Back with our series of ‘How to…’ articles, we have a quick guide to the Fellsman fell race from Annie. Here’s what the organisers have to say;
“The Fellsman is a 62 mile high level traverse of the Yorkshire Dales incorporating 11,000 feet of climbing. The majority of the route takes place over rough moorland rather than paths and tracks and requires navigation between checkpoints. The route starts at Ingleton and takes in Ingleborough, Whernside, Gragareth, Blea Moor, Great Knoutberry, Dodd Fell, Fleet Moss, Middle Tongue, Buckden Pike and Great Whernside, ending at Threshfield near Grassington. The record for completing the event is 10 hours and 6 minutes which was set in 2011 by Jez Bragg. The women’s record was also broken in 2011 by Nicki Spinks with a time of 11 hours and 51 minutes.”
Who are you?
Im Annie Lloyd-Evans, just finished my 3rd year of psychology at the University of St Andrews. Originally from Cape Town, my family now live in Scotland. I love unicycles and carrying my bike up Munroes.
What was your challenge?
My housemate came home from Christmas and told me about this amazing event his granddad had bet him 100 he could not complete. He wanted me to go with him, to share the experience, so trustingly I agreed. The event turned out to be The Fellsman, a 60 mile (or more if you suck at navigating) fell race in the Yorkshire dales.
How fit and/or experienced do I need to be?
Where fitness is concerned I think mental strength is far more important. Sheer determination and a burning desire to keep going can make your body do more than you can ever imagine. I suffer from something similar to chronic fatigue which prevented me from doing any sport in the two months prior to the race.
What training methods would you recommend?
My housemate did the occasional run but mostly trained by endurance partying. Although I cant pretend we finished in the best times (24 hours 40min) or in the best physical condition, we did it! It was a bit embarrassing getting passed by the old, slightly smug walkers with their poles in the last few miles though. One thing I would say is that we are both mountaineers and have experience on the hill and navigating, I feel that is important for this event.
What were the highs and lows for you?
The race started off in beautiful sunshine and I was so happy to be running again, the first 25 miles flew by with a huge grin chatting away with other competitors. I caught up with my housemate at a feeding station where he was suffering from his initial speedy pace. We stuck together and got put in a team of 5 for the darkness, and the crossing of fleet moss, the huge boggy mess of doom. With us were two amazing army guys and an older serious runner type with a GPS. Said runner type charged off into the darkness and we all fought to keep him in sight. After several hours of falling waist deep in goopy muck, it turned out serious runner couldnt use his GPS and we had been going in circles. In the bog. Two very angry army guys whip out their maps and compass and got us safely to the next checkpoint. Serious runner dropped out of the race there claiming hyperthermia. We decided it was shame.
Dawn on the Fells, I think I will remember that forever. So beautiful, so cold, only 10 miles left. I cried the rest of the way, I still dont know why. It made the army men uncomfortable which amused me loads. By this time I was having to use my arms to lift my thighs to go uphill (It was another two days before I could even get into bed without having to lift my legs in) and descending was horrific. The views were incredible though. We somehow stumbled the final mile on the road to the finish, the final 10 miles had taken us 5 hours.
All in how much will it cost me, and do you have any logistical advice?
I cannot recommend this event enough, within two days, once we could hobble, we had both decided we had to do it again. It only costs 30, with many manned feeding stations along the way. With sausage rolls, pasta, tea, rice pudding and as many custard creams as you can stuff your face with, its probably possible to eat your entry fee. Oh, they also have a body bus for the unfortunate 25% who dont make it, somewhere to sleep the night before, and showers and food on completion.
Will you be doing it again?!
Although I had entered this year, it turns out i have an exam on the same day. However I WILL be doing it again. It has also allowed my to get enough points for the CCC, an ultra run around Mont Blanc in August, which hopefully I will be properly fit for. Bring on the Alps!
The Fellsman takes place in Yorkshire, a hot-bed of fell running! Click here to see our muchbetter accommodations and holidays in Yorkshire.