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How I Got Into Fell Running by Ricky Lightfoot

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How I Got Into Fell Running by Ricky Lightfoot

People often ask how I got into fell running, it was easy really, more like being in the right place at the right time, I was at school on lunch break and the then Site Manager Brian Taylor came round our year area and asked if I along with a few other kids wanted to go along and try a "Fell race", I initially said no, but later changed my mind as a few other mates went along.

Previously I had played football, mainly right back, I liked football but it didn't really tick all the boxes for me whereas fell running, well, it ticked everything.

I was 14 years old and just completed my first fell race, I'd been out for what felt like hours as I'd ran "off course" with a couple of other kids; we'd probably only been out for an extra 10 minutes, I was soaked, wet through, cold with a think layer of mud covering my back, most kids would probably hate it but I'd found something which made me feel alive, I wasn't that great at it, but it was the most fun I'd had whilst "playing sport".

So from then on for me running was all about being outdoors on the fells in the elements.

As I became older and gained more experience I began to train smarter and train more specifically, this meant training on the roads to become faster and stronger so I could perform better on the fells, although I did the odd road race, its something which never really appealed to me. Even now I've only raced up to 10 miles on the road with a few local 5 and 10s, I do run on the road a fair bit in training but it's all to benefit running in the hills.

I don't dislike running on the roads, I enjoy being able to push myself, push my body to it's limit.

I do understand why some people prefer the roads though, pushing to go as hard as they can over there preferred distance, to see how quickly they can really go, its measured, timed and the same every time.

I can see myself running a road marathon at some point but as long as I'm running the hills it won't be for a long while yet!

Even in the Lake District in summer the weather can be temperamental, I've had some really cold days in the middle of August where I've had hail on the summits and not been able to feel my fingers, it can easily put you off your long run over the tops but at the end of the day what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

I much prefer the winter months to the summer, the weather in winter can totally change a normal run and turn it into an adventure and a battle for survival.

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