British Fell Relay Championships, Peak District National Park
The above race, organised by Dark Peak fell runners, really was quite the most impressive bit of logistical planning I’ve seen at any race, ever. The race centre was right in the shadow of the Derwent Reservoir dam (literally), an area of great sensitivity and within the National Park, so to have been granted permission to use this area, which is notoriously busy for one thing, is really very impressive!
Getting to the race start requiring a multi-pronged approach. For all of us, it was an unreasonably early start (before 4am for some!) involving one false start (cars not starting), and several re-arrangements of people and vehicles to make the journey, as per the race organisers strict parking restrictions!
This event is one of the most anticipated competitions of the year, and it did not disappoint: it had everything we love about the sport. There was great camaraderie, amazingly competitive but-still-friendly competition, fantastic weather (always makes these outdoor events better!), beautiful running routes which were a joy to run but really testing, and good natured humour all around.
We had 3 teams: Vet40 Men, Open Male and Open Female teams, with 3 U18 runners taking part which was fab (thank you so much for getting involved!) And oh my word, everyone ran their socks off!
For the Vet40s, Richard Roberts was out the blocks first on leg one, having a storming race to arrive not only in 14th place overall but 1st in the V40 competition, a really fantastic run in a very competitive field. Johnny Moore and Ali Chant (our last minute signing, completing the Mens V40 Team in style, thanks Ali!) ran really well together and arrived back as 20th Vet 40 team to handover to Emlyn Owen and Matt Fortes. Running a solid, fast race on a leg which was far longer than anyone anticipated, the pair arrived back at the start in 2nd place for the Vet 40’s, having ticked off the route at great speed with Matts ninja nav skills. Craig Jones had a fantastic run, completing the 5 mile final leg to round off the competition, and coming in 10th V40 overall, which placed the Eryri Vet 40 men in 8th place overall out of 34 teams. This is an amazing result, well done guys!!
There was slightly more drama in the Eryri Men’s Open race:
Eden Potter was on the first leg, coming in an excellent 39th place in the Open Male category (the results don’t split down into placings for the U18s so I’m not sure where Eden, Callum or Lleucu placed in that category). Next up was Ross Roberts and Luke Earnshaw, in what transpired to be Luke’s first fell race, so jumping straight in at the deep-end there. The pair had a good solid race to coming in 77th in their category. Taking up the baton next was nav-ace Owain Williams paired with Fred Maier. Things were looking good until Fred appeared to want to check-out some of the famous limestone caverns in the area by falling into a deep hole which unfortunately meant they had to retired from the race (Fred is OK, for those asking!) and the team weren’t given an overall placing. Callum O’Donnell still got to run his leg in the mass start, and ran excellently to finish in 40th place.
In the Open Womens competition, Lleucu Lane stepped up to run a solid first leg, coming in 31st and handing over to Sarah Seery and newly-joined Faye Johnson, who ran really well together to place 12th overall in our category. Next out was Jenny Hemming and Becki Law who put in a superb nav leg, beating some very stiff competition to come in 7th. Last out was Miranda Grant who thoroughly enjoyed her leg to come in 2nd place. Overall, we also placed 8th out of the 49 Open Female teams competing.
Really well done to everyone who committed to coming and running on Saturday, it was a fantastic day with a really great bunch of people!! I’m sure none of us will forget that in a hurry. Huge thank you to Dark Peak Fell Runners! And all those who drive us there, and to Craig Jones for his tent 🙂
Full results here:
And a vast selection of photos available on the Fellrunners UK facebook page: there are some cracking ones of our Eryri runners!