Wrekin Fell Race

Race Reports

We arrived at the venue (Ercall Wood Technology College), which has been rebuilt and replaced by a smart shiny structure, to which leads a fine tarmaced drive with landscaped parking spaces. Nobody had thought to rebuild Ercall Wood Hill or the Wrekin a little lower since our last visit. Tom and I warmed up on the first hill, and discovered how dry it was underfoot, with only dead leaves and rocks to look out for. We started on the school fields, up the road and into the woods, with a steep climb that those of us in the back half of the field eventually walked up. On top there is an undulating section then it drops down to the road (300m?), before the long climb (which starts with a scramble up leafy ‘scree’) up to the trig point of the Wrekin, a turn around and back the way we came.  The scree at the foot of the Wrekin required careful negotiating, unless like Tom you slid down on your bottom (but even then steering was important!). Back over the Ercall and finally 400m on the road into the school.

First across the line was Duncan Birtwhistle, in 39.28, with Emma Gould first woman, in an impressive 8th place in 44.24 (10th fastest ever, and fastest since 2005). I was way back in 43rd (57.13), and Tom kept the back markers at bay (57th, 62.12). 67 completed the course, and Tom was probably 1st over 65, though the results were given in 10 yr categories only, and I was 1st (only) over 70. Where are the younger Croft fell racers? Maybe we didn’t see them, they were so far in front!

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Wrekin Fell Race

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Compared with the Llanbedr race, this was a picnic. Half a circuit of Ercall Wood School playing field, up the road and then over the Ercall, a bit more road then steeply up a slippery, leafy cwm and onto the main track up the Wrekin to the trig point, then a mad rush back down, slithering down the cwm, and once more over the Ercall back to the school; in all 8.8km, and about 550m of climb, on a warmish, dry day. Tim Werrett won this, the last of the winter fell series, in 40.13. I was back in 55th (57.32) and Tom 71st (64.58). A fairly small field of 76, perhaps in part due to the nearby Ironbridge half marathon. Despite slower times over the last 4 years, I have once again been 1st MV65 in the winter series – the opposition seem to be fading away. No doubt Gary, returned from his winter exile in the Phillippines, will relish the shorter summer races.

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