Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Top shelf ( Shelf Moor Fell Race )

Is there a doctor in the house

I had not planned on any racing this weekend but something about this race caught my eye and I am glad it did.

The Shelf Moor fell race is organised by the Glossopdale Harriers and was a counter in last years English Championships.
The course is a 5.9 mile loop with 1500 ft of ascent. A typical Dark peak mix of steep grassy slopes, peat hags and gritstone. To me it has a similar feel to the Kinder Downfall another favourite race.

Things did not get off to a great start. I got to the race registration at Glossop scout hut, ten minutes before the start. The start being a ten minute jog from the scout hut. Never mind I got to the start on time and well warmed up, if a little flustered.

From the off it is a flat runnable footpath. This meant a fast start, way too fast for me. Heading out along the old Roman road of Doctors Gate, it was a pleasure to see the heather turning the valley sides purple. A similar colour to my face after the long, steep climb up to James Thorn.

Picture by  ShaunP of the FRA forum. Thanks Shaun.
Onwards and upwards to the trig point at Higher Shelf Stones, a quick glance at the classic Dark Peak moorland, before the descent back down to Glossop.

About a mile from the finish, my legs decided it was time for a lie down. This did not work out too well as I was still running downhill at the time. ' Oooh ya Bast#*d! ' Fortunately years of crashing motorbikes and general clumsiness had taught me how to fall and I only rounded a few corners off.

The rest of the race was thankfully uneventful, those in front were too far ahead to catch and there was no one close enough to push me. I finished well down the field but had agreat time all the same.

A quick paddle in Shelf Brook, then back to the scout hut where Tim and Lynne of Global Therapies,  were giving post race massages and raising funds for mountain rescue. Thanks, it was much appreciated (see Tims blog for a far better written report on this race). 

It was also a pleasure to meet Noel, another blogger and frequent top finisher of Peak District races. Noels blog takes a slightly surreal view of fell running and the Peak District, it's worth a look. 

All in all, a very enjoyable way to spend a Sunday.

Many thanks to Glossopdale Harriers and all who made this cracking race happen.