Race Date: Saturday 30th April 2016
3 Peaks Fell Race Results and little report.
For those who do not know, this race is as near as you get for a fell racing equivalent to the London Marathon for the road runner. It is popular, sells out at 1000 entrants, is tough to get in (no ballet, just tough entry requirements), some of the best runners in world, fight it out at the front. Is well supported, with a great atmosphere.
Many of you will have walked the basic route of 23.3 miles and 5760 feet. It is a very popular charity event (walking not the race) more of later.
This year 5 striders entered, with Ben Heller not making it to the start line due to being struck down with ‘Horsfield fever’.
The other 4 of us lined up in various states or under preparation. James had not run for two weeks with a cracked rib, Ian had tried to rearrange the Old Man of Coniston with his face and had had 7 stitches, Michael had not eaten anything for a year and trained really hard, where as I had just carried on running and racing as normal, with a full 3 day taper.
Though there was a chilly nervousness at the start due to the snow covered tops, none of us were that concerned, as the sun was out.
799 or the 1000 entrants started, not surprising, not a race to do unless in peak condition! 99 DNF due to a mixture of pulling up, or missing the challenging cut offs. The last of these is 3hr 30, at 16.5 miles after the second mountain and over 4000 feet. (Think Totley’s Exterminator, but with big climbs and bad weather and then another 7 miles to run). Last year Michael got timed out by 45 seconds, they do not mess about on this, not for fun runners this one.
The race went well, with Pen-y-ghent, coming and going, you get a fleeting glance as the leaders shoot past you on their decent. Then at the bottom of Whernside, with us all being in-front of the cut off schedule comfortably, we hit our first challenge. You do not go up Whernside on the main path, which would be far too easy; you ford a big fast flowing river, cross several bogs and then go straight up the side. There is nothing to compare it with in the Peak District. Unfortunately this year a gate in a big wall was blocked with very well fastened up with old pallets, which could not be dismantled without tools. This caused a big queue when I got there, and it gave the queue the opportunity to laugh as I fell in the river twice. On a serious note Ian, James and I lost 4 or 5 minutes here. Then up the difficult climb, made more interesting by the snow cover and fresh snow falling.
The real fun started at the top, as up to then we had been sheltered from the wind and full on blizzard. This is by far the hardest point in the race, as the last thing your legs want to do is go down a very steep, long and rocky path. This year made very difficult by the snow, ice and the huge amount of walkers, the race does not normally fall on a bank holiday weekend, which meant there were a lot of charity walkers struggling against the conditions with us. Again this slowed us down. (No complaints from me, as this is a tough walk in any conditions, just not ideal on race day)
On the top one of the runners was doing what looked like press ups, much to my amusement, it was James stretching out the first of his cramps.
Anyway, we all got through the cut off and missed a ride in the ‘3Peaks Bus of Shame’ and finished in reasonable times (for us) in the conditions. I knocked 14 minutes off my time 5 years ago. You notice I do not describe the Ingleborough experience, as it is indescribable and the experience can only be shared with a knowing stare into the eyes of someone else who was there.
The race was won by
|Bingley Harriers & AC
Striders results below, with ‘Brilliant Michael’, leading us home in 4: 42.
This short vid will give you a bit of the idea of the conditions, and my backside at the start.
Over and out Phil.