Article Index

In 1990 the seniors had a very poor year on the country, both in the League and the Northern, but fortunately the Juniors made up for it in representative honours - Eddie Thomas gained his Derbys. vest, and Ian Forrest recorded an amazing 5th place when representing the County in the English Schools race. He looked set for a brilliant international future until a severe viral illness effectively put an end to his career, although we hope that one day he may be able to make a fresh start. Andrew Battye once again took the White Peak, some 3 minutes slower this time, with Mary Howarth of Steel City Striders gaining the women's title. This was the last year that we were to enjoy the generous sponsorship of John Smedley, but they said goodbye in style, issuing each finisher with a quality T-shirt, specially designed and manufactured by themselves. We hope we did not offend them by not agreeing to let all competitors wear the garment during the race!

On the road the club took 2nd team prize in the Otter and there were good turnouts in the Chesterfield Half and the Hardwick "6". In internal competition the cross country championships were moved to a real "old fashioned" course at Fritchley through the good offices of the Secretary and Stuart Allsop. Moorhouse won the club "10" and Barrable the Club Half Marathon. This latter race became known as "Mick's Half", being the brainchild of M. Mackfall. It was over two laps of a fairly flat course near Flash Dam and was suspected of being a fraction short in view of the number of P.B. times it produced. Mick had also instituted a series of New Year Mystery Runs, one of which entailed fighting off guard dogs at a traveller's encampment on the moors which happened to be in the way. His best social event of the year was undoubtedly the pie and pea supper rumoured to have been subsidised by the previous year's Otter prize money. The final friendly race of the year was a John Armistead promotion: a shortened version of the Black Rocks race on Boxing Day, starting from the High Peak Junction.

The only memorable business at the AGM this year was the key decision that all members should drink at the same establishment after training on Thursdays, since club solidarity was being threatened by the quality of the beer in the Sherwood bar as perceived by certain connoisseur members.

Organised participation in cross country events did not recover in 1991 and the club was not represented in the county championships, although Alan Tatum achieved a solo effort of 3rd place in the N. Mids. League U-15 race. Tatham incidentally was, and possibly still is, Junior record holder in the Mow Cop Killer Mile. The efforts of club coach Tassell also paid off in notable performances by Cairn Morrison Danny Warman, Esmond Tressider, Joby Osman and Andrew Cummins, but mainly to their respective schools in the various county events.

In our own championship Cresswell had his customary win, the mud being much to his liking. In the London we were well represented by Barrable, Allsop and Hale, and nearer home, Taylor won the Club Half after Moorhouse put in an extra off course mile when leading at the mid point of the race. Founder member Steve Pearson was seeing a resurgence after 15 years with a PB of 2:35 in the Milford 21 and 3:10 in the White Peak which was won this year by Roy Berry, with Mary Howarth still striding to another win in the women's section.

What might be called recreational events flourished, with the Boxing Day one again proving popular, as well as the newly established 4 Inns run before Christmas. perhaps Rob Atkin and Karl Webster will not mind their epic feat earlier n the year being classed "recreational" : the 15 trigs circuit of the peak District, a distance of 52 miles which they completed in 13:54. All this domestic and individual running must have been what people wanted, because at the AGM a paid up membership of no less than 57 was reported. A committee reshuffle took place with G. White becoming Chairman and D. Erskine Secretary.

