over 4hr. My watch said 36k, I must have made some serious navigation errors The last 5miles were extremely slow, following the contours took us the long way round over very difficult terrain. What the heck, time and position is irrelevant, what is relevant is 100 or so runners went out to pay tribute to Daz- a husband, a dad, and a runner immortalised in a race named after him.
None of this would have happened if it was not for the fantastic organisation by CFR. I understand it is on the calendar for next year. I look at my bruised and battered legs peppered with midge bites and think will I do it again …….Probably.
Post race theory in the Kirkstile with Andy
Caroline Lawson– Member of Ilkeston running club.
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And raced for the last time the hills on laughter-muddy trainers.
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun split clouds - and done a hundred climbs
Running and running high in the sunlit silence. Hovering there …
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager feet through grass, mud and pools
Up, up the long delirious burning summits
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace,
And while, with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high, intruded purity of space
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
Keep on running Darren. You were a gentleman and will be sadly missed.
My condolence to Amanda and family.
Col and Jac
Darren was a well known , respected and loved person who had the time of day for everyone.
His cheery way of life his knowledge of running and cycling will sorely be missed by all those who new him
personally or through his blog " laidbackfellrunner"
He was a modest person who probably never new how much he was an inspiration to others.
At 42 years old he had managed to pack more experiences in to his life than some will do in twice that amount. Our thoughts are with Amanda, Josh and family and all those that knew him and was
touched by his generosity.
Rob and Carol Sharratt
Great human being.
Worked hard, played hard and loved his animals.
Will always be remembered for cracking the bob graham challenge - or was it bob martin?, never too sure and whilst others have played at running leg 4 of the hilly 100 relay, Darren beat it into submission.
Last spotted at the parwich panoramic 5 - where he bought me and the wife a pint and a half of robinson's best bitter - well he had been finished for quite a while, so i owe you mate, but no carling, darling!
God bless you Darren, you were a diamond.
So sad that you are no longer with us you was such an inspiration to us all.
We had a lot of laughs when we went on the hilly one hundred, you made
hills look like humps will never forget.
Big John from Ilson