Report from Graham Lake:
Rather than struggle round the 3 Peaks this year I decided to make a weekend of it over in the Lakes and do the Coniston Fell Race, a real classic by all accounts.
The past 2 years’ races had been cold, snowy and icy, but this year we were greeted by a bit of cloud, not a breath of wind and even a hint of sun. I ditched the helly-hanson and myself and 200+ runners set off from behind the Ruskin Institute and headed up the steep road before hitting the steeper fell. The route is a basic horseshoe, with the ascent taking in Weatherlam, Black Sails and Swirl How without much let-up, before traversing round to the Old Man himself. It was pretty unrelenting, but I found myself having a good chat from time to time with a chap from Derbyshire who was going at the same pace. The views from these southern fells are spectacular with the ominous Scafell massif to the north west and Morecambe bay to the south. I’d only done a few google earth/strava recces, so was quite nervous about the descent, having heard how steep and error-prone it can be. Being so dry it was actually fine, but there were runners going everywhere. I followed a local vest with a few others, and this seemed to give us a good line through the crags and mine-workings. I tried to be clever and kept further right at one point and I ended up down-climbing a small crag, which lost me about 150 metres. Other than that it was ok, and we hit the main track and I ran past my support crew who were playing in the beck. The descent from here was on a good track and fast, so I caught up with the group I’d lost on the steeper section, battling with Ben Grant from Harrogate (V60 I might add) who took a bit of a tumble and a Valley Strider too. Upon finishing cake and coffee was consumed.
I finished 51st in 1.33.30.
The race was won by Tom Addison (Helm Hill/Inov8) in 1.08.13 after a close battle with Sam Tosh. The women’s race was won by Lou Roberts of Ambleside in 1.25.47. There were 229 runners.