1992 emerges as a year of massive race participation, with teams doing well on an ad hoc basis when large numbers of members happened to turn up at the same time in open races, but we only had one runner, Moorhouse, in the National. We did however manage 3rd senior team in the County Cross Country. On the track Tressider and Osman gained county titles at Junior level in the 800m and 1500m respectively. The revived newsletter is a good source of information on racing activity for this year and succeeding ones, and the enormous amount can only be referred to in note form as follows: Staffs and Ashby 20s D. and T Erskine completed both with P.B. for Dave in 1:58. Kinder Downfall 6 members ran; Half Ramathon 6 ran; Flagg Moor 1st team; Zwei Tage Gebirgsmarathon (Swiss Karrimor) run at 8000 ft J. Armistead 26th; Sierre-Zinal (19 miles, 7000Ft climb) Anne Armistead 5:10. Bradwell 2nd team; Wirksworth Incline Moorhouse 3rd; Karrimor 7 ran; Saunders 6 ran; North Face Relay 4th team; Longnor 1st team with Cresswell 4th; Hayfield Fell Championship, Series vests to Allsop, White and Moseley; Robin Hood Marathon Atkin 2:43; Ashbourne Half Margaret Keeling 1:50; Uttoxeter Cross Country Vets Moorhouse 3rd, Tatham 6th; Juniors A Tatham 3rd; Winster Barrable 1st; Dovedale Dash Erskine 31st; Brassington Howitt 1st; Humber Bridge Marathon Allsop 2:56:40 and 6:52 in the Otter 40 and finally London Erskine 2:37:25

The Women's and Junior sections were obviously flourishing and coach Tassell took the youngsters into Europe where they comprehensively beat the French over 3K (Morrison 1; Osman 2; Tressider 4 and Cummins 5) at Eubonne, Matlock's twin town.

The White Peak was undergoing a reappraisal. Due to a cost cutting exercise, no souvenirs were presented to finishers, and to some of us who took part it seemed surprising that there were any finishers either, as atrocious weather conditions produced 3 ambulance cases of hypothermia and dozens undiagnosed ones. Nevertheless the perennial Peter Bates won the race in 2:44:08 with Hurley an excellent 4th in 2:46:55. Tracey Erskine was 3rd woman in 3:37:59. At the AGM the recently arrived Ian Milne became our new treasurer and we welcomed Canadian Larry Burroughs, over for a year on a teaching exchange with our own Tim Sanders.

Similar massive participation in races continued in 1993, a summary of which follows in no particular order. Saunders: Allsop and Muir 41st; Heald and R McDonald 43rd; Moseley and G Cummins 44th; John and Jo Armistead DNF. White Peak Walk Allsop 1st; White 7th. Flash "7" Moorhouse 1st. Winster Hill Race MAC took 1st 5 places. Flagg Moor 1st team. Derwent Valley Tour (4 races) Erskine 7th. Buxton "5" Howitt 1st V50. Bakewell Morrison 1st Junior; Taylor 1st V50 and Campbell 1st V60. Longnor Cresswell 2nd. Bamford Howitt 2nd V50. Karrimor 7 ran. Ashbourne Half Clamp 11th and Taylor 1st V50. Hayfield Fell Champs Webster 4th. Dovedale dash Webster 10th and Morrison 12th. Sleaford Half Heald 1:28:16. North Face Relay 6th and 25th teams. London Heald 3:9:00 PB; Clamp 3:20 (injury) and Burroughs 3:24 (Flu). Milford "21" Erskine 11th and Heald 63rd (2:39:51) Burbage Erskine 8th. Buxton "Death Run" (-5 Celsius) Erskine 2nd; Moorhouse 4th and Webster 5th. Club Cross Country Champs at Fritchley Erskine; Atkin; Cresswell took 1st 3 places. Inaugural Eyam Half Marathon - Mike Flint was our only representative.

To comment on the above results: Moorhouse ran consistently well in Vets races, Allsop in Ultra-distance events, Webster on the Fells (including the Bens of Jura) and Erskine on the road and country. Juniors Tressider, Osman and Morrison all gained County vests but we regretfully released Morrison to Derby and County at the end of the season in his best interests, long term. The senior Cross Country team finally got its act together by finishing 7th on aggregrate in the four races of the N. Mids. League. In the White Peak the new start (Tissington) and finish (Cromford Meadows) proved a success, with showers, bar and refreshments at the Rugby Club, and rapid posting up of results. The extra descent off the Sheep pasture incline seemed to pose few problems; nobody fell into the canal on the final sprint and the finishing times were bery comparable to previous years: Colin Hibberd (Witney) 2:39:54 and Sally Newman (Glossopdale) 3:23:06

