The Ian Hodgson Memorial fell relay has become something of a ‘must do’ team relay event amongst fell running clubs. 68 clubs compete in this event each year and there is waiting list due to the popularity of the event. The total distance is
24.5 miles with 8500ft of climbing. There are 4 legs and each leg must be run as a pair and there are male, female, over 40 and mixed team categories. The race is run in memory of Ian Hodgson who was tragically killed whilst out cycling the day after competing in the Karrimor Mountain Marathon in 1985. Unfortunately due to a time delay in calculating the results Ian never knew that he and his partner had won the race. A more in depth history about the Ian and the race can be found here http://www.ihmr.org.uk/history.html
A glorious, clear and sunny autumn morning greeted us for the start of the event. We had entered as a mixed team and Nicola Raby and Sarah Parkinson set off from Patterdale on leg 1 at 9.15am. The first leg was 4.5 miles with 1,000 feet of climbing. Nicola and Sarah ran a fantastic first leg and passed over the timing dibber to myself and my running partner Dominic Raby in 41st place. Leg 2 started at Hartsop and comprised of 7.5 mile and 2,600 feet of climbing. The first ascent went up The Knott, then over High Street fell, the summit of Stony Cover Pike and a technical descent from St Ravens Edge down to the inn at the top of Kirkstone Pass.
I haven’t done much running on the fells this year but was happy with our leg as we overtook 8 teams and passed the dibber onto Hassan Khattab and Dawn Atkins. They both ran a storming leg 3 to maintain our position. Leg 3 was 4.5 miles with 2,000 feet of climbing taking in the long climb up Red Screes from Kirkstone Inn. Our final leg had prolific fellsman Darren Fishwick and newly crowned Queen of the Mountains Lynn Clough paired together. They gained a further position over the 7.5 mile 2,800 feet final leg bringing the team home in 32nd overall and 2nd mixed team. This was a fantastic result and a great team effort with Dave Lee, Anna-Maria Crabtree and Paul Jackson provide great support and organising the logistics for each leg.
It is with great sadness that I have to report that the following day we received the very tragic news that a fellow runner died whilst on leg 4. Darren Holloway 42, was not only a great fell runner but a true gentleman and was very well respected amongst the close knit fell running community. The news really has sent shockwaves through the sport and tributes are pouring in on the fellrunners forum. Everyone knew Daz H, myself included. He was a regular at all fell races and would often offer advice and encouragement to all runners…he was bloody fast also!!! The cause of death has been identified as Left Ventricular hypertrophic obstructive Cardiomyopathy. RIP Daz