Fell Running – Ups and Downs

Fell Running is series of big ups and downs and so is fitness in general. In recent months this has been exactly the case for me. Some tough ups and fast downs…

2017 was lining up to be another good year and after losing the U23 English championship trophy I was determined to have a good go at getting it back. I  had a good run at Auld Lang Syne on new years eve and pushed on with training eyeing up the Marmot Dark Mountains mountain marathon in January as my next race.

Next year…

The Dark Mountains is a navigational fell race / orienteering event run through the night. I ran this with a good friend, Tim Martin, in the elite class where you had to visit all your check points in a specific order. I was going to write a blog on our fairly disastrous endeavour but never got round to it. In essence a lot went wrong, mainly navigation and not finding control No. 13, and so we didn’t finish. I wasn’t too fussed about the DNF as it was good fun anyway. Even if it was 11 hours of running through the night in a blizzard!

The weekend after I decided to run the Long Mynd Valleys fell race. This race was a precursor to the first english championship race which would be held in March on the same course. I wasn’t expecting to run too well given I had run the Dark Mountains but it was worth going to learn the route in preparation for the champs race. Too my surprise I managed to grab the win! Yes other people did turn up… And some pretty good people turned up too, past english championship winners among them. But I can’t deny my win was down to quite a bit of luck and people running around in various directions of the top of the last few hills. This was a big ‘up’ for me and really motivated me to work hard ready for the first English championship race.

Hanging on for the first half of Long Mynd Valleys fell race (Photo credit: Stuart (Highsports))

But before the champs race I did a ‘little’ run called the High Peak Marathon, which I wrote a separate blog on,
linked here –> http://www.mountainsmudandmoor.co.uk/high-peak-marathon-2017/

Many many runs later and it’s March…
402 runners are lined up raring to go at the Long Mynd Valleys English championship race, including me. It didn’t go bad to be honest. I was slow to start but pulled through in the end to finish 3rd U23. Decent start to the season but felt I had more to give.

Next up was the first British Championship fell race over in Ireland just two weeks later. Last year the Ireland race was amazing and this year the course was similar but shorter. The race started and finished in Newcastle at sea level and summited Slieve Donard standing at 850 meters making for some tough climbing. This race however, didn’t go very well at all. There was a cold going round at work and I was in denial and hoped it wouldn’t affect my running. I had paid for the travel so thought I may as well give it a go. But after hitting the first climb I went backwards though the field and felt awful. I finished way lower than expected. What recovered the weekend for me was a good night out with running mates after the race and also the full breakfast spot prize I won, which went down a treat the next morning.

Lairy shirts for the night out in Ireland, no expense spared from the local charity shop.

This was the start of the big ‘down’.

From here it was a couple of weeks of  getting over the cold before the next British championship race, Stùc a’ Chroin, in Scotland.  Well that was the plan, but after the cold I managed to pull my achilles. Probably because I went a bit overboard on hill reps and ignoring a ever tightening calf. I was just about OK to run Stùc a’ Chroin and made it round in a decent position. Afterwards the achilles was very sore and I had just a week to recover to run the Inter-counties. Again it felt just about OK to run on by the race and so, as I didn’t want to let the team down, I ran. Bad move! Surprise surprise I didn’t run well and only made the achilles worse. The Yorkshire team however did very well and brought home 2nd team.

And thats where I am now, just getting back running again. Strengthening exercises galore but on the mend.

Recently I have also been fortunate enough to gain sponsorship from the British made shoe company Norman Walsh. I am very grateful of this sponsorship and hope to be back racing soon.

Hopefully I’ll be racing in these beauties soon…

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