Report from Tom Lynch:
In a busy month for the fell runners, we managed to put together a team for the British Fell relays, after successfully fielding another team 2 weeks earlier for the Hodgson Relays. This years British fell relay championships were held on the flanks of Snowdon, starting out of Llanberis in a well set up base in the old slate tips. The race attracted something like 180 starting teams, with many familiar faces out and about in Caernarfon the night before.The relay format consists of a short(ish) solo Leg 1, a longer paired Leg 2, a long navigational paired Leg 3, and another shorter solo Leg 4. Laura had a good run on Leg 1 (8.9 km /700 m). This leg headed up a steep continuous climbstarting on the road below the race base, all the way to the top of Moel Elio, returning via another ridge, with a small sting in the tail climb thrown in at the end….
I was paired with Andrew for the second time in two weeks on Leg 2 (15 km /900 m). This followed a winding route though some lanes before reaching a flat path which took us to the foot of the ridge climb to Foel Goch, I was already knackered by this point! Then it traversed the col between Foel Goch, and climbed up to Moel Cynghorion followed by a spectacular descent back to the valley floor (with the descents in the course being to only opportunity I had to catch up to, and overtake Andrew), before winding back with the same hilly sting in the tale as Leg 1. Steve and Lizzie had arguably the biggest challenge of the day on Leg 3, in what was to be a controversial navigational leg, with maps only handed out after they had started out of the pen. Their leg came in at something like 13/14 km, depending on the route choice, and probably only slightly less elevation than Leg 2. There were many in- and post- race complaints about the lines taken by some runners who neglected to use the mandatory wall/fence crossing points marked on the map. Not using the crossing points essentially cut out the climb of Moel Elio, however Steve and Lizzie will be able to tell you about that climb in painstaking detail 😆 . Caron ran the final Leg 4 (8.35 km/512 m), this followed a somewhat similar route to Leg 1, but skirted Moel Elio and then traversed the ridge, without climbing to the summit, and then returned back via the outward portion of Leg 2.
It was hard to tell how we’d done on the day, due to the complexities of mass starts and numerous categories etc, but I had a feeling we’d done a decent job. It turned out that we’d come in 4th, missing out on 3rd spot to Denbighshire Harriers, by only 2.5 minutes.
Leg 1 – Laura McCabe – 117th – 1:13:04
Leg 2 – Andrew Robertshaw & Tom Lynch – 58th – 1:38:14
Leg 3 – Lizzie Irvine & Steve Robinson – 120th – 2:20:07
Leg 4 – Caron Ralph – 157th – 1:09:07
Overall – Otley Mixed (3F/3M) – 4th/15 – 6:20:32