Mount Famine Fell Race 2023

We should have listened to Oscar the wise Owl on the way to the start but you always think that you know best!

A beautiful and warm Saturday morning saw 87 brave competitors congregate on the Pennine Bridleway in a very orderly fashion in readiness for a potential fast start of the Mount Famine fell race. Having looked at the Strava profile, I was somewhat perplexed to where all the elevation in the first mile was going to begin, maybe just around the corner?

Absolutely not, the race organiser from way high to our right then begins the briefing, then it dawns, the race start line is the bridleway before you head straight up the banking through bramble, thistle and bracken on nothing that resembled a route beyond where he was standing!!

This race is classed as a Cat A race and was nothing like anything I had raced so far, even the leaders were using all four limbs to get up the ascents at one point. I did see on my Strava that there were times when the gradient was 1 in 2 and what goes up must come down, no sticking to the paths you came up, just straight down the hill, an art in itself!!

This was a shorter race than recent ones at just over 5 miles but with 1850ft of climb, it was a real test and will definitely not be a 5 mile pb!

Three Harriers ventured to the start line, all with different race plans. For me and Bill, I think getting around without injury was the main aim; for Katie it was all about continuing her excellent start to the season. This was done with Katie securing the 1st ladies prize victory, giving the men a race for their money, and finishing 7th overall in 52.04, over six minutes clear of her nearest rival.

I finished in a very creditable 18th just failing to beat the hour mark and Bill completed the race in 1hr 28min, no mean feat in that heat, on that course and, I hope he doesn’t mind, racing in the 70+ category, amazing effort!!

This is another great race and part of Hayfield’s three races in May series all over one weekend. This particular race is run in memory of Mark Boulton who was race organiser for many years. Mark’s family did an excellent job in providing refreshments and organising the results and prizes in such a timely manner.


Oscar the Owl

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