Report from Matt
Looking on the FRA Calender I saw this race – a BM 6.2 mile with 320m of climbing up Easington Fell, in the Forest of Bowland starting from the show ground in Slaidburn and was tempted. At the Ilkley Incline I spoke to Graham Breeze ( Ex FRA boss and an authority on all things) who told me about the Hodder show rotating through three different show grounds – so three different versions of the race. In the week I contacted the venerable Dave Tait and he was up for it, so off we set in the rain on Saturday morning. On the way there I asked Dave if he was packing ‘full kit’, as was recommended on the forum and we both agreed that we were. That was when I realised that I had left my vest, shorts and thermal top on the bed at home! The choice was to run it in my pants, run it in my trousers or not at all.
Arrived at the low key and very agricultural show ( still in the rain) in good time, Paid entry (£12!) and went and registered only to be told the race didn’t start for 1 1/2 hrs. Luckily there were loads of cake, vegetable, jam, handicraft etc exhibits to browse in a large marquee, which passed time. Again I was blessed by the living god D. Fishwick. So once the vintage tractors had vacated the ring a rather small field of fell runners were called in. First wet and muddy race for ages, glad I had fell shoes (and trousers) on.
Off we went through the show, up the road – steep – and onto farmland to run across fields for a mile, then on to the meat of the event up across very rough tussocky moor with loads of false summits until we finally reached a pile of stones on the top and some very wet marshalls. As this was an ‘out and back’ event we had the chance to see the leaders descending past us – just to make you realise how slow are!
So down, including a fall, sliding over the moss on my chest and back to the finish. I wasn’t last – but nearly. Dave beat me, and the winner was miles ahead of the pack with a woman in third place.
Fell races are humbling – in a road race/park run I can easily be in the top half, but in fell racing …..
Still we got a bottle of beer and I gave a lot of people a laugh with my attire!
results to follow/