Report from Kirsty Pomfrett
On Friday Tom and I drove over to Pooley Bridge to take part in the Harter Fell class of this year’s Saunders Mountain Marathon.
Saturday morning, bags packed, we headed out into the rain, through the campsite to the start where we were set off third in our class. We dibbed and headed straight up a hill over rough, tussocky ground. The first two controls were quite far apart and a few poor nav decisions meant that we ended up bashing our way through bracken down to a control tucked away in a beck. I think it’s fair to say that this not my favourite part of the race!
After a short steep incline, we contoured around to Low Raise and started to get into our stride a little. The rain was fairly persistent by now but we continued steadily on around High Raise making up for the morning and enjoying the faster descents.
The final leg was back to sketchier terrain – what would have been a lovely jaunt through woodland turned into a slimy, slippery mess. We scrambled through and on the other side were rewarded with another track toward the final control.
We finished day one at 13.10 and spent the rest of the day trying to hide from the rain in our cosy 1 man tent. A break in the showers meant that we could see the route planner’s optimum route – a fair bit shorter than that we’d chosen!
Day two began with a mass start, unsurprisingly straight up a hill! The navigation felt more straightforward, and we’d learned from our mistakes on day one. Once we’d made it to the first control, we had a sustained narrow descent and in contrast to the Saturday… sunshine – lots of lovely sun! Choosing to stay up on the hillside and take a slightly longer route meant that we overtook a few other pairs in the middle of the course. A few more bracken fields and peat hags and we were running back toward Pooley Bridge and the finish line. Despite the weather on Day One it was a thoroughly enjoyable race and a great intro for me into a whole new world of hill running!
Results for Harter Fell Class
1st Nigel Bunn & David Bunn 5:29:47
6th Martin Skinner & Susan Skinner 07:02:02 (first mixed)
27th Suzy Robertson & Nicola Elder 08:20:06 (first ladies)