Short but sweet today.
A fell run, what’s all this about. Despite my early running coming mainly from trails and off road routes in and around Barnsley. Whatever I could actually find anyway in those early days. Eventually becoming accustomed to finding a public footpath or a trail sign to take an opportunity to break out and explore somewhere to find out where it might eventually bring you out. I’d now class myself as a roadie. A true roadie, sitting in a rhythm grinding out the long and painful miles of continuous tarmac. A pavement pounder. A road runner. I ain’t no fell runner. I’m great on the climbs, I’m great on the flat. But I’ve not got the bottle to throw myself down a sharp and steep banking at what feels like 100mph. I’m rubbish on the downs.
With nothing in my calendar for this weekend, I saw that the Leg It Round Lathkil Race was on the club calendar and what looks like a basic, flagged fell route with around 800ft of climb over 7 mile. I thought to myself, go on then, let’s give it a go! With my fell racing calendar usually being minimal, if any. I fancied something different. So that was that, I stuck it in my calendar. Bit of research on the route and I was mentally prepared! Fast down hill start, hit a trail path, before turning sharp up over a bridge and some steps, climb up and up, through the fields. Cross a few more fields. Before hitting a road, flying down, down and down, into some more fields, down and down. Through a farm, before finding yourself on the trail again, left turn and sharp climb up to the finish. All in all, didn’t sound or look too bad!
The week since the Abbey Dash has been a fast week, I’ve run fast and comfortable and felt fresh. So I decided to enter the York 5k on Thursday night, still planned speed training on Wednesday though. So shot my legs a little bit in preparation and then ran 8 mile on Thursday Morning. That probably didn’t help the cause! But a 16:22 5k later and that was that! A flat course, 5 laps around a cycle track. Splits timed each lap. 3:04/3:15/3:19/3:24/3:22. Made my splits for the night. Set off a bit too quick and couldn’t keep the desired pace. We’ll go again next time out! With tired legs, I was happy with the result and was a small 5 second PB for the course. Friday was a bit of a tow and legs weren’t feeling so fresh anymore. 2 runs done and Parkrun came around. Feeling heavy and a little on the sluggish side, feeling like a was running deep in myself I clocked a 17:21. Proving my theory that you can take a minute off of your Barnsley Parkrun time on a flat 5k! Wow.
The race at Lathkil started at 11.30, being Remembrance Day. £5 to enter and set in and around the beautiful Derbyshire countryside. Still not as beautiful as Yorkshire though! My shoe choice for the fells isn’t as vast as my Road shoes. Owning at the minute a pair of inov8 TrailTalon 250 and Terraclaw 220. Previously owning some X Talon 190’s and 212’s. I struggle to find shoes that I’m comfortable at running fast in on the road or compact trail as well as the long, soft, slippery sections that these races have. Currently looking at a pair of Walsh Racers. Tempted to try them out, a lot of people rave about them. Anyway my choice today was the Terraclaw, mainly because my trailtalons are ripped. I set off around 9.20 after cleaning my shoes. As it stated on the race details. Roughly an hours run through from mine. Making it there for 10.20 ish. Straight to the Lathkil hotel to register, spotting plenty of Penistone races in and around and about. Part of the club championship as well this race. So guaranteed Penistone company! Also spotting 3 of the Barnsley AC contingent in Adrian, Mark and Noel. Getting my number eventually on my vest and shoes on, observing my 2 minutes silence at 11, off I went for a windy warm up and made my way back to the Lathkil Hotel. Feet already soaked from my wet shoes and sun just coming out from behind the rain clouds. Hanging around the start, they called everyone to move back up the country lane. Slowly but surely. A quick run brief and a minutes silence at 11.30 to remember those who have fallen. The fun run starts alongside the main run, with a few of the children opting to start on the front row. It’s a fast downhill start, so a few runners muttering about them starting here! Ah well, it’s only a fun run for us adults as well. Isn’t it? Before we knew it, 3,2,1 we was off. Straight out the block and throwing ourselves down a hill. Slick and wet on the road, a little slippy under foot. Then we hit some sharp hairpins, finding ourselves banking into the bushes and throwing our bodies around the corners. Then my head took over, spotting wet, mushy leaves on the path. Reluctantly approaching these, not wanting to slip. Then turning right on a fast trail, finding myself in 10th place due to being passed on the slippy leaves. In something more in my comfort zone now, picking people off on the narrow trail. Trying to pass where I could. But getting bunched up in places between 1st to 7th all together and running on top of each other, myself in 4th. Pack running, hardly being able to see some of the sharper rocks pointing up. Clipping and tripping as we run through. Getting pushed and dragged along at speed. A few stiles and gates to cross, where etiquette comes into play, if you get there first, go through first. But do not jump them at the side, so you go from 7th to 2nd. Made a quick surge, to regain my position, mainly out of frustration. Trail quickly came to an end. Even though it was 2.5 mile into the race by that point. Left turn and over a wooden and wet bridge. Carefully does it. Then up and onto some steps, another strength of mine. Climbing. Going up, making progress, the field had spread out a little more by now. With 10 seconds between 1st and 7th. Still finding myself in 4th. Working our way up. Again finding myself going through a gate with another runner and being jumped on the outside. Another surge sorted that out. Now through the fields, quite firm and compact if you took the right line. Head up, looking at the direction, knowing my bearings. Crossing the field, cutting through some wooded area, a few tree roots and more fields. Before finding some road. Gaining some with each step now on the guys in front. A sharp left turn and seeing a Marshall struggling to open a gate, myself in 5th running with 4th and 6th. The guy in 4th jumped the gate, as did the lads in 1, 2 and 3. The Marshall then said, oh shit, sorry lads, sending you the wrong way! So I was the first runner to actually go the right way. Straight on, seeing the tape and wall and another Marshall in the distance. 1,2 and 3 rejoined the race just in front of us. They only really ran through a private field instead of on the footpath. Now making our way down a sloppy field! Not my favourite part. Slipping and sliding, loosing a position and dropping to 6th. But holding on and in there. Hitting the farm at the bottom and again finding myself on a road, another sloppy leaf road. With a few loose rocks and stones, definitely not my strength. The grip on positions slipping away and finding myself in 7th now. I knew a climb was coming up and that’s where I’d claw some back. If I could hold on in there. Hitting the trail again and after crossing the river, taking possibly the long way round, but it’s where my body took me. Flying down the trail, tried a gate, didn’t work, so jumped it instead. All of the lads in front in sight. Now onto the climb, up on the road and bearing left towards the field, through a small opening and a muddy banking. Running but going nowhere, had to stop to reset myself, slid backwards and went forwards. Pushing off and going. Finish line is nearly in sight. Still in 7th. Kicking and had about 15 seconds to find to catch 6th. I knew I had that in me, at least. Kicked and threw myself forward. Passing him in plenty of time before the last gate. 5th now in sight, steep climb this, but he wasn’t quite in catchable sight. Seeing 1st and 2nd do a sprinting dip finish. Not much in it between everyone at all today. Making my way up and through the tape to the finish, to claim 6th place. 47:35 on my watch.
All in all, a decent day out and a challenging but fun race. But my shoes didn’t last, ripped the soles. On both feet separating the soles from the uppers.
Heart rate was way off on my watch, it has been all day. In fact my resting is currently 110BPM, whilst writing this. It ain’t that stressful, honest!
Might do a few more of them here fell races, just need to find a decent pair of shoes, again!
Just Keep Running!