Tuesday, 29 October 2013

British FRA fell relays, Llanberis 25th October 2013

When I was asked if I wanted to participate in the British FRA relays I jumped at the chance.  Not only to represent my club (NFR), but to experience my first fell relay event in a place I'd never been to before.  The team was kind of cobbled together through the hard work of the team captain as there were runners injured and had other commitments which is fair enough.  It was a long way to go.

I'd been struggling with niggles, most prominently being the achilles but had a period of decent training so I knew I'd be able to do a reasonable job.  I reached Wales on the Friday night thanks to fellow team mate Emma Bain who did all the driving.  As this was my first time in the Snowdonia area she was kind enough to detour up Pen-y-pass to give me an idea of what i've been missing.  It didn't disappoint, fantastic views of the rugged mountains. Needless to say it was wet!
They're off on leg 1

After little sleep during the Friday night (thanks to drunken louts staying in the same hostel), we arrived at the start in Llanberis.  Weather was cool with heavy downpours and strong winds.  I was on leg 4 which was just shy of 9k with 2,000ft of ascent.  Basically up Moel Eilio and back down.  I prepared myself for a long wait as the approximate time for the first 3 legs would be around 4 hours.  I kept warm and dry in the marquee chatting to a few other competitors.  What a great turn out, around 200 teams from all over the country.

My leg went pretty well.  I was wary of perhaps having to do some navigation as the field was pretty spread out by this time and with the quickly changing weather it was likely that visibility could be pretty low.  It turned out ok in the end, thankfully.  I really must brush up on the map/compass thing.

The ascent was quite tough going with some steep sections but some areas were very runnable. The rain stayed off for me but the wind was strong.  The descent was fantastic, great views and the terrain wasn't too bad, although near the bottom it was becoming a bit of a quagmire.  I got back in around 55 minutes.

The whole team did fantastically well.  Emma Bain, Will Horsley (captain), David Armstrong, Paul Hainsworth and Steve Minnikin.  Top half finish and 45th out of 99 in the Open category.

Looking forward to putting my name forward next year, also for the Ian Hodgson relays!!
5 of the team of 6

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