Despite the forecast of sunny spells, light winds and temperatures of 5 degrees, things were somewhat different when myself, Mark Hall, Gareth Huxley and Jonathon Powell, arrived at Allendale to take part in this year’s Hexhamshire Hobble 10 Mile Fell Race.
Like a scene taken straight from a Christmas card, a blanket of snow covered the entire village, and with a bitterly cold wind sweeping across the village, any thoughts of a nice leisurely stroll around Hexhamshire Common were looking increasingly bleaker by the minute. The situation wasn’t helped by the fact I had just brought my road trainers to run in
After a quick warm-up it was time to race, and almost immediately the field of 200 runners were presented with their first challenge of the day, a steep incline – reminiscent of the climb at Prudhoe x-c – that went on for almost half a mile. After that, it was time for the trail paths, marshes and icy pools of the common. And how did I know they were icy, because within the next mile I must have fell into at least half a dozen of them.
After my umpteenth dooking, my race plan changed from that of running steadily to that merely of survival. No matter how long it took, I wanted to get round in one piece.
Mile 7 saw the runners tackle another mega ascent, and with it being quite near to the end of the race, I thought this would be the final challenge of the day and we would have a (fairly) easy run back to the finish. How wrong can someone be.
At the top of the ascent, not only did I take another tumble right on front of a marshal, oh how she laughed, but it was at this point of the race that the course turned directly into a hail storm. I’ve never been stabbed in the face with a needle before, but I would imagine it would feel very similar to that of millions of hailstones assaulting you. I’m not ashamed to admit there were quite a few tears shed during the next two miles.
My relief at reaching terra firma at 9 miles was beyond words. From hereon in it was a sprint finish to the end, where after having our numbers recorded, we were led to the warmth of the local school for free refreshments and a change of clothing.
The funny thing is, the more arduous the race, the more pleasure you seem get afterwards, and the greater sense of achievement. Although we didn’t appreciate it at the time, all four of us agreed that we had had a great day out and were looking forward to our next race. Once we’d all thawed out.
Full results can be found here http://allenvalleystriders.co.uk/id9.html
Massive thanks must go to the organisors and all the volunteers and marshals for allowing the race to go ahead in terrible conditions.