Despite what we’re all thinking about 2016 as a whole, fellrunning at the Poly has at least seen a resurgence with more and more people having a go at the darker side of the sport (darker only in the sense of what colour your trainers end up being afterwards). So it was somehow fitting that the final fixture of the year saw another record turnout from the Poly at a fellrace, with 17 runners (including two juniors of the Robson variety) taking part in the Guisborough Woods fell race.
It’s actually not a fell race in the truest sense, other than it appears in the fellrunning calendar and is organised by fellrunners. It doesn’t really impinge on any fells and, uniquely amongst the hundreds of fell running fixtures in the UK, it is made up of laps – 3 laps of steep and muddy ups and downs amongst some scenic woodland. So it’s a perfect introduction to muddy, steep and tough off-road running that is somewhere between XC and fellrunning; XC on steroids perhaps, or maybe fellrunning lite? Whatever it is, it’s still hard work.
I had said to a few that had enquired that it was impossible to get lost on this race, as it is marshalled and marked with tape at the key junctions. Enter messers Ellis (Scott) and Robson (Will) who in a ‘serves you right for being so bloody fast’ moment, went the wrong way on the first lap, only to reappear and for Will to take 3rd and Scott to take 4th, way ahead of the rest of us.
There were returning fellrunners after some time off (messers Waite and Small) and two debutants – Suzanne Lewis-Dale and Paul Richardson who both tamed the course, didn’t get lost and put in some fine runs. Hopefully we’ll see more of them on the fells.
Gary Robson claimed second V45 in a strong field to cap a good year and we think we may have scooped the team prize (tbc!). Graham Lewis Dale had a great run and has really come on of late, mixing it with the likes of Jon Heaney at the sharper end of the field. Also mixing up there was debutant Paul Richardson, proving that class is class in all forms of athletic endeavour, debutant on the fells or not.
Angela Green led the charge for our ladies (with Katherine Davies, who is one of our ladies of course, turning out for NFR today and having a strong run) with Terry Brown trashing his road shoes whilst keeping her company.
Meanwhile Richard Hanley ran strong and was very fetching in pink attire. George Adamson bought up the rear for the Poly, completing our substantial team on the day.
202 runners started and 196 finished, with our founder and fellrunning Jedi David Johnson one of the 6 retiring, in his case with dodgy ankle syndrome – experience is knowing when to bin it…
We’ll report upon the results when we have them, but it’s fair to say that we were out in force and it was just brilliant to see so many of our vests mixing it on that start line and in the front, middle and back of that race.