Matlock's Billy Cartwright writes himself into club history

Matlock's Billy Cartwright writes himself into club history.

By Stephen Thirkill
Friday, 24th September 2021, 10:14 am
Updated Friday, 24th September 2021, 10:14 am
Billy Cartwright is Matlock AC's first ever senior national fell champion.
Billy Cartwright is Matlock AC's first ever senior national fell champion.

The gritty runner swept all before him to take the 2021 English Fell Running Championship - the first time a Matlock senior runner has taken the title.

It capped an amazing one-two for the club with fellow Matlock man Dan Haworth coming second.

“I won the first race and have stayed at the top through the season, so it’s been in the pipeline for a long time,” said Cartwright. “It almost feels a relief now to have it confirmed.

“It makes it sweeter that I am the first Matlock man to have won the title.

“It has always been my ambition to win it, but I always thought it was a little too far out of my reach.”

The gruelling championship was formed by six races, with competitors needing to finish at least four.

Cartwright, a former skateboarder who has been fell running for seven years, moved to Keswick a few years ago and credits that switch as being a key factor in his win.

“Moving to Keswick has made all the difference and I can’t believe I have managed to win it,” he added.

“ A lot of the top five runners are probably better at climbing than me but the descending is my strong point.

“That is what I had to play to in every single race. I had to make sure I was at the top of the last hill with them at least in sight and then just go for it on the downhill.

“It was always in the back of my mind that if I won the race I could win the championship, it is a good carrot to dangle.

“Perhaps the balance from skateboarding also helped.”

Cartwright now hopes his win - and Haworth’s second - can show youngsters across Matlock what can be achieved and encourage them to take up the sport.

He added: “We (Cartwright and Haworth) spurred each other on and have done for the last four years. We have been travelling to most races together and trained a lot together.

“We knew that we should be around each other in the race and I knew if I was with him at the top of the last hill then I had a chance.

“It is great news for the club and I couldn’t be more proud. I have had a lot of people from Keswick wanting me to join them but I’m from Matlock and I hope it can spur the youngsters on to giving fell running a try.

“I wanted to win a medal with Matlock, but I can’t see myself running for another club. They are my friends and it is nice to stay connected with the club.”

The Senior English FR Champs is the National Champs for fell running comprising a season-long series of fell races spread over the North of England.

It aims to find the best individual runner of the season in a range of age categories.

The races usually run from March to October, but because of Covid this year it was 12th June-19th September making it harder because of less time between races.

There are six races – two short, two medium and two long.

For most age groups the champs format is four races to count and these four must include a short, a medium and a long plus one other race.