Monday, 31 August 2015

Moel Famau Fell Race 2015

Second last counter in the NWFRA series. A short hard blast that takes in a few paths, a steep bit, the observatory at the top, and then a decent downhill bit. And a really horrid uphill finish.

The weather dawned pretty horribly and it looked like we were in for the first wet race of the year within these champs. