Skiddaw Fell Race

You have to have tired days sometimes and today was definitely one of those days, I just couldn’t get going.

Its surprising how many fell runners don’t run this race that often, there were quite a few ‘names’ from the fell running world who were present and yet racing Skiddaw for the first time, considering its obvious stately objective and history. Perhaps it’s just the type of racing, which these days is a bruising track both up and especially down, with little proper off-road running. Perhaps it just feels like hard work, given its exceptionally runnable terrain, its like a trail run on steroids. All those things which make it the perfect training run and then possibly one of the most bruising medium races.

Closely behind Mike Robinson. Photo courtesy of Stu Stoddart -

I felt tired warming up, was not feeling light footed on the steady run out of Fitz Park and by the time we reached the open fellside above Latrigg I had just ran out of any oomph. But I kept going, telling myself it was much needed training. I tried to remain positive as I felt my body submit to passing traffic, I’d got little spirit or power either for a fight or to try and put the hammer down,

By the time I skirted round the edge of Little Man, the visibility and temperature had fallen, the one thing on the rise, being the windspeed which was now seeking to strip any warmth from my exposed arms and snap my body in half as I angled myself against the ferocious cross wind. My feet scarcely managed to pick themselves over the dew-laden scree as I negotiated the various troughs and small inclines that led to the summit of Skiddaw.

Turning full circle at the summit trig point I felt little in the way of relief or return of fighting spirit. I felt my pace open a little but it was still hard work, at least I was able to pass a couple of people as gravity did its best. The track in descent is bruising, there is temporary respite in the grassy slopes below Jenkins Hill but apart from that it is like running on roads, the pounding becomes almost unbearable and it’s like that all the way home! By the time I dropped down through the plantations above Keswick I felt destroyed, my legs were tired and my feet killing me. Elation at the finish line was reserved solely for the joy of stopping.

Distance:  14.5 km / 9 miles Ascent:  823m / 2700ft  Time: 1hr 24 Position: 21st


About Richard Talbot

An accomplished fell-runner as well as being a keen climber and mountaineer. Since 2005 he has worked for the UK based manufacturer Mountain Equipment and is currently Director of Product. He has worked in the outdoor industry for over 15 years.
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