The Great Whernside

6.4km / 4m  –  474m / 1555ft

5th lady? in 43ish? – 1st Ian Holmes 32:20  1st Lady Anne Baumber 39:27

On Saturday, for a change, I decided to do a fell race… The Great Whernside. Based in Kettlewell, this race boasts a pretty classic format – 2+miles uphill, 2-miles downhill, grass, tussocks, bog and a couple of technical rocky sections. Also it was bloody freezing… my first race carrying ‘full body cover’.

In my head I thought doing this race would be a good alternative for hill reps. For some reason I always manage to mislead myself into thinking fell racing is easy – bit of uphill, bit of across, bit of down, oh and you get to walk! But of course the perception is completely wrong, and in reality it is probably one of the toughest sports going.

I went into the race having done 9miles running and 1hr30mins on the bike the day before, so not exactly fresh… thinking I could just blag it. As it was I got to about half way up the ascent before my legs came off. And I mean completely fell off. The boggy section (complete with layer of ice!) seemed to sap all my energy and from there I just sort of gave up (nb, must improve mental toughness!) and walked to the top.

From the turnaround runners turned back the way we came, but with the option of cutting corners, and after about 10 seconds of descending I promptly turned my ankle and went face first down the hillside – falling on my dodgy shoulder (fractured in July) – and just lying there for a while whimpering! Getting up I found I had developed a stitch, probably from being winded and wound up… after a while though it disappeared and, despite falling flat on my face a few more times (fall tally = 6) I can honestly say I enjoyed the last mile descent to the finish.

Despite doing a 3 mile recovery jog a few hours after racing, by Sunday my legs were wrecked. The only exercise I managed on Sunday was a hobble to the shops… today my legs are a bit better, and I’m hoping to get out on my bike at lunchtime and then have some Sports Therapy treatment from the Ewok tonight.

Token fell race done for the year…

Photo from


One thought on “The Great Whernside

  1. Well at least you looked great in the fastrax vest; and the colour matches (sadly) the bloody knees! You have to try these races but perhaps YOU have to ask yourself whether you would have been better joining Mary W. on Saturday doing their grass session. Was this a coach approved race?
    I hope the falls in the race won’t set you back and you can get back to full training within a day or so. TAKE CARE! Terry

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