365 Days of Hill Running Wisdom – March

Day 61: An insight into the High Peak Marathon: ‘The descent off Lose Hill was something to behold – a frantic, impossibly slippy, muddy, vertical drop. Most logical humans would take their time to pick a good footing and a safe line off such a death trap – not so fell runners.’

Day 62: The ethos of Martin Stone, the first to complete the UK’s three 24-hour classic rounds: ‘These things were totally for my own satisfaction.’ No Facebook updates, no Instagram posts, no Strava segments.

Day 63: ‘Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery.’ – John Ruskin

Day 64: on the ‘unparalleled feeling’ of racing in the hills: ‘A sense of presence comes from being immersed in the elements while pushing at the edge of physical ability. It feels a bit like flying.’

Day 65: on a ‘band of brothers and sisters’: ‘I have often met them on the hills and marvelled at their grace. Few can appreciate the joy of the freedom they experience moving fast and light using fitness and stamina to take mountaineering to another level.’

Day 66: ‘Oh my God!’ Coleridge marvels at the mountains that cradle Wasdale. What would he have made of the Bob Graham Round?

Day 67: Who says hill runners don’t ‘train’? Keith Burns’ schedule: ‘A typical week has a long run in the mountains, an hour up and down Traprain Law, 4 miles on each of 4 lunch times, one session of reps up and down a rubbish dump, and numerous trips up a 38-metre staircase.’

Day 68: Fell running MP : ‘One of the great things about fell running is that it’s so egalitarian. Complete also-rans like me can take part in the same race as first class athletes like Rob Jebb.’


Day 69: John Manning recalling the 2008 Edale Skyline: ‘The race was strangely reminiscent of Bob Dylan’s Mr Tambourine Man – “my senses have been stripped, my hands can’t feel to grip, my toes too numb to step”.’ This year’s race, organised by , is tomorrow.

Day 70: How about this for ambition? 1970 Fellrunner: ‘Have you any particular targets?’ Twenty-year-old Dave Cannon: ‘To break all the fell race records. To run for England.’

Day 71: Kate Bush talks a good game:

‘It doesn’t hurt me

Do you wanna feel how it feels?

So if I only could

Be running up that hill

With no problems’

Day 72: A ‘typical week’s training’ for ’s John Gallacher, who summitted the Clackmannanshire hill of Dumyat 100 times in 1992.

Day 73: Why running 80-120 miles a week isn’t a ‘sacrifice’ for : ‘I don’t know if I sacrifice much – I do all the things I want. I run, I do a job that I love, and I spend most of the rest of the time with the people I love.’

Day 74: The purist approach of Glyn Jones in a six-day winter completion of the 215-mile Southern Upland Way:

– No sleeping or sheltering in a manmade structure.

– No purchase or begging of food.

– On his back: 19lbs of food and a plastic sheet under which he would sleep rough.

Day 75: Stewart Whitlie, 13-time Scottish hill racing champion, is kept grounded by his mother at the Pentland Skyline: ‘Och, Stewart, you’ve never done well at this race. Will you never win it?’


Day 76: The Scottish hill racing championship kicks off today at Chapelgill: ‘It’s really quite a simple wee race – bash straight up steeply for a mile, then turn around and madly cartwheel down the heather, quads protesting all the way.’ It is VERY steep.

Day 77: Nick Macdonald on community: ‘Words spoken or simply felt; times too of good craic, camaraderie, competition. Heartbeats and heartaches, death and defeat, insults and injuries, life, love and laughter. You are beginning to think of a hill running club.’

Day 78: ‘Coming downhill, I find it very hard to resist putting my arms out and pretending I’m an aeroplane,’ says in this superb interview with Angela Mudge. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07dlww6

Day 79: What does it feel like to run up and down Arthur’s Seat 48 times in 24 hours? Hard, unsurprisingly. Lewis Breen’s assessment: ‘I felt like taking my bag off and throwing it down the hill.’

Day 80: Unsurprisingly, Will Self’s ungulate references about runners in the Jura Fell Race didn’t go down well: ‘There’s something a little bit intimidating about the goaties; they’re so damn fit and wiry, they might poke your eye out with one of those horny hands.’

Day 81: An anonymous view on online entry, as featured in the 2017 Scottish Hill Running Journal:

Pay online is now the way,

Not allowed entry on the day,

Looking all that way ahead,

Perhaps you might already be dead.

Day 82: From the ‘dictionary of cliches for fell runners’: ‘Just let me say this – This race is too hard for me.’

Day 83: Dom Joly on the Heaval race on : ‘Up here, if you see a hill then you run up it. They are a tough bunch and it’s exactly this kind of activity that keeps them match-fit and ready to fight off another Viking invasion.’

Day 84: ‘Fell runners – unarguably the fittest people in the world – thrive on a diet of sharp stones and dew.’ – As reported in the June 1990 issue of The Fellrunner.

Day 85: Competing in her first fell race at the Stoop, appreciates some words of encouragement: ‘(There was) an elderly gentleman walking back up the hill in the opposite direction. “Don’t worry,” he said. “Yeh not quite last.”’

Day 86: In a sentence, Colin Donnelly explains his success as a hill runner: ‘I try to do 365,000 feet of climbing a year.’ That is 7,000 feet (2,100 metres) every week, or an annual 83 ascents of Ben Nevis.

Day 87: Mark Rigby’s motivation for his eponymous 1988 round in the Cairngorms: ‘The challenge could be made more spicy with just me to consider, by making it unsupported, and, as an extra, unreconnoitered… the antithesis of the trend towards down-to-the-minute planning.’

Day 88: The slogan that has avoided becoming a gimmick: ‘Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated.’

Day 89: In the spirit of fairness, following yesterday’s tweet, here’s ’s marketing strapline: ‘Worn by British fell running champion, Finlay Wild.’

Day 90: The brutal honesty of a sport in the map instructions to racers in the Langdale Horseshoe: ‘Runners’ trod under crags – dreadful but right.’


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