As Plan A, Hexhamshire Hobble was a no goer so Plan B got underway meaning me, Steph Piper, Chairman Paul and Aaron Gourley were heading down to Castleton (not in Derbyshire Steph) to run the Eskdale Eureka. The weather was improving and it looked to be a good decision. Steph finished her fell runners breakfast of a savoury mince pie mmmm and I contemplated my first proper fell race for quite some time. The weather at the start other than being a bit blowy was spot on for racing. We had to jog / run to the start and had only caught our breath when we were off.
Paul gave it some beans at the start and I attempted to keep on his heels assuming there must be a good reason for such a fast start; there was, after the fast downhill start we hit a short steepish uphill section and people started walking in front of me holding us all up. By the time I got running again Paul was rapidly becoming a distant purple dot.
The race starts and finishes along the same two miles or so of track with a big circuit in between making the race route look like a huge deflated balloon on a string on the map. The race is generally run-nable the only section which caught me out was a very short steep bit just before checkpoint two.
There was then a really very pleasant couple of miles of good steady moorland trod which you could really get into a rhythm on. There’s a short section of fairly rough stuff through knee deep heather before the one and only road section and luckily I had a runner in front of me who found every rabbit hole, bog and rock for me 🙂 he was uttering some choice words by the time we hit the road. I of course thanked him and ran off.
The route back follows the route out and I was caught somewhat by surprise by the finish as it seemed to appear remarkably quickly. I think I did as well I could have expected. Paul of course came in first Strider followed by me then Aaron with Steph as our final runner but credit must be given to her as this was her first fell race on her own as it were and she did brilliantly overtaking we think at least 5 women on the way round.
All in all a very good fell race and in my opinion just as good as the Hobble.