BRITISH FELL RELAY CHAMPS 2014
It’s not often you get to stand on the start line next to a World Champion and Olympic bronze medallist, but this was an added bonus for the runners on leg 2 of the British Fell and Hill Relay Championships who found Jonny Brownlee among the competitors, and it’s a measure of the strength of the field that he and his running partner were only the 9th fastest on their leg.
This annual event brings together some of the best fell runners in the country, and inevitably is a seriously tough and challenging event. Run over 4 legs with legs 2 and 3 run in pairs, each leg is tough, with this year the pick perhaps being leg 2, which featured a steep drop into the next valley followed by an 850 feet climb straight back up again, most of which we performed literally on all fours grabbing at clumps of heather with both hands to pull ourselves up!
We have entered teams for the last four years to take on the best of the fell running world. This year our original entry of 3 teams was affected by unavoidable last minute withdraws due to illness and accident.
Nevertheless our A team produced an excellent performance with Nigel Martin getting them off to a great start on leg 1 carried on by Chris Donnelly and Steve McCarron on leg 2, Paul Rowley and Elton Davies on leg 3 and Dave Marsh bringing the team home on leg 4 to finish 35th, our best ever placing and a great effort against teams who train on the hills every day.
Our B team suffered some bad luck, with John Mosley tearing a hamstring on leg 1 but still finishing bravely well up the field. Olivier Gaillemin and Carl Barber were running strongly on leg 2 but made the easy mistake of overshooting a checkpoint, adding almost 30 minutes to their time. Andrew Carlin and Kevin Foster took on the difficult navigation leg and unfortunately missed a checkpoint, but Rachael Cavanagh in her first ever fell race bravely accepted the challenge of running leg 4 and had a great run.
For the depleted C team Richard McHugh on leg 1 and Tim Rainey and Jerry Smith on leg 2 had good runs, although Tim and Jerry also overshot the checkpoint adding some unwanted distance to their run.
As Rachael Cavanagh put it: “One of the most brutal races I've ever ran, seriously strong winds taking your breath away and pushing you in all directions, sideways hail battering your face like needles and steep hills - loved the descent though!” Or for some of us one of those events where half way through you think: “Never again!” And then later after a well-earned beer: “Bring on next year!”
Posted 20/10/2014 20:21