Fellsman 2022 and leaderboard updates

The leaderboard is updated with the outcome of the Fellsman here

Nick’s photos are here:The Fellsman. 30/04-01/05/2022. | Flickr

My write up is here, Karen’s is below and linked here:

I really really needed this race to go well enough that I finished. It sounds pathetic but my confidence was rock bottom and I was quite tearful at the thought that my back might mess up again and lead to another DNF. I had been out for some local long runs but as these were 5 hours max and my back was very sore afterwards it was not at all clear how I would get on. People being kind and supportive was lovely but in some ways made it worse. I did not feel awesome, inspiring etc or that 170 miles was great.

I couldn’t sort my head out but I could try to put a plan together to maximise my chances. I opted for my ancient trusty OMM sack. It is getting a bit like Trigger’s Broom with all the repairs and adaptations but I do love it. I also made sure I took poles in the hope that this would aid my posture in the early stages and give me something to lean on towards the end. I packed food for a long hike, even though a shortage of food is not a problem on this event. I also packed kit to be warm knowing how cold I get. This meant I felt a bit daft sat in Ingleton in long tights and with so much in my pack as many were moaning about how warm and sunny it was! It paid off though… more of that later.

As the event was in the Runfurther series there were flags, banners and display boards to put up and also prizes to sort out. Luckily Nick was volunteering and so was there to help and as Bob was volunteering we got to park at the school. There was no sleeping in the sports hall and people were being shuttled from the quarry car park. With jobs done there was time to chat with friends and once the registration and kit check were done it was time to cook. A last minute faff and taping of feet saw me off early to bed. The feet had not really been my biggest issue on the NT but I wanted to protect them and make sure they would not fail me. I didn’t sleep well but I hadn’t really thought I would.

The horse-shoe route means buses to the start. Early buses. Up at 5.30 and bus at 6.30. This left me far too much time to loiter in the village hall and get more and more wound up about how things might go. I am sure Albert, Mark, Andy and Sarah thought I was being ridiculous but I couldn’t help it. Several loo visits and a cup of tea soaked up some time. It was starting to look warm and sunny so once on the field I shed my cag and was glad I did. The start is always fairly comical with runners leaving the field in all directions. Few now go north and left, lots go N and right but the fastest know you go directly up the very steep bank and through the tennis courts. The minutes or seconds saved really don’t matter as th event will take most of us well over 12 hours.

It’s a long way but a nice route on the whole


I had promised myself to start slowly and concentrate on my posture. My main aim was to finish but at the back of my mind I did want a ‘respectable’ time and even hoped I might get close to my previous slowest of 16hrs 39; after all the ground was going to be dry and fast. (Hmm) You can’t help yourself in a race and having said a cheery hello to my neighbours clipping tallies on Inglebrough it was off to the Hill Inn and Whernside.

I Love SportSunday- happy in the sunshine


A wave to my favourite photographer from SportSunday and I was pushing the pace up the climb. At Kingsdale and Dent I was still 3rd lady – Oops. By now I had the poles out in another attempt to keep me more upright. Kendra then passed me and there were others not far behind who caught me and passed me on Blea Moor. By Stonehouse I think I was 7th female and I stayed to eat a reasonable amount. I was slow up Artengill Beck and towards Great Knoutberry was suddenly cold enough to stop and put my cag on. ( a promise to myself that I would try to keep my back warm). The out and back here lets you see how others are doing and although I wasn’t flying I felt I was doing OK. From there it is pretty much downhill to Redshaw and I got a good line unlike two guys ahead who climbed unnecessarily. Redshaw is where I volunteered a few years ago and today Carmine was there. He is always super positive and encouraging which is lovely. He waited on me as I ate sausages and drank tea. I also put on my merino layer- it was getting chilly. On On to Dodd Fell via Snaizeholme and the ground was getting more boggy until the nice grass bridleway. Ros and Neil were there cheering us on and I can only hope I wasn’t too negative as by now my back was very sore. I knew the way off Dodd Fell and found the gap in the wall with no issues- the same two guys spotted me, turned round and came back to it.

Tim leading our gang to Fleet Moss- cheered on by Ros and Neil

I was to spend some time with Peter and Andrew as well as Tim.

