Fell race day in Cressbrook! What a beautiful area to run in the sunshine. Having not visited Cressbrook previously, this was another perfect opportunity to run in a new area and see some more of the beautiful English countryside. Just one of the many things I love about running…
The nitty gritty of today’s race was simple…6.5 miles of awesome fell running with an elevation gain of 1305ft. This started with some good downhill action, and of course, what goes down…must come back up! A slightly backwards way of doing things, but it makes for a superb uphill finish over the last mile. What I mean by superb is a grueling slog where my legs were screaming at me temporarily. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are reading my running blog, you may also have the running addiction so you know why I am able to put a positive spin on the delicious uphill pain! I say it all the time, but it really is ‘no pain, no gain’.
The race starts half way up this lovely village and there is a short climb up the road before heading down into some lovely downhill action on the grass. This got my heart rate going nice and early but it did leave me wondering how much we would go downhill early on and how much of that was going to be tackled on the tough finish I had been told about just moments before the start line.
Going downhill at pace used to be a bit of a problem for me, having only started doing it regularly over the last couple of months. I appear now to be adjusting to some good fell running techniques and loving the benefits of the more allover leg workout it provides when compared to a flat road race. Happy days! When I first began doing fell runs, the downhill ‘leg it’ moments left me with some serious stitches which took their toll on my pace for a good couple of minutes, but I can certainly fly a lot quicker down those fells now, using them in this race in particular to overtake a good number of people.
From the beautiful fells and into the woods we go! As warned by the kind man who started the race for us, there was indeed a fantastically laid tree halfway down the path, just as you hit a corner haha. I appreciated the warning and I also loved ducking under the tree whilst running. This is why I love running in such a natural environment, there’s something fun and different on every race!
I’ve done the hills and the grass, shot through the woods, down steps and even avoided a random tree that Mother Nature threw in the way, now it is time for some yummy trails. Now, for most people this is where they need to push on hard, and I was doing. I knew that a good chunk of the race was behind me and I was doing well in terms of positioning. I had taken over a good few runners over the last 30 minutes or so and I could see Cressbrook Mill ahead over the water. Not only could I see the mill, which is a beautiful building but I could see the climb from that mill to the rough whereabouts that is the finishing line! It’s a steep climb from one to the other. A beast of a finish!
Yes, you read that right. I work my arse off in every race because I love to compete, but another thing I love to inject into my running is fun and laughs. I love having a laugh every other time in my life and running is no different, so I keep myself extra motivated by making sure I actually enjoy the race. I usually have my tiny GoPro in my pocket and with 1 click, I have a video with random members of the public who seconds earlier had no idea that they were about to join in my race selfie. I love it! Long live my race selfies because it always creates a laugh and keeps my spirits running high.
After I had done my selfie….actually…I did 2, there was the finisher!!! I call it this because for a few minutes I started to believe it was doing exactly that, finishing me. But I would not be beaten!
I finished in 24th place with a time of 54 minutes and 3 seconds. I loved the race, the village and the whole morning.
Hills, trails, grass, mud, dirt, road…what more do you want? This race has it all. Including that beautiful end which you can see me experiencing below. Warning….I am making some noises on this video hahaha.
If you want to get more details about this race, just hop over to the Cressbrook website to see their upcoming events.