Resources were targetted to develop another "Class" event, The Black Rocks Fell Race, with Tassell creating a longer course with more woodland that was expected to attract more of the hard men (and women). Recruitment week also held in the spring produced only one new member, Dave Hill, but a consistent and valued one at that. Over 65 Vet Gordon Campbell set a fine example by turning out in over 25 local races during the season, including Castleton and Taddington on consecutive nights! The AGM saw Gerry White replaced as chairman by Don Hale who again helped us out when committee duties were not popular. An important decision was taken to try to enhance the club's image, already helped by the mark 3 vest, via a new series of over garments which would feature the club name.

At the 1994 AGM membership was reported as being down, although we had recruited some keen local runners who had, until now, managed to escape the MAC net, notably the "Three Musketeers" : Paul Keetley, Bill Willis and Doug Woffinden. No great enthusiasm for office holding was yet apparent, but the situation was resolved by a reshuffle, with Dave erskine taking the chair for one year and Karl Webster the secretary's job. Neil Forrest was thanked on his resignation after many years from his role of helping to train the juniors. A referendum was held on the possibility of of changing the training night, but the outcome was the retention of Thursdays. The seniors further improved their position in the N. Mids. League to an impressive 6th place. In the Northern Counties at Birkenhead we finished 45th out of 100 clubs, and in the National we came 73rd out of 165. All the team deserve congratulations for these performances, but mention must be made of the contribution of Gary Thorpe, not just for his running, but for his ability to "talk up" individuals and get them to the start line. Gary had been enjoying something of a resurgence recently, particularly in the long fell races, where he successfully accompanied Karl Webster in the latter's 2nd completion of the Bens of Jura in '94. Many years after his first appearance in it as a schoolboy, Gary also won the Buxton "Death Run" which owes its gruesome nickname to him. The team was again successful in the North Face Relay, this time recording 2nd place, with the "B" team finishing 20th. We enjoyed less success however in the N. Counties 6 stage relay. The Club Championships produced a 1/2/3 of Cresswell, Thorpe and Whittaker, but the Fritchley course was getting no easier for certain older members who again went astray in spite of championship standard marking. It was a vintage year for the Vets in the county with Barrable taking the county Gold medal and leading the team to victory. Moorhouse and Cresswell, our other outstanding Vets were always well up in races and the latter won no less than 20 prizes in his first qualifying season. Taylor too, now running for us 2nd claim, was rarely beaten in the over 50 class. We finally said goodbye to him, one of our few remaining founder members, when he moved to Wales later in the season.

The White Peak had to cope with a course problem when the Hopton tunnel collapsed prior to the race. The difficulty was overcome and the race was won yet again by Peter Bates of Bury, with Mary Howarth first woman, striding home yet again for the Steel City. Visiting Wirksworth's twin town of Die in France, Clamp and Tassell took time off from civic duties to run in the Montelimar Half, no doubt scoffing nougat at the feeding stations. On the female side, Jo Armistead achieved county honours and represented Derbyshire in the English Schools race at Birkenhead. Michael Flint combined holiday with competition, running both in the USA and in a grand prix series of three races in Malta. A one off charity race was organised at Lea by Roy Mason and was won by Barrable with Webster 3rd. This was the year when we made it on TV with successful coverage of the Black Rocks Fell Race on the Big Day Out programme. In the Ashby 20 Barrable joined the select group of club runners who have broken 2 hours, and Hill also achieved a PB. They were both using this as a race sharpener for the London in which Barrable recorded 2:39:38 but Hill's 3:38:00 did not do his fitness justice, but Hale's 3:35:30 was very creditable, coming only a few months after a serious operation.

