Having gained a deserved reputation as a road runner, I decided to enter my first open fell race and one listed on the RFA fixtures list. After holidaying in the Loughrigg area since 1989 I thought it was time to take part in the local fell race….the Loughrigg Fell Race, organised by A,bleside Ac and billed as a start of the summer season out 4 mile dash. It wasn’t really a planned race, merely a lucky holiday coincidence, so after no fell training or experience whatsoever and fresh from mile reps the night before it was very much a case of see how it goes. My primary target was to complete the course in under 30 mins with no broken bones and in the process make it onto the Ambleside AC website’s sub 30 min hall of fame.
I arrived at race HQ in Rothy Park armed with my innovate off road shoes and £3 only to be told I would be disqualified as I didn’t have a waterproof jacket. Debbie said there was something in the boot of the car, so I legged it back to collect the old garment that I had found in a classroom in Harrogate many years ago. I had time to buy a £12.50 bum bag from Gaynors on the high street to carry the jacket, which had passed HQ inspection and satisfied FRA standards.
The race started as I was still posing for photos. No 3,2,1 or anything and I found myself down in about 50th along the flat 100m dash to the bridge. Sadly that was where I was aiming to use my secret flat speed weapon. The ascent was fine, as I am not too bad at climbing and after some nifty overtaking found myself in about 10th place just behind a 14 year old superstar at the top and about 1 min behind the leader. Then the descent. Not my finest hour. I was passed by about 5 seasoned fell nutters and after several lucky escapes through peat bogs and down slate paths I made it back to the Tarmac to chase down Ambleside runner Matt Reedy. Back on the flat the road legs kicked into action but it was not enough to catch the Matt who had passed me halfway down the “mountain”. It was a great experience and I hope to be back next year to improve my time. The race was really good fun and there was a junior race too so great for families. All in all it was a lovely evening and if you are in the area I thoroughly recommend it. The race organiser even asked after Andrew Robertshaw which was nice.
I finished the race in 15th place in a time of 29.36 thus making it onto the Ambleside AC hall of fame. The race was won by Tom Addison of Helm Hill in 26.21 not far off his own course record. The first female was Sarah McCormack of Ambleside in 30.20 9 seconds of the record.
1. Tom Addison Helm Hill 26.21
2. Mark Addison Helm Hill 26.52
14. Matt Reedy Ambleside 29.34
15. Jamil Parapia 29.36
21st Sarah McCormack Ambleside 30.20
But as the song says…..hit the road Jamil and don’t you come back…..