Category Archives: FRA-BM

The Fell Runners Association explains race categories in its Rules for competition (pdf) document, but a relevant summary can be found below.

Category B
Should average not less than 25 metres climb per kilometre.
Should not have more than 30% of the race distance on road.

Category M
A category “M” (medium) race is over 10 kilometres but less than 20 kilometres.

New Fox and Hounds, Ainthorpe, Wednesday, May 20, 2015

BM / 9m / 1499'

Danny Lim

Danny Lim

I seemed to go have gone back in time as I drove through Danby, a tranquil village nestled in the North York Moors. I nearly had lamb chops for dinner, after narrowly swerving from a couple of lambs that insisted on dashing across the road as I drove by.

The race HQ was in the Fox & Hounds Pub. It was a surreal sight, dozens of runners queueing up, surrounded by the locals tucking away into their dinner. Sadly, I was the only Strider in sight. For the first time ever, Dave Parry spoilt us by starting with a lead car. After 100 yards of tarmac, we veered off the road onto moor. This is a race almost purely on soft ground or heather. There was very little hard tracks or stony path, which my feet were grateful for. There was however, plenty of bush-whacking with lots of heather and knee-high vegetation to run through.

The climbs and drops were relatively gentle which disappointed me a tad. But the final mile was exciting as I was chased by a runner that kept trying to overtake me. The nerve of him! I had planned to run this race at a “steady” pace and here I was finishing off with a eyeballs out sprint. I’m going to pay the price at my next race this weekend, I’ll keep you posted.

(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)

Glaisdale Rigg, Sunday, March 8, 2015

BM / 8.5M 1844’

Mike Bennett

very little separating the Michaels and Mikes.
Photo courtesy and © David Parke

2 Esk valley regulars Mike Hughes and Mike Bennett were the only purplies in attendance at this event, another race in the Esk Valley series.

Course was longer but considerably drier than Captain Cooks with 2 good lung busting climbs and some superb scenery. Mixture of road, bog, heather, pine forest tracks and farmland. Course was well marked, (not always the case with these events), even so a few runners still managed to miss crucial turns.

You need to remember to save something for the very short but sharp uphill bit at the finish, with spectators and earlier finishers watching you feel you have to push right to the end before you can collapse.

A good friendly atmosphere from start to finish and the familiar sight of Dave Parry clipboard in hand to greet you at the finish. £6 EOD with a generous prize list, 3 bottles wine for my first in age group made the day.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Inov-8 High Cup Nick, Dufton, Saturday, February 28, 2015

BM / 9.3M / 1509'

Nigel Heppell

High Cup Nick is just that; a nick in the western Pennines escarpment not far from Appleby-in-Westmorland; not any old nick but a long, deep, glaciated valley cut through many different layers of rock laid down over eons and characterised by an impressive ledge of dolerite/basalt Great Whin Sill delineating the perimeter. For the last nine years the quiet little village of Dufton has seen fit to cause people, including me and Phil Owen on this occasion, to run from the village green along a short stretch of road then farm track before squelching across undulating fields and tussocky boglands on a gentle ascent followed by a grin-making steep descent into the valley bottom and a wade through a stream(river today), turning to view the long haul up the cleft of the Nick.

Runnable at first, this soon breaks down into a run-walk for all but the hardened fellmongers disappearing ahead (my personal run/walk moment came earlier; much, much earlier than expected, legs and lungs just did not want to know for the first mile or two). Ultimately everyone is walking as the valley narrows and the track steepens into a boulder field; then a strenuous scramble up the rock face alongside the backwards-flowing waterfall; yes, the breeze which had been comfortably caressing our backs up the valley was now blowing seriously hard as the funnel of the nick narrowed down and the temperature dropped accordingly. Just as well the cloud came down to obscure the dramatic drop back into the valley. One or two competitors ahead of me did seem to experience a ‘moment’ on the wet slippery rocks but I saw that as an opportunity to overtake a bunch of queuers.

