Training run with Shropshire hill running champ

Well.......not really. I was driving past the Wrekin and had my kit in the truck with me. Decided to go for a quick blast (I thought blast) from wellington car park to the top and back again. Two thirds of the way up I heard foot steps behind me. Who could possibly be catching me up ? (well, actually, lots of people could have been catching me up). Friendly voice says "Hello, I've read your blog". Steven Cale of Shrewsbury athletic club and current local hill running champion jogs up beside me. So, I'm blasting up the Wrekin puffing and panting and Steven says he's out to stretch his legs before work. He kindly slows down to give me a chance to keep up then engages me in conversation, which, I find difficult with all the puffing and panting I'm doing. Easy to see why he leads the races and I'm somewhere way behind. He looked like he was running at 50% while I was more like 90%. Luckily we were nearly at the top and once we turned round and started running back I found conversation a little easier. Once at the bottom Steven continued his run back to work and I fell into my truck. It was nice to meet you Steven. I wish you all the luck defending your tittle this year.

Two and a half hours later I found myself driving back past the Wrekin and I still had my running stuff on. What the hell. I ran it again ! No companion this time but the temperature had dropped and the run was most pleasant.

Pontesbury Fell Race 23/6/10

AS 3 miles 1160 ft. Race 4 in the Shropshire Summer Series.
My second run of this race.
Once round the playing fields, up the road for a couple of hundred yards then down the track to the start of the steep climb through the wooded section. At the top of the woods, over a style and a right turn down another section of the hill. Then a very steep section up the flank of the hill towards the top. With jelly like legs a stumble accross the ridge and shallow climb to the summit. Then a nice fast descent back towards the woods, over the style and retrace our steps through the woods and back to the playing fields.
Alastair from Fell Running Pictures ,whilst fighting illness, climbed the hill to take this and many other great photos. Keep taking the tablets mate ;-)
This year the route at the top was reversed from last year due to some rabbit holes at the bottom of the steep hill. Better to get your foot stuck in one at slow uphill speed rather than fast downhill.
I was 2 mins faster this year, but, due to the change in route I don't know whether there was real progress. I think there was.
Nice to see everyone again and I look forward to the next run in the series. Stiperstones.

Rodney's Pillar Hill Race 16/6/10

AS 3.9 miles 950 ft.
Fell Running Pictures
Nice race for me this was. Nice steady climb to Rodney's monument, nothing too steep and a nice fast descent back to the village hall. My second run of this race and I desperately tried to keep up with RichP but he beat me to the top by about 40 secs and once he gets going down hill it's very difficult to catch him. Well done Richard, makes up for your nav error at Foel Fras ;-) At least I managed to knock more than 3 mins off last years time, so , I was pleased with my efforts.
Good to see all the usual smiley faces. Only sorry I won't be able to make next weeks Pontesbury race.

Foel Fras Fell Race 12/6/10

AL 12 miles 3100 ft.

photo from Alistair
A trip up to north Wales for this race. Registration was at Hen Felin community centre and the start was just outside on the road.
Started with a steady uphill road section for about a mile to a car park. Then off road onto track and another steady climb for about 4/5 miles and the top of Bwlch y Gwryd. A short fast downhill section before resuming the climb up to Foel Fras. Along the ridge to Garnedd Uchaf and check point 1. Then a few miles of steady downhill before the last climb up Moel Wnion. Finally the steepish descent back into the village and the finish line.
I enjoyed the race. None of the climbs were very steep and most of the route was runnable for me. And, apart from the last bit, where my legs had had enough, the downhills were nice and fast. The check point was in the mist and at that point I was pretty much on my own so I had to get the compass out to make sure I was running in the right direction off the mountain. It was very satisfying to break cloud and see I had taken the right route.
After the race I went back to the hotel Mrs L and I were staying in and lounged round in the spa for an hour before going to the bar for a couple of beers. Great weekend.

Ercal Wrekin training run 5/6/10

A nice slow run with Methuselah. Just over 6 miles and 1500ft ish of climb.
Started on the north east side of the Ercal. Up and over then along the road to the foot of the Wrekin. Up and over the Wrekin down to, then up, little hill. From there a nice steady jog round the south side of the Wrekin and back to the Ercal. Not much energy left so it was a walk up to the top of the Ercal then jog down back to the truck.
Mostly very slow but trying to put on some speed up some of the hills.

Batch Bash Fell Race 2/6/10

AS 3miles 1000ft.
The third race in the Shropshire summer series.
A nice evening for it. Luckily the temperature had dropped a few degrees from the afternoon and the running was quite bearable. Even photographer Alastair had a pair of shorts on. I've not seen legs like that since the 1999 world knobbly knees contest, or was it on a chicken farm ? Only joking Al, you have a fine set of pins ;-)
It was my first run of this race so I didn't really know what to expect. Luckily I was warned by GrahamS that there were three hills on route. Good job too, it seemed like we'd done three miles by the time I'd gone up the second hill. The trails in between the hills suited me as I could get up some good speed and get ahead of a few people before the next hill where I inevitably got caught up again.
I've said it before but I could really do with shedding some weight. Last year I was regularly coming within a minute of fellow runners RichardP and DaronW. Daron has lost a lot of weight himself and Richard seems to be blasting up the hills this year. They're both running really well and keep finishing way ahead of me. I really should try and keep up with them.

Shuttlingsloe Fell Race 31/5/10

AS 1.9 miles 800ft.

Shuttlingsloe in the background. Up there and back again.
Methuselah joined me again for, our third, run of this race.
Part of the Wildboarclough village fate, it's a real traditional fate and race.
Starts at the oak tree, run down the field, across the river, up through the steep wooded section, back into the open, over a couple of styles up to the top and back again. Finishes when you've touched the wall back at Crag hall. We were both faster than last year but not as quick as our first run two years ago. To reward myself for the effort I then tucked into some home made cake washed down with some local beer. Great end to a fantastic weekend.