Saturday, 9 February 2013

Titterstone Clee Race - 09/02/2013

Talented bunch of athletes waiting to start, whereas I just want me bed.
Picture by Andrea Frost - thank you Andrea.
A day after my birthday (which I spent relaxing at a spa no less), one of my favourite races has come round again. I love the Clee race as it's at the heart of tradition. Until this year we've turned up, leant in a car window to register, then just run up a hill we can't see and down again (occasionally via the wrong valley).

This year we had a slightly more upmarket venue for registration in Cleeton St Mary village hall, which  seemed to work well.

After a nice warm-up with Andy D and Mark B, doing a mini reccie of Lloyd Taggert's new line (which is now a very clear trod running straight as a die for the summit), I jogged back to the start. A few late comers meant I was a little cold as we started but at least I'd got my legs moving enough to keep up with the pack on the stampede along the road.

As we cut across up towards the fell side, I followed the reccied line, ignoring a few I thought had started a bit quickly, but then managing to pass Paul B and others who'd perhaps started a little too enthusiastically. I eventually managed to tuck in behind Paul C and followed him up for the first part of the climb. There were a few short sections of hiking but mostly we ran. About 2/3rds of the way up Paul started to hike again and I managed to move past him and then pushed on for the top, arriving with a group of runners including Chris A and Eddie D just in front of me. I was really pleased with the climb.

Round the summit, two places behind Eddie and ahead of Paul. Whatever next?
Pic: Al Tye, Fell Running Pictures
Al wished me happy birthday as I rounded the cairn (it won't be a great pic, I think I had snot all over my face). On the way down I ran hard but fairly comfortably. Mud Claws would have been a slightly better choice of footwear really. Paul C came flying past me and then I managed to pass a runner. A further runner came past and I settled into trying to limit his and Paul's lead on me. I pushed on nicely to the finish and fairly comfortably held off the guy I'd passed on the descent.

My time was 23:37: I'd done 25:10 the last time I ran this in 2011. I'm therefore pleased with a PB by a minute and a half, and also a top 20 finish in a bigger field than two years ago.

Paul C, Andy D and I went for a warm down jog and as we started to descend, we came across Keith who told us we had a few runners missing. A runner came over the skyline and told us that two others were helping a third runner down who fallen and maybe knocked himself out when he hit his chin and chest, He was struggling to stand up and was clearly not too great. I ran down to the road and got a car organised to take him up to the village hall as Andy and Paul took over in assisting him off the hill. We called a paramedic when it became clear he was still a bit groggy and he was off to hospital last I heard. Best wishes to John Hart for a speedy recovery.

The way the guys (Steve Roode, James Whiffen and Tony Maycroft) who saw the incident reacted brings great credit on them - they instantly gave up their own races, stopped, got the injured guy dressed up in his windproof and then assessed his condition, helped him to a place of safety and sent for help. This really brings home the important message that we need to be prepared to switch from racing to helping each other to safety, and that we must have the necessary kit to keep warm if we can't run. The guys today were great and I'm intensely proud of both them and to be part of our fantastic sport.

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