Sam Harper superbly organised a gang of us ‘girls’ along with Tom D and Guy to tackle the 7 mile Sugar Loaf fell race on Saturday.
For some of us, including myself, it was our first time at attempting a fell race.
It’s now dawned on me, these things really are hardcore!
We had a great Croft turnout, Tom D, Guy, Dave Millichap, Sue D, Sue P, Sam H, Emma, Irina, myself and Paul C-D.
We arrived in Abergavenny after leaving the fog of Weobley to a bright blue sky and glorious sunshine. Emma convinced us the high pointy mountain in the distance was the Sugar Loaf but I was in denial, convinced that was too far away, there was no way we were to run up that!?
It turned out, Emma was right!
So off we took from the start line, heading uphill on road. My theory was to try and stay close behind Tom D. He’s so experienced at these races, I felt I’d be in safe company with him nearby. Well, the first mile blew this hope out of the water! Mr Superman was gone, I couldn’t see him for dust!
We headed up a track into a wooded area. This was a really steep climb, I’m not sure how to describe it…as a newcomer my version is going to very different to those that have been mad enough running fell races for years…but here’s my version from the back of the pack…this was a steep climb of how I can only describe as ‘screaming calf muscles and sweating like a mad banshee’. On the ascent through these trees I heard someone shout me on from behind, which I was surprised at. I though I was the last of the Crofty’s! It was Paul Colley Davies who bounced up besides me, chatted awhile then shot on by. He’d missed the start time by a few minutes so wasn’t allocated a number but decided as he’d turned up he’d run it anyway. Well done Paul. Hope you were pleased with your time.
The steep ascent turned into a level open area where the views were absolutely wonderful. I convinced myself that there was a benefit to my lack of pace as I’d not be enjoying the views otherwise!
Finally we climbed on up to the summit where the views were even more spectacular.
Happy in the knowledge of ‘to every up hill there’s going to be a lovely well earned down hill’ I felt elated to know that the hard work was surely done.
I looked to the distance to see some runners way ahead so presumed that was the downhill way to go. Following a path along a steep edge then precarious rocks to step over and around I thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of what felt like literally flying along.
It was fabulous!
The steep part gradually levelled out onto an open grassy area and then became a narrow rocky path on down where sure footedness was a priority. There were lots of stones to trip over which could be easy to do on tired legs then a fast final leg on the road heading towards home. Unfortunately Guy took a trip along this stony area along with Sue P and also Emma who turned her foot quite badly and limped over the finishing line to an ice pack. Hope you’re all ok now?
We then sat down on the grass waiting for the prize giving and admired the bottles of beer we’d been given for finishing…it was shame I was driving…I think I could get to quite like this fell racing, for the hard earned end beer alone!!!
I LOVED my first fell race.
But I recognise there’s a huge amount of work to be done to improve. If I want to get better there’s only one way to go…and that is up!! Lots and lots of tough ups!
I also recognise I ran my first fell race wearing rose tinted glasses. I’m not sure I’d have loved it so much if it’d been raining, snowing and blowing a gale. But it was a glorious day first one to remember. I also realise that I really do quite like running!
It’s also made me even more respectful of those members that consistently run in these fell races and do so well in their age categories. Simply outstanding.
Paul CD (unofficial time) 69.27mins, Irina 52nd – 70.17 m, Emma 73rd – 74.56 m, Sue D 78th – 75.41 m, Dave 88th – 77.42 m, Sam 92nd – 79.23 m, Guy 95th – 80.11 m, Tom 96th – 80.13 m, Sue P 98th – 81.13 m, Carol 106th – 87.21 m
Carol and Sue P on the way up, the rest nearing the finish.