Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Good Shepherd, bad knee

Last weekend I took part in the Good Shepherd fell race, which starts from Mytholmroyd, Calderdale. I like getting out of Manchester to places I don't usually run in. The hills round Glossop can become a bit too familiar after a while. I know Mytholmroyd reasonably well as it's where I briefly went to high school before moving away.
The train station was right next to the church that was hosting the registration so I had no trouble finding it. The start was a 10 minute walk up the road to a lane which headed off towards the hills. There was no rush to get up there as the lady I was walking up there with had the start hooter.
Parrrp. And the race was off. People rushing off in front as would be expected in a race. I decided to play it cool and hold back a bit and catch people as they tire. The race route heads up to Stoodley Pike, down to a reservoir, back up the hills, down again, up Stoodley Pike a second time and then skirting along the top of the valley before dropping back down into Mytholmroyd for the finish.
As I headed up Stoodley Pike for the first time I caught a few people and then heading down to the reservoir I passed a fella who was really really taking his time running down the hill. By the time I got down to the bottom he was way back. I'd say one of my strong points in fell running is that I'm a good descender. Just let go and let gravity do it's work. But on the ascent after the reser the guy caught me! I wasn't really pushing myself with this race as I usually would (as I've got the FRA relays this coming weekend and I want to save myself for them), but the guy was flying up the hill. I can only assume that he was a super super fit fell runner and he was running the race, not racing the race.
After this my position in the race didn't alter much but the runners were spreading thin, only 65ish runners over what was supposed to be a 14.9mile race. I took my time getting up Stoodley Pike a second time, but joked about near the top, breaking into a run especially for a photographer, I didn't want my photo showing me slacking! ha
Still with miles to go I headed down towards Cragg Vale and I was relieved to know the rest of the course was flagged (but very sparsely I might add). I nearly went wrong after the road crossing but was shouted by some runners I'd caught up. That's the good thing about fell running, everyone looks after each other.
I followed those guys for a bit, but they were pulling  further and further away. So for the rest of the race I didn't see anyone at all, which makes navigating the course more difficult, even if it's flagged as there might not be a flag for a quarter of a mile. Sometimes it's not so obvious as to which way to go in unfamiliar woodlands. The only place I ended up going wrong was right, right at the end. I missed the turn for the finish line and ended up running into Mytholmroyd train station and back out again! I think I only lost about 30 seconds but didn't lose my ranking.
Stoodley Pike (the first time):
On the way up to Stoodley Pike for a second time:

I think I came in about 26th out of about 65. I've not seen the official results yet. Though I'm not too bothered, I just really enjoyed this one. I'll definitely give it another go next year and not hold back.

1 comment:

  1. Results: