Monday, 16 December 2013

25 races, 1 year, in this amazing sport, look after it.

My previous 3 blog posts have dealt with my "year of classic fell races" up to the end of July. The season to the end of July had been 18 races, 3 wins, 3 AL's (too fast on 2, too slow on 1), got properly lost once, 1 fourth and 1 win in the NE champs. Still to come was perhaps 13 more races.... Lets see how that went

Previous races...
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.
11/5 Fairfield Horseshoe 71st, 1:33:15,
18/5 Goat Fell 86th, 1:47:48,
19/5 Settle Hills (Intercounties) 40th, 54:06,
25/5 Jura, 55th, 4:29:47,
2/6 Yetholm (BC) DNS
8/6 Ennerdale 36th, 4:55:43,
15/6 Buckden Pike (EC), 61st, 36:50,
19/6 Langstrath 8th, 42:14,
23/6 Windy Gyle (NE) 4th, 1:04:08,
30/6 Cronkley (NE) 1st 1:20.54,
2/7 Saltwell Harriers (DFR) 1st, 41.58,
6/7 Chevy Chase 6th, 3:22.39,
7/7 Skiddaw 36th, 1:33.16
9/7 Stoodley Pike - too far to drive, silly idea.
13/7 Wasdale (EC) 102nd, 5:45.05
20/7 Snowdon - decided to take part in a video shoot for Hangar 18 rather than race Snowdon.
27/7 Blisco Dash (BC, EC) 73rd, 44.13.

I had planned 13 more races, but for many reasons most of them didn't happen. Looking back i'm not dissapointed, I have had an amazing few months, it has just turned out different to how I planned.

First 5 planned races for August I didn't run.

Grisedale Horseshoe is a fantastic route over some of the loveliest bits of lakeland, I made the worst nav error of my life as I was going well over Helvellyn, stopped paying attention, started enjoying the racing and lost about 20 minutes! Trotted home.

Perhaps the most fun I had in a race all year was racing Nic Barber up Roseberry Topping in 8:25 and racing down in 4:32 to take a comfy 2nd place. Brilliant fun except accidentally taking the "shoot". I think this route choice is unjustifiably dangerous and wouldn't take it again, if you didn't manage to grab the tree on the way past there is a good chance you would end up tangled in the barbed wire fence as you fell off a 5 foot drop head first.

14th September was the Lake District Mountain Trial, a really great long orienteering event, which was cancelled because of the bad weather, tough call from the organisers, but the right decision considering the marshals couldn't stand up at the check points. 29th September and 10th November were the last 2 races in the NE champs, which were looking finely poised. Morgan Donnelly turned up at Simonside and easily took the win, but that didn't matter for the NE champs points as he isn't form the area. Phill Sanderson beat me on the track on the run-in and took the 52 points, leaving me with 49 and effectively tied for the lead with Lee Bennett going into the last race. Having been beaten on the quick track I had 6 weeks to turn myself into a quick trail runner before the quick short Clay Bank West race. Some 400m -1km sprint sessions, got my legs going a bit faster and I went to CBW full of confidence. I ended up 2nd at CBW to Peter Bray (DFR) but he wasn't in the running for the champs so I took the gold by 2 points from Lee Bennett. Best sporting moment of my life was when Lee pulled up on my shoulder about 2km into the race, we exchanged glances and both knew exactly what was happening. Brilliant sport. Thanks to Will Horsley for organising.

End of September was the RAB MM, I entered the short solo to see how I coped with the nav on my own. Nav was pretty easy, but I was too tired on the 2nd day after a poor route choice and lost a promising overnight position to finish 10th overall.

I entered Guisborough 3 tops to see how my speed was before Clay Bank West which had become the focus of my season, good race, went the wrong way a bit from the last checkpoint, which probably cost me second place. Good run.

1st December had been in my mind all year as break course record on Hexhamshire Hobble if i'm fit, I hadn't done too much in the 2 weeks leading upto the race and didn't know how I would run. Ricky Lightfoot turned up and smashed the old course record by 3 minutes, I was having a bad run, and decided half way round to take it easy so I could save something for the afternoon. A slow time, perhaps my only really disappointing run of the year. That afternoon I drove to Keswick to support for L5 of a BG winter record attempt by Jim Mann. I will leave it to him to describe the round. Leg 5 though was frighteningly quick and I was knackered at the end. As the picture shows!

So in total I did, 25 races, 3 wins, 1st in the NE champs, 2 catastrophic bits of navigation (only one of which cost me the win). Shortest race was Roseberry Topping 12:57, longest was Wasdale 5:45:05. Best moments were the party after Jura, the sprint finish to the Cheviot Summit race, winning the NE champs.

Looking back on the list of races I have brilliant memories of ever one of them. Just before I started writing this blog I was browsing the FRA calender 2014 wondering if I was interested in fell running next year, wondering if I had the motivation? Writing this and looking back on 25 amazing races I know the answer. I don't remember the wins any more fondly than the races I finished outside the top 100. I remember the close races and the sprint finishes, but have to think hard to remember which ones I won and which I lost. I remember the nights in a tent and the back of my van feeling nervous about the tough race to come, but I forget the aches, pain and suffering which must have followed. Most of all I look back on the races and remember the views, the people and chatting to legends past and present.

What an amazing sport we have. Look after it.

3/8 Borrowdale - couldn't run (family stuff)
10/8 Turner Landscape (EC) (Best man for stag do, and couldn't convince the others to run!)
24/8 Burnsall Classic or Weasdale Horseshoe (DFR) (away on holiday)
25/8 Grasmere Guides Race (away on holiday)
27/8 Kilnsey Show (away on holiday)
7/9 Grisedale Horseshoe, 2:29, very poor nav, can't find results.
11/9 Roseberry Topping (DFR) 2nd, 12.57,
14/9 Peris Horseshoe (BC) entered the LDMT instead, which was cancelled,
21/9 Scafell Pike or Simonside (NE) did Simonside, 4th 49.01,
28-29/9 RAB Mountain Marathon (DFR) did Short Solo, 10th overall 6th day 1, 41st Day 2.
12/10 Langdale Horseshoe (entered a cycling event on same day)
13/10 Pentland Skyline, BG dinner got in the way
20/10 Fell Relays (not sure I will get a team together for this), No team put together
26/10 Meall a'Bhuachaille, changed my mind and did...
27/10 Guisborough 3 tops, 4th, 1:08.42,
10/11 Clay Bank West (NE), 2nd, 32.00,
1/12 Angus Tait Memorial Hexhamshire Hobble (DFR), 7th, 1:12.19
1/12 BG leg 5 support for Jim Mann, 18:18, new winter record!

It's been a tough but amazing year.  Me (knackered) after chasing Jim (relaxed) round L5 on his winter record Bob Graham Round of 18:18 

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