Thinking of running the Fairfield Horseshoe fell race, WID?
I’ve got plans to do a bit more off-road running and decided to set sights on a fell classic. Can anyone shed any light on how tough this might be? Should I do some fell races in the lead up to it, or will it be doable for a fairly well trained me with a number of 10ks and halfs behind me?
Insights appreciated.Posted 4 years ago
When i’m staying with my parents Fairfield’s my local run, from the doorstep. Either that or my other favourite’s up Wansfell (equally as brutal an ascent as Nab Scar), across the Hundreds to the top of Kirkstone, up Red Screes (even steeper – so steep, my Garmin auto-paused because of the lack of lateral movement!) and then back down over the top of the quarry to the village.
Distance wise, you should be OK with 10s and halves, but… You need to factor in ascent as well – Fairfield’s reasonably tough going with quite a lot of ascent from the valley floor up to the summit. It’s a clockwise route which means you go up the steep approach, via Nab Scar, and down the steady side over High & Low Pikes. Can’t remember how much ascent I clocked last time I did it but then it was a winter run with snow as low as High and Low Pikes, took me about 3 hours, taking it steady.
If you’re up in the Lakes,you’re as well going and running it steadily as a recce and seeing how it is.Posted 4 years ago
I’ve done the race a couple of times and reasonably regularly run it, (couple of times a year?)
If you haven’t run on the fells before get a few practice runs in to get use to some height gain. I’d go for your own runs rather than races as this won’t push you into a pace that’s too quick. If you need to supplement your training adding in some hilly road cycling builds the type of strength you need in your legs better than just flat running. Also practice running down hill fast in a technical off road situation, (not on a good track,) and get yourself some proper fell shoes.Posted 4 years agoslowoldmanSubscriber
I certainly haven’t raced it but I have run it. Clockwise. A long time ago. But I recall the initial pull up onto Heron Pike was more brisk (!!) walk than run. Across the tops thereafter was a pleasant jog. Looks like a bit of a pull up onto the top on the map but i don’t really remember. The downhill stretch back was very nice. As was the beer.Posted 4 years agothe teaboyMember
It’s a straightforward route with little navigation needed, run at a good time of year. As big races go, it’s a good one to start with.
It’s about 3000′ of climbing in 9 miles. Where do you live? Can you get some decent hill reps on a climb that’s just about runnable?
I’d make sure you know the route and profile so a) you know what to expect and b) you know where you can get yourself safe if it goes horribly wrong. It’s classed as AM – you’ll need to carry full kit as per FRA regs.
edit: If you’re nearby, the Ilkley Moor race is also a bit of a classic and has just opened for business: http://www.ilkleyharriers.org.uk/index.php?page=imrPosted 4 years agoliquidMember
If you’ve not done a fell race before then be prepared for the descents as well the ascents, it places a different kind of strain on your legs compared to road or ‘trail’ running. A bit like biking the speed that a good seasoned fell racer drops during a race is amazing if you are just used to running on the road.Posted 4 years ago
The other obvious thing is navigation, even during a big fell race like Fairfield people still go off course if the clag is down (it’s easy to slip down into Dovedale)so if you can run the course before hand it’ll help.
If you do a couple of smaller races you can soon pick up tips just by watching others as well asking.
Great, thanks for the replies. More encouraging than I thought. I’m based in Sheffield, so the getting up hills thing shouldn’t be too difficult with a bit of extra hill work.
Will definitely have to practice the hard down hill running. Have had an achilles pain that makes this a bit unpleasant in training right now, but hope that’s going to clear up.
Fell shoes essential? I’ve got some minimalist NB MT110s (could have aggravated the achilles) – good enough for the fell?Posted 4 years ago
EDIT: @rse, beaten to it by Kendal, whilst being in depth…!
