11 Oct 2010

Stretton Skyline Fell Race

Stretton Skyline

Steven Cale, claimed another Shropshire fell running title when he won one of the toughest races in the Shropshire calendar the 19 mile Stretton Skyline race, organised by Telford Athletic Club. The Wrekin College teacher who runs for Shrewsbury AC comfortably won the 29th Stretton Skyline in 2 hours 30 minutes and 17 seconds finishing a massive 21 minutes ahead of his nearest rival. His time puts him equal 17th on the all time fastest mens list, behind course record holder Ken West whose time of 2 hours 17 minutes and 16 seconds has remained unbeaten since 1986. The only person who has come near to that time in the last ten years is Shrewsburys Mike James who ran 2.18 when winning in 2008.

Cale who burst onto the Shropshire fell running scene over the winter of 2009 when he finished 9th in the Shropshire Winter Series. Since then he has never looked back as he won the Shropshire Summer Series in 2009, then the Shropshire Winter Series in 2010 and most recently the Shropshire 2010 Summer Series. He plans to defend his Shropshire Winter Series title and starts his defence this Sunday at the Breidden Hills Race.

Ed Davies, from Forden near Welshpool moved through the field steadily to finish second in 2.51.30 and was the first over 55 home, with John Hedger third in 2.53.46 and Matthew Fortes of Eryri was 4th in 2.54.29. Matthew Marston, the 22 year old Mercia Fell Runner from Clive, has made a massive impression on the Shropshire fell running scene this summer, after finishing 4th in the Shropshire Summer Series. He finished a superb 5th place in the Skyline, one of the longest races he has run in 2.55.00.

the Stretton Skyline route starts and finishes in Church Stretton. It starts with a climb up Cardingmill Valley to Pole Bank, then down to Little Stretton and up Ragleth Hill. The next climb is Caer Caradoc followed by The Lawley, before the route crosses the valley, across the A49 and climbs back onto the Long Mynd via Gogbatch before descending through Cardingmill Valley to Church Stretton a total of 19 miles and 4450 feet of climbing.

Val Swingler, from Shropshire Shufflers was comfortably the first woman but was also an incredible 6th overall in the race in 2.55.20. This is the 4th fastest ever time in the 29 year history of the race. The only athletes ahead of her on the all time list are course record holder Ruth Pickvance from Cardiff, when she ran 2.46.42 in 2005. Polly Gibb from Coalbrookdale ran the second fastest time of 2.48.54 in 1989 and Anna Bartlett of Shrewsbury AC ran 2.55.05 when finishing 3rd in 2005. This was a great performance and she headed a quality womens field that saw 7 athletes produce times that got them into the top 53 all time performances.

Newport's Helen Skelton was the second woman home in 3.04.10. 15th overall and the 12th fastest womens time ever. Becki Law from Eryri, a Snowdonia based club, was 3rd, 21st overall and 19th fastest ever in 3.08.35. Mercia's Polly Gibb was 4th, 1st over 45, 27th overall in 3.12.21., just ahead of Aberystwyth's Phoebe Webster, 5th, 28th overall in 3.12.50. Her team mate Louise Barker was was 6th 30th overall in 3.16.34. The Shropshire Summer Series champion, Mel Price of Mercia from Woolston, was 7th, 31st overall 35th fastest woman ever in 3.16.47.

Paul Sanderson

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