Running for DFR today: Meghan McCarthy (30th), Marie-Louise Ridley (47th) Jim Clapp (53rd), Fran Blackett (71st)
We had a good turnout of runners for DFR at the Hexham Hobble today. Given the events and challenges of the last week I think that we were all feeling extra grateful to the organisers and marshals for getting this race put on. The Hexham Hobble is a great route of about 16km with roughly 400m ascent. It is always incredibly well marshalled and, at points, flagged making it an excellent introduction to fell racing if you have never done one before. In fact, it was my very first fell race back in 2013. I ran it again in 2014 but then hadn’t returned until today. When I entered on a whim a few weeks ago I was imagining a lovely, crisp winter morning with all bogs and puddles frozen over. I should have known better. Andy always bets his left testicle that there will be snow at the Hobble. Although the weather was pretty kind (just a bit of an icy headwind on the second half…), the conditions underfoot were pretty horrific: wet, slippy mud; icy patches; soft snow (not the nice frozen kind that you can run along); slushy, FREEZING cold puddles and bogs. I was full of regret at deciding not to wear waterproof socks. The first climb is the worst, steep up the road out of Allendale and then it levels off as you turn off the road onto tracks and trods across the fell. Then it is undulating until you hit a middle road section with a steep down and then up back onto the fell before a final road section as you descend back into Allendale and the finish. As per the race organisers instructions everyone dispersed quickly at the finish so I can only assume that everyone had a great time! And the ladies managed to scoop the team prize so that was an exciting bonus!
Thanks to Tom Bentley for the photos.