Top of the shop this weekend goes to the UKA British Fell and Hill Relay Championship hosted by Mercia Fell Runners. Proceedings will no doubt be very poignant after last weekend’s extremely sad news from the Ian Hodgson Mountain Relay in the Lakes…
Church Stretton is the home for the relays in 2012 and Sunday sees over 170 teams across the Open, V40, V50 and women’s categories, with a full listing here. Favourite tags in the men’s race should probably go to Borrowdale, after yet another win last week at the Ian Hodgson.
However, with defending champions Dark Peak with a strong team, Calder Valley in great form after last week’s runner-up spot, ‘home team’ Mercia a strong proposition if they can get their best team out, Ambleside, Bingley, Wharfedale and Pudsey and Bramley all out in force too, racing should be tight.
Women’s IHMR winners Dark Peak are back, along with last week’s second placers Ambleside, 2011 UKA silver medalists HBT, a rather strong Bingley team in prospect, plus the ever-dazzling Wharfedale ladies – we should therefore expect some fierce female racing too.
One wonderful gesture comes in the form of the late Darren Holloway’s club Pennine Fell Runners. Word is that they will be arriving en-masse, with no fewer than 7 teams, after the race organisers allowed them to field a further 3. A wonderful gesture we think. Racing gets under at 10am.
In other racing Sunday also sees the final round of the Scottish Long Classics and the Pentland Skyline, though the titles are decided with Finlay Wild and Jasmin Paris taking the men’s and women’s crown.
The race itself is a veritable classic, with records dating back 18 years for the men (Andy Kitchen, 1994) and over 10 years for the women, which is held by Angela Mudge.
Tomorrow sees one of the UK’s great long races in the Lake District. The Langdale Horseshoe covers 13 miles and takes in almost 5000ft of climb, including the tricky Bad Step, and has some super-historical records in the form of Andy Styan’s 1977 record of 1:55:03 and Helen Diamantides’ 1992 time of 2:23:25 as the ladies mark.
Others races to consider are the Manx Fell Runners’ event the Cringle Hill race on the Isle of Man, which also signals the start of their Winter League. Saltergate – Levisham goes ahead on the North Yorkshire Moors, with the Mendip Muddle down in the sunny South West, and finally the Ceiriog Canter near Llangollen in north Wales.
Take care out there, and enjoy!