Carl, Caity, Chris and I wended our way from Glossop and its environs up to Todmorden for this BM race. Not quite an up and back race, its more of an up, along, down, up and back race. Looking at results of years gone by, it generally had a pretty large field - and a pretty talented one at that. The route looked pretty muddy, and Mudclaws were definitely the order of the day.
The weather wasn't exactly pleasant as we approached the pub, but we had got there in plenty of time and managed to get a parking space close to the race registration and start. Having registered, we wandered back to the car, with the rain lashing down around us - not the most conducive climate to be warming up in.
However, knowing that was what let me down in a couple of races previously, I duly got my gear on, hat, gloves etc. and got out on the hill, being careful not to get tangled up in the kids races that were being run as a preliminary to the main fell race.
About 200metres after starting I went over on my left ankle, so not the best start to the day. I recced a fair way up the first climb/last descent, stretched out a bit and slowly, gingerly came back down. Thankfully not much damage was done, and I could run perfectly well on it as long as the foot was placed on the ground well.
Eventually, start time came around, and from no-where, Mark O turned up, and so did Andy Anastasi - so
at least Chris and I wouldn't be battling it out for 30 points, but rather, 29. Lined up at the start, the rain had finally abated somewhat, the sun even came out, but there was a bitter wind, and the ground was sodden. The pack of fell runners were spread out across the beginning of the path, but it was evident that when the race started we would all have to funnel onto the same track. No time to worry about that, as we set off.
I managed to keep a decent pace up the first hill. Mark was a little way in front of me, Chris was somewhere behind, but I just concentrated on breathing and running. Once on top the race had settled down a fair bit, though I was beginning to realise I might have set off just a little too ambitiously, and was really starting to feel tired. There was a decent amount of bog across the top, and although I managed to pass a couple of people, I also got passed as well.
There was a tailwind at this point, however, I knew we were coming back this way. Muddy, gloopy AND into the wind. No time to worry about that now.
It took a while to get across to the monument, where we plunged down into the valley. The profile of the race makes it look really vertiginous, but it wasn't really, it was a bit of a rocky descent, but nothing too bad. Then what should have been a fast blast along a track at the bottom, which turned into a hanging on for dear life run, trying not to get dropped by the guy in front of me- and then a hill that again looks crazily steep on the profile, but on any other day might have been runnable.
Hitting the path at the top, Noel came past me, and another guy as well, and the run back through the bog was pretty hard as well, considering the headwind.
That final descent went on for a long time. I was sure it was around the next corner, or over the next bit, but it went on and on. Staying strong, I finished in 49:34. About a minute and a half behind Mark, which is not quite as good as I wanted, but pretty good nevertheless.
Well done to Caity, who had a great run, coming in second lady, a minute or so behind Helen Fines.
There were a good number of photogs out there today, so I'm sure there will be a couple of photos of me with snot plastered across my face and mud splattered up my legs. I'll try and get one on here when I can find one.
Thanks to Todmorden Harriers for putting on the race, and to the marshals who stood around and about in fairly grim weather. A good day out.
And below is an attempt at embedding a Strava page onto the blog.