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  #1  
Old 17th May 17, 11:49 PM
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Gruff Gruff is offline
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Fell Running

So any fell runners on the forum?

I've done a dozen or so fell races over the last few years, I haven't ran in a road race for 16 months and I also love track racing but thinking I might knock that on the head this season too, I missed the first meet last Saturday anyway, road races simply stopped inspiring me quite some time ago now, you get some decent pb's under your belt then start thinking, so what? Who really cares?

I think in the past I've done a little bit of everything and found it makes you mediocre at everything, I haven't planned any races except for the Tal-y-Fan fell race in July as yet this year, so I'm thinking I might finally take the plunge and concentrate on fell running and take it more seriously.

All the fell races I've done to date I've pretty much done for fun without being overly competitive, I've always known I've wanted to lean more towards fell running seriously, I've had some really good results in trail races so with practise I feel I have the capacity to get faster on the fells too, it just comes down to technique, practise, technique, practise with fell running at the end of the day, I also need to work on descending as that's my fell running Achilles heal, if it's not too technical I can fly, but throw in some rocks and I think I'm a little too scared of head butting them, I've seen others do it enough times, apparently to descend fast you simply have to be able to turn that off and suffer the consequences. In recent mountain training runs I've noticed a massive difference in my general strength in ascending though, I'm ascending better than ever and can't wait to see how that pays off at my next fell race as the start at Tal-y-Fan is just a brutal uphill.

I especially love the whole 'off piste' and navigational side of fell racing, seeing who takes which line and why, recceing routes to death finding that perfect line, then turning up on race day to find a thick fog, I'm a bit of a map geek and have hiked all my life so that's a massive strength of mine, I'm yet to get lost in a fell race, touch wood! I also LOVE the whole mountain skills side, I think in fell racing it's just a necessity that can't be overlooked.

So how many people on here fell race? What are your experiences? Have you never fell raced but would love to try one day? Do you trail race and want to graduate up to fell racing?

Last edited by Gruff; 17th May 17 at 11:52 PM..
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  #2  
Old 18th May 17, 08:33 AM
Epocian11 Epocian11 is offline
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Location: God's County
 
Started fell running in 1959 - wasn't bad at it (15th in Ben Nevis, 6th in Goatfell) then got sidetracked into race walking but still used to do the 3 Peaks every year. After retiring from race walking went back to the fells then sidetracked again into orienteering but carried on doing mountain marathons. Now just orienteer, like the decision making and navigation, unusual locations. Most of the top orienteers are also top class fell runners and are usually at the sharp end in the FRA Relays

If you're a map geek, here's the Men's Elite course at the British Championships at High Dam in the Lake District a couple of weeks ago.
The winner, Graham Gristwood, went round this course in an incredible 98m 50s. Bear in mind, he'd no idea of where the course went until he picked up the map and the clock was already ticking!! Mind Boggling!!
http://www.boc.routegadget.co.uk/rg2/#24&course=1

PS If you click on 'results' then by the side of Graham's name are two boxes - tick the left hand one (GPS), and up will come the route he took

Last edited by Epocian11; 18th May 17 at 08:58 AM..
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  #3  
Old 18th May 17, 12:39 PM
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Gruff Gruff is offline
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I used to orienteer as a teenager, there used to be a lot of events in Delamere forest I remember, that was a lot of fun.

I live in Snowdonia so I just want to knuckle down and concentrate on some of the classic fell races around here over the next few years, the Welsh 1000's, Peris horshoe and the like, I've recced the Paddy Buckley Round route in bite sized chunks so I want to have a stab at that too. I just think fell racing for fun has got to a point where I realise if I want to progress I need to start looking at it more competitively.

I've always been impressed and motivated by watching the top mountain runners, well not just the top ones but the gritty no nonsense ones too, I got to sit down and chat with Wendy Dodds for a good hour the year before last, such an inspirational woman, her and Helen Diamantides and Nicky Spinks inspire me massively, they've all crushed the Dragons Back race which ultimately I'd love to do myself down the line.

