Great Whernside race 2014

Posted by Sam Harrison on October 30, 2014 at 10:24.

 Fell running

fell race fell running great whernside yorkshire dales

Confident of my fitness after a good result in the previous weekend's British Fell Relays and victory at the Race 2 Remember a few weeks earlier, I found myself pushing far harder than I'd envisaged - or was probably sensible - over the initial steep grassy fields rising from Kettlewell towards the summit of Great Whernside. Ben Mounsey, the eventual winner, was already pushing out an impressive lead at a pace that my legs and lungs couldn't quite comprehend. I knew a flatish section was approaching and decided to press ahead at maximum speed, hoping it would give me a brief moment to recover.

It was the second year in a row that I'd taken part in the Great Whernside fell race, a low-key event that always attracts a good turnout and much praise from anyone that takes part. For me, it's the epitomy of fell racing with its no-frills setup, great atmosphere and low cost. This year the race formed part of the Bowland club championships, and so there were a few green and orange vests (and other garments!) milling around.

A fair few people commented before the race that they'd read my blog post about last year's race in the run up to this year's, probably the consequence of it appearing somewhere around 4th in Google's search results for "Great Whernside fell race". I wonder whether it'll be this one or last year's that gets all the attention in the run up to next year's race?!

By the time I reached the boggy upper section of the ascent, Victoria Wilkinson and Andy Jebb had caught up, having paced themselves much more sensibly then me. Vic overtook and I followed in her footsteps (literally) across the bog, trying my hardest to keep up. I held on until we were within sight of the summit, before Andy managed to sneak past as well. He picked a line off the summit quite far to the left and I decided he probably knew best and followed suit. The ground became rough and tussicky and I struggled to keep up; on rejoining the path he'd disappeared into the distance. It was then just a case of taking the brakes off and enjoying the furiously fast descent back down to the finish to claim 16th place overall.

Mark Irving flew in soon after, followed by Leigh, Rachel, Shaun, Ann (who'd had to retrieve someone from the bog on the way down) and Ruth (who'd had to retrieve herself from the bog on the way up!). All-in-all, a cracking day out that's firmly cemented the race in place as one of my favourites.

Results can be found here, and photos (courtesy of Dave Woodhead) here.

Yours truly on the final part of the descent. Thanks to Woodentops for the photo.
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