> 2011 race reports
26/12/11 Forest Burn 'Boxing Day Burn-Off' Fell Race - from Will Horsley

I wasn't sure what sort of field I would have for the rescheduled Forest Burn fell race, being held in winter for the first time after being postponed since August. Imagine my surprise, then, when runners from North Wales, Scotland and Darlington all turned up for this fun and feisty little 3+ miler. Including me, 31 started plus three dogs. The course was wet in places, especially the two crossings of the Forest Burn, very windy and warm. The fields had also been well churned-up by livestock. I had a good idea as to who would be in the leading pack but there were a few unknown quantities in the mix too. As predicted, Jones, Taylor and A Blackett led the charge, with Smith of Lochaber putting in a valiant performance. After the first crossing of the burn Blackett dropped off the pace, perhaps with his mind on supporting a winter BGR the following day. Jones and Taylor made a little ground on Smith and were duelling all the way to the second ascent of Ward's Hill before they finally disappeared from my sight. Smith was not far behind at this point. It transpired that they remained closely packed all the way through the fierce headwind and sodden fields to the final gate, at which point the wily Smith made his move and powered to the line to ensure his name on the Chairman's Cup. Jones came in 2nd for the third time in this race. The winning time was surprisingly quick given the conditions and slightly extended course. In the ladies race Fiona Blackett had it all her own way but she didn't take it easy, duelling with her husband almost to the line, she came in a very respectable 6th place overall. The runners generously filled the charity tins behind the bar in the Gate Pub and many stuck around for a well earned pint or two or more. Many thanks to my helpers: Casper who helped mark the course, Terry; my lone marshal, and Louise and Alastair; my timekeepers; also the land owners and publicans. Only eight months until the re-match!

Also - report and pics from Dougie Nisbet on Elvet Striders website.

Will Horsley

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