The Morning After has, in the past, been plagued by inclement weather but this year New Year’s Day dawned with an air temperature above freezing, which was in considerable contrast to what we had to endure over the Christmas period. There was the threat of some drizzle but that wasn’t going to bother the majority of the hardy throng that had gathered to contest this fell race which seems to grow in popularity year on year. I’m not really sure how many took part but 110 runners were listed at the finish, which doesn’t include the family groups and dog walkers who also followed the 4.6m course; as in all fellr aces, this wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, so credit should go to everyone who completed the course, regardless of how quickly they did it. As this was my first ‘prpoer’ fell race, I was definitely on a learning curve but I must admit that some of the cross country races I’ve taken part in are a prety good measure of your fell-running ability.
The race was won by Paul Jones of Oswestry, who was also the first MV40 (do fell runners improve with age?), who completed the course in 31.08, the firsst MV50 was 6th and although Simon was an incredible 8th, he was still only 3rd MV40! First lady was Alison Lavender of Mercia Fell Runners in 11th place (34.41), only 7 seconds ahead of the 2nd lady, by the name of Tom Roo!
Of the Croft runners, Mick L (listed as running for Ludlow) finished 30th (37.06), Mark was 38th (38.33), Sue D 1st Fv40 in 39.28, Gary 1st MV60 (55th) in 40.46 just ahead of Suzanne (56th, 41.54), whilst Nicky followed not too far behind in 63rd (41.54), with mum and daughter getting their (glamour!) picture in the Shropshire Star!
Next up was your truly, in 77th (43.13) with Matt, struggling with winter flu, coming home in 92nd (44.46), followed closely by Brian L, 93rd in 44.48. Everyone was treated afterward to a cup of hot soup and a bread roll at race HQ and hopefully returned home feeling less hung over than when they arrived. Full results available on the Mercia Fell Runners website.