Burley Moor Run - By Scott Leach

For once a bright sunny day greeted us for the last event of the Burley “summer” festival; to wit- the fell race up t’moor and the runners congregated around the cordoned-off cricket pitch under the strange glow of a bright ball in the sky. A pig was quickly sacrificed to appease the Gods to make sure the ball didn’t destroy us and 14 Fellandalers (I’m including the pesky second-claimers) signed the sheet to promise not to sue anyone if they died with their leg in the air as they were fully aware that fell running is a bloody silly pastime.
The race director gave us all a chat and warned us that the gates on the lower part of the course that were usually opened for the race were this year padlocked, meaning that we would have to vault the gates or use the stiles if we didn’t get there first.
For the start, there was, of course, no to-do and off we went around the pitches for a quick right turn out of the car park, through the cars and down the track. 
Paul Heely raced into an unexpected lead followed by Patrick and myself a little way behind. We weaved down the thin farm tracks, across the fields and skidded down the final path to the road crossing before beginning the leg-burning climb up the moor. 
Whereas I have traditionally been a terrible climber, I have recently seemed to have found my hill legs and can now finally run up hills (at least for a while) and about ¾ of the way up the first climb, I overtook Paul. I kept catching the odd glimpse of Patrick up in front through a curtain of sweat, but never with any hope of catching him.
This was the third time I have done this race and by far the driest conditions, but that didn’t mean that it wasn’t still pretty muddy. I tried to keep moving as smoothly as I could, but despite that, I was caught by Monica from Wharfdale not long before reaching the top. She immediately became my target for the race. I went straight back past her and we hit the dry, fast track along the top that has a gentle downhill. I could hear her on my tail the whole way and each time she caught me and pulled level I put in a spurt and moved away. I put in a 3:40 kilometer to try to keep my position.
As we hit the turn at Burley gate I could see Patrick. He had already turned back and was a way up the track, probably a good minute in front. I turned the bend and tried to power up the hill but the fast downhill had taken its toll and I was struggling to keep the speed up. We passed the Mountain rescue Land Rover which is there every year and always makes me chuckle; it doesn’t really fill you full of confidence but I’m certainly glad it was there.
At the very bottom corner of the race with the last turn around point, I could see Patrick again and he was powering away up the hill, a long way in front.
Going up the hill I was now moving slowly and knew that at any time today’s nemesis (Monica) would pass me being much better at climbing than me and sure enough she did. I was then surprised to be overtaken by another lady running for Ilkley that was powering up the hill and at a guess, I would have said she was a V50.
I was doing my best to hold on knowing that the rest of the route was very up and down and that I would be able to put in a very good spurt down the steep final descent and would probably catch up some time on the technical rocky sections
To my surprise, I overtook the Ilkley lady not long before the descent and as soon as we started to go down, I shot past Monica and another couple of runners.
Now it was all about getting down the muddy slope and unlike last week at Shepherd’s Skyline, I seemed to have something left and was able to keep up some speed. I could hear Monica right up behind me all the time and my mind was screaming at me to slow down or give up, but I just didn’t want to give up my position.
Each time we hit the hard packed paths I knew I had to go hard as everyone else would be and I was holding my place, not catching the runners in front, but those behind didn’t seem to be gaining. 
At one fence I decided that going through the kissing gate would cost me too much time so I awkwardly threw myself over the gate. At the final stile, I tried to bound over it in a quick movement and I slipped badly as I went up it, then slipped again as I came down, but managed to keep my feet. 
Eventually, we hit the last bit of track to the cricket pitch. I was still fully expecting someone to put in a quick sprint and pass me before the end so I put in a sprint of my own down the field and was extremely relieved when I crossed the line with no one passing me. I had managed 2 final kilometers of 3:44.
I turned around after finishing expecting to see Monica right behind me, but actually it was the Ilkley lady that had been right behind me and in fact, Monica didn’t finish for another couple of minutes. “I can’t run downhill to save my life” she explained afterward.
I had finished in 53:35 (Second lady) an improvement on my previous effort by 1 minute 23 seconds which was obviously pretty pleasing, especially given the closed gates.  Patrick had finished in 51:56 and Paul came through a couple of minutes behind me in 57:07 (Times are taken from strava, not the official times yet as they aren’t out!)
Jed came through about a minute after Paul with his patented “Massive sprint finish to overtake at least one person whilst wildly out of control and very nearly demolishing the finishing funnel” move
Next was Phil Steel then in no particular order, Carl, Stephen Carter, Tanya, Laura, Kat, Simon and Sarah Glover.
We stood around for some pictures for social media and a hot beverage included in the price (Bargain!) before heading home to hot baths, muscles rubs and crazy pugs (at least in Tanya’s case) no doubt contemplating Pendle hill next weekend.