Not long after doing my first few fell races I started noticing these runners like Graham Gristwood as you mention, who are simply incredible athletes but choose to compete in a sport where they will never become household names, it always inspires me watching the likes of Matthew Roberts et al doing their stuff, such amazing running talent, I'm constantly in awe of them, and the legends like Joss Naylor and Kenny Stuart add an air of romance to the proceeding too, kind of makes you feel like you're following in their footsteps, albeit more slowly, when running the classic routes.

I was up on Foel Fras yesterday afternoon and after about 4/5 years now of running in the mountains, I felt like I was really in the groove, like everything was beginning to pay off and I was finally becoming a proper fell runner, you know the feeling when you can comfortably haul yourself up a pretty long and arduous ascent, but it's not that tough, like you can just click into cruise control and just seem to plough on indefinitely, so I think that was the final straw, I realised it's about time I actually specialised and knocked road racing and everything else on the head for good.
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  #4  
Old 18th May 17, 12:59 PM
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Trinity1976 Trinity1976 is offline
Real Name: Claire   Gender: Female  
 
2014: 2,304.00 miles
Week: 37.96 miles, 5 hrs 44 mins
Year: 920.68 miles, 137 hrs 2 mins
I do a bit of fell running, though I am rubbish at it. My general experience is that fell races are more competitive than road races. I think this is because it tends to be more serious runners who try fell racing and the races don't get the kind of mass participation of road races - so there tends to be less of a blunt end.

I am participating in the North-East Fell Runners Champs this year. I finished 8th lady in the first race, but missed the second due to illness. The third race, the Roseberry Romp, is next week.
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  #5  
Old 18th May 17, 01:24 PM
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Gruff Gruff is offline
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That's what frustrates me, I'm a half decent runner, it shows on the track, road and trail, in trail races I can finish right up at the sharp end but on the fells, I finish nowhere, in fell races I'm decidedly average and finish front end of the mid pack every time, and I find the gap between front and mid pack can be pretty big, whereas I think if I commit to fell running I could become a tail end of the front pack fell runner, which I'd be more than happy with!

In 2015 I did everything from 800m, 1500m and 3000m track races, to every popular distance on the road from 5k to marathon, trail halfs, the inaugural Snowdon trail marathon plus a good chunk of fell races, topping the year off with the Snowdonia road marathon which... killed me! I just did too much in one year in hindsight, but the one thing that stays with me is, after the Snowdonia road marathon which I was really looking forward to, I felt deflated, I didn't enjoy the race at all, even though I smashed my target time by over 15mins.

Then last year I tore my Achilles whilst feeding my cat... That wrote off 6 months! Now I'm getting back up to speed I think being away from running has made me re-evaluate what I want out of running.

So now I feel at 47 I can't carry on pretending I'm Daley Thompson, and the one thing I really want to achieve above all else in running is to simply become a better fell runner, and to do that I feel I just need to bite the bullet and commit more.
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  #6  
Old 19th May 17, 11:56 AM
Mark_Finlay Mark_Finlay is offline
 
I'm lucky enough to live in Cumbria so have easy access to the Fells. I must admit that although I love running there I don't do much traditional racing, I'd rather do long distance stuff. The Lakeland 100 was 'fun' but I do like the Skiddaw fell race though.

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  #7  
Old 19th May 17, 12:34 PM
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Trinity1976 Trinity1976 is offline
Real Name: Claire   Gender: Female  
 
2014: 2,304.00 miles
Week: 37.96 miles, 5 hrs 44 mins
Year: 920.68 miles, 137 hrs 2 mins
Unfortunately it's about a 90 minute round trip to get to the fells where I live, which is why I don't get much practice in - it just takes up too much of my day to fit in a longish run on the fells.
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5k - 20:21; 10k - 43:04; 10M - 72:03; HM - 98:45; Marathon - 3:22:03
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  #8  
Old 19th May 17, 03:50 PM
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Gruff Gruff is offline
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I like doing the local races that have been going for a long time, I love the sense of history. I do a lot of longish training runs though, I love getting the Sherpa bus into the middle of Snowdonia with no return route planned, then making my way back home taking in as many summits as is feasible, making a whole day of it and just taking my time and enjoying the views, they're normally anywhere between 20 and 35 miles. I live right on the Northern tip of the Carneddau, so basically you can run back here over the mountains from pretty much any point in the whole of Snowdonia.

Last edited by Gruff; 19th May 17 at 03:53 PM..
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