The MT110s may be ok if it’s been dry enough to bake the ground, otherwise you’ll struggle, especially on the descents, where the need for decent grip comes in – as others have said, the speed you can get up to is pretty high and coming off Fairfield it’s largely a very grassy route so you need the aggressive grip to stop you skidding/sliding. If you’re in Sheff then a good bet would be to get down to Acceler8 on Attercliffe Rd and have a look at fell shoes in there.
Checked Connect for my run stats from the snowy round in March – 17.1km from the doorstep, 994m of ascent, 2h 11m, average pace 7m 40s/km. Like I said, that’s a steady, not race, pace and in winter so being cautious. If you want I can send you a link to the activity so you can see the profile as well.
Before I moved recently I lived not far from the Peak and used to train regularly up there, I’d look at some sort of Mam Tor/Kinder circuit, starting from the bottom of the Edale valley, as a good option for something similar to train on.Posted 4 years ago
Fair enough on the shoes – I’ll look into some proper fell ones. Recommendations? Some cheap Walshes? I’m skint, so max £45 from sportsshoes.com or similar. Might drop round to Acceler8 to get some ideas though.
I’ll do a few Peaks runs to train into the style when I can, but I’m up the Lakes way, around Wasdale, at the end of Feb. What might be useful to head for around that way?
Any links would be appreciated, cheers: alaslas AT hotmail DOT co DOT ukPosted 4 years ago
In terms of Wasdale area it’s generally a little rockier than Fairfield, but running up and down anything over there would be good training. Incorperating Wasdale Screes into a run will give you some grassier ground which is not unlike the second half of the fairfield race.Posted 4 years ago
As Stever says, the More Miles have a very good rep as a budget shoe, regularly recommended on the FRA forum (which might be worth a look for some tips, both on shoes and otherwise). Other options are to look online at the likes of Pete Bland – always have discounted shoes. Obviously the issue there is buying online, but there’s nothing to stop you either popping to the shop in Kendal when you’re up in the Lakes or trying on elsewhere and then buying online…
As for Wasdale, bear in mind you’re going up in February so it could be cold/wet/windy/snowy/icy/etc so if you’ve not got much fell running experience then be cautious!
I’m backwards and forwards to my folks’ in Ambleside relatively regularly, drop me an email (addy in profile) – be happy to guide your round Fairfield sometime if dates are convenient.Posted 4 years agoTomBSubscriber
For cheapness, I bought new balance 101’s like These from the factory shop in keswick. They were about £25 and have been great, with excellent grip running down wet grass, bit slippy on wet smooth rock. Wear them all the time. When I googled them the new ones that came up seemed to have a less aggressive tread.Posted 4 years agorichpipsMember
While I’m here, anyone know where I might pick up some budget essentials to satisfy the FRA regs? I’m talking a bare nod to the rules.
Good luck with that. After a fatality at Buttermere the other year, kit checks are much more stringent these days.
For the record, some years ago a Lady died at the Fairfield race too. 🙁Posted 4 years ago
Have a look at the FRA website – it’s got the rules and regs on specific kit requirements (for outer layer – showerproof minimum, 5000mm hydrostatic head IIRC, taped seams, etc…), then have a look on the forum for actual kit recommendations. Although, be prepared for the “what tyre for…”-type threads about kit to be even more extreme and hotly debated than on here…
But the basics – bum bag, thin thermal gloves, hat (I use a Buff for multifunctionality), “emergency food”, taped-seam waterproof top and bottoms, map, compass, whistle.
Was in Pete Bland a couple of days ago – they’re knocking out, I think it was the Inov8 Mistlite, jacket and trousers combos on sale at the moment for not an awful lot and if you’re really on a budget they’ve got some bargain bins next to the counter that’d be worth a look if you can make it in in Feb.
EDIT: PS emailed you a link, to my Connect log for Fairfield, last night…Posted 4 years ago
Just replied to your email, thanks! Doubt I’ll get chance to drop by Blands before my first fell attempt at the end of the month, so it looks like I’ll be getting some eBay special over trousers and a rock bottom budget water proof from Decathlon or similar. Have got most of the rest apart from a funky bum bag!Posted 4 years ago
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