12 ladies entered (thanks to all) this mid-summer Lakeland fell race, a great result for the Bingley Fell Championship and for getting a team out for another English Fell Championship (EFC) race, both Ladies fell targets. Then the long hot summer began to break with a wet cold forecast , and life’s other priorities prevailed. 8 made it on the day with myself (Becky), Eleanor and Anna camping with partners and / or family. The forecast had improved and we set up camp in the sunshine on Friday at Turner Hall Farm overlooking the race start field.
Saturday morning dawned with blue sky and sunshine. Campers were happy and Nicola scooped a car full up – Shona, Jo, Sue and Michelle, set the Sat Nav for Seathwaite, Dunnerdale and arrived 2 ¼ sunny traffic free hours later over Wrynose Pass. Jo was a little car sick but tea, coffee and cake at the Weight tent seemed to help settle things.
Memories, for Sue, Eleanor, Jo and myself, of the recent recce with 40mph winds, being frozen in horizontal rain and hail, and in the cloud with little visibility were fresh and we were distrustful of the sunshine and blue sky. What to wear in addition to carrying full fell kit?
We lined up amongst the 350+ starters for a midday start and we, and 5 Bingley men, were off.
The race was won by Carl Bell and Hannah Horsburg (57th overall) of Keswick in 1.24 and 1.37. Full results at http://fellrunner.org.uk/results/champs18
The Bingley results are :
Shona was 7th F45 counter in the individual English Fell Championships (EFC) joining Denise Wright and Becky Weight in the F45 results. Becky, despite not finishing, is still top of the F60 category, and at the worst should be able to hold equal first after the last race.
For Turner Landscape the ladies were 10th in the Open (Shona, Nicola & Anna) and 6th V40 (Shona, Jo & Sue) team in the EFC, bringing the teams to 10th and 7th respectively after 5 races. This is a great result especially considering the level of experience. Lakeland fell races are often a big step up from fell races in the Pennine moorlands and the Yorkshire Dales. For Michelle, Nicola and Eleanor this was their first Lakeland fell race, only the second for Jo and Shona, Sue’s first for 10 years and since a persistent Achilles injury, and Anna is just getting back to running after her first baby. More experience will bring better results.
The men were 10th V40 team (Robbie, Dave & James), making the EFC team listings in 16th place after 5 races. Dave & Peter gained points for the M55 and M70 championships. Well done guys.
Some comments from the ladies themselves to add some more colour :
Nicola “As my first Lake District Fell Race, definitely brutal, challenging, scenic and an experience – but great fun as well. Fantastic team spirit, great hospitality in the “Weight Hospitality Tent” (offering cake, coffee, tea & flapjacks!) and a brilliant Bingley Ladies Day Out. The day was far better than the recce and it was great to be able to see the scenery and the long line of runners ahead making their way up to the top of the first hill.” NB Nicola bought her first pair of fell shoes after the race having run in well worn smooth soled road shoes! She did admit to being on her bum on some of the grassy slopes so scope for improvement there! Many thanks to Nicola for organising lifts and driving.
Shona “My second Lakeland Fell experience & it was no coincidence that it was the second time I suffered from DOMS! The terrain definitely challenged me, but the stunning landscapes and the friendly atmosphere, went at least some way to compensate for the effort put in! However, it was probably the day out with my team mates, which was the most enjoyable aspect.”
Eleanor “This was my first Lakeland fell race, so my main aim was to make it round without getting lost. I am pleased to have achieved this, but it was a tough race! I could do with more strength, stamina and fitness to cope with all that uphill, downhill and dreaded traversing! A lovely route though, and coupled with a great campsite to stay at, I like to think I’ll attempt it again sometime.”
Sue “It was my first Lakeland race for 10 years and first longer race after injury. It’s quite a tough course but felt mentally well-prepared after recceing in rain and hail a couple of weeks before. On the day the weather was perfect- a bit too much so, given that I was dressed for bad weather again. I found the traversing rocky paths the hardest and battled with cramp a few times. Views were fantastic though and the flags from checkpoint 5 to the finish were most welcome!”
Anna “I really enjoyed the route, didn’t feel like too much uphill, beautiful views and weather and some nice rocky contouring sections which are the only bits I can run fast these days. I was pleased to finish feeling ok having struggled racing in the heatwave. The best bit though was having such a large ladies team, so thanks Becky for the encouraging. From the pre race tea and chat to standing on the start line together worrying, to cheering everyone in, to coffee and cake after it was lovely to have a big group of us. And will definitely do it again as the campsite was great too”
Becky “As well as the team aspect (as Ladies Fell Team Manager!), this was my 5th EFC race of 2018 and I was hoping for a good result to confirm my position at the top of the F60 category. However I was carrying an ‘overuse’ injury and set off in the hope I would be able to run but after a painful climb up the track and even more painful running on the flat I pulled up after 1.5 miles – my first ever DNF. Disappointed for myself but great day as a Team Manager, with all the Bingley ladies, for the team, lovely campsite, sunny weather in beautiful Dunnerdale, and fantastic to cheer the team in.”
Jo “I started running because of my son Jonathan now 16. We used to take him to English FRA championship races, one of which was the Junior Turner Uphill race, the same place as the Turner Landscape race. I never thought I would run in FRA championship races myself. It’s because of Beckys team spirit that I have competed in 2 FRA championship races for the first time this year. I would like to think if I can compete in them then lots more Bingley Harriers will too”
Michelle hadn’t been able to do a recce so had to rely on her navigation skills & common sense for her first Lakes fell race. At the start ….
“ My heart was literally in my mouth and I was worried I’d be seeing Becky’s cake again. Nevertheless I set off with everyone and quickly fell behind on the first climb. I wasn’t too worried as I could see a chap just ahead and a couple of ladies behind me. I carried on uphill and by the first checkpoint there was literally nobody else in sight, I was on my own! My navigation came into play and I headed in what looked to be the right direction based on where I thought I should be at the end! After a couple more checkpoints (with very friendly marshalls) the ‘last runner marshall’ caught up as the ladies behind me had turned back, but I was still within the cut-offs. This meant that I ran the rest of the route with my own personal ‘guide’ so I didn’t have to worry about navigation anymore just where to put my feet running sideways across a massive rocky hill (never done that before either!)
I finally crossed the finish line to a round of applause and cheers from my fellow Bingley ladies and almost burst into tears, I’d survived my first fell race. I may have finished last but the sense of achievement I felt was incredible and I’m very proud of myself for having the determination to keep going when all I wanted to do was give up and sit down! Thanks to Becky and everyone else for a fab day out in an incredible place!”
All the ladies agreed that Michelle gets the Bravery award for sheer guts, practical common sense, and her great ‘just do it’ approach. We are really proud of her achievement.
A few photos to fill the picture in :
Warming up and getting ready to go
A view of the start, in the distance, with everyone gathered waiting to go, in glorious Dunnerdale
Anna and Michelle on the climb up to Grey Friars and the first check point; Heidi Martin’s photos.
Shona driving for the finish
Jo & Sue happy to be finished
Celebrating a great ladies team day out.
Thanks to everyone (and supporters) who entered, recced, travelled, ran, joined in, drove, baked, navigated, ate chocolate and courgette cake, shared, expanded their fell runners comfort zone, and helped make a brilliant day in the Lakes at its best.