Monday, 29 November 2010
Famous Grouse fell race. 5.2 miles with 1,240’ ascent. 29/11/2010.
After another outrageously frigid night – unprecedented at any time, let alone in November, it’s even come a month earlier than it did last year – I found myself driving to the Famous Grouse pub in Birch Vale in good time to register for the 11am start. It would be my third short, sharp, furious fell race this year and my fourth ever. The sun was out, the sky was blue and the air was calm, yet Daz H's thermometer measured MINUS 16°C on the way to the race. Global warming my a*se. The ground was rock solid and lightly sprinkled with the snow that had fallen on Friday night. There was a healthy turn-out of runners – several fellow Stockport Harriers but the club most in evidence was Pennine Fell Runners with their distinctive red and yellow vests.
My time of 49:20 got me 63rd place out of 109 finishers. I don’t know if I will ever get to finish in the top half of an out-and-out fell race. Perhaps I might if I practice enough. All things considered I was well chuffed with this result. To average 6.32mph (9:29/mile) with that ascent is not bad for me with my total absence of any speed training. However, my puny effort is put into perspective by all those 62 in front of me. I never cease to be astounded at what the real, serious fell runners can achieve at these races. The first two finished in a shade under 37 minutes. It puts me in awe, quite frankly.
Apparently, this is usually a muddy race, but not this year. On its 21st running, the conditions were said to be among the best ever. Let the global cooling continue.
We finished in the pub for prize presentations and a choice of soup and roll, chips, cup of tea, and “Dobs” (a warming, sweet, watery white wine version of mulled wine is the best way I can describe it). Of course you could have beer if you really wanted it.
There were several spectators and photographers out on the course braving the cold weather. (We runners were alright because our extreme effort meant that we had our own internal furnaces going on.) See the links below for the crop of pictures that show the amazing conditions we enjoyed.