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UKA Fell Relay Champs

October 17, 2011

Emma, Rowena, Sue, Jenn and Sophie

Having not entered any teams in last year’s FRA relays and no women’s team entries at all since Bowland hosted the relays in 2007, it was awesome to have three teams running at Kettlewell this year. It was a stunning day in the Wharfedale Valley, which made it very easy to enjoy the run despite being worried about getting the women’s team off to a good start. Rowena gave me a nice pep talk to calm my nerves and I made my way to the very crowded start line next to the village green.  Although it was slightly different from the one published on the recce map, the route was very straightforward. I just had to keep from falling too far behind going uphill, skirt round the deepest boggy bits along the ridge and hope to pick off a few people on the descent. It went exactly to plan until I hit the village again on the way back and some marshall told me I had a mile and half to go. Huh? I thought I was turning back toward the field just after the church! I really hadn’t looked carefully at the race map around the start finish area and I spent a few deeply unenjoyable minutes running through the village before catching sight of Emma and Yiannis shouting me on just where we had to run back uphill, through a tiny patch of wood and swing right around back into the field. The nasty sting in the tail led to a fast and fun descent back into the changeover area where I handed off to Rowena and Sophie, very relieved to be finished.

Every leg had that nasty little sting in the tail and it proved to be excellent for spectating. It was great to hang around in the sunshine watching for orange and green vests in the succession of runners making their way uphill to the left of the patch of trees. Around the 2 hour mark I saw Oliver Wild flying around the finishing chute looking like he’d been out for a nice afternoon jog with Richard Mellon then watched Dave Wilson and Ali Welsh come storming in just a few minutes behind them.  Soon after that, Sophie and Rowena appeared having pulled back a lot of the teams that got away from me toiling up the hill (even though Rowena looked like she may have actually paddled through some of the bogs). There was a gap in the orange vest procession so, those of us that had already run took advantage of the catering and then hustled back out in the sun to watch the men returning from the nav leg. Chris and Quentin had an apparently perfect nav leg and must have felt in top form as they came sprinting down to the finish about 20 seconds ahead of the Mark Saunders and Martin Hurst for the open team. Yiannis and Mike Johnson set off to bring the men’s teams home while Emma waited nervously for Sue and Sarah to handover from Leg 3.  Sue and Sarah proved a good combination of technical proficiency and desire; they reappeared above the finishing field about an hour and half after they had left it, dibbed in and sent Emma streaking out of the field for the run up Great Whernside.  We didn’t have wait long for Emma to reappear running (!) up the hill through the trees and back to finish area with a big smile for us to finish 19th of 45 women’s teams.  Thanks to all for coming out and running hard!

Emma on the final sprint

One Comment leave one →
  1. etmytrid permalink
    October 17, 2011 10:03 pm

    Well done Bowland ladies and well done captain Jenn. Let’s have more successes in future events.

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