Harrock Hill Fell Race 2011
10 Sale Harriers ran the Harrock Hill race, the first race in the club's fell running championship. The race was won by Andy Buttery, Rossendale Harriers in 33 minutes, 12 seconds (5.2 miles).
Fell running attracts a slightly different animal than the usual road race. I was initially surprised at the amount of serious looking athletes milling around at the start and warming up well in advance of the start. We followed the general flow along the main road until we met up with the main group waiting in a quiet side road. After the start we climbed quite steeply for half a mile or so along a narrow road which gradually reduced down to a single file path and then a stile. These stiles became a recurring theme throughout the run with the associated polite queuing as you waited for the person in front to negotiate the obstacle as quickly as their tired legs could carry them.
The longest climb, presumably to the top of Harrock Hill, involved following the edge of a farmer's field and cutting across halfway up, to exit through another narrow path. Unfortunately Mike and Callum did not take the right turn and continued up the field until the shouts from behind alerted them to their error. At this point they were in 3rd and 4th position. These sorts of races do have marshals but also rely heavily on small bits of tape and little signs.
At the top of the hill the trickiest part of the course meant thrashing through tall ferns and negotiating twisting paths, before passing the ruins of an old windmill and the decent. This is the point where tired legs reluctantly change direction, as the demands of the narrow path dictate. The path then opened out across a field and we dropped down steeply before the surface changed again to concrete and finally road. At this point your legs are travelling faster than is comfortable as you desperately try to prevent more experienced downhillers from overtaking you. Suddenly the finish is in sight and it is all over for another year. My time for 5.2 miles is comparable to a normal 10k time but that is not the point. Everyone seemed happy at the end and it appeared to be an insult to the organisers if you were not going back to the pub for a pint. Prizes consisted of fruit and veg and Sale Harriers managed to show the seasoned fell runners a thing or two taking a number of prizes. Well done one and all.
Results for Sale Harriers:
4th overall Mike Hatch, 35'48
6th Callum Rowlinson 35'57 (1st junior)
16th Pete Crawford 36'53
44th Frank Cordingley 39'34
57th Steve Gavin 40'42
83rd Timothy Rainey 42'33
86th John Battersby 43'09
96th Jerry Smith 43'58
134th Lauren Davies 48'54 (20th lady)
142nd Brian Bradshaw 50'00
Mike, Callum and Pete were first men's' team.
The race had 198 finishers.
The next race is the Lantern Pike Fell Race, 17th September.
Posted 15/01/2012 12:56