Fell in, and out of, love with off road extreme running

David Palmer has been making a quiet return to running over the past month after work increasingly got in the way.

After successfully completing the Saunders Mountain Marathon at the start of July in the Lake District – a two-day running and navigation event when participants carry their own tent, food and water, he was spurred on to enter a number of other off-road events since.

With his wife Helen he travelled to Yelverton to take part in ‘Six Moor Miles’ an enjoyable undulating 10k. 250 runners took part in this popular yearly event on the edge of Dartmoor. A sharp shower 10 minutes into the run turned the course into a muddy ice rink and one participant was heard to say he wished he had stayed in to watch the beach volleyball! But all finishers were rewarded shortly afterwards with sunshine and beautiful views over Dartmoor.

The Haselbury trailrace followed, a scenic 10k which has been running since 1989 and started at North Perrott Cricket Club. It’s a scenic off-road run through lovely countryside and the most stiles Davis has seen in a race.

With the winning time of around 40 minutes, Palmer was relatively pleased with his 56 minutes.

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Palmer then decided to show his wife the delights of proper off-road running by entering the Great west fell race.

This really was a low key event – race HQ was from a car boot and just 20 runners took part. The course set off from Meldon reservoir, straight up Yes Tor, on to High Willhays and Black Tor before dropping back to the reservoir. The course was just over five miles but the initial steep ascent was like running four times as far as Peak Hill but with boulders, tussocks, and streams!

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The flat and downhill sections were no easier – Helen sunk past her knee into one bog and the tussocks seemed unrunnable, though the other competitors seemed to have superhuman ankles and disappeared from view.

David gallantly brought up the rear but not before saying the course was relatively easy. A bottle of wine for winning her age category (being the only entrant) eased Helen’s deflation but she thinks she will leave David to enjoy his reinvigorated love of running up mountains on his own.

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