2015 Summary

And that’s the end of 2015, 3,709.3km run with 109,297m of accent in 430 runs. Not bad, but I thought I’d just summarise how my key races have gone over the past 12 months. Also, I probably should have done this throughout the year as it’s a pretty long blog…

Tom Saville - U23 Yorkshire Fell Running Championship Trophy

The rather unusual U23 Yorkshire champs trophy

1st up was the Yorkshire Fell Running Champs. I’d never run this before, but this year Flower Scar Fell Race was also an English Championship race so it was a must. I even recced it! Turns out it wasn’t an amazing race for me – placing myself in 43rd. Although this was a poor start to the English Champs, luckily it was enough to seal 2nd U23 and the Yorkshire U23 Fell Running titles. I also received a unique paella dish trophy donated by Ali Brownlee.

From the Yorkshire Champs I was then lucky enough to be selected for the Inter-counties fell champs in Betws-y-Coed. Here I had a better race and finished 27th . Originally I was a little disappointed, missing out on a medal – but luckily a friend of mine pointed out I wasn’t down as an U23 on the results and so I wasn’t counted. This was later corrected and I was presented 3rd U23. Awesome, cheers Matt!

Intercounties medal plus bonus dragon

Intercounties medal plus bonus dragon

At this point early in the year, the British champs was going pretty well with 2nd U23 and 19th overall at Ras y Moelwyn and 1st U23 and 21st overall at Durisdeer. The English champs however, was not going so great. In addition to my poor run at Flower Scar I had a similarly poor run at Stretton Six Summits where I finished 4th U23 and 23rd overall. Luckily a good run at Lingmell Dash where I finished 2nd U23 and 15th overall. As this was a British and English champs counter it secured me the British U23 title and put me back in the running for the English.

My next major event was the British Mountain Running Champs but as it was a while away I decided to give a local race a go. I’d looked at doing Salt Cellar Fell Race for a while as I really like the area it is run on. Also, I’d had a look at the record and because it is a fairly new race it was quite achievable. I had a good race and took my first ever course record (however, it might not last more than a year, I’ll just have to wait and see…).

Nearing the finish of Salt Cellar Fell Race

Nearing the finish of Salt Cellar Fell Race

The British Mountain Running Championship was probably my biggest race this year as it also incorporated the world trials and the senior home international. I had been lucky enough to be selected to run as an U23 in the England team, just like last year. Usually you get about 20 ish people turn up to the world trials, but this year the worlds were in wales and so the trial was on the course and the turnout was about double. The field also consisted of a fair few U23s as the race was selection for an U23 team to be taken to the final mountain running world cup race in Slovenia. I tried my hardest last year but didn’t get in the team. However, after seeing how much I’ve improved this year I thought I had a pretty good chance. I also had a great race, mush better than I anticipated, and finished 21st and 2nd U23 in a class field. Easily my best race of the year! The England A team also ran a great race, coming away with a medal (silver or gold, not sure due to confusion with how the points were awarded).

U23 podium at the British Mountain Running Championships

U23 podium at the British Mountain Running Championships

A couple of weeks later and it was the final English Champs race, Guisborough 3 Tops. This is where the English Champs would be decided. I had to beat Jamie to take the title. He beat me at Lingmell but this was a longer race on fast paths so It could have been a good battle. Jamie couldn’t make it and so that made my race a bit easier. What didn’t make it easier was the complete lack of tapes on a “taped starting loop” that sent half the field running round like headless chickens in various directions. This made for a very interesting race and made pacing very difficult as once people were back on route it was hard to tell where you were in the race. As a result I ended up busting a gut and in the leading group before suffering on the return leg. Despite rubbish pacing I managed my highest English Champs placing yet, finishing 11th and 1st U23, mainly due to a lot of the top runners going the wrong way. And with the English Champs series over for the year that was the 2015 U23 title under my belt.

This year from my world trial result I was lucky enough to be one of the very select few that went to race in Slovinia as part of the England U23 team. The Smarna Gora Mountain Race was the final race in the mountain running world cup and the newly crowned world champion (Fred Musobo, Uganda) was also running, so no doubt it was going to be a very fast race. The course was more technical than I’d anticipated and so suited me in places. However, it just wasn’t my day and I suffered. I finished 25th in the end which was much better than I thought (and I didn’t get chicked), but I know I can definitely do better so I can hopefully go back next year to better that. The other England U23s did great with both the girls getting in the prizes and Anthony just missing out on the money in 15th. Andrew Douglas and Sarah Tunstall also had good runs and secured their mountain running world cup titles. So all in all the Brits did great.

Smarna Gora - Steeper than it looks

Smarna Gora – Steeper than it looks

One week later and it was the final race of the fell running season, the FRA relays. One more win for Dark Peak and we’d have won it a record 3 consecutive years… We had a strong team, despite Olly and a couple of others spectating due to injury. The team was as follows: Stu Bond on leg 1, Rhys FR and Rob Little on leg 2, Neil Northrop and myself on leg 3, and The Kris Jones on leg 4. A winning team? All we had to do on leg 3 was the same as last year – win it, simple. Stu, Rhys and Rob did a great job and so Neil and I set off in 3rd (I think) with only a small gap to the leaders. Unfortunately I had a pretty awful run and we came back in about 5th, probably lower, but that would have been much worse if it wasn’t for Neil’s ace navigation. Luckily Kris had a flyer and pulled the team back up to 3rd and into the medals.  Lesson learnt, think twice before racing when you have a bit of a snuffly nose as it most likely won’t go well and especially if it’s a team event.

The U23 English Fell Running Championship trophy taking pride of place

The U23 English Fell Running Championship trophy taking pride of place

Despite the shakey start to the year and the pretty poor end, the middle bit went really well and I had my best year yet. A big thank you to Accelerate, Salomon and Suunto for the support and also to my parents for getting me into fell running in the first place. Just have to better all that next year now…

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