Jez Bragg beat a field of more than 400 to take his third Fellsman title

Jez Bragg beat a field of more than 400 to take his third Fellsman title

Top ultrarunner Jez Bragg beat the field to win one of Britain’s toughest long-distance events.

The North Face athlete completed the 97km (60-mile) race through the Yorkshire Dales in a little over 11 hours, almost an hour slower than his winning time last year.

Persistent rain in the area over the last few days left much of the ground soft underfoot, but it was the strong cold winds that left runners and walkers struggling to match previous pace.

The Dorset-based runner reached the finish at Threshfield in 11hrs 2mins, 56 minutes slower than his record-breaking time last year.

Close behind was Belper runner Ian Phillips, who came in just seven minutes after Bragg and posted his best ever place.

Edinburgh-based PhD students Konrad Rawlik and Ondrej Mandula, hailing from Poland and the Czech Republic respectively, came in joint third, with a time of 11hrs 31mins.

Second-placed Ian Phillips

Second-placed Ian Phillips

Bragg has entered the Fellsman three times, winning on each occasion. Comparing his victory to that in 2012, he told grough: “I found it a lot, lot harder. I think that was because of the wind. It felt as if you were having to put an extra 25 per cent in.

“I think that, because it was a cold wind, it was energy sapping too. I found my energy levels were constantly low and I was eating loads. I think I was burning off a lot more energy.”

He said the wind felt like someone was pressing on his chest, holding him back.

Bragg, a past runner of the gruelling Ultra-Tour du Mont Blanc, is stamping his mark on the Fellsman, a race that has found a place in his heart. “I absolutely love it as an event; it’s a great day out on the hills. Everyone’s so friendly.”

The Fellsman, organised by Keighley Scout Service Team, started in 1962 and has been run every year since, apart from 2001, when it was cancelled because of the foot and mouth disease outbreak.

The route involves almost 3,500m (11,480ft) of ascent and passes through three counties. 438 runners and walkers started the Fellsman. The slowest walkers take up to 30 hours to complete the event.

A full report of the event, with more photos, will follow shortly.

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