The final event of my birthday month was the inaugural Hope Winter Fell Race on the 28th of February. It’s the same course as the summer fell race only run in reverse. Since I’ve not done the summer event I can’t comment as to whether it was any easier! What I can comment on is that it’s a long way up to Win Hill and the views from there and down around Ladybower are absolutely gorgeous.
If you read my last post about the Frosty’s Final Event 10k then you know that I had pulled a calf muscle. I’d taken the week off running except for a very short and flat test canal route run on the Thursday once the pain had moved from acute to just an occasional ache. The dog-and Nordic walking couldn’t be avoided though but an uphill section with a very determined English Bulldog trying to catch up to another dog-walker ahead of us also provided instant relief to the calf. I thought since the test-run had gone well with no pain during or after then I would be safe to do the Hope fell race.
Yeah, about that thought…I tend to look upon the fell races as my fun time, I try not to put pressure on myself regarding time or finishing position (hopefully not last though!) so I was thinking I would take this one even easier than usual. Going with that, I only did a warm-up stroll and not enough of one either. Huge mistake, I was fine on the flat section to begin with and on the gentle incline but as soon as we started up the first hill, my calf did the PING! thing again. Not quite as severe but it still hurt. Internal debate again–should I walk back to the start or continue on. I opted for the latter, I knew based on the previous weekend that it wasn’t going to hurt any less if I finished it out or stopped right then. The bright side is that most people are walking the uphills anyway so I wasn’t going to look out of place.
Photo above from this facebook album
While I can’t say I enjoyed the actual running, I did love the course especially the bits through the forest bordering Ladybower Reservoir–that part reminded me so much of our trails around central and northern Arkansas. I very much want to run through there more often!
Since I fractured the metatarsal I kind of stink at the uphill running, I’ve never been able to re-gain what speed and power I had for the climbs before it happened. The downhill speed is returning though and that’s where I usually pass people because most haven’t learned to relax and just go with it. I still tense up among the most technical bits but I’m working through that as well.
As for the weather conditions, they were great! There were still some occasional boggy bits but my habit of plowing straight through also meant I would pass people as they were trying to avoid getting their feet wet and muddy but it wasn’t raining and we even had some sunshine. The wind also was relatively calm for what it normally is in February–not saying it wasn’t there but could have been much worse. It was also very well-marshalled and organised and the company wasn’t bad either. Can’t ask for more in a race 🙂
Downsides: A little too much asphalt at the beginning and end of the race and since it was under FRA rules there was mandatory kit to be carried hence the pack for a short race. Please note that I’m not complaining about the mandatory kit, weather there can change in an instant, just noting that it had to be carried and it does slow me down.
Final numbers: 6.56 miles in 79:06 (official time), 187/221 overall