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Three Shires Fell Race

Sat 15 Sept 2018, Little Langdale The final Harriers Fell Running Championship race of 2018 was the Three Shires, an arduous, rocky, twelve and a half miles challenge over Wetherlam, Swirl How, Pike O’Blisco and Lingmoor summits with 4000ft of ascent, starting and finishing at the Three Shires Inn in Little Langdale.

Going up the motorway the weather looked promising for the nine Harriers taking part: John Griffiths, John Rainford, Jim Doherty, Colin Shuttleworth, Roger Taylor, Robyn Anderson, Eleanor Parker, Vicki Sherrington and Alan Appleby.

Arriving at Hodge Close Quarry the views across the hills looked superb, all the tops could be seen and it felt a nice fresh day. After the twenty-five-minute walk to the Inn the runners went to the registration tent where lots of greeting and chatting was going on while queueing for the kit check which was quite rigorous, ensuring all compulsory gear was being carried by every competitor. This caused a delay to the 11am start by 15 minutes but in the pleasant atmosphere and surroundings no one seemed to be bothered.

The countdown completed, 262 runners headed off towards the first climb, Wetherlam. It is a good ‘warm up’ run down lanes and tracks before reaching the hill proper where the steady climb goes through bracken initially then becomes rockier and steeper after passing old mine workings.

The field of runners was very spread out and as the people towards the rear looked up they could see their fellow runners disappearing into the clag which had come down and enveloped a lot of the upper hill. Visibility was down to about 30m on the top.

The next section over to Swirl How was shrouded in cloud. There were a few walkers on this section looking on in amused amazement at runners in shorts and vests while they were suited up in full waterproofs and hats. The long rocky climb to the top was completed and next came the descent to the Three Shires Stone on Wrynose Pass.

There was a cut-off time of 2 hours at this point and everyone had been told at the start that this would be rigorously enforced. The last two through just made it with 2 minutes to spare! Was it relief at making the cut-off or dejection at having the rest of this tough race to run?

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