Friday, 9 June 2017

Wincle Trout Fell Race

The motivation to run this race was pretty much entirely fuelled by the novelty that each finisher receives a trout! What a random and useful souvenir to receive by going for a run! This year's race was also one of our Glossopdale Harriers championship races, so it seemed right that I run it.

Tim and I haven't been to Wincle or the area before so drove down really early with a picnic and a plan to recce the start and finish in a leisurely manner before the 2.45pm start. As it happens, we got there so early we walked around the whole route in the glorious sunshine. I do like knowing what is coming along the way in a race so this was a very helpful recce walk.

The route is a loop taking in a few steep descents, a good section through forest on the Dane Valley Way, onto moorland and enough rutted farm fields to mean I didn't want to fully let go on those descents for fear of turning an ankle. There was also a refreshing river crossing and nettles to dodge. Each third year the race starts in a different place, the top- middle- or bottom of the hill. 2017 was the toughest finish, being entirely uphill to the fields high above the Dane River.

crossing the River Dane

letting my legs run free on the firm grass

the final uphill zig-zags were hard on energy sapped legs

the finish straight - more uphill and I just couldn't get past anyone

The race was 8.6km and took me just over an hour. I am pleased with how I ran - measured effort without breaking myself. I always feel like I should be able to give more in a race but at the time it feels like I am putting everything into it. I'd recommend this race to others for sure, the village fete was worth the £1 entry fee with traditional stalls and lots to see. Thanks to the race organisers - the course was wonderfully marked and marshaled, giving the runners no chance to go wrong.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Lantern Pike Dash fell race

For many reasons I chose to run the Lantern Pike Dash fell race this year. The main reason being because I can. Not perhaps because I want to, this race isn't one I would seek out with masses of enthusiasm. But, I can run, so I did run.

It is a ridiculously short race, departing from a field behind the Lantern Pike pub, going up to the trig at the top of the hill then turning and coming straight back down. 2km logged on my watch and an unconfirmed race time of 29:43. I ran with a running mate from the Glossopdale Harriers - her very first fell race and we were aiming for a sub 30 minute so target hit nicely.

The hill is stupendously real path, just a vague trod through the grass and heather and bilberry bushes. Going up there were times I needed to pull on the flora....and coming down Mandy did a spectacular slide - deliberately of course. Much merriment and fun was had, and a massive load of us from Glossopdale were there creating a sea of blue and orange.

Mandy and the very top and about to round the trig before the descent

Thanks to whoever took the photos and to Mandy for a brilliant 30 minute dash up and down a hill on a gloriously sunny day.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Yomping adventure

We live in such a gloriously beautiful place, Glossop, right on the edge of Kinder Scout and Bleaklow. This weekend the moorland was home for the night...a bivi in a cabin without a door. And it was breathtaking.

Myself and Eleanor left Glossop with heavy packs containing all we'd need for the next 24 hours. Self sufficiency on our backs and no pressure to be anywhere at any time in particular. Our route took us up past Chunal cabin, to Mill Hill and down Ashop Clough. A brew stop at the ruined cabin was our first real stop but we didn't loiter too long in the chilly wind.

Onwards down the valley we entered Lady Clough on the final part of our route for the day. The woods were delightful, wandering through pine trees next to the babbling river. We paused in the woods to collect a small supply of firewood, just in case we could light a fire safely. Then up the valley, across the road and on to the cabin. Our 4 star accommodation for the night.

Our luck was in - a flat stone big enough to build a fire on. We got settled and chatted the night away. Tealights surrounded by foil created a wonderful warming glow in the cabin. A small quickly built wall in the doorway stopped any sheep joining us for the night and at dusk, when it started to get dark we climbed into our sleeping bags and drifted in and out of sleep through the night. I was definitely on the cool side of being comfortable but it was worth it for the peace and glorious dawn witnessed through the doorway of the cabin.

An early start was in order just to keep warm - breakfast and a good coffee set us up for the meander back to Glossop. Our time on the return leg was spent discussing future adventures.

Sunrise, just quite simply glorious

Happy adventurers!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

London Marathon

At 26.2 miles, any marathon is going to be a decent challenge for me. Add tarmac, plus 40,000 other runners and who knows how many thousand spectators into the mix, it's going to be busy and even more demanding. An epic run in many ways.

I chose to run in aid of Glossop Mountain Rescue Team. Knowing my completion of the marathon was what compelled people to part with hard earned cash for the MR team absolutely spurred me on. Thank you to each and everyone who has donated, it is very much appreciated and for a very worthy cause.

As I lined up on the start line (well about 800m back in the starting pen) I knew I had around £430 raised, so I was running each kilometre for just over £10. Believe me when I say that at about 22 miles I was breaking that down into 100m chunks and however hard my brain worked I just couldn't calculate what each 100m was worth...the tiredness had well and truly set in, but the distraction meant another mile or so passed before I was alongside the Tower of London and into the final stretch.

