How often to do you go to a sailing club to run a fell race? I am guessing not that often but that’s exactly what happened yesterday as two harriers, Katie Walshaw and James Washington made the scenic trip over the hills to run in the even more picturesque Goyt Valley. Well, I think it is, the weather was horrendous with driving rain and thick fog which hindered any chance of seeing the scenery!
Another one of those just over 6 milers with just over 1000 feet of climb, if you like your hills then this is the race for you!! I have now been lured several times by the advertisement of these races by the promise of beautiful views throughout the race, I am sure they are, but once again the effort of the ascent aided in me missing them on the way up and certainly the weather and technical side of running on the top and the descent made me miss them on the way down!!
That said, this is a very well organised race, offered excellent facilities and was supported very well with 200 runners starting on a dismal evening. Some might think that the £10 entry is a little steep for a midweek race with no medals or t-shirts but when £2 of the entry is given to the local mountain rescue who marshalled and were called into action on two occasions I could see, £1 goes to the forestry commission who manage the land and £1.50 goes to entry system and bank fees, it really does only leave a relatively small amount to pay for everything else.
As in most races Katie sets off at the front in the lead pack and as usual that is the last I see of her until the end, yesterday was no different. Chasing the course record set in 2019 by Caroline Brock of 44.16, Katie clocked an impressive 45.07, missing out on the record by less than a minute in what were far from ideal conditions. Katie was an excellent 15th overall and finished 1st lady by over 5 minutes.
Katie’s great form so early in the season has been attributed to an injury free winter and a change in training with much more emphasis on recovery, mobility and regular speed sessions with Club coach Alwyn Dewhirst.
Still finding my feet in fell racing, I managed a very creditable 46th position in 49.35 which given that my first race was only in June 2022, the Club 5k handicap, I was absolutely over the moon.
Since joining the Club last year, it has been nothing short of brilliant, hard work, but brilliant. They say you only get out what you put in and that is very true, but there is an added extra being part of a wonderful Club like Holmfirth. You get the support and encouragement of your fellow members, the invaluable wealth of knowledge and guidance from the coaches and those few extra seconds from proudly wearing the Club vest!!
Never be afraid to ask, none of us know everything and us relatively new to the sport cannot possibly know all the rules, kit regulations and terminology used by more seasoned athletes and coaches. However, in my experience so far, the vast majority of members and coaches will only be too happy to share information or explain things in more detail.
That said, it’s one thing to listen and another to do, my highlight so far is with Alwyn when I have been doing the drills, I know what he has said, my mind is telling me what to do but the legs and arms just have a mind of their own, I can only say that thankfully there are no prizes for drills and that I am not planning on entering any kind of dance competition anytime soon!!!!