Running race (Arncliffe Gala Fell Race) 10:54  1.9 mi (5:44 / mi) +140m 4:40 / mi
Wharfedale is usually a pretty successful hunting ground so was keen to have a go. This was a new race for me and looking in the calendar it was short but didn't look as steep as I'd like.
Got entered and went to have a look at the course which turned out to be a bit like the Kilnsey Crag race. There was a good 4-500m of flat fast track between some dry stone walls then it began to tilt up into a steep field alongside a broken wall. At the top of the first field you passed though a gate and then did a triangle with a steep first side to a flagged cairn, then along an undulating ridge run with patches of limestone to the second cairn, before a grassy shallow diagonal back to the gate where you went back the way you came up.
It was a championship counter with a few guys I didn't recognise but who looked quite fast so was looking forward to a competitive race. Did feel a bit weak during my warm up but thought I'd be okay on a short race (the record was 10.15). After having a fairly decent run at Ambleside the other week and seeing how some of the faster guys ran I decided my strategy would be to dig in and tail either Ted or Nixon to the summit, however hard it was, and just see what happened on the way down.
The start was quite narrow and I wasn't on the front row so got boxed in a bit away from the leaders where Todd was pushing it. It was really hard to overtake with the walls close on either side so me and Nixon who was also fannying around had to make a bit of an effort to get past whenever it widened.
When we got into the field though everyone slowed and there was bit more room. Ian Holmes went to the right of the wall but I followed Ted and Ian to the left. I wasn't finding it too hard and was thinking that my cycling must have been paying off seeing as I haven't been doing that much running. It turned out that following Ted was a pretty good tactic as after the gate he was in first and I was in second.
We turned at the top with me right on his heels. On the flat part he didn't up the pace too much and I was comfortable behind him and passed him as we approached the second cairn. As we turned I could see the two Ians were not too far behind but was happy to run my own race on the descent.
The first part wasn't too technical and from the cheering as we went through the gate it sounded like Ian had overtaken Ted. On the steep part I maybe lost a few meters in the middle but not that much and kept Ian behind me as we hit the flat. This was where I was expecting everyone to come past but wasn't feeling too bad (probably 'cos it was so short) and was keen to finish the job properly.
I don't think I pushed absolutely as hard as I could have as I wanted to save something in case of a sprint finish but he didn't seem to be gaining any more on me. Couldn't relax though until the finish line and ended with Ian about 5-10m behind me and Ted the same behind him. 1st.
Very very pleased to have won a race from some big fellrunning "superstars" as the commentator called them, lol. Was not what I had been expecting at all when I started. Tactics worked perfectly and was almost bit annoyed I hadn't got to the turn behind Ted/Holmes so I could see how our descending compared! Think maybe I was lucky I didn't get pushed too hard on the flat finish with my lack of intervals. Roll on the bank holiday weekend!
*Went over on my ankle on the descent somewhere and it is now pretty screwed - no running for while - not sure whether I would have sacrificed a win for an un-injured ankle - probably would have.