Organising a Fell Race

Posted by Nik Cook
Monday 20th July 2009

Training has been going well including a solid 20 miler around the Goyt Valley on a hot and humid 12th July. Last week I notched up about 100km during the week including two hour long tyre sessions and five "barefoot" off-road runs in my Vibram Fivefingers. However, as the weekend drew near, I had to turn my attention to the first running of the Tracks to Trig Fell Race in conjunction with Chinley Village fete. My brief had been to "come up with something different that will appeal to all levels and abilities". In the end I settled on the concept of a lung bustingly short uphill only race to run in time-trial format. After a bit of route jiggery pokery, several submissions to the FRA and the kind assistance of landowner Mr Henshaw, Tracks to Trig was born. The route went from the pedestrian railway bridge in the village to the Trig point on top of Chinley Churn. At just over 1 mile in length and climbing almost 900ft, including a "hands and feet" steep 100m section christened the "Chinley Wall" , although short it's a toughie.

I set a limit of 60 entries; to keep thing manageable, minimise impact on the route and to allow for the racers to be set off at minute intervals within an hour. Initial uptake was slow due to but, come race day, we had almost 40 runners signed up. I'd also decided to run the race "watchless" with everyone having to estimate their time and a prize for the best guess.

Marking the race the previous evening my wife and I had got soaked and there was actually water flowing down the course. I prayed conditions would improve come the morning. I woke up to fog and drizzle but it was an improvement on driving rain! Kinder Mountain Rescue Team kindly provided marshals and, at 1101, the first runner headed off.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the race, although the weather meant that people weren't too keen to hang around at the finish. Congratulations to winners Nick Craig (9.59) and Rachel Chatwin (14.00) (both Pennine) and to Katy Thornhill for only being 5 seconds away from her estimated time.



 Thanks to Polar, Torq Nutrition and the Old Hall Whithough for donating prizes. We'll be running the race again next year so hopefully see you on the line.

My respect and gratitude for race directors has increased so much having orgainised my tiny little race and they really are unsung heroes. Next time you do a race, think before you criticise and always say thank-you... without these guys we wouldn't have a sport.  

Read more blog entries by Nik Cook

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