The thinking part of my brain did say I shouldn’t do a notoriously tough category AS fell race the weekend before London Marathon but I needed something to take my mind off that looming goal and this was it.
Not only that, I missed it last year and it’s literally on my doorstep going up and down the 1,300ft of West Nab in just 5.5 punishing miles I couldn’t not do it.
In the end I raced hard from the start to the finish because it’s on our club fell championship and I wanted to try to ensure I got maximum points by being first back from Meltham AC and while an overall position and good time were also something I wanted and worked hard to get – finishing in 18th place (of 87) in 49:40 – I was happy to bag maximum points in the championship and have fun climbing and descending some really challenging hills.
The route itself is tough as it gets, before you even get to the main climb from Wessenden Head Road up to the turnaround at the Trig Point on top of West Nab, you get routed up and down Royd Edge a couple of times to knacker your quads climbing and after the first major climb up Royd Edge which is nearly a third of a mile topping out at 33% grade I found my legs simply wouldn’t move beyond a shuffle up the field out the top such was the acid buildup.
It was a stunning day too, warm and very sunny but before you know it, it’s back down around Sun Royd farm and up a shorter climb halfway back Royd Edge which isn’t quite as tough but still hard work before the long slog to the top of West Nab.
I tucked in behind a couple of Holmfirth lads and another guy who was moving at about the same pace up the hill figuring that in most races when it comes to the descent I can outrun most people and felt confident I’d make up a few places (in the end, I think I made up 5 places on the descent). Not enough people practice downhill running which is great for me because it’s not only fun – it’s free speed for the same fitness level!
The descent down the main Royd Edge slope was pretty hairy but great fun and then it’s mostly a traverse along the track at the bottom and side and out onto a private road and into the finishing field.
My quads were alarmingly mashed for 4 days after and I did wonder sometime around the middle of the week if I’d been a bit over-keen with London at the weekend but I love this sort of running and I needed that release of nervous energy (and maximum club points..) so I’m glad I did it.
Felix’s first fell race
Not only did I have a blast, the Holmfirth Harriers also organise a range of age group races over shorter distances all the way down to U8 and my son Felix did his first fell race despite a little bit of start line nervousness, he had a great time and that was a real thrill for me to see.
Not only that, in one .5 mile race he’s got better race photos than anything I’ve had snapped of me in the last 3 years!