I turned up on a very sunny and pleasant Saturday afternoon to run the Coniston Fell Race. Now I’ve ran in a few fell races (Hexham Hobble, Saunders etc) now so thought it was about time to step up and run a category A fell race. I was feeling pretty confident and hoped for a good race. There was a strong contingent from NFR including Geoff and Susan Davis so I figured I would try and chase after Geoff and maybe even pip him at the post!
The Course is 9 miles long with 3500 feet of ascent, hence the A category. There were three checkpoints Wetherlam (762m), Swirl How (804m) and finally Coniston Old Man (803m). We set off in the sun and soon hit the first hill at which point everyone got there hands on their knees and commenced the plod up to Wetherlam I tried to run but soon joined the rest of the plodders. It was interesting to see people taking a variety of routes. I however followed the masses and Geoff who had ambled past me on the first climb. We did manage the occasional run when the incline allowed but overall it was one hell of a pull up to the first checkpoint. As I suggested I was hoping to do well at the start of the race. By Swirl How I was just hoping to get to the end and by Coniston Old Man I was hoping not to collapse and come in last!
The run down from the old man was steep and didn’t half batter the old legs. I was really surprised to come round a bend in the path in the final mile and see Geoff about 50 metres ahead (he tells me he took a bad line off the old man) I think he was also surprised to see me, he certainly stepped on the gas on the road to the finish. I’m afraid I couldn’t respond (my legs were like jelly) and came in a couple of places behind him. I had told my family I would be round in 90 minutes, it took me 1 hour 43 (to be confirmed) I am ever the optimist. I must say (as you may have gathered) it is a tough race and only for those who like hills, but the course is in some fantastic countryside and it really felt like an achievement to finish. I might even do it next year.