It’s been a while since I’ve done a blog but I have been doing some interesting fell races, all gearing up to the Haworth Hobble 31.5 mile race which served as the qualifying race for the GB team for this years Trail World Championships in Tuscany.
I had a great (and very wet) start to the year coming 2nd in the Marsden to Edale Trigger race in January. This is a 24 mile race involving what would normally be several stream crossings. These were raging torrents on race day, a real team effort was required to cross them, linking with those around you.
Conditions were much better for the Tigger Tor 10 mile fell race, where I was chased hard by Hazel Tant but managed to hold her off for the win.
I had another good run at the Mickledon Straddle, 14 miles to come 2nd to Caitlin Rice.
The final tune up race last weekend was a relatively short race for me, the 6 mile Hope Winter Fell Race, which lived up to it’s name with snow showers on Win Hill, again coming 2nd to Caitlin, there’s a bit of a theme developing here!
So to the Haworth Hobble, the aim here was to come top 3 to be considered for selection for the GB team for the Trail World Championships in June. At just over 31 miles it is the shorter end of the ultra scale, and although it involved 5200ft of ascent this was going to be a quick race. Looking at the start list there were several very quick women entered from mountain running, road marathons and road ultras as well as the trail ultra contingency. With this in mind, I should have learned by now not to get carried away at the start, but I did! I stuck with Julie Briscoe until around 6 miles in, when I realised the pace was far too quick for me so I dropped back. I was still sitting in 2nd though and navigation was going ok. That was until around Todmorden when a Tesco delivery van blocked one narrow path so I missed it! I doubled back to find myself running with Sarah Ridegway and Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn. Sarah dropped back and it was only afterwards we found out she dropped from the race, but Katie and myself continued to work hard, pushing each other as being in 2nd and 3rd place we were sure there would be other women not too far behind. It was great to have Katie alongside me as I’m sure I would have eased off the pace had she not been there. We went through marathon distance in 3hrs 52mins, not bad considering how wet the ground was and the ascent. The last 5-6 miles were tough though and I was so relieved to come into Haworth, just a few seconds ahead of Katie, in 2nd in 4hrs 38 mins. Julie ran a really strong race to win in 4hrs 31mins. I’ve done my bit now, hopefully, that’s good enough for selection for Tuscany.