Glaisdale Rigg Fell Race – Courtesy of Jon Parker

Glaisdale Rigg Fell Race – Sunday 21st February 2016.

I’ve only ever done this race once before back in 2012. All I can really remember from that day was it was one of those freaky hot March days and I spent the whole race trying to chase down the big gap Nick Simmons had created on me early doors. Today’s event, felt as if that race took part on a totally different course, amazing the part the weather can play on a fell run. With it still being winter and the fact we’ve had a lot of rain over the last couple months the course took on a totally different feel from that dry hot day back in March 2012.

The first mile and half is on road with a steep climb thru the village of Glaisdale, a climb I must have erased from my memory, I was surprised at how steep and hard it was, a shock to the system. Once thru the village toward the top of the climb the route diverts right onto the moor.

The moor section of the route was an undulating heather bashing path with lots of bog jumping thrown in for good measure proper off road running I call it. I’d now gotten over that first climb and started to get into the race, feeling reasonably good I could still see the field spread out in front of me. No one goes for surges across the moors, it wastes too much energy so I held my position at the back of a group of others who were making up ground on those in front. Once off the moor I knew the next section of the race was a 2mile plus stretch on a gravel road and which I intended to use as an opportunity to use a bit of road speed, pull in a few people, not today. The gravel road suitably named Glaisdale Rigg road is effectively on the ridge of the moor meaning it’s quite exposed, today a very strong headwind was blowing. It was also was a lot hillier than I remember, but by that point it didn’t matter, the pace was now being dictated by the strong head wind, a hill or two wasn’t going to affect things too much. It was now a case of digging in trying to shelter behind others and get to the half-way point which is when the route drops off the moor into the valley.

Finally I reached the downhill into the valley, a welcome relief, a very steep quick decent thru yet more heather paths and onto a short stretch of road at the bottom, I was back on it again. The route across the valley is really flat and in the very middle goes thru a large field probably 800m wide. Although flat it also meant it retained water much like a sponge does, despite appearance of the grass on the top it was ankle deep in mud and was like running thru treacle. I could literally feel the energy draining from me into the mud, it was tough going. The climb up the other side of the valley into a dense wood is the steepest part of the route, a walk climb up here was all I could muster and those places I’d gained on the downhill I had now lost. The first female runner passing me on the first part along with two other runners, then the second female easing past me just as I got out of the woods onto another boggy undulating path. I eventually got my legs going again once off the boggy path but I was into the last mile or so now and gap in front and behind was to enough to know I wasn’t going be caught or catch others up. I ran the last mile around 80% knowing I still had a fair amount of work to do on my fitness but felt ok despite my struggles on the climbs. I will admit I slightly underestimated the race, an 8.5mile race of around 1300ft climbs doesn’t sound too bad on paper, but add in head winds, bogs and lots of muddy terrain it becomes a lot tougher, a good eye opener.

Race fitness is what I currently lack and like I found after the Poultry race last year, I need to race to get used to that race pain factor again. Although I am not running as much as I use too, due to various injuries of the last few years my approach at the minute is very much emphasising on a good stamina base. Next Sunday (28th Feb) I’ve entered the Harewood house half, an undulating off-road half marathon around the grounds of Harewood House near Leeds. Thanks to the Glasidale fell race I’ll be going into that lot more aware of the suffering I need to get my head around, next Sunday will be yet another good stamina test. In summary the Glasidale fell race was exactly what I needed, a kick up the backside.

North York Moors had a decent turn out on the day. Overall we had 9 members taking part out of the 99 other finishers. Paul Wildmere was first home for the club in an excellent 15th place with Di Jobson was our first Nyamc female in 64th place.

Full results can be found on link below;

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