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Intercounties Fell Running Championships, Blackburn

18/05/2014

The British Intercounties Fell Running Championships was held on Sunday in Witton Park, Blackburn. DRC's Jo Zakrzewski was selected to run for the West of Scotland and so headed down there to race. She wasn't really sure how she'd fare on a shorter faster course with steep downhills, but decided to give it a go...

The ladies' race consisted of 2 large laps and a smaller loop, being approximately 10k long and including just under 400m of climbing and descent. Unfortunately for the runners, the day was bright and sunny, so the temperature at the noon start was about 22 degrees, and with no water enroute, people were glad of any tree cover around.

The first 500m was a flat run through calf length grass, before the ladies started their ascent, on paths which included both steps and tree roots. Unfortunately Jo fell on the first ascent to the top of the park, but managed to pick herself up (suffering only grazes rather than broken bones this time) and carry on. The original course had the runners descend almost back to the start before ascending again, but another event caused a route diversion into a cow-filled field. Some ladies found the "hands on knees" ascent in this field rather tough, while others were more worried about running down between cows and their calves.

Jo knew that people would pass her on the descents so tried to keep pushing on during any flatter sections, and actually found that on the second large loop, she passed several runners that couldn't come back to her on the descents. The final 500m was a furious run back in across the grass, with Jo closing down the lady in front from 20s to 3s, finishing in 18th place in a time of 49:48. Jo was the third counter for the Scotland West team who were awarded bronze medals (behind Yorkshire and Scotland East), with Cumbria's Sarah Tunstall winning the race with a minute's margin.

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