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Monday, 15 October 2012
UK fell relay championships
The fell race relay championships is a huge event, attracting the cream of British fell running clubs. We last competed four years ago, when it was hosted by Martin Cortvriend in Llangynhafal. This year, Mercia hosted the event in the Shropshire hills. It's a great day out, and the weather was perfect this year: sunny, cool and clear throughout. Some clubs send three or more teams to the event, but we could just about muster the 6 runners needed until disaster struck the week before the event - when we lost two of our key men to injury. John spread the net wide looking for replacements, eventually resorting to practically kidnapping a 'guest member' at the Collie on Friday night (take a bow, Roger Squires, who was prepared to drive down on his own to Shropshire with 48 hours notice!). Dawn also stepped up to take on the other empty spot, on the long 'pairs' leg with John - involving a massive 900m/3000ft of climbing, with the route finishing over the notorious final section of the Long Mynd Valleys fell race with three killer climbs. Dawn and John put in the performance of the day, a massive effort, although Simon E's superb top 30 finish in the first very steep and fast solo leg ran it close (bear in mind this event attracts the very best runners in the sport). Jeff and Simon R had the third (navigation) leg. This is orienteering-style, with the map kept secret until the start. We took some decent route-finding decisions with a few nifty short cuts and managed to work our way up the field to 45th place, before guest runner Roger finished off with a decent showing in the final solo leg. So despite being weakened by the injuries we had a very enjoyable day out, and finished in the top half of the field, in 76th place, ahead of all our local rivals. It's a great team event, quite exciting, so maybe one to consider for next year?