Once I’d hauled myself out of the shelter of the Nick the bitter wind really hit hard, blowing sideways across the track we were to take, and with jelly-legs from the climb I was joined by others in a comedy parade of silly walks to amuse the marshals. Eventually persuading all four limbs into some kind of vaguely coordinated lope we stumbled off down the track of the Pennine Way (also traversed by competitors in the mid-January Spine race under very much colder conditions) concentrating hard on picking a safe route along the rock-strewn path.

Some interesting trading of places occurred within my cohort on this long steady downhill section and I was fully expecting to be overtaken on the short uphill sections nearer to the finish but it would appear that my stategy of walking early on in the race had paid off as I regained places lost to early downhill overtakers and even overhauled a few others I’d not knowingly seen before, finishing with a dash across the village green and into the community hall for a cup of substantial home-made veg’ soup and a roll.

Results:

Rocks – about 480 million years;

Runners – N Heppell 1hr 45min(ouch!)177/211 – P Owen about 1min longer – Race winner in a new course record of 1hr 01 min 03 secs, the approriately-named Ricky Lightfoot of Ellenborough.

Nigel adds …

Special mention for James, who ran with us for the first time last week and also competed in this race. He finished in a very respectable time of 1hr 18min and was placed about 37-40th in the field.

and a 24second video of the start was filmed – just possible to make out Phil O at the rear.

(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)

Guisborough Woods, North York Moors, Sunday, December 28, 2014

BM / 6.8M / 1358'

Jan Young

This year a perfect winter’s scene, thin snow cover and bright sunshine on moor, so calm.

In the woods, frosty air hanging white against green conifers.

The juniors ran to quarry top and back, a mile outing for them, while two lap senior race covered wide woodland tracks and moor edge.

These NEHRA series races are always well supported, 117 runners shunning sales shopping.

Where were you?

My purple vest was lonely.

(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)

Eskdale Eureka, Castleton, North York Moors, Sunday, December 14, 2014

BM / 12.6 km / 470 m

Penny Browell

Elvet Striders at the Eskdale Eureka Fell Race 2014After the freezing horrors of the Hexhamshire Hobble the week before I was a touch apprehensive about the Eureka. However I convinced myself that it was going to be fine – further south, better weather forecast, less exposed route ….Scott even declared it would be a “vest only” run on the drive down. Once we’d parked up at Castleton I think he changed his mind quite quickly. The biting cold winds were back…again…this time without snow but no less challenging. This registration and starting point of the Eureka are what I’m reliably informed could be described as those of a ‘proper’ fell race – you pay your money through a car window, get changed whilst using the car boot as shelter and the facilities are a few gorse bushes. The freezing wind made it all the more interesting and even after an attempt at a warm up I was very reluctant to give up my hoodie…

After a quick group photo and a race briefing (which I heard none of), we were off. Unusually this race starts with an off-road downhill. Great for some people – I saw Paul and Scott disappear ahead of me and Phil flew past me – but this is where I struggle the most. I failed to get going properly and then found myself stuck behind a group so that once we reached the narrow uphill path I couldn’t overtake. I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that this wasn’t going to be my day and trudged up. But fairly soon the path widened out and I gradually managed to get through and stretch my legs out. The route is a lollipop shape and included a good mix of bog, heather, fields and footpaths with none of the climbs or descents too difficult.

At about the half way mark I spotted a purple shirt ahead of me and realised it was Scott! On the uphill he was getting ever closer but I decided to tuck in behind rather than take him on. But then I heard someone coming up behind me… I can always tell the difference between a man or woman catching up with me and this was definitely a lady. Now I don’t mind men beating me but I’m not keen on girls overtaking so I put on a little burst to make sure I was ahead of both of them. Scott looked truly surprised [horrified – Ed] to see me but it wasn’t long before he was back ahead of me, along with my new lady friend. Crossing a field I managed to take a slightly shorter route which put me in front of Scott, but still behind the other lady. As I was just wondering whether I could catch her again she suddenly lost her footing and was flat out in the mud! She was quickly back on her feet and I shouted a quick “Are you OK?” as I ran past then heard Scott encouraging me not to care too much about her! [this is not painting me in a very good light – Ed]