My training had gone really well during January. I decided to focus on road running pretty much exclusively because as a fell runner I avoid tarmac as much as possible. I needed to shift the balance and inoculate my legs against the repetitiveness of the hard surface. In February training took a back seat - not entirely what I had planned, but a trip of a lifetime to Tasmania meant that my attention was elsewhere. Come mid March, and with around 5 weeks to go a long run was cut short - knee pain. Ouch! The remainder of training was focused on healing well, and negating further discomfort while still getting in volume. So for example I did 10km runs on 3 consecutive days and no aggravation of the knee issue. Super. All set to run.

A selfie on Tower Bridge!
On the day, the weather was far warmer than recent running had been. My watch recorded 23 degrees as we made our way around London. The forecast of 13 degrees was certainly way lower than it actually was. Nutrition and hydration went well for me and it wasn't until around the 3 hour point that it started to get really quite tough. I'd already been taking walk breaks from around 25km. Then around 35km my knee started to really not be happy. I was certainly OK to carry on, and that's what I did, just with plenty of walk breaks and keeping the pace steady.

Along with seeing some club mates out supporting in Greenwich I'd been lucky enough to see a fellow Glossopdale Harrier around Docklands somewhere. Bumping into people you know is incredibly uplifting. If you're going to run a long race then I do recommend having someone out on the course to keep you motivated. Obviously the crowds are out in force and cheering you on, but there really isn't anything to match seeing a friendly face.

As my legs got heavier and I made my way down the Embankment on the final few kilometres who should I see again, but Jayne in her Welsh Dragon costume running along (she broke the world record in that hot costume!). Amazing to see her once, but twice!! We chatted and stayed together as Big Ben drew closer and closer. Both of us determined to keep moving. I totally have Jayne to thank for keeping me running in the final stretch. Sadly we lost each other with around 1km to go but as I turned onto the red tarmac of The Mall I knew I could run to the end....over the line and phew!!! I'd finished.

You then have the very well organised system of collecting a medal, a goodie bag with your finishers t-shirt and then your drop-bag from the lorry. It was here I bumped into another harrier, Cheryl, and we literally held each other up as we stumbled down through the tired and elated runners.

I am so happy and proud to have finished the London Marathon. Lasting memories will be of running with so many people around me, the noise from the crowds and loud speakers blasting out music, but mostly of the generosity and support from people back home. Donations to Glossop Mountain Rescue Team so far total £540 - a very big thank you from me and the team.

Also a big thank you to Tim - his support during my training has been amazing. From kicking me out of the door when I didn't want to, sports massages along the way, physio on my knee, picking me up in Stockport on the way home, post-marathon sports massage and super motivation - couldn't have done it without him.

A few official marathon is 26.2miles, or 42.16km. I recorded (and I started my watch about 2mtrs from the starting mats) 43.4km (26.96miles). It took me an official time of 4:27:04 and I ran at an average pace of 6:09 per kilometre. I recorded 135m of ascent. In training I struggled to find flat routes and in one of my 10km runs I did over 200m!!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Tasmania - East Coast trip

During our trip to Tassie our mates pulled a surprise on us and managed to grab themselves a week away from their farm - no small feat given they have pigs, sheep, cows, chickens, a dog, thousands of apple trees and much more to look after on a daily basis. Things were aligned though, they had two relatives/friends staying and helping on the farm so they could steal away with us and show us the stunning East Coast.  We are eternally grateful that we could share some precious time with them away from the farm.

The trip started by driving northwards through Hobart and on to the Tasman peninsula, staying in White Beach. We took day trips out to Cape Hauy, Fortescue Bay and round to Bivouac Bay, tried to do the hike to Cape Raoul but sadly the trail was closed for maintenance, and generally chilled out.

We then headed further north to the Frecinet peninsula for three nights in Coles Bay. However, Tim, myself, Rob and Matt headed out for a 2 night camp in the Frecinet National Park. First day was walking round headlands and across wonderful sandy beaches - quite a challenge with full camping gear walking over the soft sand. The camp was so close to the beach the waves crashing down kept me awake but oh, the Milky Way viewing was magnificent.

On the second day we hiked up and over Mt Graham to camp at Wineglass Bay. After two days of hot sticky weather and being covered in sweat and sunscreen we took a refreshing dip in the sea. Another fairly sleepless night (for me it was worse as I'd been ill, most likely because of heatstroke) but we had noisy neighbours on the camp! Shockingly annoying in such a stunning and remote part of the world. The morning brought predicted rain so with me still not 100% we departed early for the 2 hour hike back to the car and to the comfort of our beach cottage.

That evening we had a meal out then back to the beach and Matt showed the guys how to fish...we lucked out too, Matt and Tim both caught fish which we ate back in Geeveston the following night.

Here's this bunch of photos...most likely (definitely) out of order but you get the idea!

Cape Hauy, the guys looking down to the Totem Pole

The Totem Pole - a very famous climb that is not for the faint hearted

on the way to Cape Hauy

super amazingly fresh fruity icecream - made in front of our very eyes


kookaburra even closer! 

possum at our first camp

Climbing up Mt Graham

looking down to Wineglass Bay on right, Cooks Beach on left, from Mt Graham

on our way down to Wineglass Bay

Rob and Matt in the water at Wineglass Bay

Tim's fish read to cook