I was already chilly

At Fleet Moss I knew I was getting colder and so put on my primaloft, hat, gloves and over trousers. I knew we would be leaving to go downhill on the road but I was cold and it had started to rain. There would be no real shelter until the buildings at Oughtershaw and no tent CP until Cray. I was on my own for a while but that was fine. I caught (I think) Stuart who was bemoaning having set off too fast and now suffering. I had been asked to turn on any beacons from Yockenthwaite onwards and duly did so as we reached the ‘new’ self clip and began the climb to Middle Tongue.

The new self clip on Sat am when it was still sunny

The others guys all caught me up here and our little group reformed. I was pretty confident of the best line to Hells Gap and located to kink in the wall, then the big gate and the trod by the wall perfectly. Mark who I had run with at Lady Anne’s Way caught me up here. He had talked of pulling out at Dent but was clearly feeling better now it was cooler. The guys were all faster then me on the stone track down to Cray but were still eating when I arrived only a minute or so later. There was more food and drink at the Cray CP but I was now predictably struggling to eat and my back was getting worse. As we had trackers there would be no official grouping this year so although we set off pretty much as a group of 5 or 6 we did not have to stick together. The climb up Buckden Pike was slow in the dark but we soon found Joe F snuggled in his tent by the trig point. From here the others shot off and I fell behind. I was reluctant to race hard in the dark as I know the edges of some of the flag stones are a big trip hazard and the visibility was deteriorating badly. By the war memorial I had lost all their head torches. Somehow I messed up here in the dark and got confused. I put it right but had lost time using OS on my phone which was a struggle with gloves, poles etc.

Ironically the other women, except Fiona P, were not that far ahead. The two lads had gone wrong again and I caught them before Top Mere; Mark had already left though having taken the safe bridleway path that I missed. The rest of us stuck together to Park Rash.

The gloom

I was anxious that I would be very slow up Great Whernside but the four of us pretty much stuck together and shared the nav in what has to be some of the worst vis I have ever experienced. Crazy but we could not see walls we should be using as hand rails and actually had to go and touch them to check they really were there. We lost faith a couple of time on the way to the CP and faffed more than we should have. Once clipped at the tiny tent nestled in the rocks we made our way to the fence- what a lovely handrail. Sadly you do need to leave it. we got this wrong and I am cross with myself that I let myself be led by others! The poles were now good for support but a liability for nav. I had resorted to my waterproof over mitts and struggled to get my phone out and use it. we should have stuck with the fence to the next corner. As it was we hacked across some desperate terrain, fell in very wet bogs (who said the ground would be dry) and startled a flock of geese who then flew into us. Things improved when we reached the path and although we didn’t know it at the time others including Mark were having an even worse time. There are some very funny traces on the Open Tracking website!

Not my trace- anon. but funny in retrospect I am sure

As we ran towards the big track at Kelber Andrew and Peter shot off- we tried to chase and shout but as we started descending I knew it was wrong and by the gate we gave up the chase. We (Tim and I) turned around and headed back up to the crest to search for the little trod. We spotted the cairn but no beacons until we were heading in the right direction, perhaps a beacon at the junction would have helped. It was now easier nav towards Yarnbury. I told Tim not to wait as he seemed to have more energy than me and I was soon joined by both Mark with tales of woe and then Andrew E. We tried to jog as we were now on tarmac but I was struggling. Crossing the river we almost caught Kendra and 5 of us were given the same finish time with Tim just a few minutes ahead. Andrew and Peter appeared shortly afterwards having hacked their way back onto the route.

Food, brew and bed. We almost over slept the next morning as Bob had been on duty until I finished and was ready to move to the van. Thank good ness for the car alarm that went off at 9.05am!! Not often I am pleased to be awoken by a vehicle alarm.

So, importantly for me I finished. It wasn’t fast and in fact was a PW by about an hour. I guess that isn’t so bad given how sore my back was and how daft my errors were both coming off Buckden Pike and then again off Great Whernside and at Kelber gate. Many people had slower times as the awful vis slowed them down even if they didn’t all make nav errors and even the winning men pushing each other to joint first were a long way off the record pace. A great run by Fiona Pascall will shred our female Runfurther points though. Today my legs feel fine, my feet are pretty much OK, we have climbed indoors for over 4 hours and I plan to orienteer tonight. My back is no worse and perhaps slightly better than it was before the race. Next up is The Spire ultra in a fortnight. Feeling a bit more positive.