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Thread: Most dramatic moment.

  1. #1
    Master Wheeze's Avatar
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    Most dramatic moment.

    Fell racing always carries the chance of a dramatic moment. Could be anything.
    I'll start off.
    It was the Ben Nevis race. 89 or 90, not sure now. But I was having a stormer. Had zoomed down the grassy bank and was now flying down the last few zig zags to the valley floor. I was mapping the terrain several yards ahead, my feet finding their own way....except they didn't. It was the perfect tap tackle. One foot clipped a rock, pinged into the other leg and that was it. I was launched head first into a sweaty slightly clad missile with no control but heading straight towards 2 large boulders. This was gonna hurt! Except somehow I flew into the gap between them and got wedged by the shoulders. Adrenaline numbed the pain and I struggled free and finished the race in a PB time. Only afterwards did the pain kick in along with the realisation that I had had a lucky escape!

  2. #2
    Master Travs's Avatar
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    Had a similar fall on the Black Mountains Race, descending off PYGF in shocking weather.... slid, fell perhaps 40ft at quite a rate, but no comedy ending like yours...

    Cross Country seems to be good for some drama... "Grand National 1993" type starts with people going flying, people stuck in mud unable to move.

    The start of the National Cross Country is a sight to behold, and must be the most dramatic sight in British Athletics, not to mention actually being in the middle of it!
    Last edited by Travs; 18-12-2020 at 10:48 PM.

  3. #3
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    The first Kinder Downfall race, 1980. Racing another runner along the path from the top of William Clough to the Downfall, arms flailing and accidentally touched him, which knocked him off balance. You expect anyone who falls over to just get back up and carry on running; instead, he stayed down, screaming "My knee, my knee"; and I could see that his knee was dislocated.

    This was long before any RO would expect you to take extra kit on a BM race in benign weather. I realised that I was no more than half a mile from the Downfall checkpoint, so I just told him that I would get help, and raced along to the Downfall. Fortunately, not only were the Marshalls there, the Mountain Rescue team had stationed themselves there, so it wouldn't have been too long before they got to him.

    I recognised the runner on the start line the following year; he said that he had recurring problems with that knee, and there were no hard feelings towards me.
    In his lifetime he suffered from unreality, as do so many Englishmen.
    Jorge Luis Borges

  4. #4
    Master Travs's Avatar
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    That's rather unfortunate Anthony. But good to hear he was reasonable about the incident.

    I did similar at football... Broke an opponent's ankle with a fairly innocuous 50/50 challenge... Worst bit was hearing he was self-employed and it was likely to affect him financially.

  5. #5
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    Well that stimulated a torrent of fell running related reminiscences!😄😄

  6. #6
    Most dramatic moment? I'm torn between two or three in particular:- Dropping out of the mist on Lingmell with the whole of Wasdale spread out below me after several hours navigating. Or the inversion and then the brockenspectre of the ridge dropping from Crag Hill (complete with runners shadows) on one of my early races. Or maybe a glorious sunny day when for some reason everyone took different lines up Wetherlam on 3 Shires and the whole fellside was a mass of brightly coloured club vests - or maybe just the views on Jura on a good day. To me dramatic doesn't imply dangerous or frightening, just spectacular.

  7. #7
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    Sierre-Zinal a few years back - I had accepted the offer of a free massage at the finish, and my quads were being put through agony, but I was able to watch the finishers coming in. A chap about 70 came in - he had blood all over his face, and he was clearly in a bad way - he kept muttering things in French, could not keep still, and was resistant to any offers of help. I felt so sorry for him, and of course hoped I would never be in the same position.

    Y3Ps a year or two later - final descent - still a long way to go, tired legs, a tendency to relax too much - that sudden trip, down I went, managed to turn my head to the left to protect my face, my glasses cut into my right temple, my shoulder hit the ground and tore my Haglofs top, touching my face there was blood on my glove ... I felt OK in myself and finished, and went to see the paramedics - a quick wipe down to remove the dirt, no bandage - as I was walking back to the car a fellow runner commented "You need to see the medics" - "Ive been!"
    The chaps I was car sharing with took some photos for posterity. I tried to claim on insurance - prescription glasses and the Haglofs top - but they said fell running was an extreme sport and was therefore not covered.

    I did a similar thing on a run over Steel Fell not that long ago - the edge of my glasses cut into my eyebrow this time - I now wear glasses with lenses that are literally bullet proof. I should have learnt the first time - it is not if, but when.
    Last edited by Mike T; 22-12-2020 at 11:33 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quite so Mark...I chose the adjective with that in mind😉

  9. #9
    Senior Member Marco's Avatar
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    I didn't think I had anything worthy to add to this thread until the other morning when, whilst lying in bed in no-man's land between sleep and full consciousness, I was visited by the ghost of fell running misdemeanours past, rattling a map and compass, to remind me of a tale of misadventure from some years ago ...

