Passing Clouds Fell Race
The clouds weren't so much passing as enveloping all the runners at the start of the race. Six hardy LERCers braved the torrential rain and gusty winds on this cold October morning although the female contingent was conspicuous by her absence. Pre-fight words were exchanged by Phil Abbott and Andrei Vais who are vying for honours in this inaugural year of the Fell League, and the scene was set for an epic battle.
After a brief briefing (as it should be) around 90 runners set off down the minor road before turning onto the moors and lots of mud. The first third of the race was quality off road terrain with mud, stiles, streams and mud thrown in for good measure. A calf-straining climb up a steep path/stream brought competitors to the middle section - The Roaches. This is fell racing heaven with grippy gritstone boulders, mud and moor all mixed in together with short technical decents taken at speed by brave (or foolhardy?) runners. The final section included a steep climb up Hen Cloud before a long fast downhill moorland run interrupted by calf and knee-deep bogs which slowed even the strongest competitor. The sting in the tail was a sharp climb back up the minor road we all happily ran down at the start.
Rich Wilkinson led the LERC contingent on this testing course finishing in 1hr 20. Phil Abbott set off purposefully, intent on keeping the Vais behind, and despite an eyeballs-out first session was surprised to see Phil Walters drafting him with a couple of miles to go. Another burst saw Phil Abbott finish in 1.30, Phil Walters in 1.31 and Andrei a lonely fourth spot in 1.35. Ian Wallis finished in a slightly disappointing 1.46 with Damien Cowlishaw crossing the line in 1.52 with his usual big smile on his face.
The LERCers will be back here in 2 weeks time for the legendary Roaches Fell Race. The final race in this years Fell League is 15 miles and 3700ft - a fitting end to the season and not to be missed if you like a muddy challenge.
Passing Clouds photos here http://racephotos.topcities.com/winking_2.htm
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