The LERC fell race and camping weekend

On the weekend of the 19th, 20th and 21st June the tiny hamlet of Hurdlow became the Mecca for Long Eaton Running Club with 14 members making the pilgrimage – some to race, some to run and all to drink Peak District beer.

The weekend's festivities were based around the Chrome Hill Fell race which is part of the Hollinsclough village fete. The race was chosen as the LERC nominated fell race as it should have been at the easier end of the fell running scale of difficulty, however very low cloud, poor visibility, rain and winds made the race a tougher than expected encounter.

The poor conditions even affected the very best runners the country has to offer, with Lloyd Taggart, the race winner managing to get lost. It didn't cost him too dearly though, he still smashed the course record!

First back for LERC was Richard Wilkinson in just 36 minutes 10 seconds and in doing so retains his title of 1st Veteran LERC Fell Race champion.

Richard ran a tactical race as he was carrying an injury and stayed just behind the eventual 2nd LERCer and 1st senior Phil Abbott. Rich ran behind Phil until the technical and very steep descent off Chrome Hill. Phil was unable to match the pace Richard set down the very slippery ground and eventually finished in a respectable 37:11 – again retaining the title of 1st Senior man for Long Eaton which he won the previous year.

Andrei Vais, whose reputation for being unable to navigate on the fells remains in tact, managed to excel his own low standards and get lost on the 5 mile drive from his campsite to the race start – despite having completed the race before!

However during the race Andrei avoided any navigational issues and ran home in a commendable 39:42.

Next in for Long Eaton was Sean Gauton. Cutting his timing fine, Sean only registered for the race 1 minute before the start and was still pinning his number on when the race began. He crossed the line in 48:28.

Phil Walters was next to finish and he ran under the tape to a big cheer. Phil had spent the previous day running around 25 miles with 10,000ft of ascent (and descent) in the Lake District doing 2 legs of the famous 'Bob Graham' round – a 24hr challenge involving running over 42 peaks in a 72 mile, 28500ft climb, circular route. Phil completed the Chrome fell race in 52:44.

Pete Sturgess was only just behind Phil finishing in 53:39.

Kev Holland, in his first race back after a horrific ankle injury in a previous fell race, completed the course in 55:58.

The final Prize winner of the day was Karen Preston. She was the first Long Eaton Lady to complete the course doing so in 1:31:40. Karen decided not to do the traditional route and added some extra distance (and height!) to her run as poor visibility from the low cloud meant the route marking tape became impossible to follow.

Once Karen got back on the correct route she crossed the line to rapturous applause and a huge hug from her son.

Karen made a hat-trick of trophy retainers as she also won the Ladies race in 2007.

As is now the tradition, Phil Walters, the fell organiser, presented the prizes in 'The Royal Oak” where everyone had gathered – Trophies get awarded at the Christmas presentations so the winners had to make do with bottles of real ale – the favourite fuel of the fell runner.


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