It has been nice to be able to provide copies of ‘It’s a hill, get over it’ as ‘rewards’ recently. This weekend the winners of the Chew Valley 10k both received a signed copy of the book along with their other goodies. This came about for two reasons. One was because one of the main organisers is Denise Mellersh, who was one of the first athletes I coached at the club. The other was because the Chew course is notoriously NOT flat, as it includes Coley Hill. Despite the tough course the winners both had what Denise described as ‘none-too-shabby’ times: Nathan Young finishing in 33-05, and Lucy Macallister doing 37-28.
Ten days or so earlier Trail Running magazine had setup a competition to win a copy of the book on their website. This was arranged with Claire Maxted, editor of the magazine, and has a pretty easy entry standard! Go to the Trail Running website to enter (closes on 10th July). Obviously these are both indirect adverts for the book, and one has no way of knowing if any sales result, but I did feel they were worth doing. I hope the race and competition winners enjoy the read.
But the really good news is that the book has been shortlisted for an award. It was nominated for the Lakeland Book of the Year award. The initial nomination list of 60 books has been whittled down to a shortlist of 20, of which mine is one. An announcement was made in the Westmorland Gazette, explaining that there are 5 seperate categories to the award. I hope to be able to attend the award luncheon, which is in Glenridding on 15 July (some smart work juggling permitting). Obviously I am super chuffed to be shortlisted, but am trying not to let the excitement detract from my work on the manuscript of a second book, which I have now started researching.
We travelled to Yorkshire in fine weather, had great weather while there, and returned in good weather. UNFORTUNATELY, the heavens opened whilst we travelled to the race, obscured the hills during the race, and put a serious damper on the Horton gala (and rather stuffing my plan to try to sell some books!). Perversely, it cleared up soon after and was bright sunshine again, and we had a fine sunny evening walk to the pub for a well earned meal.
Arriving at Horton we registered and tried to prepare for what was coming (not that any really knew) around the car in the parking field. Not much warming up took place, possibly to the detriment of subsequent performances, but it really was quite manky. Bumbags packed with standard FRA kit, the athletes assembled for a quick briefing from the race organiser. Pen y Ghent was completely clagged. Some worried faces showed the uncertainty in how the summit navigation was going to go. For some a basic compass lesson was required that morning, emphasising the line of first descending, but I was confident that the summit marshall ought to be keeping an eye on folk. I saw the field over the first bridge and then moved up to just under Whitber Hill to await the return from the gloom.
The leaders came through looking good, with M50 Craig Roberts taking victory (his 10th). Soon Derwent AC’s Rob Morris strode down the hill, having soundly beaten the club’s first athlete (his brother Will Morris, see photo above – at 3rd check point). Not long after our first lady came through, eventually sealing 3rd ladies position in her first fell race (Jo Kent, see photo – descending Whitber Hill). The winning time was 50-46. Our nine athletes came in with times ranging from 1-01-28.– to 1-24-41, which was none too shabby for first timers [results]. Comments afterwards varied from “Never again” to “I would do another one next week if I could”.
We were staying for the weekend in Bishopdale (at The Rookery), and had a great evening meal and a fine (pint of) Black Sheep in the Street Head Inn. The next day there were streams of club cyclists out reccying that part of Le Grand Tour route (a sprint finishes at the pub). Seven gallant athletes went out for their Sunday ritual run, of varying lengths over my recommended route – that I had not noticed having little black arrows on (yep, very steep rises!). Luckily we had Ontrackhysio on hand. Varying degrees of stiffness ensued in the next couple of days, but by Thursday I expect all will be back on track at the Midweek Road League race over the familiar training ground of Trent Park. Will we be back? I am sure some will, some won’t. But I am very sure that all will now have a healthy respect for fell runners/races.
Note: if we thought those conditions were tough, on the same day the Ennerdale Horseshoe race (a FRA champs counter) had to be shortened and brought off some of the tops because of lightning warnings, and the danger that posed. We also heard later that one athlete there had taken a bad fall and badly smashed up their knee.
[Credit: photos 1 & 3 Stuart Slavicky]
This coming weekend I will be at the Pen Y Ghent fell race, in company with several runners from my club. For some it will be their first ‘proper’ fell race and it will be intriguing to see how they fare. The race is an FRA category AS race, 5.9 miles long with 1850 feet of ascent. Last year’s times ranged from to 47-25 to 2-14-38. We have accommodation booked for the weekend, and have been through accumulating the necessary kit requirements (where some didn’t have it all), and all are now properly worried about the event – which I am sure will go fine, as they are all experienced distance and trail runners. I shan’t be running unfortunately, but will be there in full support mode, probably from a vantage point on the side of Whitber Hill. I will also have a few copies of the book with me at the race, so if you are there and want to buy a (signed) copy just look out for me. I will be in my white book advert top (see photo in right margin of this site), and hopefully findable in the finish/gala area afterwards.
Following on from the last post I was really pleased to finally see a review in Athletics Weekly (click image to enlarge) last week. I particularly liked the comment about the book being “beautifully produced with great photographs and images” – which ought to also please Sandstone Press. But mostly it was the “must-buy” verdict that made it worth the wait, and hopefully will have got the book to the notice of a new audience. So, now I am hopeful that a Compass Sport review will follow shortly, and also that Fellrunner will finally give it some space.