Cardington Cracker fell race

It doesn't get much better than this!

Nine miles and 2700 (or was it 2900?) feet of ascent in stunning Shropshire countryside. 250 runners descended on the tiny village of Cardington for this pre-Xmas race with a box of crackers to the last one home. The weather was bone-chillingly cold - the car showed -5.5 deg on the way down and the temperature at the start was still -2 deg. The race goes up through the prosaically-named The Wilderness (a few farmers fields, actually) and then climbed the flank of the first hill - The Lawley. The view from the top was awesome, opening up to give a panorama across Church Stretton and up over the Long Mynnd (the LM Valleys race in Feb is also a classic). The underfoot conditions were icy in shadow, hard in sunlight and treacherous on some descents. The air was so cold and clear you could just about drink it. A fabulous ridge run along The Lawley leads down to the start of the next climb - Caer Caradoc, a fine name for a fine hill. Diagonally up the icy and bracken-covered flank to the top and then another stunning ridge descent down to the start of the climb up the last series of hills - starting with the two tops of Hope Bowdler Hill then a shallow descent and ascent to Willstone Hill. Drop over the edge down to the stream and then back up through The Wilderness for the run back to the finish.

The results? On a day like that, who cares, but the LERC finishing order was Andy Dickinson, Richard Wilkinson, Andy Colgate, Pete Sturgess's non-LERC mate Dave Clough, Phil Walters., Jonathan Vardy, Colin Bostock and then Tony Vardy (and with just 10 miles or so of nothing more strenuous than roads in the last 7 weeks, He was well chuffed to get around with no adverse reactions to His hamstring).

If you've got some kind of list of races to do before that great marathon in the sky, put the Cardington Cracker on it - you won't be disappointed.


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