My plan on the Fellsman was to try and run quicker on the first half (with Simon Rippon) than I would normally in the hope that I could sustain it! It certainly felt faster and I was quite worried coming off Whernside that it wasn't the best of plans! After a gel and energy drink going up Gragareth. I felt a bit better and once into Dent had cheered up a bit especially after a cup of beans and a handful of sultanas there. From then on I had a gel and energy drink at each road stop as well as their food. The weather hadn't been too bad - a cold blustery wind but it was always behind us however the wind and rain really lashed down as we crossed Blea Moor and descended into Stonehouses where there was about 15 runners huddled in the tent with the rain hammering on the roof.
After some excellent pasta with tomato sauce and a cheese sarni we put our waterproof trousers, extra hats etc and ascended Great Knoutberry in clag. However as we ran off the rain stopped and the sun even came through. From then on the strong wind persisted but the rain was gone and the sunshine dried us out and warmed us up. Simon mentioned his ankle was hurting him and he would see how it was at Fleet Moss but made the decision to drop out before Dodd Fell and told me to keep going. I was hoping to get past Cray before 7.30pm so cracked onto Fleet Moss where I suddenly found I was starving! A four course "meal" of rice pud, fruit salad, hot beans then more fruit salad plus tea went down a treat and I set off across Fleet Moss in good spirits. It helped having reccied this part as I knew where I was and Middle Tongue came and went easily. Not making the same mistake as on the recce I trotted down to Hells Gap quickly having made up a few places. I got into Cray with 3 other runners but it was only 7.10pm and the marshall's never mentioned grouping so neither did we!
Off up Buckden I went going up the wall line while the others went further right - I reached the top first and could see across to Whernside the last, final climb from there! On the descent to Top Mere I could see runners in front and tried to push on hoping to be grouped with them. Luckily I caught one guy and we dropped into the checkpoint together where there was already a group of 7 and another 2 waiting. We were grouped with the 2 and quickly set off up Whernside as a four. One guy, Jess had done it 21 times before and so although I had reccied it and got my maps out we didn't need them really. We got a good pace on. I was finding hills ok but downhill running got me out of breath and I felt sick but I hung onto the back of our group on the descent. Then across the flat I found jogging easier than walking and the guys walked / jogged alongside. We overtook the group of 7 and reached Yarnbury at about 10.45pm. Once degrouped the two lads (apologies for forgetting names) set off at a cracking pace along the road. I followed as best I could but it wasn't till I reached the bridge did I consider 14 hours to be a target. With about 3 mins to spare I ran up the road and into the school.
I know a couple of minutes shouldn't be an issue after 13 plus hours but it was and I was nearly shoving the 2 lads in front of me out the way hoping that the nice lady would record me down as 13.59. However - not to be and I was recorded as 14 hours exactly along with the two in front of me! I am extremely pleased with my time and my run overall. Results now on Fellsman results:2009
I must add that the organisation, people and route make this one of the best races I have done. The marshalls and helpers couldn't do enough for us and were so cheery and encouraging. Definitely one to do again for me.
Others that I know about - John Rowe dropped out at Hill Inn with thigh injury/pain, Simon at Fleet Moss with ankle injury, Amanda and Andrew Heading ran with Mark Pierce and got in just over 17 hours. The winner Jez Bragg did 10.50 hours and the first lady Sarah Rowell did 13.45 hours.