Charlesworth Chase Fell Race

Another esoteric race choice – a race with a pint thrown in!  Sunday 12th May Wharfedale Harriers hosted their Charlesworth Chase Fell Race at Aptwick (or Appletreewick for non locals).   The race was first run in 2012 when two of their runners wanted to tie a race in to their nuptials. The initial race had the bride set off with a 20 minutes head start but she was caught by husband-to-be Nick Charlesworth (still the race organiser) before the finish – they and others donned wedding outfits for the race!   The race is now an annual event and takes the same route, but without bridal wear (no one’s stopping anyone though).   It’s a conventional Fell Race in a lovely part of the world and ‘just’ 5.5miles with 1200 Ft of ascent and a surprising twist on completion – the clue is in the big blue tankard symbol on the map.  insert – CharlesworthChaseMap  Leaving the Craven Arms at Appletreewick the route heads down to the Wharfe before a long lung bursting climb up to Simon’s seat. A clamber over the craggy peak to the trig point (stunning views) then a reverse descent back to the pub…and the sting in the tale! Outside the pub are lined up a pint (or half) of beer for each competitor (or pint of lemonade for those who can’t consume alcohol or haven’t really understood the event). Your time doesn’t stop until you down the pint, a challenge in itself after the last half mile of gentle climb – many people find this as difficult a challenge as any other hardship encountered, I know I wished I heeded the advice of a recent finisher who said save yourself so you can down the pint – wise words.  insert – Run1, Run2, Run3  The weather was stunning, calm and blue sky and the route combined lovely trails across fields and the banks of the river Wharfe with stunning views from the summit but the small matter of a very long slog up and back. Times aren’t really important but I finished in 57th of 107 in a time of 57:04. The important thing is it’s a wonderful social event. The prize giving reflects this with with prizes beyond the winners and winners of age classes (wine & beer naturally enough) – a prize was given for 100th, fastest drink downing (not taken too seriously), calamity (a fellow who fell on rocks and split his head) and for support – the lady who helped him down. It’s a serious race, but a fun one too. As an aside – the ever young Norman Bush (80 this year) came in two and a half minutes ahead of me – truly inspirational.  insert – Run4, Run5  A pint of beer, free soup after and only £6 – an excellent fell race in a delightful part of the world – what’s not to like (ignoring it clashes with the Ripon 10)  Congrats on Ripon 10 – still one of my favourite ‘non fell’ races, lovely course.  Cheers, Marc  


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