Green Green Grass Fell Race 28/7/10

AS 5 miles 1500 feet.

My second run of this race, but, this year the course was a different route.
Registration was at the Golden Lion Inn, Llangynhafal, Denbighshire. From registration there's a bit of an uphill slog just to get to the start.
On the way upAlistairs Fell Running Pictures
Starts with a steep uphill section then the incline reduces for a while before steepening again for the ascent of Moel Famau. Then a nice fast descent before cutting across another hill through some waist high bracken (or did I just go the hard way). Next another couple of climbs before the final fast descent.
last hill
I enjoyed the race, even with stiff legs from Snowdon, and prefered the new route. I only lost a couple of places going up, that was because I took a poor route up one section, and the fast descent suited me. I learnt after wards that quite a few of the lead runners went the wrong way so I may have artificially been boosted up the rankings.

Snowdon Race

Back to Llamberis for my second run of this, the 35th, Snowdon Race. AM 10 miles 3300 feet.

A popular race with 500 entrants from around the globe running. And, particular excitement as this year Kenyan runner Wilson Chemweno was expected to turn up and have a go at Kenny Stuarts 1985 record. They'd even dragged Kenny down from Cumbria to start the race.

As you can see from the promo video it has the feel of a "big" race. We all wore timing chips, got a free tshirt and the event was even being televised by Welsh TV channel S4C. Also like a big race there were plenty of spectators around to give support.
The route itself starts from Padarn park with a shortish road section before picking up the well trodden Llamberis path all the way to the summit. As it's a public footpath and it's the highest peak in Wales the path is littered with walkers especially towards the top where Snowdon ranger, Pyg and Miners tracks merge with the race route. Most of the walkers try and stay out of the way, some of them don't. Most of the walkers are wrapped up in layers of waterproofing and have been battling the elements for hours to get to the top. They tend to have slightly confused looks on their faces as we run past in vest and shorts. Then there's other runners returning from the summit, whose wobbly legs haven't quite got used to running downhill after going up hill for 5 miles, so it makes for an interesting obstacle course towards the top. The last sting going up is the 10 or so steps up to the cairn. They seem unfeasibly large. Then follow the same route back, with wobbly legs, trying not to bump into any runners coming up.
Alistairs Fellrunning Pictures
The weather wasn't as nice as last year. Drizzle at the start and getting progressively worse the higher up you went. Still, I was ok in shorts and vest for the most part and only have about 10 minutes of discomfort towards the top so didn't bother getting my water proofs out. I didn't have any great expectations for my race. Just so long as I came in at around the same time as last year. I started right at the back, which was probably a bit of a mistake, then spent the first few minutes trying to get past people. I didn't really loose that many places going up but the people I'd been with did start to pull away from me towards the top. It felt like I had quite a good run down and I went past 59 other runners. I even managed a sprint in the last 50 yards to over take two runners having their own battle. In the end I was just over a minute and a half slower than last year but happy with the result. My running buddy Methuselah had less of a good time taking a tumble on the way down and stoically hobbled the rest of the descent to cross the line and finish the race. Others would have given up and been happy with a DNF. I don't know why but there seems to be more tumbles on this race than any other that I do. As well as Methuselah several other experienced fell runners tumbled on the way down including another friend Dylan. He got put on the train, with two other injured runners, by the medics.
I enjoyed the race. It was very well organised and I will probably try to get in again next year.
As for Wison Chemweno and Kenny's record ?
No where near ! He had a reasonable run up but lost 6 places on the way down. Asked after wards if he would return next year he said "Probably not. I hate the downhill". So I guess Kenny's record is safe for a while longer.

Hill Sprints and Jog 22/7/10

10 min warm up jog up and over little hill (wrekin). Then 6 x sprint up, walk down and start the next one straight away. First one 20 secs but by the last one I was covering the same distance in 25 secs. Finished off with a slow jog back to the truck.

Looking forward to the Snowdon International Race on Saturday.

Stiperstones Fell Race 14/7/10

AS 3.2 miles 800ft (I think it's a bit more than 800ft).
5th race in the Shropshire summer series.

My third run of this race, but, this year it was run in the opposite direction to the last two years. I think maybe because some new steps had been put in where we usually run down. I guess it could have been dangerous legging it down those.
I started Ok but as usual I lost a few places going up the hills. And, as usual I went past a few people on the way down with an added bonus of some people going the wrong way on the last descent. They followed the path instead of cutting across though the bracken. I couldn't however keep up with RichardP. Again he seemed to be storming up the hills disappearing into the distance. He's having a fantastic year.
Photo from Alistairs Fell Running Pictures just before the cheeky short cut. It actually looks as if I'm going quite fast on this one.
I enjoyed the race. Even the torrential rain on the way round and at the end was nice.

Skiddaw Fell Race 4/7/10

AM 9 miles 2700ft.
A long drive up to the Lakes for this my third run of Skiddaw Fell Race. I met up with Methuselah(who was staying in the lakes for a few days) before the race. And, also, briefly saw some of the Shropshire elite runners, that had also made the trip up, at the start line. These included fellow blogger Jon Bowie of Trailsfellstrophies and Steven Cale current Shropshire hill running champ who I'd bumped into a few days earlier on the Wrekin (see two posts bellow).
The previous two years the weather had been ridiculously hot so I was hoping it would be a bit cooler this year. Umm, be careful what you wish for. The forecast this year was for heavy rain and winds on the peaks of up to 60mph. Which was probably accurate. As a result the marshals decided to shorten the race and not do the final push up to the summit. This reduced the climb by about 400ft and distance of about 1.3 miles. For me, due to my legs usually being shot by that stage, it probably reduced my time by almost 20 minutes. So it was a cheats PB for me that I will probably never better again.
Apart from the weather being a bit miserable the temperature suited me and I seemed to be making alright progress up Jenkin hill when Steven Cale came blasting past me on his way down. At that stage I didn't know the race had been shortened and noted he went past me at an earlier stage to the winner of last years race Ricky Lightfoot. Either I was going a lot slower than the previous year or he was going really really fast, albeit he had missed the short cut at the pile of stones. A few seconds later Jon Bowie flew past and went off the path at the correct place next to the stones. A possibility for him to go past Steve Cale ? Well, it was very "claggy" at that point and one can see how it might have been possible to miss the flags guiding the way across the grass back to the path a couple of hundred feet bellow and go off in completely the wrong direction. So on that occasion Jon missed his chance to get past Steven and has been much ribbed about the navigational error on the FRA Forum ;-)
Later on Dylan from Wales past me with an enthusiastic "HELLO JOHN" and also DazH of Laidbackfellrunner fame. I still couldn't work out how come so many people were so far ahead of me, even when people started shouting something about a gate. It was only when I saw Methuselah come past me (he'd not been that far ahead for most of the race) that I realised we were being turned early "at the gate". I enjoyed the run back down and passed about 10 people on the return route ,via the short cut, back down to Fitz Park and the finish line.
the winner
Steven Cale won the race in a little under an hour. I'm sure the jog with me a few days earlier must have helped ;-)
Although the drive up to the lakes is a long one, I think I'll go back again next year. I do like the descent and actually going past people, for a change, is very satisfying.

5k road run 30/6/10

Nice and gentle run round the block with Mrs Lightning. Wore the vibrams to try and get my technique right.