The 3 mile route- basically a shufty up and down Lantern Pike from the Scout hut has a nasty beginning an end on the road, and is a lovely little up and down loop route. Last year I came in at 24:34 and was 12th. This year, I didn't really care about the placing, but I did want to better my time.
|The profile. Looks worse than it is.|
I recce'd the first section with Julien and Alex, Julien mentioning that he felt a bit tight across the Hamstrings- which is nothing unusual. We got to the bottom of the uphill (and indeed, downhill) and had a look at the technical bits, commenting that it was excellent running territory, and then heading back to the start. The sun beating down on us meant that there were a few runners already with no top on. Good thing Andy Howie wasn't here or he would have melted.
I took the chance to chat with a Penistone runner who was over for the weekend before the start, StevieK was also there and looking strong. Well, all I need to is the best I can, and beat my time, then I'll be happy.
After a brief pre-race briefing ("if you go over a wall, you've gone the wrong way") we were off.
Neil from GDH shot out of the start like a rocket, and the 2 guys who would eventually lead us most of the way around went off very fast as well. Julien was up there and I had to spin up my legs fast in order to semi-catch up with them. The route gets very narrow very quickly, so if you get caught behind a slow ascender, there are precious few opportunities to overtake. (as I found to my detriment last year).
|Chasing Mark up the hill.|
The uphill wasn't all that bad. Up through the trees I was chasing after StevieK, who was a lot closer than I thought he would be, and we were both chasing a rather talented kid who I remember chasing down in last years race for quite a while. I knew we would overtake on the next up, and Stevie would probably zoom off ahead. Nothing else to do but keep the head down. Coming out of the wood I was overtaken my Mark in the Sunglasses from Pennine, we came up through a big field and I suddenly realised where we were- this field is taken in by another fellrace as well- then I saw Lynne and Andrea spectating high up on the bank and called out to them that Julien had pulled up a way back. At this point, Andrea shouted "come on Alex".
Ah- the younger Minshull can't be that far behind me then. Best keep up the speed.
|Mark chasing me at the end.|
Last climb to the top, and it really wasn't as bad as I remembered it, ran all the way to the top and didn't get overtaken. Over the top and a plunge through the heather. I can see Mark in front of me, but Stevie has raced off into the distance- obviously an excellent and confident descender. I was a little on tenterhooks down through the heather, my descending mojo appears to have left me a little, and the whole brain off thing seems to need some practice. Down through the heather, along a spectacularly rubbly path and I seem to be catching Mark.
Hairpin bend, over a cattlegrid, and I'm still thinking about how far behind me Alex is. He is excellent on flat ground and very fast on tarmac, so if he is close at the end, there is no way I'll be able to hold him off. For now, I'm chasing Mark. Over a stile, and another, and down a steep hill, closing, closing. onto a path and I am closer still.
As we turn the corner onto the path we had come up, he lets me past, and we thunder down the hill.
|Resting in the sun|
Then we hit the technical bit, I fly through the air, barely touching the ground, over lumps, jumps, roots, off camber stones and zoom out of the bottom. I can no longer hear him behind me. Great. Now I only have about 300 metres of road left.
Don't stop now.
|Neil, Sikobe and the magic pizza|
Lungs burning, I run the longest 300m there is on any course, looking at my shadow for the impending final kick from Mark. I see no other shadow, and push myself, hoping I haven't done myself in too early. The finishing cone comes in sight and I run through it, shouting my number out to Julien. (Who on not running the race decided to come back to help out with the administration- a proper fellrunner).
The prizegiving was very good, mainly for the reason that I got a prize... Lindsay from GDH won Vet Female, and her daughter won the Girls prize- and of course Alex won the Juniors prize as well. Sikobe also managed to spirit a Pizza out of thin air, which was quite impressive. I'm hoping he can do the same thing on top of a hill in the rain next time.
|Lins, xena and Dave|
The results came out within a few hours of finishing, I was 5th and came in at 23:18. Very happy with that, though a little concerned as I'm not entirely sure how I can make myself go faster. Alex came in 7th and bettered his time from last year as well. StevieK outdid himself and clenched 2nd in the final stages of the race, only 22 seconds behind the leader. However, as we know, 22 seconds is quite a distance when you measure it out on the ground.