JAMES HERRIOT TRAIL RUN 26/07/09

The week after Dartford I travel up with my family for a week's holiday in Masham, Yorkshire. These holidays have become something of an annual tradition and are an opportunity for Moira's mum and dad to spend a week with their children and grandchildren. So Moira's brother Ian and sister Lynne are there with all their kids. I'm feeling fit and confident after a good run of races and I find there is a local fell race in the area. It's an opportunity to try something new. I discover it involves running to the top of a mountain, along the ridge line and back down. It is advertised as a good introduction to the genre for fell running novices. So while everyone else sleeps in after the previous night's barbeque I drive up to Castle Bolton, register and line up at the start. I have no real idea what to expect. We set out past the castle walls along the lane but after a few hundred metres turn sharp left to ascend the aptly named Black Hill. Over the next three miles we climb about 850 metres. It's enough to make my eyes water but I am as fit as I've ever been and I'm holding up pretty well in amongst the local runners. At the top there is a relatively easy path along the undulating ridge and then we turn for the descent. Suddenly no path but a steep scree slope. I've never run on shifting stones and I pick my way down as fast as I can trying not to die. Around me the experienced fell runners are tearing past like mountain goats but we finally reach a grassy track for the run in and I belt as fast as I can to the line. I'm home in 1.13.35, I've no idea if this is good or bad but I'm pretty pleased with it. I'm 89th out of 224 and they are mostly members of Yorkshire running clubs.

Finish chute, another outing for the short shorts