I’ve done a few fell races now. Most of them involve steep hills, bogs, mud and rocks. Many of them involve tricky, narrow and twisting tracks covered in sheep poo. There may also be a few streams to ford, or stiles and cattle grids to negotiate. All of them have awesome scenery. Put all of that together and you get a race like Bull Hill, which in my view makes it an ideal introduction to fell running for the fell curious, as you get to try it all out! After a race like this you can’t help but either fall in love with fell racing, or spending the rest of the evening ceremonially burning your Salomons whilst clutching your still burning thighs.
Five brave and spirited A&T athletes made their way to the start line, which in itself was no mean feat since it was almost a mile away from registration up a long hill. The race started up a crowded, narrow lane and almost immediately I heard a loud thump in front of me as a runner fell flat on his face in the middle of the road. There was momentary chaos, reminiscent of events in that day’s Tour de France in which Chris Froome became an honorary fell runner, before we were away again, minus one lightly grazed participant.
Before long the route led up a track past an MOD site with stern looking signs telling you to keep out . . . this is one race in which you don’t want to get lost, mentioning no names Kerry! Shortly after this I realised why I had managed to blank last year’s race from my memory, since after tonking it down a long stony path, I saw what looked like a cliff approaching in the distance. It was a proper, albeit small, fell, with people walking with their hands on their knees and everything! Unexpected, energy sapping stuff. After that point it was literally up-hill and down-dale, interspersed with up-marsh and down-bog, with some proper good downhill, run like a child, type slopes. It was tempting to use Clare’s Marl Pits technique, but as a mountain rescue guy said to Keiron, “Don’t fall over, there’s nowt but bubble wrap in this bag”.
Then , after what seemed like an eternity, we got to “within 400 metres” of the finish and “ there’s a bit of mud”, before wading through up to our knees, the final insult before the welcome sight of the finish line.
I think this was a race in which everyone fell over, some more than once (Paul) and not many people came over the line smiling, but I think it was mainly enjoyed. Well I did anyway J Well done to everyone who braved Bull Hill!
I’ve posted the A&T champs on the website and you can find full results at this link http://www.ukresults.net/2016/bullhill.html