Friday, 6 July 2012

Home and Away

Brax from Home and Away looking for Beinn Narnain
No, we're not going to bring you a synopsis of next week's episodes from Summer Bay, (where Brax is due to get knocked out and dumped in the bush), instead we are going to take a quick glance forward to a weekend of Fell Running Championship action for 'Home' and Mountain Running news from 'Away'.

Home - Arrochar Alps
Round 3 of the Fell Running British Championship takes the runners to Scotland, for the 'long' counter, the potently titled 'Arrochar Alps'. The race is 15.5miles and a very tough 8000ft.
A picture taken on a recce by Sarah Ridgway in January
This rather ominous description by Scottish Hill Racing well, says it all.
"The race was created in 1987 by Andy Dytch and Bobby Shields. In 1988 it was used as a Scottish Championship race - where Alan Farningham (who had already won the championship) climbed The Cobbler at the end by mistake, instead of Beinn Narnain.
In 1989 it was used as a British Championship race in very bad weather. The terrain is steep, wild and rough with complex navigation in places.
The race was run in 1990, 1991 and finally 1992 - won by Colin Valentine on a shortened course due to bad weather - before being abandoned for 15 years. The race was resurrected in 2007 by Westerlands Cross Country Club."

Map by Scottish Hill Racing

The record is a Billy Bland 3:07 set in the first year it was run (1987). Joe Symonds leads the championship having won the first race at Coledale (English Lake District) and the second at Slieve Bearnagh (Mourne Mountains Northern Ireland) and according to twitter he's been round the route and learnt some handy shortcuts.
But will he be able to find these short cuts on the day if the mist is down and his guide isn't with him? The English runners perfected their navigation and teamworking skills at the Great Lakes Race a few weeks ago, which could pay off on Saturday. 
Whichever way it goes, it will be interesting to see how close the winner gets to Mr Bland's record.

Here's the entry list. The race starts at 11am on Saturday 7 July.
To those of you who are going - we wish you all good luck. For those of us staying at home - we hope they'll be some newshounds on the course bringing us words and pictures from the race which we'll relay to you as soon as we can.

Away - Turkey
It's the European Mountain Running Championships in the challenging dry and dusty mountain terrain of Denizli - Pamukkale, Turkey. Apparently the course passes through the remains of the ancient Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis.
The ancient city of Hierapolis - Will they have to run the steps? Emma's good in stadiums
But sightseeing probably won't be on the Team GB minds, which features a few trusty fellrunners.

Mary Wilkinson, Emma Clayton, Sarah O’Neil, Katie Walshaw
Steve Vernon, Robbie Simpson, Orlando Edwards, Chris Smith

The race is also on Saturday 7 July, at an early 8am for the ladies and 9:15 for the men. You can find out more here. Good luck teams!

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