Penny & Anita collect the Women's team prize after Jan had to make an early exitA fast-ish section followed which Scott and I ran more or less together. Then a Pickering runner just ahead of us claimed to know a good short cut off the main path so we took his word for it and followed. Unfortunately this took us through a lot of heather with hidden ditches and boggy bits which meant I slowed right down. Several runners got past us (Scott was gallantly holding back..) [no I wasn’t – Ed]

The climb back up wasn’t easy but the cars on the top of the hill gradually got closer and I was delighted to eventually see Paul and a crowd of others cheer me in with Scott just behind me. Paul had had another fantastic race in spite of battling a winter bug and it wasn’t long before the rest of the Striders gang returned. Jan stormed in as winner of her category and along with Anita we were all over the moon to be crowned winning ladies’ team (which in the fell racing world means lots of wine!).

All in all I thought it was a great race – proper fells and proper biting winds but completely runnable and beautiful scenery. Strongly recommend the Eureka to anyone who fancies trying fell races but make sure you take plenty of clothes – it’s cold up there!

(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)

Commondale Beacon Fell Race, North York Moors, Sunday, November 16, 2014

BM / 14km/ 375m

Penny Browell

When we got the Commondale, I felt a warm glow as we registered in the Cleveland Inn. There’s something about the atmosphere at these fell races which is so comfortable, informal and yet exciting. As we got ready the weather miraculously lifted giving us lovely views of the countryside and with no wind it became pretty much perfect running conditions. After catching up with Phil and a few others, Dave’s race briefing was given, “It’s muddy and don’t get lost” and we were off.

Penny runs home into 38th place overall and third lady at the Commondale Beacon Fell Race 2014 Camilla running into 77th place at the Commondale Beacon Fell Race 2014 Phil running into 84th place at the Commondale Beacon Fell Race 2014

The race starts with a steep uphill on grass which certainly warmed us up, although almost as soon as we got started we ground to a halt as the path narrowed but we were soon speeding away again. The hill continued steeply but on road. My new fell shoes weren’t particularly happy with the tarmac but the views as we climbed were impressive and it wasn’t long before we turned off into the proper stuff.

Having been promised heavy mud I’ve got to admit I was a touch disappointed: yes, it was muddy but I had been looking forward to completely losing my feet in the bog and in reality there were only a couple of occasions when there was any danger of that happening.

Anita running into 86th place at the Commondale Beacon Fell Race 2014 Jan running into 87th place at the Commondale Beacon Fell Race 2014 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a lovely course though; compared to my previous attempt at The 3-Tops, the hills were much less challenging but there was still plenty to think about in terms of footing and dealing with varying terrain, with a mix of rocks, mud, heather and ‘traily’ paths. I realised this is what I enjoy about off-road running. Instead of thinking about how fast I am or should be going, I actually have to think about what I’m doing and where to put my feet. Somehow that’s more satisfying but less physically tiring for me.

The race is around 8 miles in length, undulating through the moors. Highlights for me were completely mistiming a stream crossing, which resulted in a very wet left foot and leg, and managing to attack the downhills with more courage than I’d managed previously. I was still doing my usual – overtaking on the uphills and getting overtaken on the downhills – but at least I was running rather than crawling and even got the sense of flying that Danny had described so well in his recent article.

The 8 miles seemed to be over in a flash – although a couple of the hills were tough, none of them were long and before long we were back on tarmac which I realised meant we must be close to the finish. Someone shouted “well done, you’re third lady” as the pub came back into sight which gave me a massive boost, and so, after a final push, I was done.

After chatting to a couple of the guys I’d been to and fro-ing with for the last few miles it wasn’t long before Camilla arrived, closely followed by Phil, Anita and Jan. We all retreated to the pub where we enjoyed a mix of hot drinks and Guinness and almost all of us were rewarded with bottles of wine (sorry Phil!). Again I was struck by the warm and friendly atmosphere and we all went home with smiles on our faces. I think it’s safe to say I’ve got the fell running bug now – but where next?

