Cop Hill fell race report 2022 by Neil Schofield

All photos by Steve Frith / Mozzie Photography

Race date: Sunday 6th November 2022

Race distance: 6 miles

Race report by Neil Schofield

A knee injury in May ripped the heart out of my club championship aspirations, as so many Striders were enjoying success on the roads, trails and fells in a Summer that seemed to go on forever, I was confined to a slow rehabilitation and, by the time I was race-ready, too many road and fell races had been contested and Nick Booker and Al Cook were already sitting pretty and unassailable at the top of the respective M50 piles. However, in the trail championship some bad luck in terms of cancelled trail races had allowed me to at least dream of a chance to compete, as my two outings earlier in the year meant that there was still chance to get five trail races in and attempt to trouble Adam McAuley sitting at the top of that particular tree.

So, it was with this in mind that I entered the ominously titled Cop Hill fell race. Greeted to a misty morning in Sheffield, 15 Striders began the hour or so drive North to the village of Meltham, at the foot of Cop Hill. Car share talk of the previous day’s parkrun cup and National XC exploits made the journey quick and pleasurable and by race time we had found ourselves in gorgeous West Yorkshire sunshine. Numbers pinned to vests we were ready to go after a quick warm up around the cricket pitch and the obligatory team photo.

Looking across the faces lining up for the photo I could see that there were others that had smelled the blood of their competitors. Jim Rangeley was there, attempting to fend off a late drive by Seth Kirby for the Senior crown; Laura Mella, whilst not being fully fit was there to make sure her FSEN top spot was safe from contenders Laura Rangeley, Helen Royles and Lisi Briggs. Robin Nelson was hoping to make ground on Malcolm Baggeley in the M40 category, as was Nada Ross in the F50 category and Nicole Nield in F60. In the M50 category it seemed that Paddy Treehowes had the same idea as me, him being just the one place behind Adam and fresh from a sub 20 at Hillsborough the previous day. Things were going to be tasty!

After an elaborate count of the field reminiscent of a five-person Cèilidh we were off sprinting for the first stile and unfettered access to the foothills of the Cop. Seth had given us Striders this advice from his experience last year, as the field can bottleneck at this first obstacle so best to get through early even if you can’t sustain the effort throughout the race. I did just this and quickly realised that I wouldn’t be able to sustain it for even a minute longer, as I watched Seth trot off up the hill, never to be seen again.

The course is from Meltham sports club up through farmland to the Blackmoorfoot reservoir and onto Cop Hill. Before descending once more and doing the whole thing over again. At just under 10k the course had equal amounts of lung-busting ascents and gloriously fast descents, with a few muddy trails interspersed throughout. After my initial reality check I settled into a decent rhythm and managed to overtake a few on the ups and hold my own on the downs, coming in a satisfactory 20th in a time of 46 minutes on the dot. Was it enough to get me closer to Adam’s points total? Time would tell.

Just after I finished, the heavens opened and the remaining participants out on the course were treated to some proper fell-running weather, but we all made it back and into the clubhouse for a well-deserved cuppa and piece of cake. We swapped stories of how we all thought we’d done rather well and as the microphone was picked up to announce prizes we all decided to stay in case the Striders could take home some silverware. After all, the race was also doubling up as the Yorkshire Veterans’ Athletics Association fell championship. If nothing, we had quite a few ‘veterans’ amongst our number. As each category was read out we realised that maybe this fact had meant that the field had been stacked with some very competent older runners and, sadly, our club came away cupless, but this did not detract from an absolutely lovely morning out in Meltham. [Editor’s note: after an appeal and a recount, Laura Mella, Nada Ross and Nicole Nield were award 3rd place F35, F55 and F65 respectively, so not a cupless trip after all!] Thanks must go to the boffins behind the scenes who put our championships together (Tim/Louis/Kate) as without them we would never have got the chance to enjoy such a fantastic day out.

The men’s race was won by Jordan Eastwood of Slaithwaite Striders in a time of 38:34 and first lady was Helen Haigh of Holmfirth Harriers in 45:32. Seth Kirby was first Strider home in 12th place and 42:58. Mental mathematics not my strong point but my 20th place in 46:00 gets me over 80 points I believe – I’m coming for you Adam!!!

Pos Name Cat Time
12 Seth Kirby MSEN 42:58
20 Neil Schofield M50 46:00
50 Ian Stinson M50 51:32
53 Robin Nelson M45 52:01
66 Paddy Treehowes M55 53:35
74 Laura Mella F35 54:39
79 Matt Broadhead M45 55:32
83 Jim Rangeley MSEN 56:12
109 Helen Royles-Jones FSEN 01:00:01
123 Kevin Haighton M60 01:03:17
137 Christine Booth F45 01:06:46
149 Elisabeth Briggs F35 01:09:37
152 Nada Ross F55 01:11:51
154 Laura Rangeley FSEN 01:14:20
157 Nicole Nield F65 01:16:21

Full results can be found at

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