Fell racing has now started in earnest for members of Cumberland Fell Runners with two recent races.

The first was the YHA King of the Castle in Borrowdale, which has become a bit of an unofficial season opener for a large chunk of the lakes fell running community.

It is a short race, which is run as a time trial due to the narrow race route.

The fastest time of the day was posted by Keswick AC’s James Appleton with 11:45, over 30 seconds ahead of anyone else. First CFR home was Tim Irlam, in a time of 13:25, with Adam Cresswell close behind.

A welcome return to racing for John Boyle saw him finish second vet 40, with Howard Seal just behind. Howard had raced a half marathon that morning, so quite an achievement to “double up” with two races in one day.

He wasn’t the only one though – Jane Mottram did the same. Andy Beaty and Peter Crompton separated by only one second for second and third in the over 60 category. Rosie Watson was well up in the lady’s results, with Lindsay Buck well placed in her age category and Kate Beaty winning hers. There were 105 runners at this increasingly popular early year race.

The following week, saw the racing move to Threlkeld and the La Sportive sponsored Clough Head race. The race is held as part of the Kong winter fell race series. A total of 25 members of CFR raced with some very encouraging results.

Conditions were a challenge with wind, cloud and at times rain making the route difficult to follow.

The race attracted a lot of top runners from the big Cumbrian clubs, wanting some early season quality racing and was won by Keswick AC’s Mark Lamb in a time of 31:48, three seconds ahead of his clubmate John Battrick.

There were over 180 competing and CFR’s Mario Yeomans was placed a splendid seventh place under two minutes behind and showing that his winter training is paying off. Tim Irlam was next man home for CFR three minutes later.

Two new members showed their promise with Jim Masters running as a vet 40 finishing in 22nd and Adam Cresswell in 24th. Peter Walmsley was second male under 23.

For the ladies, CFR’s Sophie Noon finished in 27th place and third lady overall, only a minute behind one of the best runners in the country, international athlete Victoria Wilkinson. Kate Beaty won the vet 60 category, whilst her husband Andy was second the male over 60 category.

The racing moves nearer to West Cumbria this weekend, with a race organised by Cumberland Fell runners.

The popular Blake’s Heaven race on Saturday goes from Lamplugh at 12 noon. The race will be run under FRA rules and so full racing kit may have to be carried should the organisers deem the weather to need it.

There should be a large number of blue and white vests at this local race.

The club meets every Tuesday, from a variety of locations in West Cumbria for a general training group run and there is an interval session on Thursday night. More details at: www.c-f-r.org.uk