A strong A&T team turned out for Harrock Hill fell race, with 2 slightly nervous first-timers in Kieron and Joanne who were not quite sure why they were there, but epitomised the spirit of fell running as both were willing to give it a go. Some early banter was started when keen-eyed members of the team spotted that we were at the bottom of Hunter’s Hill, which is well known amongst the cycling fraternity as a bit of a b*gger and indeed features in this race, although not via a direct route. In fact there are really 3 hills encountered on the course in Parbold Hill, Hunter’s Hill and Harrock Hill, although during the race they merge together into what feels like one great big, erm, undulation.
A quick team photo followed registration at the Farmer’s Arms and we then jogged down to the start line, which is a couple of hundred yards (or so) down the road, to a side-track. There were no kit requirements for this race on a balmy and only slightly damp evening, so everyone felt light on their feet. And after a short wait for everyone to congregate at the start … we were off!
The race started up a gravelly track and gradually wound its way up via some trails into the fields between Hunter’s and Parbold, it only took a few seconds for everyone to start breathing heavily and if you’d started too quickly you’d have soon regretted it, as the slope continued for about half a mile before flattening out for a short time to give some brief respite.
It wasn’t long before the trails narrowed and some stiles were encountered, which showed the best of British as people formed orderly queues to get the 217 strong field through the course as quickly as possible, but the field soon stretched out to make this less of a problem.
The bluebell woods were beautiful as promised, but largely ignored as head-down we wound through some uneven and twisty paths. Thankfully the herd of cattle that stampeded across the course last year was absent as we went through the first field, although if you weren’t careful you could have stepped into some evidence that they had been there quite recently!
As I got to the bottom of the first hill I’d started to flag a little, but as we briefly went along the road before heading back up the side of Parbold Hill, I had the helping hand of the official team car going past driven by Chris and the girls yelling encouragement through the windows. It’s always a welcome boost to have some support on a race.
After that, more fields, trails and even some tarmac bits followed, before the final portion of the race, which saw the course cresting the top of Harrock Hill, past the ruined windmill, before heading off towards the finish down some quite technical trails and finally onto Jackson lane to the finish.
… And in case you’re wondering about the photo, that was my prize for 1st V40. Best prize ever!
There were 9 A&T finishers as below:
Full results can be found here: http://www.fellrunner.org.uk/results.php?id=3344
The A&T champs has been updated and can be found on the fell section of the A&T website.