Saturday, 13 June 2015

Dovedale Mini Mountain Marathon

Dovedale and the area we'd be running in
I partnered up with Jud, a Glossop Mountain Rescue member and fellow Glossopdale Harrier for this two hour Dovedale Mini Mountain Marathon. It's a familiar format for us, having partnered at the Edale MMM back in November last year - just the difference with this being 2 hours, not 4. It was a humid evening, with a few spots of rain here and there but overall good running conditions. Thankfully not very wet underfoot as the limestone in Dovedale can be treacherous when wet.

Jud on a steep climb, still smiling
We registered, chatted with a few other Glossopdale Harriers also running, and caught up with SBRT who's another regular at these events. At the start we dibbed, got handed a map and then studied it trying to decide which way to go. Jud had run a marathon only 5 days ago, and then proceeded to top it up with an 8km walk - all part of his training for an ultra in mid-August. His legs mostly worked fine, though there were a few words along the way when they started to falter. I should have been fresher than I was, I reckon the twice up the Snake Pass (which is currently closed) on my bike has taken more out of me than I realised. Not to worry, we were out in the hills and amusing ourselves with 'interesting' route choices.

searching for a checkpoint with other runners

looking down one of the minor valleys into Dovedale

We didn't really go wrong anywhere, just didn't take optimal lines or home in on checkpoints as smoothly as we could. The lesson learnt is to trust your instincts and not get carried along by others who may or may not know where they're going. Enough said on that.

meeting up with John S, fellow Glossopdale Harrier
as he climbs out of, and we descent into Milldale
It became apparent about half way round our loop that returning back within 2 hours, and thereby not having points deducted for a late finish may not be feasible. We ditched the idea of one checkpoint, focusing on a return to the finish picking off a couple of checkpoints along the way.  After what seemed like an eternity and a time-warp-distance-sapping run down Dovedale we started on the climb up Lin Dale....onwards and upwards. I'd have loved to nip onto Thorpe Cloud to grab that checkpoint but we were certainly going to be back late so no need to lose even more points. Thinking about it, I'm not sure I have ever been to the top of that place, I must return sometime.

Thorpe Cloud, left for another day

We had a super couple of hours out in the hills, which is what it's all about. Turns out we were 3rd in our category and 55th/107 overall. Pretty good considering we were 8:23mins late and therefore lost 13 points. If we'd been back on time we'd have been about 50th. Many thanks to the organisers, these events are always well set up and the bonus free cake at the end this time was very much appreciated.

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