UKA Fell Relay Championships
Coldplay once sung, ‘if you never try, you’ll never know’, which could be used in a number of different life experiences, one including the UKA Fell Relays, which this year were nestled in the Snowdonia mountains in a disused slate quarry. Although the three teams consisted of some hard core fell athletes (some having just completed the Solomon Ring of Stele race), this was an opportunity for other debutants to fully embrace all things fell, and give events like these a try.
It was an early start to Sunday morning, as 18 bleary eyed runners met before 7am to head to Wales with Tim Rainey at the helm. On arrival, numbers were distributed, dibbers assigned and more important, meal vouchers secured, as Leg 1 runners assembled in the valley, with the prospect of a 8km run leg with 1000m of ascent. Unfortunately, half way up the first climb, A Team runner Phil Robertson slipped and cut his knee open and had to retire from the race. He was helped down by other runners (from Dark Peak and Erryi) who sacrificed their race (and team) too in order to help Phil get back to the start safety. Praise is an understatement when something like this happens. Phil was taken to hospital and was returned safely back to the event village, with a six stitch souvenir, later on that day. This meant that the rest of the A team didn’t get to compete. On finding out about Phil, the rest of the team ran leg 2 in reverse cheering on those who were competing.
Despite this set back, the other teams competed admirably. Kian Lindsey, in his first ever fell race loved the experience finishing 78, and was closely followed by Elton Davis in 92nd place. Kian handed over to Oli Gaillemin and Eddie. Both demonstrated they were multi skilled as they were not only able to compete with the finest fell runners but they also presented some fine selfies as they crested some of the climbs. C team leg 2 runners (Paul Barrett and Mike Ashby) focused solely on the race and were close behind, finishing within a minute of the B team.
Probably the biggest challenge is the navigation leg (leg 3). Both teams ran a sterling race, considering some had never undertaken anything like this before. Despite Aidan Raftery having an argument with a fence (and losing), he and his partner (Nick Tynan) finished 76th with Jane Thomas and Scott Lally working perfectly as a pair, finishing in 148th. Despite Jane having never run in something like this before her beaming face at the end suggested a career in fell running (or it could have been the prospect of free chicken curry post race?). The best performance of the day was saved till last. Despite having to wait round all day, Nick Barry cruised round the final leg (38th position on his leg) to ensure the B team finished in the top 70 (68th), with Tim Rainey completing the C team in 127 out of a total of 180 teams. Full results.
With smiling faces and beers in hand (following a trip to Costcutter), it seemed most people’s experience of the day was good, despite the setback with the A Team. Consequently, a visit to Grassmere for next year’s event seems like a confirmed date!
The names of the people who helped Phil were Aled Edwards (Erryi), Austin Frost (Dark Peak) and Kieran Allanson (Dark Peak). As a club, we are extremely grateful for assisting Phil get back to the start safely.
Posted 17/10/2017 08:30