Hodgson Brothers Relay Leg 3.
Report from S Boddy
After a very pleasant drive, I arrived at Hartsop with perfect timing bumping into Caron, Colin, Andrew and Joe walking back from the end of leg 1. Caron and Colin were chuffed as they had beaten both the leg 2 mass start and their time from last year so immediately there were was a good feeling in the group. Caron then took Joe and Andrew back to Sykeside where leg 4 starts and myself up to meet Tom at Kirkstone Pass for the start of leg 3. The relays are my favourite part of running with a club as I really enjoy the team spirit and camaraderie. However, I’m aware they are a logistical nightmare so thanks to Tom for organising, Caron for ferrying and Colin for deputising at late notice. We set off with the mass start and a couple of minutes behind Horsforth Fellandale who we had been engaging in some friendly craic with Tom L before the leg. Due to Tom’s impressive lines and my impressive ability to avoid throwing up trying to keep up with him up Red Screes, we managed to catch up with the Horsforth pair at the top of the final climb.
After this climb there is a vertiginous descent over uneven ground which, according to my strava, hits gradients of 40% at several points. Descending something like this at high speed is beyond both my skillset and courage. Fell captain Tom was a model of patience as he was clearly quicker than the Horsforth pair but still waited for me at various points of the downhill and we ended up shipping a minute to them by the end. We completed the leg in a commendable 1:07 and recorded the 39th (out of 70 teams) quickest time for the leg which we were pleased with. Another excellent day out in the lakes.
.. and Andrew Robertshaw Leg 4.
A change this year after a few years of leg 2, I partnered Joe Torr on the last leg starting near Sykeside campsite, Brotherswater. The 7 mile/ 3000ft route takes in the summits of Hart Crag, Fairfield, Cofa Pike and St Sunday Crag. There’s a fair bit of route choices on this one, particularly after the mandatory first section up the Dovedale valley. We took on the steep side of the valley to the Hartsop above How ridge path and followed this to Hart Crag. The higher we got the strong head wind slowed us as well as the gradient. A right turn at the top gave us some respite from the wind, but a school boy navigation error lead to us running directly into the wind again as we approached the summit of Fairfield. As I turned back I had a little chuckle to myself when I saw a number of teams had followed! From there on the wind was on our backs so apart from having to concentrate even more than usual on the scree descent of Fairfield and the tricky traverse of Cofa Pike it felt much easier running. On the final descent off St Sunday Crag we passed our local rivals Ilkley ladies team.
We finished 65th in a total time of 5 hours 36 mins 23 seconds, just a little behind the locals of Keswick AC who retained their title with a time of 3:30:23. Full results here.
I think it’s brilliant that since our first outing in 2002 we’ve had a team finish every time since and in my view it’s by far the best relay of the year.