    It was the 29th September 2009, and I was the instructor on a training course at the Scotch Corner Hotel. I will say at this point that working away from home, in seemingly random locations around the UK, was not unusual for me and I'd been doing it for over 20 years. It was 5 weeks after I'd made by fell racing debut where I finished 14th in an AM race in Wales wearing road shoes. I would have finished in the top ten if I hadn't had something of a collapse on the fifth and final hill when my legs pretty much expired. The writing was fairly big on the wall as far as I saw it; I could run on the fells but I just wasn't fit enough and I needed to train on them.

    The problem I had was that as a flatlander I didn't have anything even remotely fell-like within an hours drive each way. In every problem there is a solution, and I realised that as I was still driving 30000 miles plus a year, (almost entirely for work), there must be a way of utilising this for my own benefit.

    And so it was that I left Scotch Corner at quarter to six in the evening and headed for just West of Thwaite, in Swaledale. I knew that it gets dark at different times in different locations, but I wasn't sure by exactly how much, so I didn't hang around on arrival and started on the run in road shoes with a small running rucsac with water, food, map, compass, phone, valuables and car keys.

    I wanted the biggest climb in the area, as I felt it was the lack of practise on long climbs that was my weakness, and I also wanted a clear unambiguous path or trail so I could practise my running rather than my map reading. For this reason, after studying the OS 1:25000 map I'd opted to run up Great Shunner Fell on the Pennine Way.

    It had been cloudy all day with light rain, and it was still going when I left the road. This proved to be a real problem, as what I didn't know beforehand, but quickly found out, was that almost the entire path had been built with long, smooth, flagstones – which were soaking wet and offered little in the way of grip in road shoes. This meant that my progress was well below what it would have been, so my approximate timings were way out.

    The rain did ease and then stop as I ascended but what wasn't apparent, until I was within sight of the summit just over 500 metres away, was that it was getting dark quickly. At this point I had to make a decision. I know a lot of people would have carried on to the summit, as they were really close anyway, but I didn't. I knew I hadn't got a head torch and I immediately turned around and started the descent on the same path.

    If running uphill on inclined soaking wet flagstones was slow, I found it was even slower in road shoes on the descent. After a period of time that I would estimate at 10 minutes, but was probably quite a bit longer (I was concentrating on my running not what the time was), it got dark. Totally dark.

    Fortunately I had some experience of running in the dark. In the boredom of the late 1970s when there were only three TV channels, and video recorders were the preserve of the rich, we became adept at making our own entertainment. One such pleasure (don't tell Stagger) was having races across the pitch-and-putt golf course, which was conveniently unfenced and in the middle of the local park, in the pitch dark. In our early teenage years we found it quite amusing as someone always ended up in one of the bunkers or running into a tree. I even became relatively good at it, compared to my contemporaries, and with experience I noticed that there were shades of dark blue and grey as well as black.

    I must have run 15 mins or more in the dark, carefully picking my way and staying on the path. I distinctly remember at one stage watching the red tail lights of a car on the road to Muker disappear away from me. And then something strange happened; I perceived it was getting lighter as I could see more. Then to my total amazement I saw a shadow of myself on the ground in front of me. I'd lost all sense of time in concentrating hard, but surely it hadn't taken me all night to get halfway down? At this point I actually stopped, to try and comprehend what was going on, and turned to see where the light was coming from. There, just above the summit, in a break in the clouds was a first quarter moon. Swaledale looked really beautiful, ethereal even, but I only had a few fleeting seconds to look at it as I knew I needed to use this opportunity well. Sure enough a few minutes later the darkness returned, when I was near the bottom of the path, and it became very dark.

    After a few more minutes I made it down to the road. I'd had a couple of slips, but I'd stayed on my feet, and now the danger was over as I had tarmac below my shoes. Whilst the danger was over my problems weren't, as I still had to find my car on Cloggerby Rigg and full cloud cover had returned making it very, very dark. Walking very slowly up where I thought was the middle of the road, arms outstretched as if I was playing blind man's buff, I headed to where I thought I'd parked. Then, just as I was really thinking it had been stolen, my spotlessly clean light-silver car appeared less than three metres away. Never before has a man been more pleased to see his seven year old Ford Focus.

  10. #10
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    You learnt a lot from that little adventure!

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