Report from the Hon. Handicapper
Thanks to the wall to wall sunshine weekend hospitality of Colin Best at his Northumberland retreat, 5 Otley Ac’s took the start line at the 101st Thropton Show for the Simonside Fell Race.
This is what you could call a ‘proper‘ multi-terrain race, covering an almost waist deep river crossing, farm fields, road, dense woodland and traditional fell. I find the traditional afternoon show fell race start time motivationally challenging, but as always once the ‘gun‘ goes the competitive spirit takes over, and this was helped with a bit of club rivally with Rogan running strongly after the first river crossing.
The climb to the summit of Simonside was relatively incident free, passing Rogan on the second half of the climb. Passing the summit cairn, there was a quick respite before a Burnsellesque steep descent through the knee deep heather and rocks. Once that was negotiated it was back into the thrills of dense forest navigation. Which all I can say was challenging, but entertaining! After that it was a fast downhill road section, farm fields. the 2nd river crossing and an attempt at a sprint finish across the show field.
I was happy with 7th overall, 53:41 and the the first old man prize, as the 1st V40 got the prize for 2nd. Rogan admitted to a bit of a brain freeze on seeing the descent off the top but ran well for 26th, 59:23. Steadily coming back to form Andy Sumner was next back in 84th, 1:15:47, followed by the host Colin Best finished 93rd, 1:20:24 followed by Tom Hannah 106th, 1:38:12, after losing time wimping out of a second river crossing !!, the reason / excuse being he assumed he had a good enough lead over his persuers, and preferred the longer footbridge route choice.
A good day & weekend was had by all thanks to Mr Best, who kept us entertained, or particularly his dogs, providing lots of pub talk. Lets just say dogs & tethered birds of prey don’t mix too well…. just ask Colin for more detail. 🙂 Full results available on the NFR website here.
The race was won by Kurt Heron, unattached, (surely not for long) in 49:07, 1st lady was Karen Robertson, NFR in 21st, 57:58