FRA Relays – Tebay – 16 October 2021

By Paul Bayley

On Saturday 16 October 2021 a number of Tringers headed north again for the FRA Relays which were being organised by Helm Hill club near Tebay just off the M6 (near a great service station in case you need!).

Special mention should go to Simon, Matt and Ross for heading North 3 weekends on the trot (Hodgson Bros, 3 Peaks and FRA Relays) and to Ross, Matt and Simon B for having the negotiation skills to get 3 weekends on the trot away from family duties!

The walk from the car park proved to be a 2-3 mile test in itself on tough, muddy terrain and nasty cambers. Jo and I just managed to get to the start in time to see Fraser storm out of field amidst the mass start and romp round his 6km (430m climb) leg in short time with a smile on his face proving that Shropshire exports made great fell runners! 

Fraser handed over to Tom and Simon B, but Tom seemed to forget it was a pairs leg as he nearly left Simon behind in the start field, but then realised Simon would be doing the navigation on the leg and stepped back in line! They ran a cracking leg of 10km (700m climb) with Simon on the tools but apparently no compass actions as required!

Tom and Simon obviously surprised Ross and Matt as they were trying to pack jackets away as they started their tough leg of 10km (940m climb), but they overcame any obstacles in their way and stormed round in quick time.

They handed over to me on the last leg of 5.5km (370m climb) after waiting in the starting pen and trying to warm up, but it was quite humid and warm. It was great to actually be off and running out of the field and up the tarmac track. Then on to the muddy path less fells and I commenced my first steep climb which was steep and tough with plenty of hands on knees action! The climb started to flatten out amidst the bogs and tussocks as the final climb on to Hare Shaw and the first checkpoint. Then followed a summit plateau fast run along to the summit of Blease Fell and then the beauty of descending from checkpoint 2 as fast I could do passing anyone who was more tentative.

I managed to stay upright and made up a few places and that descent and then the last push in to the finish. All the way round my leg I was saying to myself “don’t let the team down, keep pushing”. I arrived in to the finish thinking the team would be out to see me home. At the finish I couldn’t find them so I headed in to the food marquee to find them all sat round having “tea and cakes”. They were a little surprised to see me back already. “Under promise, over deliver!”

Fraser then proceeded to trot 13 miles back to Kendal train station after his leg. His leg wasn’t long enough I don’t think! Then Simon B rode 16 miles to and from the start/finish and utilised the train! Some people will do anything for a fell run.