In 1995 Treasurer Ian Milne also opted for malor surgery in a bid to resolve a 3 year old problem which would have made lesser men retire. All members were glad to see him fighting his way back to fitness by the end of the year. The White Peak had gained a new sponsor, Twiggs of Matlock, and the winner was Colin Hibberd of Witney with Hilary Walker of Serpentine R.C. 1st woman in a course record of 3:12:31 It was a year of normally busy activity in all the standard races. The Club Championship produced the usual permutation of names:Cresswell/Webster/Whittaker plus the usual list of lost runners (names witheld out of kindness). Cresswell's win bringing him a rare hat trick of victories. The usual iron men of the mountains were in evidence again during the heatwave, in the Saunders at Consiton, Karrimor at Brecon and the Lowe in Scotland. These madmen were reinforced this year by new signing Steve Mead, who will obviously be a useful addition to the squad. On the shorter fell runs too, dozens of members were in action throughout the spring and into the tropical conditions of the summer. A major team effort was our defeat of Buxton for the 5th consecutive year at Flagg Moor with Barrable taking 1st and Webster 2nd. Perhaps the major individual coup of the year was Webster's July win in the Nation Police Triathlon held in the Lake District. His time of 4:47 was 10 minutes inside the course record. Another new member making frequent visits to the lakes was Ian Conway who clocked 73 minutes in the tough Derwentwater race. Don Hale tried single handedly to re-establish us as a track club by competing at every distance from the sprints to 5000 metres both locally and in the Northern vets events. One of the still functioning founder memebrs, Clive Russell, notched up yet another Dovedale Dash, having competed in the race every year since it began in 1959, with the sole exception of 1969 - an amazing 36 appearances. Illness depleted the vets team at the County Championships at Darley Park, Derby, but Barrable gained the Silver medal in the Vet 40 class, followed home by Hurley, Keetley, Hale and Conway to take 3rd team place, only Vet 40s being allowed to count for some strange reason. Following his long term strategy of only training every 10 years, Howitt took the county gold in the Vet 60 class to round off a season of more than 10 category wins, including a time of 1:31:43 in the Chesterfield Half Marathon and the Grand Prix title. Barrable too had at least 10 major wins or placesduring the year in both Vets and open competition - we stopped counting after a while. John Hurley, in his first season as a vet also took a number of prizes , as did Cresswell and Moorhouse. From the sublime to the ridiculous, The Club Christmas Dinner (for 1994) was held at the Elton Cafe in March 1995! With the election of Andy Whittaker to the Chair at the AGM, whilst grateful for the efforts pf all the numerous recent office holders, now ideally looked forwards to a period of committee stability.

At the time this was written in 1996, and as we approach our anniversary, the club's history is still being written onthe roads and hills of north Derbyshire. Most of the club's racing will take place from late spring onwards, and a long distance relay run is being planned to to commemorate our 20 years. So far, the staple event of the winter months has been the monthly 10k handicap to Cromford and back, with Steve Mead and Jeremy Hall winning the coveted "egg Cup" in the first 2 races. This even tover the years has undoubtedly provided a valuable focus and motivation for our winter programme on Thursdays, and the successive handicappers, Armitage, Mason and Keetley deserve our thanks, however much we have rubbished their arithmetic in the past. In an unaccustomedly cold winter the handful of races so far have attracted few runners. Hale and Howitt started the year well in the Whatstandwell "5" on New Year's Day, but the one athlete signalling his intentions for 1996 was young Esmond Tressider. After winning the Beetroot Race the 16 year old continued to challenge the seniors by finishing 11th out of 300 in the Box Hill race, ably supported by his father Rob in 98th place. He followed this up in the Tigger Tor fell race over a longer than usual course in atrocious conditions of mud, melting snow and ice, when he finished 26th, followed by Rob, 133rd and Brian, 148th and 1st Vet 60. Esmond's time of 1:17 was remarkable in every way. The major event in the club diary so far is the White Peak, on 18th May, preceded by the return of the Club Championships to Matlock on March 2nd, with a lap course at Brickyard Farm which should enable all sections of the club to share a mass start over varying distances. This eventwill be followed by the anniversary year dinner in Wirksworth.

Share this article:

Go To Top