(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)

Leg It Round Lathkil, Over Haddon, Peak District,, Sunday, November 9, 2014

BM/11.5 km/290 m

Ari Hodgson

The Leg It Round Lathkill fell race was my first fell race and given my new location in some place in South Yorkshire that used to make a lot of steel, the lure of the Peak District was too strong. With a little push from the Dark Side, namely Sheffield University Orienteering and Fell Running club (ShUOC), I found myself crossing the border and ending up in a rather unfamiliar place, Derbyshire I think it’s called but don’t quote me on that. Once at the destination, a little hotel surrounded by farmer’s fields on one side of a river valley, time to get kitted up and ready, unfortunately that meant the black and gold of my university kit (whilst not purple, the vest does match my usual running shorts and when you’ve no coordination normally, colour coordination does matter) [Are you having a laugh? – Ed] and then we were lined up and off, embarking on the first of no doubt many a fell race.

It’s well known that I have tendency to go off far too fast at the beginning of a race, ask Geoff, Scott and Graham so I tried to reign it in a bit and thought I was doing okay trying to save some energy for an uphill finish. (That brings me on to the first piece of advice I received during the race day, warm up at the finish so you know what to expect should it come to a sprint finish.) Returning to the race events, I thought I was going off tamely by my standards until the coach of ShUOC came into sight. Quick double check and I remembered she’d said she was mildly hung over for a night out the night before (Pop Tarts, I was dragged once, I have Finnish flag on wall as a result), all things considered I was probably going at comfortable pace then the queues hit post a rather technical road descent (I must thank Arid Man and Dustbowl Woman for teaching me not be afraid of risky lines and bringing out the elbows through the Harrier League). To say there was many a style, gate, wall to climb over would have been an understatement but it was all part of the course, the very wet, slightly flooded and quite traily (that’s a word now, use it well) opening half of the course. Those queues however were nothing compared to the one at the “stairway to heaven”. Steps, lots and lots of very steep, very slippery steps going, what felt like straight up for quite a while, given the queue to even get near them, walking up them, unfortunately was the only way up given my position in the pack at that point.

If anything, “Stairway to Heaven” is a complete misnomer. Once the steps were out of the way, the real hell was to begin. Cows, or devil beasts, I find either an appropriate name for them. Churning up the grass and the mud and adding to it as if it had been planned all along that they were to sabotage the nice off road running into a freshly ploughed mess. Running through the fields, taking in the surrounds and trying not to look down at the fields now churned up to an unrecognisable state with mud and what I am telling myself was mud or else sleep won’t be happening for a while (that brings me on to my second tip, even if it isn’t mud, tell yourself it is, makes taking the straight, direct line through the field so much nicer), I was sure someone behind me burst out into a rendition of “The Hills Are Alive”, it must have been the cows, they broke him.

From one type of monster to another: the mythical creatures from stories, that have been passed down from generation to generation – The Bog Monsters. I must consider myself lucky in that my sacrifice appeased them (it was their own fault for thinking Taylor Swift makes good pre-race music), those around me were not so lucky as many a shoe was stolen during this section but not mine, for once. Through the bog and into the woods where there was a road section, a nice fast road descent (this one straight rather than the first twisty one). It didn’t last long as we were then back into Dante’s Mud-ferno, the cow’s domain, but I managed to avoid needing too much of a hose down afterwards, unlike the person in front of me.

Once escape was obtained, the Discesa di Lombardia (descent of the falling leaves) was next. Down the leaf shoot to the river bank, along the river bank into the stone that marked the stile, double take and ignoring the now painful knees, over the stile and on to the road. Upon turning the corner to get onto the road and being met by a 20% gradient rise, the collective “no” from me and the people around me did get quite a laugh from the marshals at that point. Up the wall, over the wall, up the semi-steps (bits of stone that were probably once steps but alas, no more), straight up the fields, safe fields, no cows in these fields, then the finish, uphill but not too steep, perfect for a kick, also perfect for cramp as it turns out. Suffering through the lactate to eventually cross the line in 183th place in a time of 69:48.

