|Ian and I looking at the inversion|
|That's the Hope valley that is|
The day promised to be fantastic, sun in the sky by the time we set off to get to the start. Coming over the top of Lords seat there was a most amazing cloud inversion, with the Hope valley being swathed in a thick billows while the top of the hills bathed in glorious sunshine.
|Mark and I walking to the start|
I for one had no clue about timings, it was all about getting around. Also, there were a couple of other things not altogether in my favour.
The clocks had gone forward last night- meaning I got less sleep than normal... but then that was the same with everyone.
The second was that I was up and about for about 7 hours the night before on a night exercise with Mountain Rescue. Which basically involved hoiking heavy gear onto a hill, doing stuff, lifting heavy people around, hacking about up a hill, and then carrying heavy gear back off the hill. Got back about 2am, so maybe not the greatest preparation for a 21 mile race.
In deference to my knee, I had used a couple of lengths of Rock Tape to hopefully engage some muscles a bit more as I ran, in order to keep the knee in line, and prevent further injury, which is why I have tape on my knee in some pictures.
|Ask Stevie about his nipples|
The start was fairly interesting, we were there gathered in the field, a bloke was talking, I presume giving instructions which we couldn't here and all of a sudden, we were running. Oh, heck, switch the watch on, and... well, bumble along. As 350 odd runners forged up the hill, I allowed myself to be carried along, and soon there were a few people who weren't expecting to see me exclaiming things like... ooooh, I must be going too fast, I'm up with you! Well, whatever. I saw Julien go through the gate quite a way ahead of me, and there was a heaving mass of runners between us, so I just carried on.
Up the hill, there were a few conversations, but nothing really exciting, just lots of heavy breathing. Rich Seipp was in various places (I swear he teleports... these Pennine and their secret ways) taking video of the race.
|Saying hi to SBRT|
|The start. A glorious day|
Down Jaggers Clough, and up the side of the Roman Road onto Win Hill. I catch up with a Pennine runner, its Hanno. We chatted pretty much all the way up the hill, distracting me very well indeed from my various ailments. So well that I didn't even notice they were hurting until we neared the top, he slowed to a walk and waved me off. I carried on, and after a couple of minutes began noticing my knee again. Hmmm. I need more people to talk to to distract me.
|Train of runners going up the first hill|
Up over the Pike and down. It was a lovely descent, and once we hit the fields above Twitchill farm I overtook about 10 people, looking ahead to see the guy from Tring who tends to come up to the Peak for the races. I'll catch up with him at some point, I think.
|Me coming off Win Hill (thanks Chris)|
Overtaking another 6 people (including Tring man) in a single bound.
Off along and past the Cheshire Cheese, not stopping for a pint (mores the pity) along the road, and the OTHER knee started to hurt.
|Coming down off Back tor|
Just on the way up onto Lose hill I passed Matt Heason and family, who appeared to be out enjoying the fine weather, and lo and behold, half way up the hill, Hanno caught me up and we continued our conversation, whilst taking a somewhat slower pace, walking to the top of the hill.
A Dark Peak chap came past us, making a comment about the heat, and me wearing a pair of gloves... he was wearing leggings... As we walked up the hill, and he overtook, he made a comment about also joining a rambling club recently, to which the reply (from another Pennine) was, Yeah, Dark Peak is a bit like that, isn't it? I don't think he liked that all that much.
|Saying thanks to Lynne|
|The one and only Hanno|
There were HUNDREDS of people up on the hill, apologies if you were up there and I didn't manage to say good morning/afternoon to you, but I just didn't have time. Looking at my watch, it said 1:22, which was pretty damn good, so I plodded on.
The atmosphere at the top of the hill was like being on a road race, which was all a bit bizarre, so over the top, and down to the road, where I saw Ian, who had unfortunately pulled out with horrendous blisters- taking the intelligent decision to stop so as not to endanger his marathon chances later in the month.
|Into the distance|
Nice, that will do. I don't imagine it will last for long though.
The guys at Brown knoll had water, so I gulped a small glassful and continued, Chris's Dad was up by the Stile, cheering us on, which was marvellous, and then Dave Hogg was down by the beginning of the climb up onto Kinder, again, great to get support there as well.
John overtook on the way up, and a fellow ex-Glossopdaler, Alex, who had overtaken me in the past few minutes and gained about 50 metres, took the lower line around under the path, with John shouting that it might not be the best idea.
|I may look like I can't run in this picture....|
Damn. I must have pressed stop somewhere along the way. Damn.
Ah well. Press start again and carry on. Never mind.
Up to the Pagoda, and John took a sharp left, the racing line. Despite his bad rep for not being amazing at navigating (especially during races), I decided to follow him. Well, I know the route through the Woolpacks, this looks like being an adventurous line, what the hey?
A little bit of scrambling later and we are on the moor, trudging across it. He gains ground on me, and thats pretty much the last I saw of him till the finish. I traded places with a Dark Peaker in a white cap, and a couple of runners from Penistone and Chorley. By this time I was pretty knackered and a couple of people sneaked past me.
My knees were having episodes of pain, and then nothing, my feet were hot and very achey and I was not feeling on top of the world in any way shape or form. On the way up to Grindslow knoll I saw Carl flying down the descent... I knew he was in front of me, just not by how far, he was having a storming race!
The hours of exercise with stretchers and people last night, along with 18 miles or so of running were exacting their toll. I'm not far from home now, out comes the single energy gel in my bag, some kind of caffeine infused goo that I end up chewing, gulping down water as I do so. Lets see how that works.
We hit the top, turn around, and the Dark Peaker heads off in another direction. He's doing the down and up. Brave, but in this heat, possibly stupid.
Back north, to hit the south side of Kinder, I overtook 5 people just after the first stream, and ran with a guy from Chorley for a while, exchanging banter as to just how ridiculously hot it was.
Waiting for the caffeine shot to kick in... feet getting hotter, I found myself dreaming of the stream at the end of the race. Ringing Roger, the final descent is just around the corner, yet it seems so far away.
I eventually drop the Chorley runner on a slight uphill, and see another Dark Peaker, in Green shorts. (Green Flash... was that you?!) Slowly I close in, and overtake on another downhill section.
|Jasmine cooling down|
|At long last! In the stream|
Lengthen the stride as we go down the slightly dodgy bobbly bits which are rutted, overtake 2, and then a glorious 200 metre downhill grassy section that begs to be taken at full speed.
I let my legs go and pound down the slope. No pain, no fear, no problem.
Last guy overtaken, and I get a little confused as to where the finish funnel is... to the left? to the right? I'll just run at the largest portion of people and see what happens.
Storming into the finish, yes I could have run the whole thing faster, no I don't really care.
I got around, my knees didn't cripple me, though they did give me a bit of gyp, and I had a glorious day on the hill. A short time spent saying hi and well done to all those who came in before me, and straight off to the stream to cool down my feet and knees.
|Cool down company|
I came in at 3:44:58, in 89th place, pretty good for a bimble.
Well done to Jasmine from Carnethy for getting first Lady, Julien for 2nd V50 (and the amusing tea episode, though not so amusing for him), Mark and Gwyn for their excellent runs, (despite Gwyn not actually having run that distance ever before) and to Carl for a fantastic run.
|Good day out. The results.|
|I knew I missed a photo somewhere. There you go. idp doing the "Deliverance" version of kit checks|
Here is a link to the results, well done to Ian Fitz for organising the whole thing. Good effort.