I ran the Hebden Bridge Fell Race last night. My first time.
It’s a nice evening race, about 10 kilometres and 1,150 feet of climbing.
I’d done some pretty hard running the previous couple of days, so my legs were tight, I was tired, and I wasn’t sure whether I’d just run out of energy half way round. It’s weird how, as soon as you get going, you forget all these worries.
It was a small field, just 70 people, about a third from our local club, Calder Valley. The race heads out of the park and starts climbing through the woods on a rocky path almost immediately. After getting steeper and steeper it levels off and drops through a field. You then hit a near-vertical grassy bank that you can only climb and clamber up, for a few minutes.
After that you’re on the moor, following a trod and then a track to the London Road bridleway, which you drop down slightly before heading up the Pennine Way route to the summit of Stoodley Pike.
It feels like an intense climb as it’s all pretty fast and runnable, and I was jostling with a few runners all the way up.
Once you’re at the Pike it’s down all the way – you head across the rocky-ish descent from Stoodley, along Dicks Lane (which isn’t actually a lane at all) and then diagonal across the moor. Although it was flagged there were a few route choices here, some taking a trod, other heading across the bogs. It didn’t seem to make much difference – it’s about a kilometre over this bit of moor and it’s just a question of running fast.
You’re getting towards the end now. Next it’s down what is known locally as the mental descent – a few minutes of furious running down a steep, thin track through heather and woods, worn by bike tyres and punctuated by roots.
After a short climb on a rough road it’s back down through some rocky woods, out of the woods and a little dash to the finish.
Great fun. Just the right distance for an evening race. Very runnable. And followed by some quality cakes.
I didn’t feel my best but my result was fine –13th out of 70, in 53.53.
Approx 10 kilometres
Approx 1,150 feet of ascent
Race HQ: Calder Holmes Park (next to train station), Hebden Bridge