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Hodgson Brothers Mountain Relay 2016

Another great result for Westies

Another great result for Westies at the weekend with the club notching up their fourth consecutive top-ten finish in the prestigious Hodgson Brothers Mountain Relay in the Lakeland Fells. James, Gregor, Sam, Gwyn, Manny, Brian, Rob and Bastien finished in 8th place in a time of 4 hours 4 minutes and 9 seconds: full reports to follow. 

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Posted by Brian Bonnyman on Tue 4 Oct 2016 | 2 comments

Category Relays

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  1. Robert Simpson said...

    Leg 4: 11km, 900m
    Main summits: Hart Crag, FairField, St. Sunday Crag

    After having raced the relatively short and fast Leg 1 last year, I was looking forward to running one of the longer and more technical legs this year. The route for Leg 4 starts along a flat track for around 1km before a steep climb up towards Hart Crag. Runners then follow a ridge along to Fairfield and St. Sunday Crag before dropping down an extremely fast and runnable descent towards the finish line in Patterdale.

    The day before the race we ran a detailed recce of the Leg 3 and 4 routes which paid dividends during the race (I’m convinced we saved about 3 mins on our time with some good route choices) but there was nowhere to hide a lack of hill fitness on this leg.

    Bastien, a new member to the club, was paired up with me on Leg 4 and after our short warm-up jog down from the Kirkstone pass, we waited and watched the front runners at the ¾ changeover. This was quite an exciting point in the race since Borrowdale, who have won the race in 19 consecutive years had what must have been no more than a 30s lead over Dark Peak at this point. An amusing moment occurred when the Borrowdale leg 4 runners were shouting to their oncoming teams to ‘get the f***ing dibber of their f***ing neck’. Unfortunately the message was not conveyed resulting in a Borrowdale runner almost being strangled to death by his teammates with a dibber lanyard. As for the racing, I instantly recognised one of the Dark Peak runners as Rhys Findlay-Robinson who was recently crowned the British Fell running champion after the Merrick race and knew the Borrowdale team had their work cut out for them.

    As for our own race, Manny and Brian arrived at the changeover around 20mins or so in 10th place overall and we set off with a fast pace down the track and onto the main climb of our leg up Hart Crag. I think it was the Ambleside 2nd team that we passed as the start of the climb, but we were soon overtaken by Wharfedale who I thought we could hang on to, but their pace was too much for our pairing. Instead, we focussed on overtaking the Bowland runners pair that were within our sights and passed them just before the summit of Fairfield. After a fairly rapid descent off the summit, I could see we were gaining significant ground on the Bowland pair.

    The final part of our leg involved one last climb up to St. Sunday Crag and onto the crazy fast (or in Manny’s words, ‘balls out’) descent to the finish. Knowing Bastien has some nimble feet on the descents, I passed the dibber across and we pushed each other down the initially grassy slopes of St. Sunday Crag that eventually lead into a rockier path. I enjoyed this descent immensely and it was only when we reached the final staircase section that we had to be a bit more careful. I found that simply throwing myself through the bracken at the side of the staircase worked well. We then reached the final 500m that takes runners down a tarmaced road and into the event field and I soon realised that Bastien has got some serious speed in his legs. We were doing around 2.30/km pace finishing off with a sprint against each other to the line!

    After handshakes all round and some time to rehydrate, the team was pretty pleased with its 8th position in the race, especially considering the calibre of runners who take part. I also think the Hodgson brother’s relay race has one of the best atmospheres I’ve experienced at a race and is located in one of the premier destinations for fell/hill running in the country. A great event, with great people.


    I also need to mention some other moments that caught my attention during the weekend. First up is Sam getting woken up in a slight panic by the sound of Manny taping his legs after arriving back from the pub. Sam thought he’d slept in and missed crucial race preparations.

    Next up is Gwyn finishing what can only be described as a gargantuan portion of Cumberland sausage, running 3 miles up the road to visit his girlfriend and then running 3 miles back to get back to the pub before last orders. Incredible effort.

    Monday 10th October 2016 1.20pm

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