> 2013 race reports
10/03/13 Brough Law Fell Race - from Will Horsley (photos: Andy Russell)

start - photo: Andy Russell

Northumberland raided by the wrong kind of purple again

The forecast was ominous but remarkably this little corner of Northumberland seemed to exist in its own micro-climate. Whilst all around us the weather brought chaos, and on the tops amongst the ruins of the Iron Age hillforts there was a stiff and cold breeze, down at the start line and in sheltered gullies it wasn’t too bad. However, the temperature did make for firm ground and a rather icy decent into Corbie Cleugh.

photo: Andy Russell

The course was sparsely but adequately and clearly marked following last year’s exploits and it appeared to have done the trick. No one missed the summit of Cochrane Pike with its St George’s cross flying proud out towards Scotland. In fact some liked it so much they forgot all about the route and ran straight over the top of the hill. Don’t worry – it has been done before and it will probably happen again but that’s the nature of the game. Registration went smoothly with many bringing their own entry forms and this greatly speeded things up. After a very quick briefing it was all systems go and the field quickly spread out on the first climb which is the longest and hardest of the race. Thirty-four minutes later from the car park at the bottom of the hill two figures could be seen carving round the edge of the Brough Law hillfort. Just metres apart, we were pretty sure who they were but we didn’t know who would prevail. In the end, Gavin Bland (Borrowdale) must have descended a bit quicker because the gap had grown a little bit at the finish line – well, at least that made the journey worthwhile. Phil Sanderson, four-time North East champion and course record holder, wasn’t too far behind. Both finished in blisteringly quick times but the record was safe for another year. Bruce Crombie was next, making good on his recent cross country form. Times were generally pretty quick throughout the field, helped no doubt by the firm ground, perfect visibility, and the incentive to keep moving in that cold, cold wind. First lady was Lorna Young from Heaton Harriers, only 24 years old and a fell running debutant, although after taking the final bit of the steep descent on her derriere she also swore it would be her last – I hope not. Plenty of close finishes ensued throughout the field with runners having their own duels and battles with friend and foe alike. Also making a fell running debut was Rachel Appleby who will no doubt be donning the purple and green soon, and making his senior fell race debut, James Green, who already adorns the right colours. Many thanks to all my runners and to Jack McWilliams, who, after finishing the night shift at Berwick Fire Station, came along to sweep and take the course in. Money raised was donated to Jack’s Mont Blanc climb in aid of the Fire Service Benevolent Fund and Northumbria National Parks Rescue Team, and the Great North Air Ambulance. You can sponsor Jack’s climb too via JustGiving.com (link on NFR website).  On the way home out of the Ingram valley the weather finally penetrated and a fierce blizzard enveloped – lucky I went for that early start, runners! See you all next year.

results (pdf)

Will Horsley

more photos from Andy Russell

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