Tuesday, 9 May 2017

The Fellsman, but not as a runner

I had entered this event as it was number 4 in the Runfurther series this year. It's a favourite of mine as I love the route, the nav, the toughness the weather and the overnight section often brings and also I love the whole Fellsman community. It never takes much of an excuse to go to the Dales for a couple of days and so we had also been and recceed a couple of sections too. Sometime in early April I was having doubts about running the Fellsman as it would only give me at most 5 days recovery before the Hardmoors200.  I tried to convince myself that it would be OK, that I could run the Fellsman slowly. The trouble was that would only give me 4 days recovery and when I mentioned doing it at a slow pace every single friend just laughed. Then I saw a plea for marshalls on facebook. I really struggled to decide but in the end head won over heart. I would help on Friday evening and marshall at Redshaw during the race. Nearer to the event this became even more the correct  decision as I picked up a dreadful cold and I spent some of the days in the run up to the event with a very sore throat and no voice.
Although it was very strange being at the event but not running it did present other opportunities.

 On Friday evening I was able to offer to help with kit check, could put up the flags and banners for Runfurther with no stress and then spent the evening handing out Romneys mint cake and Runfurther membership postcards.

We gained 30 new members so the personal touch works.
The weather had been dry for weeks and the forecast was good. The ground would be as dry as it ever gets- I was jealous and expected some fast times. As it happens people were longing for some soft bog by half way and their feet were hammered. A lazy start to Saturday let me chat to Dave about Fell Track and also to make new friends. The marshalls at Redshaw would be a group of 'all sorts' and mostly strangers to each other. Chris Driver had set up a facebook group for us which meant we knew who to look out for so it was easy to meet up with Aimee. Her partner had got her involved and it was well outside her comfort zone but she was lively, funny and full of enthusiasm. The Dales were new to her and so I navigated her the back way to Redshaw through my favourite valley of Langstrothdale.

 Before lunch time the Redshaw team was present and getting organised.

Mini crises elsewhere delayed getting equipment to us but we used initiative and soon had hot water for soup etc and food laid out ready for runners.
Alison the soup queen

We divided up the jobs and waited. The lovely weather meant we could be outside and admire the views as we watched the skyline back towards Great Knoutbury.
Leading man- Chris perry

 Before long there was a trickle of lead runners followed by several hours of almost non stop small groups.
David Chetta
These were my friends and I really enjoyed being able to great them with a smile, encouragement and offers to refill water bottles etc.
A revived Chris Davies
There were lots of hugs and even kisses. Aimee started to wonder if there was anybody I didn't know.
1st lady Emma Hopkinson
A couple of friends needed gentle bullying to eat, take a hot drink etc and I like to think it helped them on their way.
Mike and Barney- get back to Runfurther guys

I have a formula for working out when to expect Bob in a race and it worked to the minute on this day.
Steve Wilson
Josie and Albert doing well despite no Tony to nav
Nick always with his camera at the ready

 It is rare that I get to support him  and so all the more special to be able to hug him and encourage him on his way. 
All this was doing nothing for my voice which had almost disappeared again but I did take lots of photos.
A supportive team
The updated Fell Track system was able to tell us how many runners we still had to expect. Long before our closing time this was single figures. We had all expected to camp at Redshaw but now it seemed sensible to pack up and even take down the tent. We waited until the runners were through Dodd Fell and then set to work. It seemed a long drive back in the dark but I was in the van on a comfy bed by 1.45am - a real bonus.
A decent sleep and I was up and about quite early and in plenty of time to sit in the hall chatting, to welcome Bob home in a massive PB and to enjoy the prize giving.
PB by 2 hours 37

 My voice had almost gone but there was just enough left to ensure I won a prize! Dave Driver had made new Fell Track station using Raspberry Pie and had named them all pies. I knew ours at Redshaw was 'Humble'. A lovely weekend and great to give something back for a change but I do hope I can run the event again next year. Now all I need to do is to complete the H200. Eek.

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