July 31, 2014 George Foster

July = bleeding nips at Arrochar and other stuff too

Let’s see what odds and sods Google drags in from their search engines with a blog title like this shall we?! If you’re new to this site……welcome. It’s probably not what you were expecting!

Luckily it was hot enough at the Arrochar Alps race to be able to run topless otherwise the nips could have been a right old mess! New to hill running? I’d probably shy away from this race till you’ve got your stuff sussed cos she ain’t easy! I’d probably say that this was the toughest race I’ve done yet! There’s a LOT of ups and downs…..

At a tenner a pop it’s not cheap but if you’re one who likes to measure cost against number of Munros run up in one circuit then you’d be hard pressed to find better value than this. I came in in just over 4 hours……my longest race yet by quite a way. The long, relatively flat start towards Loch Sloy dam is pretty misleading. The first slog up Ben Vorlich had me gurning with the best of them. The descent back to the dam is STEEP. The run along the dam is pleasant but funk me that drag up Ben Vane is horrendous, then the drop down again, then the long drag back up……you get the picture! Very pleased to finish 7th after chasing a Carnethy lad for most of the race only to leave him coming down off Ben Narnairn and, sexism aside, managed to pip the first female who had me beat from about halfway. She was having a swamp when I passed her. Classy!

After that there was another of the Bog and Burn races in Tillicoultry called the ‘Maddy Moss Mash’. Quite long with a whopper of a fast descent to the tape. Didn’t feel very good on it at all but managed 10th place with a time of 55:46…..Joe Symonds predictably smashed it, winning by nearly 2 mins. I tried out my ‘King of the Mountains’ hat. I look stupid.

Umm then what? Did a 200m sprint in Pamplona. Chased by some bulls. They looked pissed off!

On the following Tuesday there was the ‘famous’ Moffat Festival of Running 10-miler. Not raced this distance before so I had no idea how to pace myself or how it was going to go! I started off like a rocket in order to get my face in the local paper before settling into a steady rhythm. There’s meant to be a beast of a hill right in the middle which is a nice reference point but it’s not really all that tough unless you’re unfortunate enough to have grown up in Holland or Norfolk. From there it’s a nice gentle downhill all the way to the finish. Happy with 6th place in 57mins something. I was especially pleased to find that I was very fresh afterwards and am starting to feel the effects of a good diet and ample rest! Great run though with a real ‘rockstar’ finish through the streets of Moffat.

Lastly for this month was another English Championship race at the Kentmere Horseshoe. Perhaps my favourite fell race?! Yup why not? Suits me to a tee does this. Fast, runnable trods with a couple of technical, steep descents which seems to slow a lot of people down. Ideal. Beat my time last year of 1:50:something by over 6 minutes to get 1:44:06 for 31st place. Ideal conditions gave way to some pretty substantial rain and my van got stuck in a field. Treat.

The lower picture shows the first half of the race taken from Nan Bield Pass, which marks the end of the technical bits and the start of the proper fast bits! The upper picture shows me in my shite hat.

So i’m now in Italia parked up in the van under the Matterhorn. Gonna climb it via the Lion Ridge if the weather holds and then drive round into Swizzy to run the Sierre-Zinal race a week on Sunday. Good heavens!

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