Race Date: 26th July
Has a British fell race ever been ran in hotter conditions? On a day that has since been upgraded from the hottest UK July day to the hottest UK day of any month ever recorded, some 188 runners gathered in a field in Stoney Middleton with some trepidation. Even by 730pm the heat was palpable, not much below 30ºC (or well into the 80s for those who prefer old money). Standing in this swelter, it felt a bit surreal to be contemplating trying to run up Britain’s steepest high street at speed. Nevertheless that is exactly what everyone did, including 21 striders. For my own part, the torrid conditions made it a race to be endured rather than enjoyed and quite a few people looked a little green about the gills in the field afterwards. Mr Burns for one found the experience “horrendous”.
How Steven Vernon of Stockport Harriers managed to run 33.49.5 in such conditions is beyond me, or Nicola Squires running for Ribble Valley Harriers in 38:27.6 for that matter. Our own Sian Evans snuck in under 40 minutes to take second lady. Andy Buck continued his fine form to take first M60 and Nicola Rafferty also shrugged off the sultriness to take first W40.
Caroline and Amy had cycled over to support (very sensibly opting not to run) and positioned themselves at top of the first long road climb – their encouragement was very welcome. At the five mile point, there is a short but cruel final hill at the top of which was Naomi to catch “flattering” photos and offer a final bit of succour.
Full results: here