First Fell Race
By tdw on Jan 30, 2009
One of our local clubs puts on a fell racing series each year which is so close to home I can jog too and from them, so this year with a little encouragement from some of my club mates, I took the plunge and entered the first race of the series: the rather strangely named: Tigger Tor.
By the more direct routes between checkpoints, this is around 9 miles with 1700' of ascent, so it's moderately challenging in general fell running terms.
After recce'ing the route a couple of times with friends from my club, I set myself a target of 1:50. I actually thought I could do it 5-10 minutes less than this, but being my first fell race, slightly unfit and not knowing what to expect (except wet feet), I set myself up to be happy with something around this time.
One of my team mates said that it's okay to walk in fell races, so I should expect to have to do so in this race. Indeed, I did need to walk a couple of times, but as I was already mentally prepared for this, it didn't bother me, and I think it helped overall in that I was able to refresh myself and carry on running at a reasonable pace afterwards.
Once the race had started, I didn't look at my watch again until the finish. It's not like a half-marathon or 10K - where you can check your pace and adjust accordingly, so the time at any particular point during the race is largely irrelevant. However, when I did check my watch at the finish, I found that I'd come home in 1:32. Not only that, but I was well into the top half of the finishers list too. To say I was chuffed to bits is a bit of an understatement as I didn't think I was anywhere near fit enough to do that!
What Wikipedia doesn't tell you about fell running is that you have to be ever-so slightly demented to take part. I mean, what kind of person willingly runs through calf-deep mud, crosses streams by the shortest, not driest route, and throws themselves downhill with all the abandon of a mountain goat?
It turns out though, that I have become one of those people.
My motivation for racing has now returned after over a year of apathy, and I now know I will try to get fitter and stronger for the next race... After the next slice of pizza that is.