What a difference a day makes

What a difference a day makes — Phil Gillard’s UK FRA Relays report

Saturday 18th October 2009 was a glorious day in the Western Lake District; as we drove from our hotel to the Ennerdale hills, they seemed to welcome us “come and play on us” was the very clear message and so we did.

A good recee was the order of the day; the gradual climbs (in parts) and grassy descents seemed an ideal location for the 2009 fell relays.

The following morning was very different; taking the same route to the tented village at the start of the event, the message from the hills was a menacing; “come and play on us if you dare”. It is funny how your basic senses can smell this kind of change.

The event consisted of 4 legs:

Leg 1: AS Solo – 5.8 m/1500’
Leg 2: AM Pairs – 6.7 m/2500’
Leg3: Orienteering Pairs– 5.6 m/1410’
Leg 4: AS Solo – 5.1 m/1600’

One hundred and forty nine team started the event, the Helsby team of Adair, Rachel, Georgina, Sally, Jackie and Phil finished in 120th position, a very creditable performance given the worsening weather conditions.

The clag came in during leg 2 and became gradually thicker during the event with leg 4 requiring the use of a compass even though it was a non navigation leg. These conditions do tend to reduce the advantage of the faster teams and mountain craft was more the order of the day; the three teams who finished first were all disqualified for missing out the first check point on leg 4.

This Youtube clips shows how it should be done; a fantastic descent from Tim Davies – even though he was one of the athletes who missed out on the first checkpoint


This is my favourite running event of the year, a combination of; team spirit, friendly atmosphere, superb athletes and scary challenge give me real buzz – roll on Scotland in 2010.

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