Saturday, 25 January 2014

Kinder Trial 2014

Me and Lis getting our first sight of the map
It's been two years since I last did Kinder Trial orienteering fell race in 2012.  At that point in my running career I'd not done many fell races, and I'd never run the distance or potential duration of the event before that day. I ran with a couple of other Ladies from Glossopdale Harriers on that occasion, and to be fair, they pretty much dragged me round the second half. It was tough going, there was a good 6-12 inches of snow on the ground, and I felt totally shattered at the end.

Lis clipping check point #2 above White Brow
This year I hoped to be much stronger (and for no snow which thankfully we didn't have). Certainly I felt like I was stronger, and the distance/time element didn't bother me at all. I've done plenty of runs around and over 20km (and 25km), and spent a fair number of runs on the hills over 3 hours, and several over 4 hours. What I was most happy with was that I was running the race this year with my very good friend Lis. We have a regular weekly running date, and have been mostly consistent with our runs. Slight hiccups with Christmas and illness for both of us have interrupted our plans to get Lis' mileage up, but we had a pre-defined goal for the race: we were going to have a fun and relaxed day on the hill. No pressure. No 'racing' around like headless chickens. We weren't even bothered if we didn't finish the course. The plan was to enjoy some time on the hill together. And that's what we did.

Dropping down to check point #3, Rowan Tree
Lis running down the horrendous grass tufts from CP#4 to CP#6. Kinder Downfall blowing up in the distance
Climbing up from check point #6 towards CP#8 in the enclosure
We'd said we would be out about 3-4 hours, having regular reviews of how we felt and what was coming up. By the time we got up onto the edge of Kinder we'd been out about nearly 2.5hrs and after a good look at the map we decided to head back in, and technically 'retire'. This turned out to be a good plan...

Looking back towards Sandy Heyes
We made a final push up the steep slope to the check point at Kinder Cavern - our eighth CP and last, then headed back to Hayfield via Tunstead Clough Farm. After about half an hour of tea drinking, cake eating and soup slurping there was an almighty hail and rain storm that blew over. We were very happy to be inside and dry!

As is usual after orienteering races there was a lot of chatter about route choices among the runners. The general feeling seemed to be that this year was a long and tough course, with plenty of options on route choice to be made, rather than all following a more or less defined route dictated by the check points. Thankfully when we were out the sun was shining and the wind wasn't as bitterly cold as it has been recently so we had the best of the weather. 

Mulling over the map I'm sure I could have finished the full race route, but seeing the distance run by others, and ascent, I reckon there would have been another 7-8km and at least another 300m ascent for me to do. That would have made a very tough race and a very tired me. As it is, I feel really good, ready to run again tomorrow and not totally destroyed. The bonus being I got a good few hours chatting away on the hill with my mate, totally enjoying the scenery instead of rushing around and missing it all. Mission complete.

A big thanks to Andy H and his gang of helpers for organising the race, especially the cake/soup makers and those serving drinks/soup in the scout hut afterwards. Having spent some time with Tim helping to put out controls for another event on Bleaklow/Kinder tonight (the marmot dark mountain marathon) I know how much work goes into setting up these events. Well done Andy and your team. We'll be back next year!

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