All in all, a very enjoyable race, my first of many on the fells and I most definitely see a return to it next happening. Many things were gained from this experience but the tips I’d pass on to anyone else would be:

  1. Look at the finish before the race starts
  2. Remember to keep telling yourself that it’s only mud even if it isn’t
  3. Dark mud is probably better to go through than a lighter shade of mud, as that might not be mud (but tell yourself it is)

Mental running playlist for the race:

  • Watercolour – Pendulum (blame ShUOC and their pre-race Pendulum for that)
  • Rock It For Me – Caravan Palace
  • Bang Bang – Nancy Sinatra
  • Two Black Cadillacs – Carrie Underwood

Young Meringue

(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)

Saltergate Levisham Fell Race, Sunday, October 5, 2014

BM/17 km/430 m

Anita Clementson

All Creatures Great and Small

Anita & Camilla at Saltergate Levisham 2014Only two Striders represented the club at the second race in the Northern Runner Winter Series organised by the fantastic Esk Valley Fell Club. I hadn’t done this race before and was encouraged to make the extra-long journey after reading Shaun’s report from a few years ago (always an excellent source of info is our Striders website).[We aim to please. Ed..

We were at the south end of the Yorkshire Moors for this event in the hamlet of Levisham (nr Pickering). Camilla and myself arrived at the delightful village and parked on the green near the village hall (race HQ). I just love these small low-key races; no fuss, no frills but a great day’s running guaranteed and you get to meet some lovely folk! Entry on the day for £7 and a chance to admire the lovely home-made cakes and soups on offer – enough to encourage one to try just that bit harder to make good time back before all the grub has gone!

Camilla at Saltergate Levisham 2014Anyway onto details of the race. Dave, the race organiser, gathers us all together at the head of the green (approximately 70 runners from a quick headcount) and shouts out some details, with most of them sounding quite alarming, i.e. mention of highland cattle with calves, and navigation that sounds quite difficult to follow, before closing with the comment ‘but don’t worry about that’.

A fast start, up a gradual incline and I make the mistake of trying to keep up with Camilla but after about the first half-mile I give up as my stomach comes up to say hello. Mile 1 and it’s ‘the highland cattle’ – coming down a hill you can see them in the distance dominating the path! My heart rate goes even faster! I’m not a big fan of cattle and have had some unfortunate encounters when running in isolated places. As I get closer their horns seem to get bigger! ‘Oh bloody hell!’ I just run as fast as I can to swerve past the one standing right in the path, staring runners in the eye… Well, I’m still here to tell the tale!

Anita at Saltergate Levisham 2014After that ‘excitement’ the rest of the race was a delightful mixture of trail and fell, quite a lot of steps (‘Angel Staircase’ being one particular flight) and a circumnavigation of the ‘Hole of Horcum’. The visibility was ideal to admire the rolling countryside – ‘God’s country’ – as were the weather conditions.

Following some other runners, I ended up taking a wrong turn but was rounded up by the back marshal eventually! So I ended up at the back, but did manage to pick a few off at the end which was a lovely long stretch for the last 2.5 miles.

Camilla had a good race and even had an encounter with an adder! We took advantage of the cakes and applauded the endless recipients of wine for the various category winners. This race can be highly recommended and is suitable for runners of all abilities, who have a passion for the great outdoors and are up for a bit of adventure in their running.

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Simonside Fell Race, Thropton Show, Saturday, September 20, 2014

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. King/Queen of the Mountain Race - click flag for more information. 6.4M 1200' Cat BM

Nigel Heppell

For me the first part of this race was just getting to the start line on time. What should have been an easy journey turned to a frustrating dash after joining stationary traffic on the A1, diverting along the backroads of Gateshead towards Newcastle only to see traffic queuing to cross the Redheugh bridge to St James’, leaving no option but to push a way through the throngs of happy shoppers winding their way through Dunston to the Metrocentre. One whole hour for the first 9 miles – I could have run there just as fast, well, once upon a time, maybe. Fortunately not much on the roads beyond Newcastle so managed to arrive in Thropton, park, change, pay entry, register for race with about 5 minutes to spare. Joining Mike B, Susan & Geof(NFR) and Sally H, I was wearing the last-registered number when we started.

