4 th August : The Farleton Knott fell race

I have not competed at a BOFRA fell race before. But they are they are characterised by being short in distance but with sharp in ascents and descents. So when I noticed the Farleton Knott race in the FRA magazine I thought it would be rude not to have a go, especially as it almost a local race. It is also a hill that I drive past every time I got to the Lakes and beyond.

So Mark and I arrived nice and early (11 am) at the foot of the hill on a nice sunny day. Me to do the race and Mark to take some photos of the race. As it turned out we were very early as the 12 pm start time was for the many Junior races. But it was a nice day and it gave me a chance to go up Farleton Knott to have a look at the flagged route. As well as watch the junior races.

The senior race goes around the front of the hill to the left on a low level traverse, before steadily climbing to the summit around the back. Then over the top and steeply down scree back nearly to the show field. Before returning steep back up on grass and returning on almost the same route as the outward one.

Normally this race attracts about 65 runners, but today this was a BOFRA championship counter, so 129 runners got counted through the start funnel. Then we were off on a mad dash across the field through a farm and up a steady climb and through another field, before forming an orderly queue at an awkwardly (for this race anyway ) positioned style. After this the trail is too narrow to overtake, so even though I felt I cold go a touch faster on the fairly flat traverse, I had to go at the pace set by the 40 ish runners in front. After a mile the trail widens and steepens, so I managed to overtake a few on this section. Now It  was a steady runnable climb with some steeper ramps, but not too steep to force a walk. Soon enough I rounded the top to start the mad dash down the scree to the base. I passed a few tentative runners here as I crashed down the looser sections of the gully.

On reaching the base a small traverse right takes me to a steep grassy climb back up. I felt like this was the weakest part of my run, and only held position at best here. By the top I knew I had found my place in the race, I was no longer overtaking or being caught, so what I assumed to be the leading lady (and was, Hazel Robinson ) became my target. A chap near the top said 24th as i passed, which turned out to be accurate. Sarting the descent she was about 50 meters ahead and running strong. On the fast, mainly downhill, loop back towards the finish I closed on her. And by the 2nd to last field and style I was just behind her, but someone had closed in on me over the last 800 meters. So now down the 2nd to last field we were 3 abreast and all running hard. I overtook Hazel as the chaser overtook me. Into the final field we both moved away from Hazel,  and I tried over the last 200 meters to close the 5 meter gap that he had pulled out. I made an all out effort to draw level, then he slightly edged forward, that was me done. so I conceded and  jogged through the line.

Still it was a great little race, and 23rd out of 126 finishers in 43.51 was a pretty pleasing effort.