Saltwell Harriers Fell Race

A Tuesday evening fell race in Weardale saw me out in the light wind at the top of Crawleyside bank with some 80 other people to run across open moorland just about as fast as we can. A total distance of less than 10 kilometers promised a fast race, but the thick heather and tall swaying grasses would prove to put up a tough fight.

The start of the run took us across the moor to the old mining road up ill-fated Collier Law, where once upon a time I broke a metacarpal. No such foul luck this time: I made it to the top of the hill with nary a stumble.

Then following a fence along a gentle decline for a while: high knees required to clear the heather overgrowing the trod sapped me of my energy even while descending. By the time I reached Park Head I was puffing.

A short traverse took me to a long grassy descent to Stanhope Burn. Reasonably clear quad bike trail here, which helped me catch my breath before a short, precipitous descent into the burn itself. By longstanding tradition, runners of the SHFR must climb into the burn, punch their race number on the far bank, and then continue on their way. I wondered privately if I would ever finish a fell run with dry feet.

Soon we reached some old cottages on the burnside and hung a sharp left to start the climb back up to the finish line. I'd expected this climb to be a real doozy but I felt pretty good by the end, and even finished alongside another Strider, 10 seconds under the 1-hour mark.

Saltwell Harriers Fell Race on Strava

Running Outdoors


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