Safety briefing highlighted the potential hazards of wading through the river, running through recently felled forestry, along with scambling up and down crags, and included the words ‘what do you expect, it is a fell race you’ve entered’. Nice steady start along road out of village, down along streamside then a refreshing paddle across River Coquet before another level stretch of field gradually rising to uphill lane, double bend through farm buildings and onto steeper pasture land before entering woods where aforementioned forestry vehicles had churned up the surface.

Mike B had long since disappeared ahead and Susan passed me on the climb. I noticed Sally having to hold herself back to keep Geoff company a little way behind. Not so much of a scramble up the rocks to Simonside as steps have been constructed since I last ran here in 2008 but the descent from the ridge seemed trickier and I left a bit of shin skin on a boulder up there as a memento. Downhill through the heather and then the woods is always the most enjoyable part of this race for me and from time to time I do get to overtake a few other runners too, then the pressure is on to maintain the advantage down the lane and across the open ground back towards the river. A quick glance back saw the red-shirted runner I overtook falling further back, but what was that purple vest coming into sight?

I’m gratified to be able to say I had been ahead of our club captain for 6miles of the 7mile race – but only because Jan and Paul suffered transport problems that gifted the rest of us a 10min head start! Paul flew past and continued to draw out a considerable lead in the last stage of the race through a field of long grass, a short stretch of road and an impressively large finishing funnel. I thought about giving chase but after a few paces filed that idea in the folder marked ‘futile’.

Striders were in the (bottled) prizes today with, in no particular order, 1st in age group wins for Susan, Sally (non-alcoholic), Jan, and Mike B.

Next year, 2015, is the 100th anniversary of the Thropton show, a date to remember for anyone planning that far ahead. After serious critical appraisal of the exhibits Mike and I reckon we could clean up in the drop scone, sponge cake, and jam making categories; with a bit more training we could improve our placings in the fellrace and would then be suitably warmed up to do alright in the Cumberland wrestling. We might have to enlist help from Angela for the funniest-shaped vegetable though.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 John Butters NFR M 51.48
12 Karen Robertson NFR F 56.14
25 Mike Bennett M 59.04
?? Paul Evans M ??.??
42 Nigel Heppell M 66.41
45 Susan Davis F 68.28
52 Geoff Davis M 70.34
53 Sally Hughes F 70.34
?? Jan Young F ??.??

74+2 finishers.

(Visited 5 times, 1 visits today)

Inclined to Madness, North York Moors, Wednesday, August 27, 2014

BM / 6.8m / 1230ft

Nigel Heppell

Four Striders filled a car and travelled down to the fringes of the NYM on Wednesday night for the penultimate race of the Esk Valley Fell Club summer series. Mercifully midge-free in a fair breeze we were sent on our way in the usual Dave Parry style ‘blah, blah, health and safety, blah, go …’ along an undulating forest track that had seen recent tree-felling work and was strewn with debris to trip the unwary. 2.5 miles of what seemed like hard work led us to the base of the incline – the track bed of an old rope-hauled railway – and a 1mile walk up the slope for three of us. Spat out onto the moor top and it’s time to run again, gradually gaining height in amongst the grouse shooting butts, to divert briefly up to touch the Urra Moor summit trig point of Round Hill, highest point of the NYM at 454m, and also a Marilyn before a foot-slapping, knee-knocking, headlong charge downhill, some on the Cleveland Way, for the last 2miles to the finish at Clay Bank car park.

Mike B was cheated out of 1st V60 place by a holidaymaker from Dulwich. None of the rest of us was last. Thanks go to Camilla for providing the taxi service.

Inclined Striders.

(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today)