Despite an abundance of ‘organiser pre-race nerves’ which I’m sure were not the only nerves on display come race day it was great to simply be hosting a Fell Race once again. So before I go any further can I simply say a massive thank you once again to all of the Marshalls, the runners, Dorina & Marion on registration & anyone else who helped out to make it such a memorable day for all involved, & of course to Gaby for her ‘runners’ Goulash (a thank you I forgot at the presentation until the usually backward in coming forward Mike Blake pointed out the error of my ways).
One other special thank you before I get to the race facts & figures themselves goes to the youngest male runner on the day, Deio Jones. Deio initially timed himself at 55:34 narrowly pipping 2nd place but as I began to dig into producing the race results he re-visited the girls at registration to say that he had forgotten that he’d stopped his watch at some point (I believe whilst making a key navigational decision & had forgotten to re-start it for several minutes). He only realised the error of his ways when he was back safely & comparing data on his satellite devices (above my ability to comprehend but you get the point). This honesty demoted him from 2nd to 7th place. Then at presentation his correction of my mis-pronunciation of his name (for those of a certain vintage it’s pronounced in the same way as a frequent chant by Freddie Mercury at any of Queen’s concerts from the late 70’s onwards, i.e. Day Oh) was done with both good humour & humility. If men/women like Deio are the future of Fell Running then the sport will be in good hands!
Now the race itself, a story of effort, clag & self-correction together with some nervous radio calls between 3 of the Marshalls (Mike, Katie & Alwyn) & Myself.
It was (for those who were not there) of course both a self-timed race as well as a staggered start where runners went off at one minute intervals adding a new dynamic that we have ‘Covid’ to thank for actually adding a positive uniqueness for 2021. Despite being 5th to start Martin Cliffe was first to pass Mike Blake who was Marshalling at the top style & maintained this at both the summit & at the Finishing line before he went down on all fours panting like only an over-extended fell runner can. Despite this he almost immediately said ‘Paul I got lost going too far right on the descent & missed a Marshall point at least’. We then explored the error & it was blatantly obvious that this had cost him an annoying amount of time so I made the decision that no advantage had been gained so his time should stand, honesty had prevailed (in my view) the correct decision given the nature of this years race. I hope you all agree that his integrity warranted a humane act in an at times an all too in-humane a world.
From here-on the race organiser’s hair continued to fall out as his cockiness that he could ‘man’ the finish on his own came back & bite him. Try recording a finish time given by each runner whilst looking for their number whilst holding a clipboard, pen & active radio which you are constantly trying to listen to for details of ‘lost’ runners & more & you’ll soon agree that I should have put Dorina at the finish instead. Still this was all mitigated by seeing each runner safely return usually beaming with a mixture of pain & gain (aka type 2 fun).
Mental arithmetic saw me thinking that Ieuan Belshaw had taken first place from Martin & that several other ‘unknowns’ (no insult intended) were in the sub-one hour mix.
Finally the last competitor, a spritely O.70 Geoffrey Fielding, was safely across the line albeit not bringing up the actual staggered start rear.
So to the results, I’ll rattle through these but mean no disrespect to a great set of achievements for you all:-
Race winner – Joel Gomes, 54:23, MO/40. 2nd place, Ieuan Belshaw, 55:39 MU/40 & also 1st Local. 3rd place, Andrew Griffiths, 58:18 MU/40.
First Female – Jackie Lee, 67:47, FO/40.
First Male Under 23, Deio Jones, 60:09. First Female Under 23, Emily Wymer, 95:08.
First Female Under 40, Jasmine Sharp, 94:50.
First Male Over 50, Martin Cliffe, 59:10.
First Female Over 50, Hazel Berrett, 88:24.
First Male Over 60, Huw Lewis, 77:51.
First Female Over 60, Ellie Salisbury 89:26.
First Male Over 70 (amazingly a contest of 3 great veterans), Dei Jones, 86:26.
Frist Female Over 70, Maggie Oliver, 109:17.
Many of those listed here are friends, good supporters of the Café & great supporters of some of my charity runs over the years, thank you guys.
Out of 44 on-line entries some 35 turned up to brave the 20′ visibility clag, slippery underfoot conditions & the notoriously difficult nav over the summit plateau. The fact that so many took ‘new’ & usually not ‘good’ lines over this crossing, it was a credit to you all that you all came down back to safety without significantly extending the Marshalls exposure to the elements. Well done to you all.
The next post on this site will be a long winded recounting of my experiences the previous week, as ever Moel Siabod will play a starring role.