Thursday, 10 June 2010

Boar's Head fell race

Yesterday was my first fell race in the colours of my new club - Pennine. Although I ran Shutlingsloe as a Pennine runner, I didn't have a vest, and I had pre-entered Wincle so ran it as a Fat Boy.

Fat Boys are my previous club, but they don't run many of the same races as I do (because I live the other side of the Peak). I would like to thank the Fat Boys for being so welcoming to Me and Mrs Noel over the years.

It seems I'm not big-chested enough to fit into a male medium vest, and there are too few scrawny men in Pennine to justify getting a batch of smalls. So we eventually decided on a lady's medium (thanks to Margaret and John for sorting that out). I was pleased that it didn't have any tassles or anything like that. It was also great to get people shouting "come on Pennine". Thanks to everyone giving encouragement on the course.

I've not run Boar's Head before as it clashes with Calver, which I've done a few times. I was delighted to find that it largely followed one of my old training runs from when I lived in Stockport. It was like a frantic, exhausted trip down memory lane with dozens of people chasing me.

The race is more fun than some races in that there are alternative lines to take. At one point, the field of runners in front of me split, leaving us with a confusing choice of who to follow. I followed the person directly in front of me (as I nearly always do) and I think I got it about right.

I'd tell you what time I finished in, but I'm watchless at the moment, so am waiting for the results to come out. I can then obsess over them, looking at who I would have beaten last year and who I should try to beat next year. Ah, the joys of fell running.

Monday, 7 June 2010

All for the love of fish - Wincle Trout

Wincle Trout is a very popular race - it seems to appeal to a wider group of people than most fell races do. Perhaps it's the excellent fete, perhaps it's undulating course on good tracks, perhaps it's the free trout for all finishers. This year they limited it to 350 runners and it was full about a month before the race day.

Wincle Trout is also an interesting race, because the fete (and the start and finish of the fell race) alternates between three different fields in Wincle. So to beat your PB, you really have to compare your time from three years ago. I hadn't done this race three years ago, so I could only compare what position I came in the field.

Lining up at the start of the race, it was pretty obvious we were missing a few big names who normally win the race. Local world-class fell runner Simon Bailey wasn't there, and neither was Stuart Maycock who wins it when Simon Bailey doesn't turn up. So that left Simon Harding to lead out a group of about 3 or 5 of us, each trying to stick with the guy infront. In the end, Simon won it by a long way.

I was in fifth place for most of the race. At one point, I had aspirations of pushing into the top three or four, but in the end was pushed down to sixth. I was still very pleased with this position, as it beats my PB of ninth from two years ago.

Sixth was also high enough to retain my first local's trophy, and win a three pack of local beer. I was glowing with pride when I stepped up to receive my trophy having watched the male and female winners in each category receive their trophies before me. After they had shaken hands with the former MP Nicholas Winterton, each one was prompted to turn to the race photographer and have their picture taken with the trophy. 'Great!' I thought. 'I've finally reached the big time.' However, when I turned to face the crowd, I realised the photographer wasn't there any more. I guess first local doesn't cut it.

I can report that the trout was delicious, barbecued that evening and washed down with a bottle of Sir Philip. Another great day out. We also successfully imported egg throwing, which raised about 15 quid for the local church and school. This is something we had seen last year at Burnsall Sports Feast. Here's a top tip: remove any rings from your fingers before trying to catch an egg thrown by someone more than 10 feet away.