Hillforts and Headaches

Hillforts & Headaches Fell Race  Sunday 1st January 2017. (partially amended results 04/01/17)

This was to be a testing day for all concerned. My job as race organiser is to provide as safe a race that can reasonably be achieved.  There is always a risk of injury due to the nature of the sport which is why runners sign and agree to the conditions on the entry form.

Registration went well, there were one or two late entries but this can be expected. Myself and a fellow marshal had to leave 30mins before race start time to get to our position with stopwatch on top of Beacon Hill. As usual I had race route maps and notices of kit requirements spread about at registration so everyone should have seen these.

Although conditions were good in the centre of Rothbury, I knew things would be different on Beacon Hill.

It was not long before the first runners came into sight and were coming over to Lordenshaws. We were sheltering behind Beacon Cairn in the strong North wind and had to get into position to record the first runners.  However  I noticed one runner without the required kit. We were battling the wind and trying to record times and numbers which was proving difficult in the conditions so I was unable to have a word with him. The wind seemed to pick up even more and meant we were unable to accurately keep check or runner’s times and numbers (as you will see later in the shortened results list).

I then started to notice that several other runners were not carrying the required kit.

We got down off the Hill and back for the presentation where I gave my usual thanks to marshals, helpers and Hotel staff. I then explained to the runners that as well as the responsibilities of race organisers, they as runners; also have responsibilities for themselves to meet the requests of race organisers to carry specified kit.  Yes I know it is a short race, and was a nice morning in the village, but it is winter and if you become injured or  unwell and are reduced to walking, hobbling or worse, then you will rapidly cool down and may need help to get you safely off the hill.

I was unable to get individual numbers of those without kit so asked them to be honest and not come up for a prize if their name was read out. I think most obliged and a prize was offered to those at presentation who did run with the required kit.

If these races are to continue then I ask you all to please adhere to the rules and regulations.

The Fell Runners Association website has lots of information for all concerned with this sport. Please visit it, go to documents then the link to requirements for runners and make this a safer sport.

The first two ladies both broke the current race record, unfortunately the first one did not have the required kit, so Robyn Bennett of NFR is now the new record holder with a time of 27m .05s.

Paul Appleby

Race Organiser.


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