Hi there. I've been perusing the FRA forums for some weeks now, having signed up earlier this year for the Yorkshireman marathon. I note there are a few people from further south, London and Portsmouth and whatnot, but still I am prepared for a bit of abuse (and hopefully some friendly tips/banter) for the following post.
I signed up for the Yorkshireman having never run any competitive race except for 3 trail 10Ks.
There are lots of reasons why: 1) mid-life crisis. Actually, probably not, but it's an excuse. 2) I've been on the planet for 43 years and I've *never* liked running until late 2011 when I was introduced to trails, and to say my horizons were expanded would be a wild understatement. I now regularly visit the North Downs way for a good run, longest around 16 miles, usually a spot of exploration to get off the beaten track and see what I can find (llamas, naked campers, horses spraying me with poo, and so on). I LOVE IT. If I go longer than a week without a crack-of-dawn plod around a boggy trail I get down. The best thing that I've ever done for recreation. 3) I wanted to do a marathon. That's what started me thinking about running, then did a triathlon, then the 10Ks in Jan/Feb/March this year, then a road half marathon for family reasons (I don't really like road running, unless Wile-E-Coyote is involved), then a charity tri and British 10K this summer. I wanted to do a marathon but prefer trails, so did some research - and found the YORM. Liked the sound of it (particularly 'runners are requested to carry a mug', the Britishness of this I really liked), so I signed up without thinking too much about it.
Now having done the half my training has turned to the Yorkshireman, and I'm planning to use the tri and 10K races as training sessions for it. I have mixed feelings of thrill and apprehension when I read about fell running on these forums. Thrill because of the challenge that awaits me, and the beautiful and no doubt treacherous countryside that I'll experience; but apprehension because I know very little about fells, I don't know yet if or how quickly I'll be able to get around the course, I haven't yet run with a pack/bladder (and I plan to), and I don't know if I can read a map while running. I've been walking in Yorkshire and the Lake District but not for 20-odd years. My trail running has taken in all sorts of surfaces and conditions (one of the races was at 8am in early January, -6 degrees, and the Feb one was on thick snow), but generally there is a trail. I can't really find a definition, but I assume the biggest difference between trail and fell running is that with the latter there's not always an obvious trail, would that be about right?
So, I think and hope I'll be welcome, I hope you guys don't think I'm an idiot for thinking I can do this, I hope I don't make a fool of or injure myself, and I hope I enjoy it as much as I think I'm going to. I can't wait, but I know I've got a lot of work to do between now and September 9th to get ready.
Thanks for reading!
PS - Finally, the timing is awful - as my wife and son go see a paralympic event the night before, so the planned family trip to come support me is no longer on the cards, so I'll be travelling up alone - and I guess bringing a tent!