Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Fairfield Fell Race Report

Okay here goes
Registration and a fairly thorough kit check. Ben Abdelnoor comments on my bumbag. Indeed its seen better days. He puts a felt tip pen mark on my hand and I proceed to fill in the race form and pay my money to the good people who are organising this race. The Fairfield Horseshoe is a popular circuit with walkers and runners alike. Today 300 runners will run the race and another history in the chapter of fell racing will be laid down.
I pin my number on and have a warm up.
The weather is pretty warm and I notice that my legs are still heavy from the Rainow race on Wednesday night. But that was Wednesday and this is Saturday. I mean 48hrs is enough to recover surely. I know it is not and I certainly will suffer but the draw of the race is such that I will worry about that once I get going. 3/2/1 Goooooooooooo. We are off and the usual suspects are near me. Over the years you get to know that runners that week in week out you race against and although we compete we always have some friendly banter on the way round.
Within 300 yds up the track we are greeted by cow slurry. about a foot deep and everyone complains. This will dry on our legs through the course of the race and have to be scrubbed off later. Is there a stream at the end. Yes ahhhh that's okay then.
Now we climb, I feel my race legs ache. This is not going to be pretty as we hit the grassy slope. I try to push harder but some days the legs do not fire on all cylinders. Today will be one of those days. Nab Scar is the first top and we make our way to Heron Pike. The line of runners begins to thin out now and I am hanging on cursing the fact I raced Wednesday night.
Who is in front, who is behind, who is taking a different line. All these things go through a runners mind during the race. I have learned over the years to run my own race. Many runners get caught up running with other people and it can work both ways in a race. Make or Break.
Simon Booth the great Borrowdale runner is one of the top lads who runs his own race.
Great Rigg appears and I am now with two other runners. A Wharfedaler and a Bowlander. I am a Penniner.
The two other lads are working hard and we swap places as we strive to reach Fairfield. We all know that after Fairfield the race will speed up rapidly and become a blur as we head back down to Rydal Hall.
The summit marshal checks our numbers as we pass by and I am cursing myself because I should have put a little more into that climb. I should have recced it and timed it, I should have fought the pain a bit more in my legs, I should have even had Wednesday night off.
Its a very quick run round to Hart Crag and at 822mtrs we are high up and flying now. The little top of Dove Crag passes by and Southbound is the only way to go as we push on down to High Pike. There is a runner off in the distance and I find myself racing down with Mike from Bowland.
Mike Johnson is a legend on the fellracing circuit and we work together on the descent. Now tactics always play a part in a fell race and I ask Mike if he knows the last part of the race. He does and we are now dialled in.
Remember I have not recced this route. Yes I know it generally but the last bit after Low Pike I have not done before so Its my turn to do the work on the front.
We are hammering down now and we catch the runner in front just before hitting Low Pike. Mike tells me we have to cross the wall and within seconds we do. Its now just a bit of chinking down to get to the track before running back to the finish.
Mike guides us down brilliantly and before soon we do indeed hit the track.
I just manage to pull away and we both come in 9th and 10th.
Its been a good race and I tell Mike without his knowledge I would not have finished that quickly.
I am vet40 and he is a Vet50.
We shake hands after we come through the finish funnel and its all over for another week.

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