My year of classic fell races is under way, so here are a few thoughts about what I hope to achieve and my schedule of races I hope to run, so if anyone wants to join me they can come along.
My plan for the year started with the thought that, having only been fell running for 2 and a half years, most of which time was focussed on the Bob Graham Round I haven't ever run many of the classic fell races, which I have read so much about and everyone talks about, so I drew up the following schedule.
I got a little distracted from the classics by concentrating on NE champs, the DFR club champs, the English Champs and British Champs in that order of priority before the classics, but I have still ended up with a tasty looking plan.
10/3 - Ian Roberts memorial race - strong start, then fell apart at half way because ran a quick 5k the day before, finished 18th
16/3 - Middle Fell (from Wasdale) - Cancelled
24/3 - Edale Skyline (EC)- didn't get an entry, cancelled
30/3 Causey Pike - on holiday
6/4 Coledale Horseshoe (DFR) - on holiday
13/4 Silent Valley (BC)- on holiday
14/4 Cheviot Summit Race - shortened course, win
21/4 Guisborough Moors (DFR, NE) - winning then got lost.
27/4 Yorkshire 3 peaks race - 3:30, 34th place.
Which brings us up to date - you can see that the start of my season was a rubbish effort with the snow, 5k park runs and my holiday plans conspiring to give me no decent runs till mid april. Then 3 weeks of storming runs, a great sprint finish with Bruce Crombie to win the shortened Cheviot Summit Race - perhaps becoming the only person to ever win this race without going to the summit of Cheviot.
I was having the run of my life at Guisborough Moors when I missed a turning and ended up loosing 11 minutes to finish outside the top 20, leaving Lee Bennet and Gary Jones to fight it out. When Lee won he thought he was still in second behind me. Turns out that generous Will Horsley recognised that I was in good form on this run and invited me to make up the numbers in the 4 man NE team for the inter counties championships at the Settle Hills race in a few weeks despite my poor result!
A fantastic run at Yorkshire 3 peaks, running with Nicholas Barber before he stormed on to finish in 3:25 topped off a great month of results.
Part 2 of my year is planned as follows.
11/5 Fairfield Horseshoe
18/5 Goat Fell
19/5 Settle Hills (Intercounties)
2/6 Yetholm (BC)
15/6 Buckden Pike (EC)
23/6 Windy Gyle (NE)
30/6 Cronkley (NE)
2/7 Saltwell Harriers (DFR)
6/7 Chevy Chase
9/7 Stoodley Pike
13/7 Wasdale (EC)
27/7 Blisco Dash (BC, EC)
10/8 Turner Landscape (EC)
24/8 Burnsall Classic or Weasdale Horseshoe (DFR)
25/8 Grasmere Guides Race
27/8 Kilnsey Show
7/9 Grisedale Horseshoe
11/9 Roseberry Topping (DFR)
14/9 Peris Horseshoe (BC)
21/9 Scafell Pike or Simonside (NE)
28-29/9 RAB Mountain Marathon (DFR)
12/10 Langdale Horseshoe
13/10 Pentland Skyline
20/10 Fell Relays
26/10 Meall a'Bhuachaille
10/11 Clay Bank West (NE)
1/12 Angus Tait Memorial Hexhamshire Hobble (DFR)
That's a total of 37 races including as many as I can fit in from the Durham Fell Runners (DFR) club champs, English Champs (EC), British Champs (BC) and North East Champs (NE).
I'm sure things will come up which mean I don't do that many, but my main targets are the North East Championships which I hope to not get lost again so I am learning the routes before the remaining races!
Really looking forward to Jura, and all of the lakeland races. Really proud to be selected for the intercounties in Settle and hoping to still be fit on 1/12 so I can defend my title and win the Hobble for the 3rd year running (perhaps with a CR if the conditions are good!)
If all this sounds a bit ambitious, or even cocky it isn't supposed to read that way. I am just putting down some ambitions to keep me motivated.
Hopefully see you at some of those races.