Sunday, 11 March 2012

Glaisdale Rigg Fell Race

Its hard to imagine such a contrast in the weather from last weeks Captain Cook Challenge to today's Glaisdale Fell Race. There was a biggish turnout for this 8 miler. Its a medium length, medium steepness classified race. I wasn't expecting to go into the red zone during it and set off with about 100 others down the road from the village. The route then climbs steadily up onto the top of the North York Moors.

I should have replaced the bumbag with the camera as it was glorious up on t'moors. Heathcliff and the Baskervilles were well tucked up and it was only the odd grouse that made its presence known as we made our way across the wide metalled track with neat short grass along the edges crimped by rabbits and the occassional dimple from a horsehoe. There was little wind and it was warm.

It took a good while to get going but I soon found myself chasing a Bingley, Loftus and a 3rd runner who were 'sort of' together. I eventually caught them and took on a gell which seemed like a good idea. We ran along a farm and then up through a dry river channel within a dark conifer wood. It was stunning, running on a carpet of needles and enveloped in trees above with rods of bright sunlight breaking through the gaps between trees and branches. It was uphill though and the only tough bit I think in the race and I struggled to stay with the two, Bingley runner having dropped back a little. 

I had a sweat on which was nice considering it's March. The course then followed a moorland track along the top to Snowdon Nab. There was a little plantation of grey tree stumps all stripped of bark and regimented in short rows. It looked like a small graveyard of stumps and was surrounded by green moss.

Loftus man had dropped back a little but neither him nor Bingley man were too far behind. Unattached runner let me past at a stile saying he wasn't sure of the way. It occured to me, as a I ploughed on through the reedy grass and heather toward the finish, that I didn't know the way either but as the course dropped steeply I felt I was almost there. I worked steadily down the long track to the ford at the bottom of the valley and asked some folk there where the finish was. They advised it was back the way I'd come and I'd missed the tape marker where runners evidently were supposed to cut left. As I ran back the 60 or 70 yards up the hill I saw all 3 lads cutting across the little footbridge and having lost 3 places I felt a bit grumpy, walking the wee last bit up the hill. I spent the next 20 minutes marshalling at the junction where I'd gone wrong to try and make me feel better. And I did. After all, thats fell racing!

So...cracking day for a run and I live to fight another day. I'll sure be back next year, this time with 'The Knowledge'.  I hope the weather will be the same.

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