Last night a hundred or so runners took part in the short but gruelling 4.3m Ilam Park Fell Race that crammed in over 450m of elevation up and over 3 of the biggest hills in and around Dovedale. Whilst trudging up the 2nd and toughest of these mounts, named Flagpole Hill, with sweat stinging my eyes, I laughed through gritted teeth to those around me, “Why are we doing this again?”. The simple answer must be a tinge of insanity, a dash of sadism and a healthy love of the outdoors and running. I just scraped in as 1st lady, defending my crown from last year. And my prize for this effort? A baguette! Yep, a French stick and jar of chutney, but do you know what? It was a bloody great prize!
Fell running is a whacky sport when it comes down to it. You rock up to a random field, footpath, pub or village hall, pay someone a fiver and then proceed to run up the nearest hills as fast as your legs will wilfully carry you. We get filthy muddy, scratched by plant life, chased by livestock, soaked by rain, scorched by sun (not often) and trip over endless boulders and roots. Voluntarily, hell we pay for the privilege! For fun! So I guess it figures that the prizes awarded for such madness should follow suit.
So, last night was a prize baguette, the bread winner if you will. The week before I got a packet of crumpets (edibility is a definite and positive theme here). A follower on Instagram told me they recently won a stuffed Tigger toy and a black pudding. Much more fun and ever so slightly more practical than a medal! I’ve been lucky enough to win beer, wine, homemade cakes, jam, a beautiful framed print, lots of vouchers and running gear, and I love them all and the trouble and thought that goes into providing them. But the crazier the better in my opinion!
Please do reply with your weird and wonderful race winnings.
Happy running x