Friday, 6 April 2012

Lad's Leap English Champs Fell Race - 17/03/2012

Climbing up the first ascent (photo: Ian Oates)
Crumbs, mid March and this was my first fell race of the year! I went up with Colin Williamson, who might be having another crack at the MV65 champs. There was a great Mercia turnout, and we watched our four ladies start before warming up by running round the bottom loop. As I was coming down from the warmup the ladies were finishing so I gave Mel a good shout up as she came in.

We got ready to start, and we could see Susan and Kim finish for the ladies just before we were off. I probably lined up a bit too far back, and David M and I were both held up a fair bit on the first ascent. Tis was pretty steep but one of those half and half running and walking slopes, although today it was pretty much all walking :-(

Long train of "runners" heading for the skyline - I'm in there somewhere,
stuck in traffic (photo: Ian Oates)
Once on top it looked like there was going to be some good quick running on a peaty single track. This was quite firm in places but quickly degenerated into ten yards of running followed by one stride into a deep hole of black peaty water and a desperate thrutch out to try to maintain a bit of momentum. After a mile or so we descended slightly to Lad's Leap, where the path crosses a stream at a gritstone notch. There was a very short climb out of this and then I found myself 50 yards behind one group and 30 yards ahead of another for another mile across the rough wet trail.

At the end of this a marshall directed us down a short steep descent, where I finally got myself moving a bit and caught the group in front (I could see David at the head of this). After a nice technical half mile of running under a rocky edge, we headed up a wide forest track. This was a really tough ascent, maybe around 1:6 and so rather runnable. I finally ran out of steam a couple of hundred yards from the top and had to let the group I'd caught up go while I walked a short section.

Running along under the edge
(Photo: "Shaun")
At the top we joined the outward route for half a mile and then launched down the final descent. This was really good, and I ran it pretty quickly under pressure from another runner. Shame someone walked across my line right in front of me at the stile and straw bales, I had to wait and yer' man ran right past. Anyway I was happy enough with the result of a not-quite full on effort: 1:05:58 for the 6.1 miles and 1,650' of climbing which put me in 237th out of 309 men.

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