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British Fell Running Championships

The race starts. First mile is pretty flat, I am in third place. Then there are a few little uphill kicks, and I am down in 8th. We climb climb climb through the quarry and I’m not doing very well, slipping behind. Then we get onto the mountains proper. Ras Yr Moelwyn is a 10 mile route, incorporating 3 hills, each hill smaller than the one before. This first hill is a b###h. I keep telling myself, ‘let your body do the work’. Don’t fight, don’t go too deep into lactic. It’s so easy with a climb this long to overdo it, and then it is impossible to recover whilst still running uphill. I find my rhythm and stick with it. I am doing better now, holding my own. I can see Gareth not far ahead of me, very good fell runner, so I’m pretty happy.

ascent1

Then, as soon as we hit the first summit, Moelwyn Mawr, the race explodes into life. It is as if the Spirit in the Sky just chucks the chess board in the air and all the pieces scatter every which way. There is a very difficult and dangerous traverse to get to the next peak. Rocky and steep, with no obvious path. Everything is obscured by thick cloud. Runners are zigzagging across different routes, appearing and disappearing into grey blanket. It’s brilliant. I get to the top of the next hill ok, having maintained my position. I’m growing in confidence. I am not getting shown up as a fake road runner. There is then about a mile of flat path, right through the mountains. When I say flat, it is actually a rocky horror show of potential ankle breakers, but it’s more runnable than anything else we’ve been doing. I am chasing down one guy, while GB International Andy Davies is chasing me. We are really moving. This absurd gauntlet, taking place in the middle of nowhere, I love it.

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Andy comes past me on the final climb, I get to the top in 11th place. I am really hoping for a top 10 finish, and I think to myself, this is game on. The last descent is by far the easiest, a mile of soft grass down the mountain, and onto trails for the final mile. I have been really enjoying this in training, and I am fully expecting to do some serious damage here.

I slip and fall into a bog. Like a deep, sticky, sludgy bog. It takes me to a complete stop. Andy Davies flies away, and another guy comes past me. I get up and almost immediately slip again. Another guy runs past. I lose confidence, lose momentum, and completely lose my head. I manage to fall another few times. I am like a golfer who can’t stop hitting into the bunkers. 2 more people come past me, including Rob Hope, ex GB Champ, I can’t do anything about it, except fall over again.

descent1

I finally get to the finish line relieved for it to be over. I have made a pretty good account of myself, less than 40 seconds away from the top 10, but I am annoyed at an opportunity missed. Satisfied to be able to walk away uninjured, and what an incredible race.

Gareth has run fantastically well, coming 4th. It is great catching up with everyone in the rugby field after, lots of beer and water being handed around. The locals and Hebog fell runners have done a fantastic job, with BBQ, cake stall, bouncy castle and music. Highlight of the whole day for me is chatting with Andy Davies after. So cool to hear his stories about London Marathon, where he is going through the same human stuff as everyone else, but running 2.15 all the same. Such a laid back, down to earth, nice guy.

I have a really sore belly that won’t give me peace, maybe from the belly flopping in the mud. There is blood dripping of my arm. My legs are killing me. That race takes strips off you. After the presentation, where I do very well, 3rd for Wales, and 1st local, I go straight home and hit the sofa, moaning. But then I think of something, and start laughing.

I have remembered a conversation I had with a man before the race, he has come to watch his son run, he leans in, as if to tell me some important secret;

“Between you and me…”

(pause for dramatic effect)

“if my boy just did some training, he could win”

F##k me that’s easy to say. There I am, bent over double on the sofa, legs cramping uncontrollably; all those tens of thousands of miles run, all the nose bleeds, the infuriating injuries, the anaemia, the fog of fatigue, the despairing defeats, the hundreds of books read, the schedules, the discipline, the early nights, the sensible diet, for decades at a time…and I only came 15th!

20/05/2019 AM PM
Monday 10tm REST
wanted to run on the Moelwyns, but ankles are achey
Tuesday 10 10 x 400m in 65 (2min rest). 1 x 400m in 61. 7 miles total
Love that feeling when you look down at your watch expecting to see 68, and it’s a 64!
Wednesday 9 Mountains REST
trying to find a shortcut on the Moelwyns, zero visibility, get lost!
Thursday 5tm REST
Tired. Sposed to do 10 miles AM, tell myself I can split it in 2, then skip PM run!
Friday 10tm REST
feeling good
Saturday REST Ras Y Moelwyn – 15th. 1.26.17. 12 miles total
pretty beat up after
Sunday 10tm
don’t want to run. Run goes nice tho
TOTAL: 73 miles tm = treadmill

Non-Running Highlight Of The Week:

I fitted a shower that works.

Best Thing On The Internet This Week:

Story of crazy talent, success, depression and redemption.

Thing I’m Digging This Week:

You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep, And It’s Killing You

https://www.wired.com/story/youre-not-getting-enough-sleep-and-its-killing-you/

I couldn’t agree with this more. People today are so into paying for hack stuff; super-vitamins, memory foam mattresses, nutri-bullets. But people don’t want to switch off their phones and go to sleep.

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Russell Bentley
Russell Bentley
Track runner. Trained in Kenya, Won the Snowdonia Marathon 2018, PB Berlin Marathon 2:20:20

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