The Fellsman 2015 (updated again)

Well the Fellsman weather god struck again on Saturday.  After a week with the weather forecast changing radically about twice a day, we really didn’t know how it would turn out.  We were pretty sure it was going to turn cold though: the one thing all the forecasts agreed on was that the hot sunny weather would finish before we started the race.  479 had paid to run, but 105 didn’t turn up, many of them probably stayed in bed after checking the Met Office.  So less than 80% turned up at the start.  279 brave souls made it to the end, and 92 of us didn’t.

We headed off up Ingleborough, and in no time we were in the clag.  People went astray even on the way up Ingleborough – not me, though that was more by luck than judgment.  At least it wasn’t too cold.  By the time I got to Dent I felt fine, but it was getting colder.  On the way up Blea Moor I realised I was actually pretty wet – my Goretex jacket was letting water through.  On the top the sleet hit, and I got cold so quickly that be the time I got down to the Stonehouse Farm checkpoint I had to pack it in.  I was soaked to the skin, and even with all my kit on I couldn’t warm up enough to set off up Great Knoutberry safely.  Nick Ham had to retire at Dent for much the same reason, and Dick Scroop retired at Cray.  So it was up to Karen to save the tattered reputation of the Runfurther committee, which of course she did.

Plenty of runners clearly had more moral fibre than Nick and I (or possibly it was more fibre pile) and stuck to the task.  From 3 o’clock the weather started to improve.  Still cold, but dry, with clearing skies and even some sun later on, before it got really cold again as darkness set in.  First home was Adam Perry in a PB of 10:23 (no great surprise there), with Jez Bragg second in 10:44 and Konrad Rawlick third in 10:57.  Fourth home was Jasmin Paris, in a remarkable new Ladies Record of 11:09, which was surely the top performance of the day.

The final results are now out, and I’ve updated the leaderboard.  A few times were reduced slightly from the provisional results to account for waiting time, and I’ve added Mick Cottam’s Fellsman result & Andy Armstrong’s Hobble result to the leaderboard, which were both missing first time I posted it.  Karen Nash has written up her blog, and you can find her account here.  Nigel Aston has sent me his write-up, and that’s here.  Nick Ham has also written something on his blog here.  There’s a very good article, mainly about the first 4 runners, in the Grough here, which includes good photos of Karen Nash and Mick Cottam as well.  Guy Mawson has written up his race on his blog here.  James Pawson’s blog is here.  Henry Morris’s blog is here.  Stolly’s (Brian Stallwood’s) blog is here.  Sport Sunday took photos, and you can find them here and here.  Nick Ham’s photos are up on Flickr here.  And here‘s the Strava Flyby routes.  If anyone’s got any other write-ups or photos, just let me know and I’ll add a link or post them on here.

The Runfurther Championship is hotting up already, which is not surprising given that this year’s first three races were all in the Runfurther heartland.  26 runners have already run three counters each.  Of these, Stewart Bellamy has a clear lead over Alan McKeown and Chris Davies in the men’s section, with Barney Nikolich and Michael Sellors behind them, running as a pair in each race so far.  Carol Morgan and Karen Nash are neck and neck in the women’s side, with Carol currently two points ahead.  Chris Davies is top MV50 and MV60 by miles.  Similarly Karen Nash is way ahead as top FV50 and I can already predict Janet Hill is likely to win the FV60 category this year, even though we’ve still got 9 races to go!

If we look at the runners who’ve only run two races, last year’s men’s winner Ian Symington and Jez Bragg are both well-placed to overtake Stewart, and I certainly wouldn’t rule out Kevin Hoult, who beat all three of them at the Hobble.  None of the women who’ve run only two races are likely to catch Carol or Karen, on current form.

It was my first Fellsman, and I’ll be back to get round the whole thing, next year I hope.  The organisation of this event is a huge enterprise, in another league to the ultra I organise myself, and I take my hat off to Jon and the team who put it together so well.  Many thanks to all of them!

Uncollected prizes from the Runfurther members’ draw at the Fellsman are waiting for:

  • Chris Cash
  • Neil Duerden
  • Martin Huddleston

Please contact us to arrange collection at your next Runfurther race!