Thursday, 17 November 2016

Roaches Fell Race 2016. 23/214

As I was running over big climb number 4 on this epic race, it suddenly dawned on me... I'd actually done this race more times now than I'd run any other race. This kind of thing doesn't just happen by accident with me. I tend to only to races that I consider to be 'great races'. So this one's now top of the list - lets work out why!
Just leaving the start line, up the first track to the farm
November is a bit patchy when it comes to fell racing - there's never that much about really - and to make it worse - Christmas is just around the corner. Surely it's best just to unwind after a summer of racing and enjoy some quality family time? No chance! Running in winter is just way nicer than running in summer.

Yes you get muddier.
Yes you can get colder.
Yes you can get hypothermic if it rains and you're not wearing enough

but if you get past all those hurdles and you get glorious autumnal weather like we did this year - the feeling of satisfaction at the end is better than any summer race - and who knows, as an added bonus you might be able to relax for a few weeks after this weeks until Christmas with the family!
The Roaches Route. Out n Back from Tittesworth

The Roaches Fell Race Route Profile
This year Chris Jordan, Dan Page and Steve Burt were all heading up too which made a change as there's never normally any familiar faces at this race for me. Glorious weather was set in for the day as Chris drove us over to Staffordshire. It looked set to be a real treat for Chris who'd never been to the roaches let alone raced there. My prep for the race was "modest" at best. A bit of biking, not much running so at least my legs should feel fresh even if not race fit! The features on this race that I really remember go a bit like this...
  • The interminable first climb. Bogs, then several fields, cross the road then round and onto the Roaches proper with so many false summits before the trig you lose count. This was a hard section for me this year not being race fit
  • The descent to the river crossing. Starting on flagstones, cross the road then grass and boggy boulders to the woods which are fast on narrow rooty paths.
  • The river crossing.  Every race is better with a river crossing!
  • The climb from the river out. First steep, then relenting slightly through two fields, cross the road then up the steeper track and out onto some tussocks and along a track to the main road.
  • The main road to Shutlingsloe summit. A lovely section of grassy fields with some rough bits thrown in, slippy bridges before road then a steep path up the ever steepening summit.
As it's an out and back you get all this fun twice! It really has got everything - views, fields, paths, rough bits, steep bits, flagstones, boulders, and ridge running. After the first climb my lungs eventually came back to me and I picked off about 6-8 runners between there and the end - feeling increasingly strong but very nearly running out of water (again, I do this every year!) in the autumnal sun. Highly recommended, not to be missed!
All smiles at the finish - pleased Chris had a good race and loved it as much as I did!
Results here 2h34m52
Strava link here
2015 write up here
2012 write up here
2008 result here (external link to Macc Harriers)

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