UK Fell and Hill Relays 2019 : Ladybower

This is what being in a team looks like! Saul and Dan celebrating navigating the way to the start of the Navigation leg

This year marked the second year that Belper Harriers have entered teams for this prestigious UK fell event. It is THE ONLY fell relay and therefore it’s very very well attended with each of the big clubs fielding teams in each category. It’s always at the end of October and moves round the UK – this year we were lucky that it was local. Last year we all went to the Lake District and stayed in a lovely small camping barn together.

There’s 4 legs to the Relay ;

  • Leg 1 – Short, Solo (1h)
  • Leg 2 – Long, Paired (2h)
  • Leg 3 – Navigation, Paired (2h+)
  • Leg 4 – Short, Solo (1h)

so a team comprises 6 people. Now whilst we all love competing we knew we were never going to be at the sharp end of events so luckily we all turned up with exactly the right mindset – turn up, enjoy the team spirit, have a good run and cheer our team mates back in. This made for a really nice “pressure free” environment.

We even had supporters in the form of Andy Paisley and Richard Hickling – both key regulars of the Belper Harriers fell race scene this year – it’s really important that all us fell regulars stick together and cheer each other on so thanks guys for turning up and taking all these great shots. Rich – well done for lurking just outside the finish tent – some great smiles there! (somewhat surprisingly – try harder next year guys 😉)

So, give or take – everyone who went last year either went this year or spectated this year – a couple were just too injured – next year guys! Last year in the lakes as it was our first year we fielded two teams Male Senior, Female Senior. As we’ve been slowly but surely increasing the numbers from the harriers who race fells, we were able to put out 3 teams this year

  • Male Senior – Simon Fisher, Wykeham & Joel, Nathan & Ed, Andy Stubbs
  • Male Vet – Alan B, Pete & Ian, Saul & Dan, Ant
  • Female Senior – Ruth, Jo & Louise, Helen & Lily, Karolina

You can get a flavour from some of the fell top photo’s from Andy Paisley that the weather and views were amazing. The legs all offered unique physical challenges -lets be clear about this – they are not trail races! We were all faced with a very dark brown shade of fell happines – heather, bogs, steep descents and equally steep climbs.

The short legs were about 5 miles and 1h (give or take). Long legs were around 2h and interestingly for a fell event there was always an optional flagged route to follow – whether that was the fastest line or not only you can work out!

So advance warning now to any Belper Harriers fell runners – mark this event in your diary for late October next year now and get your pass out in early!

Just look at the smiles on those photos folks!

In terms of results, both men and ladies teams showed significant improvement on 2018 (positions in brackets)

  • Men Open 69th (89th)
  • Mens Vet 185th (N/A)
  • Ladies Open 198th (236th)
  • 224 finishers
  • 20 DNF/DSQ

Final Thoughts…

I stood at the bottom of the final descent for around 2h capturing the Harriers as they came through. Then it suddenly struck me as I watched all the paired runners coming through that … if they had not joined their local running club – they would not be there now.

All these pairings – every single one of them was clearly loving life. Smiles, camararderie, looking out for each other. All things that only a club can bring about. I’m sure they were mostly having a weekend away from all that life throws at them and just getting away from it all with running buddies in a location with zero phone reception.

How refreshing this all felt!

None of these pairings would have had an amazing 2h out on the hills together and all these pairings have ONLY met because they’ve joined their local running club, but more than that – they’ve sought out fellow fells runners in that club to share similar interests that they have.

Every team captain had thought that that particular pairing was the most compatible amongst their selection. Thought had gone into this pairing. Many years and months had gone into the matching of these runners.

All paired runners were out sharing fantastic memories and looking after each other – simply because of running.

Sitting on the sofa watching TV certainly does NOT achieve that!

Link to Last Years 2018 UK Fell Relays : Grasmere