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Thread: Old County Tops

  1. #811
    Master
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    Well done on your performance yesterday Caity.
    We are so proud of you and Tim back here in Glossopdale.
    Mad woman, doing Lantern Pike Dash today.
    I am dashed that I blew my only likely chance of beating you in a fell race after you dropped me before the turn today, on your weary OCT legs.
    Powered by Ugali.

  2. #812
    Senior Member zephr's Avatar
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    Thanks OB1-
    here is a bit of an epic blog to go with the epic day.
    Apologies to it taking so long to get published - I was bimbling over the howgills yesterday supporting Lynne on her Trail Marathon (Im sure her blog will be up soon enough).
    http://testedtodestruction.blogspot....tops-2015.html

  3. #813
    Senior Member
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    Here it is....my first ever marathon at the Howgills trail yesterday. Huge thanks to zephr and other friends for their support and donations towards Glossop Mountain Rescue Team
    http://runningdelights.blogspot.co.u...-marathon.html
    http://runningdelights.blogspot.co.u...-marathon.html

  4. #814
    Senior Member Alan Lucker's Avatar
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    What a great day. Thanks to the organisers.
    Just a note for next year. Coming down from Blea Tarn you need to descend near the zig zag track (just to the right)to hit the swing gate in order to start on the track around to Side House farm. Or alternatively go to the left of the zig zags to hit the swing gate to access the campsite (or just go on the road all the way I suppose, but then it is a fell race). As far as I am aware keeping a high line around side Pike means you need to cross over fences (or a fence corner) with no style. Strava users beware!

  5. #815
    Senior Member Woodzy's Avatar
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    First time OCT and my predicted time was a bit off - managed 7.21 3rd overall & 1st v80's with Kieran H well happy with that.
    WOODZY.

  6. #816
    Master GeoffB's Avatar
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    First time OCT and my predicted time was a bit off - managed 7.21 3rd overall & 1st v80's with Kieran H well happy with that.
    Nice one - and Caity wasn't far behind in 7.43 - Brilliant, Caity & Tim.

  7. #817
    Senior Member Woodzy's Avatar
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    Cheers Geoff, yeah Caity n Tim did great. we got the pace spot on, upped the pace for the last 1/4 to come from 10th pos at greenup through to 3rd.
    Caity n Tim must of done something similar as we didn't see em all day. well done all.
    WOODZY.

  8. #818
    Senior Member MarkClayton's Avatar
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    fyi, not sure it's been published/communicated yet anywhere, but the date for the 2016 race is Sat 21st May (as per email reply I got from the RO Chris Lloyd yesterday). A bit later in the month than I expected.
    Totley AC

  9. #819
    Member Quinny's Avatar
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    Getting excited as entries are now open for this year's race. I don't want to sound tight (although I know I am!) but I am a bit surprised that it now costs 35 per pair to enter. I think it was 25 last year and a mere 20 three years ago.

    Having said that it is still good value for a full day out on the fells with food, drinks and a t-shirt included in the price. I was wondering if the increase is partly due to the map which is now included in the price. Not sure why this is needed as I thought the Harveys BMC map at 1:40,000 was ideal. Does anyone know?
    Mike Quinn
    Esk Valley Fell Club

  10. #820
    As fell runners we really are spoilt for choice regarding the races at our disposal. In England alone there's approximately 500 different races in a calendar year and I don't mind admitting that I'm a 'fell race bagger' and have currently participated in 405 different fell races. Does this make me a fell race anorak?.....I'd rather not know the answer to that but I'm guessing...YES.

    It's races like Old County Tops that throw my 'bagging' into a frenzy. Such is the quality of the race it should be done every year regardless of clashing with races not yet done. In recent years I've 'ticked off' Cader Idris and Mount Famine, both of which I enjoyed but County Tops was always at the back of my mind.

    So what's it all about, why is it one of the races in the calendar that I am reluctant to miss? Even though I know that at some point during the race I will invariably think to myself, "this is torture, when will it end?".

    Is it the iconic t-shirt? Is it the sense of achievement that's felt after completing one of most demanding races out there? Is it the companionship formed between running partners? as the race stipulates you must run in pairs. It's all these and more besides...it's an occasion.

    The facts and figures: The race is a circular route of approximately 37 miles with 10000ft of ascent. Starting from Great Langdale the route visits the three high points of the old counties of Cumberland, Westmoorland and Lancashire..... these being Helvellyn, Scafell Pike and Coniston Old Man respectively.

    My previous County Tops was in 2014 and it was a glorious day....this year the conditions were more challenging which resulted in a quarter of the teams retiring from the event, the vast majority doing so at Angle Tarn. Some teams were timed out given the nature of the weather conditions.

    At 8:00hrs 118 pairs of runners set off into the rain. My beloved Chorley were well represented with Yewan and myself: Chris Lane and Dom Raby: Natasha Fellowes partnered Lostock's Albert Sunter....our mission was to get around in one piece and take Coniston Old Man back to Lancashire...we completed the former, the 'Old Man' can stay where he is.

    The first check point of Helvellyn is when the weather started to get grim with visibility down to a few metres. Most runners seemed to head for Helvellyn by opting for a diagonal ascent of Dollywagon to then join the main ridge path up towards the trig point.

    A fast runnable descent from the summit is rewarded with the first of two food stations. At Wythburn road side it was good to get out of the cloud and refuel on a great selection of butties and a lovely cup of tea...thank you one and all.

    The next section trudging up Wythburn is one of my least favourite parts of the race. Its not too steep but the boggy terrain saps too much energy if you try and run it, especially when it's still early days in the race and energy needs to be conserved. It's during this section that the weather deteriorated even more with sleet like conditions causing coldness to slowly creep in.

    The next check point at Angle Tarn is your easiest route back to the finish if all's not going well and many retired here. Better being safe than sorry, if you're cold here you're not going to warm up ascending Scafell into the higher altitude and worsening weather. It's here that Yewan and myself put our waterproof pants on before heading onwards and upwards.

    The rocks towards Scafell were interesting to say the least and we took a few less than favourable lines whilst heading into the clag all the time being battered by the wind and rain. It amazes me to see families wandering around far from adequately dressed given the conditions....unbelievable.

    On the summit of Scafell I really feel for the marshals and have nothing but admiration for them huddled in their little tents...many thanks. The line off Scafell is found...in sorts. We started off on a decent line then it went all crag-bound and much weaving this way and that eventually got us down safely...phew.

    It was good to be out of the clouds and all I could think about was having a brew and a butty at Cockley Beck....it didn't disappoint. The last time I enjoyed a brew so much was probably the last time I did the race. Thank you ladies, you are angels.

    The slog up Grey Friars is horrible, there's no other way of describing it. The terrain is rutted and legs are shot at...it's not a good combination.

    Coniston Old Man is such a welcome sight as that's pretty much most of the climbing done with and the weather even took a turn for the better...finally.

    A few route choices to iron out on the way down to three shires stone and that's the last check point done and dusted. Only the leg destroying road section on Wrynose Pass and the traverse of Blea Tarn and it's nearly job done.

    Do we go across the fields to the finish or through the campsite? We chose the latter...does it make a difference time wise?

    Another Old County Tops in the bag, we finished 27th out of 118 starters in a time of 9:09hrs....thank you Yewan for the company. Tash and Albert 39th 9:38hrs....beltin. Chris and Dom 52nd 10:02hrs...smashing.

    Many thanks Chris and all at Achille Ratti...what an amazing event.
    Last edited by Tindersticks; 26-05-2017 at 06:42 AM.
    Darren Fishwick, Chorley.

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