Having enjoyed last years event, it was back down to Rothbury for the Hill Forts and Headaches Fell Run(see last years entry). My down-hilling attributes were given a day off as its 3 miles of uphill only from Rothbury High Street up through fields and clipped moorland onto the rocky Simonside Crags. Today it was bathed in crisp sunshine, no mud and the ground firm but rarely icy. Sixty two runners set off for the event. Their presence marked them out from 99% of the remaining population who, I thought, would be steadying themselves in the kitchen trying to find the kettle or an ice-pack at that time of the morning.
It was good to see a few juniors scattered in the field; except, that is, for the youngster wearing a Helm Hill Vest who spent the whole race about 10 seconds in front of me. I slipped from 6th to 8th in the last stretches as I was overhauled by Andy Kitchin (Lothian) whom I spent some time following in the 2007 Pentland Skyline. The other runner to get past was Graham Burns (DFR) who had a strong finish to take 7th place. Times were faster this year than last.
Nick Swinburn was expected to appear but had decided, instead, to run (and win) the Morpeth 11k later in the day; so it was left to his team-mate Phil Sanderson (NFR) to hare away from the pack to win in 22:32 from Will Horsley (and dog) and Clayton's Tim Edwards 3rd. Adam Fletcher (Berwick) also had a good run. Cath Davis (NFR) won the women's race from Claire Bruce (Morpeth) and Sarah Henry (Alnwick-pictured). A superb day for photos and this year the soup was creamy leek and potato. The first junior runner finished 5th overall and I reckoned he was about 15; talented lad (even if I say so myself!). I finished in 24:43 and a bit quicker than 2008, which lets face it, is progress. More photos to follow on Flickr...(Check out the camera trix underneath Phil in the group photo!)