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anyone here done any serious off-road running? long-distance fells? anyone read Feet in the Clouds?

(49 Posts)
hatwoman Wed 05-Aug-09 20:53:09

I did the London marathon this year. and, having moved to the Peak District, have started fell running. I haven't done any races longer than 6 miles (yet). I'm (possibly rather rashly) reading Feet in the Clouds (brilliant book about nutty fell-racing, stuff like the Bob Graham round) and can't help wondering if I could tackle one of the more challenging races - a 20 miler perhaps, next spring. My big fear though is navigation. and having to do as much, if not more, training as I did for the marathon. I wondered if there was anyone here on mn with any relevant experience (too scared to go on any of the fell-running forums...)

liath Wed 05-Aug-09 22:18:11

No experience but I really want to run the chevy chase next summer which is 20 miles in the Cheviot hills.

Merle Wed 05-Aug-09 23:25:44

Hi Hatwoman, I wouldn't say that I have a lot of experience, but like you I am moving from road to off-road. I have been running for a few years and completed my first marathon this spring. Since then I've been recovering and also running more 'fun' races with more interesting routes and landscape.

I've read 'Feet in the Clouds' over and over Aagain- great book, could never do the BG in 24 hours although I did read recently about a group of women who did it in 3 days over a BBank Holiday- much more civilised.

Have you thought about doing an off-road half marathon? They are reasonably challenging but not too mad. I did the Wharfedale in the summer and I'm due to do the Yorkshireman (15 miles) in Sept. There will be loads of good events near you; which is your local club?

hatwoman Thu 06-Aug-09 18:39:38

Hi again.

how come you two don't join us on the running thread? get yourselves over there to say hello.

Most of the fell races near me are short - 5-6 miles. I've done about 5 over the last couple of months. There's a half-marathon - it's hilly but on roads, which I don't particularly fancy. Then there are some pretty serious ones of about 22 miles - it's the navigation that scares me a bit. I think over that sort of distance I could easily lose sight of the person infront - and I don;t want to be the idiot that gets lost - although I doubt actually I would because I'd be so paranoid I'd be slowing myself down by checking my map every 5 minutes. My local clubs are either Dark Peak or Totley. I think I need to join one, and then I could maybe find someone of similar ability/speed as me who'd like to do a longer race together. I have a couple of fell running friends - but one is loads faster than me , and the other is on average about the same speed, but I'm faster up and she's faster down.

I did a (very slow) but quite hard 9 miles this morning, with 1280 feet of climb. I was a bit disappointed with the amount of climb - I thought it would be more.

hatwoman Thu 06-Aug-09 18:45:18

and ps - Feet in the Clouds is just amazing isn't it? Maybe I'm just a bit soft int' head but for me it's like Chariots of Fire meets Wuthering Heights...every night I read it in bed and I fall asleep fantacising about being the kind of runner for whom the hills are in their blood and their heart. I resolve to turn into someone who runs every day, who becomes all willowy and sinewy and at one with the moors...(it's up there with my other fantasy of being a mad eccentric English woman who lives in al-Muqallah in Yemen...such a shame we only have one life...)

hawesmead5 Thu 06-Aug-09 20:10:14

Hi there
Before getting pregnant with DS2 (currently 25 weeks) I did quite a bit of fell running mainly the shorter races run by BOFRA (British Open Fell Running) most are about 2/3 miles. Hubby is a good runner and does a lot more than me ( he just won the Rydal round in Ambleside last week ). Dark Peak is a good fell running group and competes in alot of the autumn/winter fell race relay races which are good fun. I am part of Helm Hill Runners in Kendal and have completed quite a few of the relay races. Also a group would be able to give you more help with the navigation, this is what always worries me. I know you said you didn't want to go on the fell running forums but the FRA one is very friendly, I would highly recommend it!

hatwoman Thu 06-Aug-09 20:23:01

I'm quite an avid reader of the FRA site - just not brave enough to go through all that newbie business grin

Merle Thu 06-Aug-09 20:38:15

Hi to all. Have had a look at the Dark Peak site and it looks like a really good club. Also such a great name.

You've reminded me that I've put my name down to run in a club team for the Cumberland Fell Runners fell relays in October, but will only do leg 2 as this is a pair - therefore avoiding the navigation issue (how could we get lost?)

Rydale round v impressive.

Merle Sat 08-Aug-09 07:33:54

Shall I move to the running thread, then? I quite like it here- the running thread looks a bit big...

hatwoman Sat 08-Aug-09 23:40:21

Hi again Merle - the running thread is big - but slow moving iyswim. people tend to pop in once a week or so and give a quick update/ask questions/answer questions. it's very nice.

how long is the Cumberland Fell?

Merle Sun 09-Aug-09 08:07:50

Leg 1 AS solo 5.8m/1500'

Leg 2 AM pairs 6.7m/2500'

Leg 3 orienteering pairs 5.6m/1410'

Leg 4 AS solo 5.1m/1600'

hatwoman Sun 09-Aug-09 21:12:29

you're doing the toughest leg then. in fact all those legs are tough. I've never done a race with more than 1000' of climb. I guess our Peaks are just not as big as yours.

