So, we’re down to wire. The 2019 fell race championships will reach a leg-sapping, lung-busting finale on the slopes of the Roaches in a few weeks’ time. Some of the titles have already been decided, but several are still up for grabs. We take a look at the standings and attempt to untangle the final permutations.
Next (and final) race: The Roaches, Sun 10 Nov.
With her run at Curbar, Fran Cummins becomes the second Strider to hit 500 points for the season and take the lead in the senior women’s race. Fran looks likely to hold on and take the title unless Gillian Allen can pick up an extra 6 points (or 16 if Fran runs too). Given the winning women’s time at the Roaches is usually around 2:35, Gillian will have to finish in about 2:50 or quicker and hope Fran has a stinker (or stays in bed).
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With Lucy Broom reaching 5 qualifying races by finishing Curbar, the women’s V40 title is decided, with Lucy taking the crown. Sallyann Winslow finishes runner up. She can close the gap to Lucy but even if she were to win The Roaches she couldn’t take the top spot.
Jill Davies has closed the gap to Nicola Rafferty after Curbar. But Nicola has too great a lead and will hang on to take the title – regardless of what happens at the Roaches. Jill will finish a worthy runner up however and has a new category to challenge for in 2020.
Dot Kesterton’s run at Grindleford remains the sole V60 women’s appearance of the year. Although Dot will likely finish top, she won’t have completed enough races to qualify.
Despite missing several races in the latter part of the season, Paul Middlemas looks nailed on to take the senior men’s title. Second placed Joseph Mallinshaw can’t catch Paul, but with a race to go, Hal Roberts and Chris Jones could take the runners up spot if they finish the Roaches and Joseph doesn’t finish significantly ahead of them.
Probably the tightest race of the year. Louis Wood currently leads and should he finish the Roaches looks likely to take the title. But if he misses it, both Jason Brannan or Nigel Barnes could grab the top spot. Jason has to hope Louis isn’t there, or finish in around 2:20 (assuming a winning time of 2:05) and hope Louis is behind him. Nigel needs both Louis and Jason to miss the race and to finish in around 2:15 or quicker to snatch the crown.
Traditionally one of the closest contests, and this year is no exception. A season long battle between Paul Stuart and Mark Platton is too close to call. If one of them races and the other doesn’t, the one who turns up wins. But we don’t want that! Assuming they both finish, the elves have calculated that Mark needs to run about 2:45 or quicker and hope Paul runs slower than 2:40. If they both run faster, Paul has to beat Mark by around 5 minutes to hang on. If they both run slower, Paul should hang on to top spot. It’s gonna be tight. And it’s a long shot, but if either Nick Kirk or Rob Davies manage to finish quicker than 2:15 they have an outside chance of breaking into the top two.
Fell supermo, Andy Buck, regains top spot in his category with his run at Curbar, but it’s too late for him to qualify for the champs, meaning there will be no V60 award this year. But can Andy show us what might have been with a strong performance at the Roaches?
Full results, scores and standings can be analysed at leisure on the Fell Race Championship spreadsheet.