Three Shires Fell Race

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The Three Shires Fell Race is an annual Lake District fell race held in September, starting and finishing at the Three Shires Inn in Little Langdale. After an initial run along the valley, the route climbs steeply to Wetherlam, then down to Prison Band and up to the summit of Swirl How. The course then drops to the Three Shire Stone at the top of the Wrynose Pass, the meeting point of the historic counties of Cumberland, Lancashire and Westmorland. An ascent of Pike of Blisco follows, then the route drops to Blea Tarn before the final climb to Lingmoor Fell and descent to the finish. [1]

Contents

The route is approximately 18 kilometres (11 mi) in length with 1,360 metres (4,460 ft) of ascent. [2]

History

The inaugural race was held in 1983. The leading organiser was Ian Stephenson of the Three Shires Inn, who was assisted by Selwyn Wright who later became the main organiser. [3]

In 1984, the prizes were presented by Chris Brasher, the gold medallist in the 3000m steeplechase at the 1956 Olympic Games. Brasher also competed in that edition of the Three Shires but did not finish the race. A junior race was added to the event that year. [4] In some later years, the junior races featured as age group championship races and participating runners included Rob Hope, Victoria Wilkinson and Rob Jebb. [5]

The 1990 women's race was won by Mari Todd who was then only seventeen years old. She went on to win the English Fell Running Championships in 1997. [6]

The Three Shires has been one of the counting races in the English Fell Running Championships, including the 1993 edition. [7] In 1997 it was again an English Championships counter as well as a home international with England winning the team race, followed by Scotland and then Wales. [8]

The Three Shires is one of the races in the Lakeland Classics Trophy series which was established in 2002. [9]

Results

The male and female course records were both set in 1997, by Gavin Bland with a time of 1:45:08 and Mari Todd with 2:05:29. The men's record has not been approached since then, but Victoria Wilkinson was within thirty seconds of the women's record in 2016.

Ricky Lightfoot has the greatest number of wins amongst the men, with five between 2007 and 2016. Mari Todd and Vanessa Brindle (now Vanessa Peacock) have won the women's race the most times, with three victories each.

The winners have been as follows. [10]

YearMenTimeWomenTime
1983 Billy Bland 1:56:19Linda Lord2:43:19
1984Bob Whitfield1:53:08Pauline Haworth2:18:44
1985 Mark Rigby 2:01:10Stephanie Quirk2:54:18
1986Mark Rigby1:54:32Vanessa Brindle2:12:57
1987Bob Whitfield1:49:07Vanessa Brindle2:15:05
1988 Colin Donnelly 1:50:07Ruth Pickvance2:12:49
1989 Keith Anderson 1:45:55Vanessa Brindle2:08:45
1990Mark Fleming1:52:04Mari Todd2:14:00
1991 Gavin Bland 1:51:03Ruth Pickvance2:19:13
1992Jason Bradley2:00:29Mari Todd2:26:44
1993Gavin Bland1:47:59 Carol Greenwood 2:13:58
1994Robin Jamieson1:55:17Glynda Cook2:23:21
1995Andrew Davies1:52:40Glynda Cook2:23:49
1996Jim Davies1:47:33Andrea Priestley2:10:06
1997Gavin Bland1:45:08Mari Todd2:05:29
1998Paul Sheard1:58:28 Yvette Hague 2:12:05
1999Jim Davies1:51:30Nicola Davies2:14:29
2000Andy Kitchen2:03:39 Nicky Lavery 2:35:31
2001Cancelled due to foot-and-mouth outbreak
2002Mark Hayman1:59:43Hilda Bransby2:28:23
2003Tim Austin1:55:23Sue Wood2:19:06
2004Simon Stainer1:57:56Lou Sharp2:18:28
2005Steve Bottomley1:56:29Karen Davison2:17:24
2006Nick Sharp2:03:00 Helene Diamantides 2:20:26
2007 Ricky Lightfoot 1:53:05Jackie Lee2:13:49
2008Ricky Lightfoot1:57:23Janet McIver2:08:49
2009Chris Steele1:57:42Mary Gillie2:28:59
2010Ricky Lightfoot1:55:49 Lauren Jeska [A] 2:13:21
2011Carl Bell2:00:20Hazel Robinson2:29:42
2012Rhys Findlay-Robinson1:59:44 Jasmin Paris 2:16:26
2013Ben Abdelnoor2:05:11Jane Reedy2:29:57
2014Rhys Findlay-Robinson1:54:38Jasmin Paris2:12:11
2015Ricky Lightfoot1:56:44Judith Jepson2:23:39
2016Ricky Lightfoot1:57:22 Victoria Wilkinson 2:05:55
2017Jonny Malley2:01:55Claire Nance2:33:28
2018Jack Wood1:54:30Natalie Beadle2:31:47
2019Garry Greenhow2:00:45Natalie Beadle2:32:06

A Jeska was a transgender runner who competed as a woman. However, doubts were raised over whether she was eligible to compete as a woman and her results were declared null and void. [11] Jeska excluded, the first woman in the 2010 race was Tracey Greenway in a time of 2:27:02.

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References

  1. Selwyn Wright and Elaine Wright, "Race Profile – The Three Shires Race", The Fellrunner Magazine, Oct 2001, 39; Ambleside AC: Three Shires.
  2. Scottish Hill Racing: Three Shires Fell Race.
  3. Steve Chilton, It's a Hill, Get Over It (Dingwall, 2013), 96-97.
  4. The Fell Runner, Jan 1985, 61.
  5. The Fellrunner Magazine, Feb 2005, 40.
  6. Steve Chilton, It's a Hill, Get Over It (Dingwall, 2013), 96-97, 332.
  7. The Fellrunner, Feb 1994, Championship Results section.
  8. The Fellrunner, Feb 1998, Results section, 8.
  9. Lakeland Classics Trophy: History.
  10. Lakeland Classics Trophy: Race Results; Graham Breeze, "Equi ad Circos (Classic Fell Races Part 3)", The Fellrunner Magazine, Feb 2003, 24-26; Bill Smith, "An Early History of the Lakeland Long As: 1968-85"; Clayton-le-Moors Harriers: CLEM News, Dec 1986; Fellrunner.org.uk: Results.
  11. Pidd, Helen (2017-03-17). "Jailed fell runner thought UK Athletics was 'trying to kill her'". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-11-13.