Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Hitting the heights at the English Schools Fell Champs

Just back from another weekend in the sundrenched, albeit cool, Lake District,  to a damp, dank, drizzly West Yorkshire.  Complete cloud cover over Wharfedale today.
 What a complete contrast to Sunday at Sedbergh.   366 (218 boys and 148 girls) gathered at Sedbergh School for the 3rd running of the ENGLISH SCHOOLS FELL CHAMPIONSHIPS. Blessed with a near cloudless sky, but with a cool north easterly on the fell top to ensure they didn't overheat!  Unlike the English Schools Cross Country Championships where competitors have to earn the right to represent their counties, here they could simply enter and represent their schools. Many competed as individuals, some actually, donning club vests anxious not to miss out despite school back up.

Quite a severe test for the youngsters I felt. Particularly some obviously not "trained " fell runners, just brought in to make up team numbers.  2 miles and 720' of ascent for the under 12s,  2.6 miles 950' for under 14s,  3.58 miles and 1315' for the under 16s,  4.25 miles and 1350' of climb for the sixth formers, making the cross country championshionships look like a jog in a park.....which it usually is! 
Picture shows Crook fell in the Howgills behind a couple of young finishers. The fell formed the basis of all 4 routes.  I would have loved to have competed in an event like this as hill running formed a significant part of my training as a teenager. However, unlike quite a few of the leading runners here I would have still
continued to strive for improvement of track times and road times.   Some of them seem so "blinkered" and prejudiced at a very early age.  I always say to them that the fell runners doing speed work are first to the bottom of the climb and tend to stay there!  For example, I spoke to one young man who goes to college within 100 yards from the track at Seedhill but tends not to use it for speedwork; whereas I drive 45 minutes from Ilkley!
I was back on there on Saturday for my wekly fix,
before going up to Windermere . A session of 5 x 1K which went much the same way as the last time, 7 weeks ago,  with a 12 second differential first to last.
4.32    4.30   4.28   4.26   4.19 .  Better than slowing down I suppose; but frustrating none the less and well short of what I can achieve for 10 straight 1ks in a race. 
This weekend my club is hosting the Northern 6/4 relays at Wythenshawe Park.   I had suggested a M50/60 team be put in just so we to take part, but it seems we are short of cash and have to limit entries.  We have 700 hundred menbers and pay subs annually of £40.   As they say...you do the maths!  So my next race will probably be the much lower key Alexandra Park 5K on Sunday.  Probably more my level I suppose at 61!

1 comment:

  1. You were lucky to be in the Lakes on such a fantastic day - once you got away from the choked up roads. There was talk of delaying the start of the race in Langdale because of the amount of traffic but we got away more or less on time.
    Having run all those marathons I can't agree with you about 5K being more your level now at 61. I used to think I'd be reduced to the 60m dash by the time I reached 70 but can still churn out the odd ½ marathon at 78.
    By the way, I called in and got a pair of knee shorts yesterday morning - but not sure whether I'll ever dare wear them!