fell race

The Exterminator race, 3 September 2017

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The final race of the Totley AC series, I had signed up for this optimistically hoping to get reasonable enough off-road to just get round.  After lots of recces I was very confident of the optimum route, but on race morning I was distinctly nervous. This was going to be tough.

13C at the start, getting windy and clouding over.  Had breakfast at home and parked up early.  Put myself about two-thirds back in the starting pen.  Race started at 10:30.

Felt good on the long uphill to checkpoint 1.  As I got to it I noticed my race number was blowing about as one safety pin had been popped off by my backpack.  Wasn’t carrying a spare.

Flew downhill to CP2, slipped on my backside on one steep downhill, no damage.  Then walked the hard uphill through Blacka Moor to the road.  OK crossing Houndkirk Moor, over Burbage Edge and slipped again going down to the stone bridge. By this point I got a feeling the runners around me would be on similar pace as me to the end.  Think I was right, talked to a couple and kept passing and following the same ones.

Good along Stanage Edge following one of those runners, then found the good route down through the fern to the road, great progress.  Some other runners clearly didn’t know their routes, held back a bit.

Towards Hathersage was a tiring downhill, but OK.  Then a climb up through Mitchell Field was tough, walked a fair bit.  Running from there to Padley Gorge I was pushing hard and had a few runners holding on behind me.  Great feeling.  

A long slog across Longshaw and along Moss Road, but I got going and did OK.  Then after CP9 all downhill, just pushed on and loved it.  Didn’t check watch at all throughout the entire race. Ran by feeling, and route knowledge helped a lot to anticipate when to walk, when to push on.

Through the finish shute I stopped my watch and saw the time was 13:34 and assumed I’d done about 3h 34.  Only after a drink and some food did a marshall ask one of the runners I’d been near about their time. I said 3 and a half, they looked puzzled so I checked my watch and saw 3h 2min!?

Official time confirmed it and I was 68th finisher, 13th in age category. Brilliant! Best recce time had been 3h 42min.

Distance:  16.24 miles

Time:  3:02:04 official

Avg pace:  11:10 min/mile

Calories:  1831

Ascent:  3121ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

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Blacka Moor fell race 20 June 2017

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16C, mild and breezy, a bit misty on the tops.  The race began at 19:30.  I placed myself about 60% of the way back in the start chute.  

Blacka Moor sign (took this pic on recce run, not today!)

I’d done a recce run on 11 June.  It was really useful to know what was coming up, where the steepest parts are, the roughest terrain and steepest downhills.  Used that knowledge well and I remember on a steep uphill I was striding up equally as fast as two guys in front of me shuffling uphill at a jog.  Seemed to stay in roughly the same group, similar pace.  

Tired on the biggest, longest downhill, but still passed a couple.  Overall I felt I’d made good progress fitness-wise, having only started running off-road on 19 April.  Previously I’d have never managed to keep going on the uphills.
The posted race results showed 56:11 for 112th place. I was 15th in my age category and there was a total of 173 runners overall. Chuffed with that.  When I did the recce of the route my time was 1:09:34!! It shows I pushed hard today.

I’m getting hooked on trail and fell racing…..not to the detriment of doing road races/marathons though.

Distance:  5.91 miles

Time:  56:11 official, 56:10 TomTom

Avg pace:  9:28 min/mile

Calories:  690

Elevation gain:  1209ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

Totley Moor fell race, 23 May 2017

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19C, warm and breezy.  The 6.3 mile race set off at 19:30.  I knew it would be more hilly than Tigers Todger but wasn’t expecting the first 2 miles to be all uphill.  Felt ok, though legs were still feeling the effect of Sunday’s 16-miler.  Learning from the first race of this series, I placed myself about two-thirds back in the starting pen.  Crept past a few runners on the first mile, then as the gradient eased a little I took a couple more.  Across the top of the Moor was undulating and like running between the crags, then another winding and narrow climb before the first of several steep downhill sections.  

After 4 miles a downhill section really troubled me because my legs were spent.  Let a couple of runners get past on a narrow bit, and had to walk the steep uphills (like most of the runners around me at those points). Finally a long steep descent back to the sports ground.  I took one runner on the last road stretch and chased another runner around the field but didn’t pass them.  Finished shattered with empty legs but happy.  

Really pleased with my effort and found out later that I was 164th out of 269 runners.  Had a couple of drinks and went off to pick up the wife from a gig (in London!).  Legs didn’t stiffen up during the long drive, surprisingly, and just had a bit of a back niggle.  The following day I can tell my abdominal / waist /core has been tested and think it’s been a useful exercise.  Plan to train more on hills so I’m better prepared for future races and keep developing those muscle groups.

Another benefit of fell running seems to be that painful legs and burning lungs distract you from any foot niggles.  I didn’t notice any foot pain at all throughout the race, or after.

Distance:  6.3 miles (official); 6.52 miles Fitbit

Time:  1:06:04 (official);  1:06:08 Fitbit

Avg HR:  147bpm

Avg pace:  10:08 min/mile

Calories:  800

Elevation gain:  1361ft (official);  1525ft Fitbit

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

Tiger’s Todger fell race

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Wednesday 3 May, 19:03

8C, cloudy and windy, but dry.  Tiger’s Todger is part of the race series by Totley AC, my first ever fell race.  I changed my top three times trying to decide what to wear.  Ended up in long sleeved NYC marathon top. No mandatory kit so didn’t bother carrying anything but a paper map in my pocket.  

I started near the back and seemed to be passing people on each section of the course.  Pushing up the hills was fine, felt strong.  Flying down the other side was great and I maybe took one or two chances as I made up a few more places.  In the last mile I was passed by one club runner who seemed fast on a downhill.  I could hear another runner a few steps behind and kept pushing to stay ahead.

Wasn’t entirely sure how many more turns there were when a steward said ‘only another 100 yards’. I’d thought there was maybe half a mile left, so skipped up the incline and blasted for the line.  Really pleased with my time, though obviously it’s not a winning time.  But this race gave me lots of confidence that I’m not that slow.  It helped this is a relatively short distance for me as I’m more usually a marathoner.  I also found a competitiveness in myself that I wasn’t expecting.  Looking forward to the next three races in the series, they seem to be more hilly and the last one will be a lot longer…

Distance:  5.47 miles

Time:  47:23

Avg HR:  149bpm

Avg pace:  8:39 min/mile

Calories:  588

Elevation gain:  810ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

Wildlife:  1 flock of sheep running up and down a field as the runners went past