Cracking first race of the NECAA (North East) fell running championships today at Brough Law race in Northumberland. The race is an informal affair, organised by Will Horsley, the course was “sparingly marked” and there being over 100 entries, Will ran out of race numbers, which would have made for a tricky job for the marshals had there been any!
Steep uphill start on a beautiful grassy track, Andy Blackett took the direct line while David Beech (NFR) and Graham Simpson (Alnwick) took the slightly less direct right hand variant, Andy held his 10-15 second lead to the top of the first hill, turning down the descent the leading three, of Andy, David and Graham came back together, this is when the sparingly marked course started to affect the front runners, Andy went onto the top of the second climb, while everyone else took the earlier right turn, then later all three were stopped in their tracks and did an about turn as Phil Sanderson took a right turn, which took him from 20 seconds back to 20 seconds up. Along the run home, David showed his class opening up a commanding lead on Andy and Graham, as we all reeled in Phil.
David took first, with Graham second and Andy third, hopefully some more close races to take part in through the rest of the NE champs season.
Durham Fell Runners took a strong field up to Northumberland, with Michael Lumb (7th), Stuart Grey (10th), James Osborn (12th), Chris Bird (15th), Graham Burns (22nd), Jon West (64th) Clare Henderson (11th F).
The ladies race wasn’t so close with Emma Bain leading from start to finish to take a strong win.
Thanks to Will for organising this great race (and the NE champs), the relaxed nature of this race and the £1 entry fee really is a joy. It feels like a race from another, more relaxed and more care free era. Well done Will! Thanks to Trail Guides and Hangar 18 Off Road Running for sponsoring the race.
Andy Blackett (DFR, H18)