Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Ian Hodgeson Mountain Relay 2013

Johns tea tent
A group of us went up on the Saturday night for this mass event of fellrunners. Surprisingly the pub by Sykeside campsite didn't apper to realise that the IHMR was on and wasn't entirely ready for a ridiculous amount of people to descend upon it with requests for large amounts of food and moderate amounts of beer.

However, we managed to get fed and watered, and had a good long chat with a few of the challengers to the crown over a beer before getting our heads down.

John and Chris leaving on leg 1
In comparison to last year, the weather was pretty rubbish. Instead of being a crisp clear autumnal day with a frost on the ground, the clag was coming, rain was threatening and the blue sky of the dawn was fast disappearing.
As the Leg One runners set off, vests were the order of the day with Dark Peak and Borrowdale leading the
way over the first cattle grid. After a hard fought first leg, Dark Peak were in First, and we were somewhere around the 20's with John and Chris only just missing out on their target time of a sub 40min leg one.
Julien and Mark had already jogged up to the start of leg 2 and went
Jules coming in from leg 2
off like the proverbial rocket, up into the now thickening clag. Dark Peak had gone out hard on leg 2, but were brought back by a superb run by the Helm hill runners who came in as a surprise first on that leg, causing a bit of confusion as their leg 3 guys weren't entirely ready for action.
Andy and Caity waiting to head out on leg 3...
Mark and Julien made up about 5 places, arriving in out of the mist with waterproofs on before handing over to Andy O and Caity for the lovely leg 3 up Red screes.

Leg 3 was also the leg that Muir and Nic Barber from Pennine were running. Having spoken to Nic at the beginning he mentioned that although they knew they wouldn't be
fastest going up, they wanted to get the fastest split from the top to the bottom of their leg. No idea if they did it, but they gained 4 places over Red screes and handed over in 5th place!
...And coming in hard to handover
Andy and Caity ran valiantly through the mist, though not with entirely optimal route finding, as I believe there was some rock climbing involved, but they had a stormer of a line down off the top, handing over to Me and Ali in 17th place, having cut about 6 mins off last years time on that leg.

Ali and I set off in waterproofs, and the clag was properly in as we went up, immediately overhauling a team that had just nipped in before Andy and Caity. Excellent- now into 16th place.
Ali and I heading out, with 16th in sight.
We were concerned about navigation issues to get to the top of Hart crag, but in the end, none of the concerns that we had came to pass.
We did get passed by a Calder Valley team, going like the clappers, so back into 17th... and there were 4 teams who were very close to us at the checkpoint on top of Hart crag, but we managed to keep 3 of them away with a decent burst of speed over Fairfield.

A team passed us (and into 18th) just as we went past Daz H's memorial,  marked with a plaque, a cairn, and Geoff had been up that morning to lay a Pennine vest there as well. We spoke a few words to remember him, and then upped the pace. Slowly we caught up with the team that had just passed us - (back into 17th), and stormed past them on the scree descent to get onto St. Sunday Crag, where we kept up the pace, pushing as hard as we dared across the slippery ground.
Fast Finish
The speed paid off and very soon there was nothing in sight behind us but thick mist. At the same time, there was nothing in front of us, but thick mist, no-one to chase, but we kept plugging away. Coming to the top of St. Sunday, the hill went up for much further than I remembered last year, and I had visions of us being on the wrong hill. Nonsense. I know where we are, keep going, it will all be fine.

It was. We hit the top, and Alasdair found another gear to really push on the descent. Rocky, then slippery grass, then more rocks underfoot. Bog, mud and more rock. We ran as hard as we could, and yet a team from Wasdale still overhauled us (they were 2nd fastest overall on that leg), so back into 18th.... but just coming down the final descent - a team in front of us. Someone to chase.

All out down the steepness - so much so that I ended up losing footing and sliding about 20 metres down the hill, picking up a couple of excellent bruises on my left leg that are still causing me to limp 2 days later. The flags on the final part of the hill were very very slippery and treacherous, but caution to the wind and all that. We had a chance to get that 17th spot rather than the current 18th, with about 1 km to go.
Done and dusted
We passed them just before hitting the final tarmac and pounded down the last slope, keeping a little back for a sprint finish, where we really put distance between us and them.
Finally came in at 1:22:21 (or so), which was about 15 seconds faster that I managed last year with Andy O- which was much clearer in terms of weather.

Glossopdale came in 17th, with the fastest time we've ever had.
Pennine deserve a special mention for their fantastic 4th place - Simon Caldrick and Adam Perry producing a blinder on that last leg to overhaul Helm Hill on that final descent.
Congratulations to you all, a fitting tribute to Daz.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! it always amazes me how fast you get your write ups done.

    That's a 'proper' sprint for the line photo. Congratulations on the PBs