My pre-race homework paid off on Sunday when I won the second counter in the 2013 British Fell Championships, held at Yetholm in Scotland.
Having previously trained the 12.8km loop (including 750m of ascent) with my club-mate Jim Davies, I was able to use the knowledge gained to attack the course.
I did just that and, in hot conditions, hit the front right from the off. I was joined by 2012 British champion Joe Symonds and we raced at pace up a dusty farm track to a break in the forest plantation. At this point the first climb started in earnest.
Me and Joe ran shoulder to shoulder all the way to the first checkpoint. My homework then paid off. I knew the first half of the race was severely undulating, but also that the longest climb of the day was still to come.
The top of that big climb marked the halfway stage. After that I knew there was still one decent sized climb to do before the finish, on what would be very tired legs.
From the halfway mark all the way to the end I ran as fast as I physically could. The grip given to me by my bare-grip 200 shoes gave me huge confidence as I sped along the grassy terrain.
Then came a final short drop, a splash through a beck, and up to the finish line.
After finishing sixth in championship opener in Ireland, I was really pleased to win at Yetholm in a time of 1:00:19. Joe finished second (1:01:54), with my inov-8 team-mate Rob Jebb third (1:02:58). All three of us were inside the old course record of 1:03:24, set by Jethro Lennox in 2011.
The only thing I was slightly disappointed about is that I didn’t break the one-hour mark!