Report from Howard J
You are not likely to get many fell race reports from me as it is not my preferred terrain. This one will be familiar to most of you as it is an Otley AC event and as fell races go (so I’m told) is fairly benign. Got some great advice from Antonnio about where the worst dangers underfoot were likely which turned out to be spot on. My decision to do this and not the usual York 10K on the same day were threefold: £30 for a 10k road race is not great value, my last race as a 60 year old (65 on Tuesday) so I wanted to do something different and finally it is one of the Leeds race series which I am leading in the 60 category but Ken Fox from Valley Striders is looking to steal my crown.
From the start I had my race head on and followed Ken up the seemingly endless drag up to the top I guess of Round hill. I had not done a parkrun for once so felt comfortable despite the rising heat. At the top there is a long descent which is where Antonnio had warned of the traps underfoot. Ken had changed gear and was moving swiftly down the hill and I was able to see where the good ground was (and wasn’t) as I followed him down still feeling I would get the better of him today. His right foot went down a very deep hole and he fell flat down luckily onto soft grass and also the hole was wide enough not to have broken his leg. I heard no cracks and stopped to help him up and he was good to go again. All is fair in love, war and racing so I decided that he was likely to require a few moments to recover his confidence so I was away in flight mode which I tempered when I saw Rogan limping back up the hill having twisted his ankle (hope not too badly). I was overtaken by what I guess was an experienced fell runner bounding down the hill so I tucked in behind him again because I could see the good and bad ground again.
At the bottom of the descent the trail winds through a couple of streams which made a change from the many soggy bogs that dotted the route. I encouraged a guy who was walking and he said he could because he was far enough ahead of his clubmates to ‘get the points’. I said you can’t take anything for granted so he started to run again. Prophetic words as when I looked behind Ken had recovered enough to be making ground. So I bade farewell to my temporary trailmate and set off at a pace which got me past the fell runner who had come past me on the downhill. The course then wound up through the woods quite steeply and I chose to walk and once up the worst bit set off up to the drinks station where the iced water was really welcome. The course then basically climbed back up the other side of the hill for a long stretch and I began to feel the lack of regular training again. Far enough ahead of Ken to make it to the finish a comfortable 2.5 minutes ahead in the end so he is going to have to try again.
The race was won by Tim Adams Ilkley H in 51.14 (record), First lady Sophie Martin 9th in 1.04.52 Wharfedale, Lizzie Irvine of OAC 44th in 1.15.30, me 59th in 1.21.38, Antonnio 109th in 2.15.47