> 2011 race reports
02/07/11 Chevy Chase - from Gary Jones

I always felt with due respect that the 55th Chevy Chase would be between the Welsh duo Roberts and Ridgway and NFRs Charlie Stead, Phil Sanderson and myself and so it proved. I was delighted to receive a late entry off Neil Gammack so I did the Dockray Great Dodds race in the Lakes on the Wednesday night beforehand to warm up. Unfortunately I picked up a left calf tear/strain which meant my Chevy would be a case of high dosage of Diclofenic and hope for the best. At the start as is usually the case a confident looking Phil Sanderson took it on with me following him. He gradually increased the lead to around 1 minute by CP1. Heading up towards Cheviot Knee passing the walkers I was caught and passed by Charlie Stead who produced a great climb up Cheviot but although I was breathing hard I hung on in there keeping within 10 seconds of him at CP2 but ahead Phil being a top climber looked good. I managed a very good descent off Cheviot and picked up a good trod up towards the knee of Hedgehope getting a healthy lead back in 2nd on Charlie but looking up I strangely couldn't see Phil,

Reaching the summit of Hedgehope the marshals were really good with encouragement which spurred me on to really enjoy the descent and run towards the first set of crags. It was only on the run towards Langlee Crags (Cp4) I retrieved my shoe from a bog that I looked back and 150m behind was Phil "What on earths gannin on here" I thought (checking the splits I had actually reached Hedgehope summit first!!). Game on as Charlie was another 100m further behind.

Once on the runnable track my legs weren't exactly sprightly but I had a thought that if I run within myself a little, hopefully my pursuers would be knackered catching me. On a corner section I glanced around and could see Phil followed closely by Charlie then the 2 Eryri Lads (great race coming up here!!). I reached Brands Corner and ran quite well down to Carey Burn where I received further great support of a lady who knew my name but I didn't look who it was (Sorry Love if your reading this but cheers!!). The run along the narrow burn path I was caught and passed by Roberts and Ridgway but I stuck on the back of them thinking to myself its all on the last climb to Hell's Path. Reaching the checkpoint at the bottom it was 4 seconds between the 3 of us and a much appreciated "Go on Gary" from Bernard made me determined. However what happened next was my legs weren't willing and the 2 of them just destroyed me on the climb. Once at the top after laughing at the funny signposts I set off in pursuit but they were running well.

I finished 3rd in 2.52.32 to Matthew's 2.49.54 and Iain's 2.49.55. I was quite happy to run a quick time but I really wanted to defend Northumbrian soil and win the Chevy. I had a brief chat with the winner Matthew afterwards who paid me a compliment by saying when he saw me at the start he thought I was a big threat having beaten him by a similar margin at the 2010 Three Peaks Race. The 2 Welsh lads ran a great race tactically perfect and fully deserved to come 1st and 2nd. I think the Chevy is a great race and Mary and the rest of Wooler Running Club, marshals and everyone else deserve a massive thank you for putting on a great event on the doorstep.

Gary Jones

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