|Angle Tarn - We had weather more like this than the mist that descended for the rest of the legs :-)|
Yesterday was the 2011 Ian Hodgson Mountain Relays and Pennine Fell Runners had a title to defend! Last year we had secured a tightly faught victory in the mixed catagory and this year provided just as much of an anxious wait at the finish line, with some hot competition from Bingley and Borrowdale.
For the last few years the relays have been run in an anticlockwise direction, starting and ending from Sykeside Campsite. With bad weather in the last few weeks there had been some last minute alterations, the relay now starting/ending in Patterdale and being run in a clockwise direction. This meant I was now running the 4.5mile first leg (formally 3rd leg) with Edie Hemstock. The pace up the hill felt easy, however we were in the mix with most of the mixed and ladies teams. A couple of good lines across the top and then came the manic (fun) descent down to the Hartsop Valley. Here we met a track and Edie showed me how to run on something less rough than tussocks! Its always interesting to see the different strengths in relay partnerships, after spurring Edie on up the hill and down to the valley, she then pushed me all the way into the finish!
We thought we were in 2nd place in the mixed cat at this point, however there was one team we'd overlooked, having not seen them since the word GO!The Bingley mixed team with Sharon Taylor and Ali Raw had taken 3.5mins out of us!
Pennine had mixed fortunes on the next leg with our Men's team going for a small wander (by no means the only ones!)...and this left Muir and Paul ahead of them, storming into Kirkstone pass to hand over to Steph and Claire in 1st Place. Claire had a similar experience to the one I did last year, with Steph's enthusiasm exploding into a crazy speed up Red Screes and Claire yelling directions! This proved to work just as well as last year, with the pair running what looks like the fastest womens time for that leg and retaining 1st place!
Adam and Daz set off on the 4th and final leg knowing Bingley would be hot on their heals with Ian Holmes and Andy Peace setting off around 30-60s down! When the guys entered the finishing field we were all waiting to see which coloured vest would appear first. It was blue and white striped....Bingley had the lead however Pennine were right behind them, finishing 7s behind in 2nd place. Borrowdale were the next team in, taking 3rd and completing the 12th,13th and 14th overall places for the first 3 mixed teams! A great race and a great result, it was a fantastic day! Can't wait for the FRA relays now, but first will be a bit more Lakes running with Langdale next weekend!