Entered my first fell race in the Peak today. I have run a couple down south, but never anywhere where there that actually been proper hills.
The Herod Farm race is organised by Glossopdale Harriers http://www.glossopdale.org.uk/, and is famed for the “2nd hill”.
Normally, short fell races are run on an up and back basis- so once you have got all the climbing out of the way, there is little else to do except run like hellfire to get back down to the bottom of the hill.
Herod Farm is different.
It follows all the usual bits, like running up a hill at the beginning, followed by a descent, but then there is another ascent, up the back of the hill, to the same height, but at at steeper incline. THIS is where the race is won or lost, and it is on THIS ascent where places are generally finally decided.
There were a goodly number of very serious looking runners there, and there was a fair amount of jostling for place at the front of the crowd getting ready for the off. I decided to play it safe, and started well back in the crowd. Running up the first hill I was constantly assessing if I was going too fast or too slow, and whether I was keeping enough in the tank for that murderous 2nd bit.
I took a lot of places going up that first hill, and a few more besides on the first descent. I managed to keep running the vast majority of the way up as well.
There is an interesting thing about going up hill- at the point it gets too steep, the vast majority of people bend over, and start pushing on their thighs with their hands… Im sure that this is all well and good, and has been the way people have climbed hills for years. But surely, assisting your thighs with extra leverage from your arms simply shows that your Quads and hamstrings arent strong enough, added to which, bending double massively reduces optimal oxygen replacement, and the muscles that you are trying to use are being starved of oxygen, and just get less efficient.
Or maybe thats just me reading into it too much… but I intend to look into this in the next year.
Anyhow, I got to the bottom of the final ascent, and worked my way up it. No-one over took me up it. Admittidly I didnt overtake anyone either, but I’ll call that quits.
After a blistering descent I eventually came in 31st. Not bad considering the lack of meaningful running Ive indulged in lately.
I’d link to the results, but I cant work out how to link to a pdf on the web.
My recovery was going to the pub and having 2 pints of Wrens Nest. Superb local ale. But not so good for aching legs…