Harry Holmes

Name: Harry Holmes

DOB: 29/07/1991

Hometown: Peak District

Sport: Running

I am a fell runner living in the Peak District. I started running after finishing university as something to keep me occupied. Being a climber at the time and having moved back to my parent’s farm in East Yorkshire, which isn't well known for its quality climbing, I was itching to do something active.

My sister was running for York Knavesmire Harriers and took me along for a fell run. I did some fell races and a 10k road race and loved it. Shortly after that I built a climbing wall in a spare shed on the farm and had a great season competing on the ice world cup scene, with a semi final appearance in the World Championships in Italy, with running very much taking a supporting role.
After returning to university for a master's I realised running was much less time consuming and expensive than flying round the world ice climbing and it took over. Since then, I have had a dabble at most running disciplines: fell, road, trail, ultras, cross country, short, long, hilly, flat, you name it. Having said that, I've never done a track race. I most enjoy fell races and love the whole scene and all the people you meet there.

Other things worth knowing. I have merch. Using my signature look (a mullet and moustache) and my catchphrase: “alright yeah” (see video link at the end of the page). This has been made into a t-shirt thanks to my coach (Steve Brook) who was my manager at a running shop I worked in at the time (Yorkshire Runner). We sold them for charity (Candlelighters) and raised a nice amount of money.

Get to know Harry

Tell us about your successes so far?

I've had a bit of success on the fells over the last few years. The thing I'm happiest about is beating the record at my favourite race, Captain Cooks fell race, which is held on New year's Day every year.

The record was set in the year I was born, so it felt fairly significant to me. I have represented England a couple of times as well as running for Derbyshire at the intercounties (including our victorious champs in 2019).

I've also finished on all steps of the podium at the British fell relays. 1st in 2018 with Pudsey and Bramley and 2nd and 3rd with Matlock AC in 2022 and 2021, respectively.

I've had a fairly good run of results at the end of 2023. Most of these have come since handing in my PhD, but that happens to have coincided with the summer. I'd suggest it's more coincidental than causal. (The PhD was in engineering geology at the University of Leeds, if you were wondering)

  • 2023 21k Valtellina wine trail 4th
  • 2023 Ring of Steall 3rd
  • 2023 Gran Canaria Long WMRA world cup race 5th
  • 2023 Ultra X Scotland 50k 1st
  • 2023 Howtown fell race 1st

Other insignificant achievements include being an undefeated scampi fry eating champion. Basically eating a bag of the fishy flavoured bar snacks as fast as you can (no liquid allowed).

What are you working on? What are your goals for the future?

I'm currently working on getting back some fast twitch muscle fibres. I have dabbled in the dark art of ultra running since COVID (purely because they were the only races that seemed to be going ahead at the time) which seems to have killed my speed a bit.

I'm hoping a block of short fast stuff should help me in that respect. The next year (2024 incase I forget to update this in the future) is to get a full English fell running championship season in. I also love the Yorkshire three peaks, so maybe that, but I'll have to see how it fits in.

Why do you run? What do you love about running?

I like being out in nature and away from vehicles. You can't beat a good bit of single track running through woods or across the moors on a good day.

On a bad day you can't beat sitting in a warm café after said run. I've been out on some pretty vile days when getting to the end of the run is all I can think about. But if viewed holistically, the days always a good one when you're out running on the fells.

Which Scarpa shoe is your favourite?

Spin ST 👌 If someone asked me to design a fell shoe, which they really should do (I have a PhD in engineering geology!!!) I'd do something very similar to this.

I doubt I'd have come up with the lace clip though, which is a very good alternative to tying your shoe laces. So if you have particularly non-dextral digits or you find yourself running through lace untying heather fairly often it's pretty useful. And best of all if you're trying to cut down the weight of your shoe you can just remove it and save a whole 5 grams (it might not even be that much).

Tell us about your best day running?

*Best running day so far

My best running day is probably something in the summer of 2018. There were some great days out followed by nights in a mouldy tipi with my mates.

An example from that summer is gatecrashing leg 5 of Killian Jornets Bob Graham round record. The vibe around the moot hall, the group out on the fell, Killian handing me some sweaty pringles, the twin assault on the nostrils of smelly runners and mouldy canvas. Halcyon days indeed.

What do you do away from your sport?

I work as a geotechnical engineer for a company who install support for rock and soil slopes. So if you see some rock netting or a reinforced slope somewhere in the UK I almost definitely haven't designed it (I've only just started there). But you get the idea of what I do.

Work and running take up a lot of my time really. Outside of this I'm a big fan of coffee and cake. I think there's something very special about a well made Victoria sponge cake.

Where is your #NoPlacetooFar?

 I just quite like running, as long as it's off road, so I'm pretty happy running from the back door of my house or my van. I do particularly like the Alps and Cairngorms though. 



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