A tale of two fell races

Posted by Nik Cook
Monday 15th June 2009

After wrangling about whether to do the Castleton fell race I’ve since decided “sod it” and am going to do my club’s www.goytvalleystriders.org.uk Summer Series. My wife had already decided that she wanted to race so, rather than stand around at the start/finish being miserable, I reasoned that I might as well give them a go too.

 So, on a cold and damp Wednesday evening, I found myself at Poynton for the Boar’s Head fell race. The 8m/1322ft course went through Lyme Park and had a continuously rolling profile rather than the typical straight up and down of a traditional fell race. Lining up there was a good club turnout including Andy Pead, who regularly wins races, so I knew I’d be racing for second place club points. With a gentle uphill road start, the initial pace was fast and it didn’t really relent for the whole race. With only one steep bank, the whole course was run-able and felt more like a cross-country rather than a fell race. My legs felt decidedly heavy, probably from the hour of tyre towing the night before! Just like Castleton, the whole race hurt but I was able to cross the line in a little over 51 minutes, in 15th overall and 2nd in my club behind Andy. Next race in the series is Hope Wakes on July 1st so that gives me 2 weeks to find a bit of speed although I’d need a miracle to stand any chance of catching Andy!

 My next dilemma was about Sunday’s Kinder Trog (16m/3490ft). I had to get a long training run in over the weekend, knew it was a fantastic route but was worried about overdoing it racing and trashing myself for the rest of the week. In the end I made a compromise. My plan was to run hard-ish for the first 7 miles to Kinder Downfall, but then to back-off completely for the second half and just enjoy it as a nice run out on the hills. The plan went remarkably well and, despite soaring temperatures, I showed unusual self-restraint to finish feeling strong and fresh in 2:15 and 28th overall. As I’m writing this on Monday morning, my legs feel fine and I’ll be heading out for a run later. I know however, if I’d pushed to go 5-10 minutes quicker it’d be a very different story.


Read more blog entries by Nik Cook

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