Accelerate Gritstone Series

Race Reporting: Burbage Skyline 2009

Mark Finish Burbage

By Mark Smalley

Burbage Skyline, my second ever fell race, the launch of the Accelerate Gritstone Series and a race beginning and ending at a pub, perfect!
A nice clear day, yet a cold wind chilling those in shorts and t-shirts leading to a penguin style huddle at the start line. A cheeky attempt to cut a couple of hundred metres off the start was quickly quashed by Andy Moore (race organiser) in his multicoloured jacket leading to a few questions raised as to whether he was wearing it for a bet?

Heading towards the back where I belonged I passed quite a few fast runners, Janet McIver among them, leading me to believe that the back was where I was destined to stay. A good start, finding some interesting routes down the first decent towards the stream and a fun jump across, only to struggle back up the slippery bank. Losing some time on the single file track through the heather was annoying at the time but a blessing when I still had some energy left for the finish. Through the woods and up to Mothercap, then on to Higgar Tor. The legs failing to make it all the way up without walking several times, due, I believe, to a lack of hills in Lincolnshire leading to a lack of quality hill training!

Next it was down the plummet, making up places I lost on the climbs and ‘then some’ as I sprinted straight down (probably due to my inexperience) and then into my favourite part of the race down by the stream. Another climb made my spirits sink and walking started again, sinking into the deep bog and falling over much to my embarrassment (at least I wasn’t the only one!)
Across the north bridge and onto the finish my legs still felt good and down the path towards the finish-line I made up a few valuable places. A sprint finish at the end brought me home in under an hour!

Overall a great race with some fantastic views along the edge, yet the cold wind was definitely felt on the top of Higgar Tor! Back from the finish for some warm clothes and a pint capped a memorable start to the fell season.

PIctured: Mark approaching the finish line
(Photo courtesey of Totley Nick).

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