365 days of hill running wisdom – February


Day 32: ‘Fell running – the key to women’s lib’: ‘They achieve equality in running the same courses as men, getting equally wet and muddy as men, and running faster than men.’ Up and Down magazine, 1990.Women's lib

Day 33: ‘What is it about grassy knolls, viewpoints, or even Munros, that makes people instantly want to get to the top of them?’ Suse Coon asks. It is not a simple answer.

Day 34: ’s attitude to the : ‘I ask myself, “Am I doing the best possible job, right now, that I am capable of today?” If the answer is not “I am at 100% effort,” then I just try harder, no matter how badly it hurts, I just push harder.’

Day 35: The finish line scene at the end of the world’s first hill race in 11th century Scotland: ‘They lay all three, within a few paces of each other, but they panted so strongly that their bodies seemed to rise of themselves from the ground.’

Day 36: With two summits to go, Roger Smith (centre) races the clock on his Bob Graham Round: ‘I didn’t dare look at my watch, but I felt that time was racing away. I wanted to stop but I couldn’t. I kept praying: “Please let me get there. Please don’t let me fail now.’”Roger Smith NEW

Day 37: ‘It can rarely be worthwhile to hazard life on the uncertain issue of a game. If the adventure is good enough, however, it may seem well worthwhile to take a good many chances.’ – Geoffrey Winthrop Young in Mountaincraft (1920)

Day 38: In memory of Robin Morris, who died on Sunday and gave hill running in Scotland freedom from England: ‘Scottish independence from the Fell Runners Association was not only important, it was almost an imperative.’

Day 39: Selwyn Wright, chairman of the Bob Graham 24 Hour Club, on the sport: ‘By nature, fell runners don’t like to have a high profile; we don’t want it to be commercial. It’s in there (points to head), and it’s in there (points to heart). That’s where it should be.’

Day 40: Runners at the Carnethy 5, taking place tomorrow, climb into a snowstorm in the 2015 race. Over to Robert Louis Stevenson:

‘Black are my steps on silver sod;

Thick blows my frosty breath abroad.’

Day 41: Joss Naylor, 82 today, on his seven-day run over the 214 Wainwrights: ‘I just do not have words suitable to describe the discomfort, the physical pain, the frustration and the worry we all had to suffer.’

Day 42: ‘To pit oneself merely against other players, and make a race of it, is to reduce to the level of a game what is essentially an experience. Yet what a race-track for these boys to choose.’ Nan Shepherd, born today in 1893, on her beloved Cairngorms.Nan

Day 43: ‘The hills make us feel small and free at the same time, putting everything into a new perspective. Out there, through their inescapable magic, the past and the future are set aside, and we just are here, now.’ on simply being.

Day 44: The mantra of Charlie Campbell as he ran 284 Munros in 49 days: ‘Don’t fret if you find your body cannot run. Just remember to feel the ground beneath your feet – every stone and tussock. Become part of the earth.’

Day 45: John Lenehan encapsulates the gulf between running and racing: ‘I am a 61-year-old fell runner. I used to be a fell racer and there lies the difference. Fell racing hurts.’

Day 46: Peter Crompton reflects on finishing a 12-hour, 30-top Joss Naylor Challenge, aged 60: ‘Isn’t fell running just wonderful?’ Turning 60!

Day 47:

Six Kilometers up the forest road

I need a pull uphill and once more I’m overtaken

By the boundless freedom

Of breath and a heart for running

Cut by the cold and

Jumping into the stream

Stone stepping the rocks

The soaked heat of my socks.

Day 48: John Muir on good mornings: ‘How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!’

Day 49: Why runs: ‘The mountain is a blank canvas, and I’m the paintbrush that refuses to obey a paint-by-number pattern. Running provides my imagination with the means to express itself and delve into my inner self.’

Day 50: Chris Brasher on the Bob Graham 24 Hour Club: ‘(It is) the most exclusive club in the world because you cannot buy your way into it… you become a member only by accepting the challenge of those 42 peaks…’img_0524.jpg

Day 51: Billy Bland, Bob Graham Round record holder, on talent, as told to : ‘I certainly wasn’t the most talented. I had a talent for running downhill, and my only other talent was for training hard.’

Day 52: Scottish Lib Dem leader : ‘You’ll know that I like to run up hills. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes you think the summit will never come.’ (I’ll spare you the next line of political analogy). Willie Rennie’s speech

Day 53: listening to the snowy, winter hills of the Peak District: ‘Sounds carry: the tinkling of the icy brook… the dripping of thawing icicles on gritstone boulders… the frosty remains of expanding bracken.’

Day 54: Running Mr Sparkle’s Dark ‘un tonight? All the essential information is here, including: ‘Sorry, but pub can no longer provide chip butties.’

Day 55: ‘Mountains are there to be enjoyed, and enjoyed leisurely. I could never have travelled at speed on foot, nor have I ever wanted to.’ Alfred Wainwright – as forthright as ever – on fell running and the Fairfield Horseshoe.

Day 56: A view from the middle: ‘There is an unspoken solidarity among “pack” runners to cajole, joke and motivate – to keep moving upwards, preventing festering thoughts of defeat, and focusing ahead; always towards the next horizon.’ The Joy of Fell Running

Day 57: on his seven-day Wainwrights round, writing in There is No Map in Hell: ‘Sometimes it has felt like a hell that was never going to finish… I have carried on and on, pushing myself harder and further than I have ever done before.

Day 58: Race tips: ‘You’ll decide that the little dried-up beck on your map is a raging watercourse of Evian… You’ll see the bog surrounding it and decide that ’tis the season for bilberries… Nav? Well, I’ll just follow the guy in front.’ Racing: Style, Secrets and Tips

Day 59: on his then-fastest traverse of the Cuillin ridge: ‘The valley was slowly enveloped in a sea of mist, leaving the ridge the only thing floating above in the sunshine. It was like running in heaven.’ Cuillin Ridge Record

@MuirJonny

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