Kinder Downfall Fell Race 2019
Entered the Kinder Downfall fell race along with a friend a fair while ago back at the start of February when entries first opened.
Nearly 3 months later it’s time to run it. Couple of things have changed, his health means he’s not running, and with my recent issues I’ve not run further than 8 miles in the last 4 weeks and that only have 250 ft of climb in it. This is 9.7 miles with 1800 feet of climbing. Oh well, I’ve paid so might as well give it a go!
The drive up to Hayfield is about 90 minutes from Beeston/Nottingham, but with a 11:15 registration cut off and a 11:30 start time it wasn’t going to be an early start which was good.
Full FRA kit was to be carried so I loaded up my old OMM bum bag with all the required bits. Full waterproof coverings, hat, gloves, map (race map courtesy of Pete Bland), compass and some bits of food and water. Tipped the scales at just under 1500g
As it was, I used nothing but some gels and juice on the way round. But nice to know you’ve got everything just in case anything happens.
Arrived about 10:15 so sailed into the car park easily. Much easier and less stress than hunting around for a spot on the road which won’t inconvenience any one else. Registration was quiet and easy at that time. Had a bit of a poke around the Pete Bland store, but the cards stayed in my pockets this time.
About 11:10 there was a general movement up to the start line by the Royal Hotel. Bumped into a few more Beeston AC runners who’d made the trip up. Quite a crowd gathered around, and just before 11:30 we were coraled into the road ready for the start
11:30ish and were off. Busy round the first head pin with quite a few people slowing down as we went upwards (should have been warning 1). but some nipping in between and pavement use meant there wasn’t too much of a hold up
Not too long through and a sharp left hand turn and we were off road and heading uphill slight more steeply. It was steep, but still at Cross Country levels of roughness and generally runnable. And still within walking distance for photographers (Was surprised by seeing a Beeston AC member up there):
Soon things got rougher, while at the same time going downhill. Now, that’s my achilles hill at the moment. I’ve done plenty of hill walking so long uphill don’t phase me too much, but fast descending is something I’m still working on. With a crowd of experience fell runners around I really didn’t want to go arse over tit. It was also this point that I realised than my old RocLites while fine for cross country work weren’t tight enough for rolling around on rocks, I could feel them twisting around on landings which didn’t do much for my confidence.
Soon enough we on the way up again for the long climb up William Clough. This was pretty much single file all the way up apart from a couple of little passing loops. Hopping back and forth over the stream and trying to now get feet too wet just yet. Along here I pretty hit HR max where it stayed for most of the rest of the race.
CP1 came into view, but didn’t mark the top as we still have the climb up another lump on the right to go. I was pretty much ‘speed’ walking at this point. After that things levelled off and we galloped off across the edge of Kinder towards Kinder Downfall. Loose shoes weren’t a great help along here either. There’s a lot of rock hopping so feeling your foot roll as you land doesn’t inspire confidence or speed.
Slight off route moment on the way into CP3 by going a bit too low past Kinder Log. Quickly recovered with a bit of bracken bashing to get back on track. Thankfully I wasn’t the only one who got confused, so not too embarassing
Onto the flags now with a broken descent down to CP3 where I misheard the MRT marshall, thinking he said ‘Bag Check’ rather than what he’d said ‘Band check’. Not sure if I wasn’t a little disappointed at the chance for a legitimate break from running.
From here it was all downhill to the finish. Starting off on broken rocky terrain, just about starting to get the hang of it but being flown past by lots of people who were better at it. Then a long grass stretch with a bit off an off camber, which was faster to run on but with rotating shoes made sure I knew I’d got some pressure points that were thinking of turning into blisters. And then a last drop on road/concrete, here I made up some places.
Cruising alongside the river we soon arrived at the last hairpin back in to the park to the finish line:
Came in in 1:40:38, 119th out of 273 finishers and absolutely shattered
I’d definitely gone out too fast at the beginning. The climb didn’t feel hard until I was already pegged. Just not used to running up something that long. Not being able to get my heart rate back down meant I was slower across the top, and then shown up on the downhill by people with great skills. But all that just wants me to get back out there for some more training.
And I need some tighter shoes for that sort of terrain. Probably a toss up between X-Talons or Walshes. Was too tired by the time we got back to the car to think about going back to the Scout hut to try on some of Pete Bland’s stock! Oh well, potential excuse for a trip up to the Lake District
Next event is the Woodhouse Mayday Challenge next monday. Longer but flatter!