Sunday, 8 July 2012

Chevy chase fell race, 15.4m, 2,900'

I’ve been looking forward to the Chevy chase fell race since my first one last year, although it was touch and go if I would actually participate having had several injury problems since Gisborough moors back in April. Nevertheless, I didn’t let that stop me and committed to doing the race, however slow that might be.

The weather this year has been absolutely dreadful, no comparison to last year’s race when it was boiling hot with no breeze whatsoever and crystal clear visibility. Weather warnings were “pouring” in during the week before the race so I knew it would be a proper mucky affair, rain pounding the windows on the eve of the race set the tone for what was to come.

The closer to Wooler we got, the less we could see. Very low cloud cover and a drizzly atmosphere. We were promptly informed that the race had been shortened to “approximately 12 miles”. This was disappointing but perfectly understandable given the conditions. Thanks must be given to the organisers for arranging the alternate route which took out Cheviot summit and Hedgehope. Safety is of course paramount importance. The descent from Cheviot summit would have been quite dangerous if it had been included in the route.

The first mile or so was good running, mostly on road before turning off and heading towards Broadstruther. Needless to say I went off too fast (a downfall of mine), and the lack of training over the past couple of months began to kick in quite quickly. This wasn’t my main concern, I just wanted to finish the race without any niggles which would give me the impetuous to knuckle down and get some quality training under my belt.

Visibility was quite bad in places, but aided by the silhouette's in the near distance, I reckon it saved me a few wrong turns. Checkpoints seemed to come quite quickly, the same can’t be said about my running! Well done to those standing by and dibbing the dibbers.

I think there must have been some confusion at one point during the course after bumping into some fellow runners and walkers at a crossroads. Either I had gone the wrong way or they had. Talking to a few folk after the race it seemed a common occurrence.

There were some very encouraging words from the walkers and the checkpoint staff, so thank you for that. Not sure about the sheep carcass on top of Langley crags! That made it even more Hound of the Baskervilles.

I reached Hells path at a snails pace and checked the watch, 12.6 miles. Ok, I thought, it’s at least 2.5 miles to the finish. I had a little in reserve and stretched the legs in the last mile.
Legs aren’t too bad today, a little sore but a few miles on the bike this afternoon will sort that out. Most importantly the ankle seems to be cured.

Thanks to Wooler running club for their impeccable hospitality. Cracking sarnies and flapjack. Good to see and chat to NFR’s, a great bunch.

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