Merle Sun 09-Aug-09 21:47:52

Yes I only realised that when I typed in the info for you! Nothing is definite at the moment, though, I just recklessly suggested myself for that leg because it looked the best one for som1eone relatively inexperienced (?!). Probably someone sensible at my club with give me something else to do.

hawesmead5 Tue 11-Aug-09 20:21:10

The solo legs are usually quite good too (I normally get put on leg 1 or 4 although I do find that leg 1 is a bit of a rush and a jostle for places in the first mile. Leg 2 looks quite hard this year with the amount of climbing although I guess you are covering it in nearly 7m, still a toughy though, but a fabby place to run grin I have just had a peek at the map from the CFR web page.

Merle Tue 11-Aug-09 22:35:54

I wouldn't want to give anyone the impression that I am a 'serious' runner, even though I have put myself in this thread and unwitingly have talked myself into the toughest leg of the 4. Am fortunate that there is a group of women at our club who are at a similar level of fitness, a lot of us just getting back into it after having children. We won't mind if we come last, we're just glad to be there and join in, so even if it's a nightmare it'll be great, if you know what I mean...

hawesmead- when do you think you'll get back to any kind of running? How long were you out of action after your first child?

hatwoman- haveyoujoinedyet,haveyoujoinedyet,haveyoujoinedyet?

hatwoman Tue 11-Aug-09 23:24:25

Hi again. no I'm rubbish. haven't even got round to joing the fell running association which I keep saying I'll do. I took dds and the dog for a walk this evening along one of my favourite places to run - one of the gritstone edges just above our village - and saw some runners and I so wanted to join in with them. I'll do something quite long tomorrow.

hawesmead5 Wed 12-Aug-09 20:37:50

Not sure how long I will leave it this time after my lo as I have just decided to stop running this week (now 25 weeks) as I have started developing varicose veins, lovely! They kill after a run so will start swimming at the weekend. I was unable to run with my last pregnancy as a very large tumor was detected on my first scan so I started swimming and did this until the day I gave birth. Was unable to then run after as I had a fairly major operation to remove the tumour (luckily it was of a low malignant nature) but started running about 14 months after.
Merel - it will be great fun whatever you come especially if you are running with a friend. The key is not to go with anyone too fast or serious as they drag you round, someone did this too me once I nearly diedand was less than impressed. Personally I don't see the point in taking it too seriously if you know your not there to win but to enjoy yourself.

Merle Wed 12-Aug-09 22:34:28

hawesmead- 25 weeks!! Top effort - you should get a prize for that. I wasn't really into running when I was pregnant although I remember running to a midwife appt at about 36 weeks (and hurting my knee in the process - bendy ligaments and all that). I did swim a lot and was swimming for about an hour during my first labour, although didn't realise at the time how far on I was.

Glad you recovered from op.

Only run these things to enjoy them. Haven't done enough to get hung up about my times. Different with road races though, although I'd never win anything I do expect to improve each time and would be a bit [angry} if I didn't.

Merle Wed 12-Aug-09 22:35:05


Merle Wed 12-Aug-09 22:36:11

angry not really the sentiment but closest to it and I'm not doing any more of these tonight..

branflake81 Thu 13-Aug-09 10:00:30

I do quite a bit of fell running near home (Yorks/Cumbria border).

I don't do much competetive stuff, perhaps a couple of races a year (this year did Coniston, always do Grasmere Sports and a few smaller, more local ones) but do like going off and doing long days in the hills when I get the chance.

Feet in the Clouds is an awesome book - very inspiring! though there is no way I would ever attempt the BG round. That IS for nutters.

hawesmead5 Thu 13-Aug-09 13:24:35

Branflake we might know each other. I have run Grasmere a few times and hubby runs it every year. Which Coniston did you do? BOFRA, Old Man or country fair?? Grasmere is a tough race to do it is so steep, but I love it. I actually dread the coming down rather than the climb and usually brush the spikes off for their yearly run out for that one!

hatwoman Thu 13-Aug-09 16:05:06

hi again. I had a lovely 9 mile run last night. up on White Edge which is just up (and I mean up) the road from our house. I left a bit late though and wasn't home til pretty much dark. the last bit is through some woods which are criss-crossed with loads of paths and not-quite paths so I kind of got lost. not lost as in in danger of not finding my way home and dying of exposure...just lost as in ended up fighting through bracken and bog as I made my way down-hill blush

Most of the run was quite flat - though rough terrain - and a climb to get up there and one to come back down. lovely route that I'll definitely do again.

hatwoman Thu 13-Aug-09 16:13:11

blimey - just read the description of White Edge on that link "dreary" and "unremarkable". bloody idiot. I love moorland. I come over all Cathy of Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre. (Charlotte Bronte visisted Hathersage and much of Jane Eyre was set there. The bit where Jane Eyre gets lost on the moors was, in all probability, about a mile from where those pictures were taken)

Merle Thu 13-Aug-09 21:59:48

White Edge look great. Brilliant to have it as your backyard. 9 miles good going. I seem to have got bogged down in summer hol things and have not done much running this week. Have had a lovely week, though, but it is not going to help me on those fells. A few of us have a half-plan to camp at Burnsall next weekend. Some will do the fell and I'll probably do the 10 mile road race (chap 24 FITC). I ran the 10 mile last year and loved it- unlike off-road you can relax and look at the scenery. Last year I went up there saying that I might do the road and the fell race; that's how naive I was! Needless to say, I stood at the bottom and watched in awe, which is what I will be doing this year.

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