Chapelfell Top Fell Race, 10th October 2020

Here is another Fell Race report from Richard Slack. Richard sent this in before the results were in, and I am happy to confirm that Kris Axon was the winner – well done, Kris!

Chapelfell Top is one of the many 2000 foot summits in The Eastern Pennines, Weardale with its summit at 703m or in old money 2,300 feet. The 2020 Fell Race, organised by Durham Fell Runners went ahead with Covid restrictions in a staged start of groups of six at ten minute intervals. It is around 7km with 360m ascent in total. From Claremont, Kris Axon, Dave Lydall and myself entered with Maddie also being there as official supporter. The race starts from St John’s Chapel and immediately heads up a stony and then boggy bridleway. We had all started together but soon Kris had disappeared over the horizon and out onto the open moorland.

Thereafter, the route becomes pretty easy to describe. Moorland, tussocky grass and peathags (fun eh!) as you just keep heading uphill and more uphill towards the summit cairn. As Dave and I approached the push towards the summit, Kris came zooming past on his way back down which at least gave us a line in towards the top! Two marshalls awaited at the summit cairn which is the turnaround point with now a big downhill all the way back to St John’s Chapel. I had one fairly soggy fall on the moorland part but Kris went one better with a full length dive at full pelt on the home straight of the bridle path. So as well as his excellent time of 36 mins and 7 seconds (only two runners have been sub 36 minutes in the last four years!) he also has a collection of leg abrasions too! Dave and I came in a short (sic) while later in around 54 and 52 minutes respectively.

A great race which we all enjoyed although Maddie is still not convinced of the allure of fell running!

Hopefully Kris will be confirmed as the winner but official results not yet released, and as we started in groups of six this is currently unknown…….maybe another twist to Jamie’s stories.

Kris Axon (1st place)36:06
Richard Slack52:08
David Lydall54:19

Full results are here.

Tom Tinsley -