> 2008 race reports
17/05/08 Old County Tops - from John Duff

NFR was well represented at the Old County Tops on Saturday.  Phil James & Dave Hicklenton, making their debuts at this 37 miler, had a great run finishing in 9 hours and 2 minutes.  Peter Hayle & I were slightly further behind in 9 hours 38 minutes.  Kevin Bray also ran with Bob Sewell (Morpeth) and finished just behind us.

The weather was perfect for running: cool, overcast, with clouds just clipping the summits.  The race starts and finishes at Great Langdale.  Helvellyn is the first OCT and we reached it in about 2 hours.  After a fast descent to Wythburn, there was a long plod around High Raise to Angle Tarn and up to Scafell Pike (OCT 2).  Here Mandy Goth (Todmorden) was marshalling and was convinced that we would not finish as Peter looked rather grim.  But the restorative powers of flapjack, water, and a high level 2 minute breather at the south summit got us going again, and we made good progress to the vital checkpoint at Cockley Beck.

The climb up Grey Friar was as tough as ever.  But once we reached the col at Fairfield we were running again, and were soon at Coniston Old Man for OCT 3.  A good line around Brim Fell saw us on our way for the home run, and Peter urged us into a sprint finish to hold off a Dark Peak team right at the end.   All that remained was to collect our 20th Anniversary OCT top, tuck into the soup and sandwiches on offer, and bask in the reflected glory.

Afterwards a pint in the New Dungeon Ghyll, followed by several more in Bowness rounded off a cracking day in the hills.  As ever, our thanks are due to Achille Ratti for organising this excellent event.

John Duff

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