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16th March 2017

Fell running, World Championship Qualification and hypothermia!

The start of the year tends to bring with it my first fell races. I was introduced to fell racing a couple of years ago by my friend and I love it! It is totally different to road running; just you running on the fells in the beautiful peak district. I would recommend it to anyone!

My running club, Totley, run a race called Tiggor Tor and I found myself on the start line for this race a few weeks ago. I started the race and was already feeling tired legs from the amount of training I had done that week. It was just a case of pushing on as hard as I could and ignoring the pain. 10 miles and a couple of river crossings later I sprinted for the line and was pleased to pick up a prize for 1st in the my age group, 4th lady overall, so not a bad result!

I’ve been looking for a new bike for over a year now and last week finally treated myself! Keen to try it out as soon as I could I entered Oulton Park Duathlon. A duathlon is run-bike-run, the idea being that it is too cold to swim this time of year; little did I know though how bad the weather conditions would be though! We racked our bikes and laid our gear out knowing everything would be soaking wet by the time we got to it. To make matters worse it started to snow 5 mins before the race started!

I set off on the 4.5km run and felt ok, I was about 8th place in the field and warmed up enough to be comfortable. I came in to transition and kicked my trainers off then ran with my bike and hopped on to it. The race itself was lovely as it was around Oulton Race track but by the time I had been 3 times around the 5 lap track I was absolutely freezing and just concentrating on working hard on my bike and not losing count of the number of laps I had done. Coming back to the transition area on my bike my hands were so cold I couldn’t undo the velcro on my shoes, I then also found I was completely unable to do undo the strap to remove my helmet.

After much shrieking in frustration (as I knew I was wasting time) I got my helmet off, put my trainers on and went off on my final 4.5km run. It was as soon as I started the run I knew I was in trouble…. I could see the male runner in front of me but I was getting tunnel vision and felt strange as if I wasn’t really moving. I knew I was suffering badly from the cold and spent the next 15 mins just putting one foot in front of the other to get to the end. I got to the finish line in a state of collapse and was taken to the recovery tent suffering from hypothermia. Thankfully my team mates were there to look after me and stop me being taken in to an ambulance. A couple of hours later after a warm shower, I was still shivering but starting to come round, and my friend told me I’d won my age group, which meant I had also qualified for the World Duathlon Championships!!

My coach who was also racing said they were the worst conditions he had ever raced in, and 21 competitors got hypothermia so I wasn’t the only one to suffer! Looking back now the course was lovely and my new bike was fab so I’ll probably go back to their next event there in October!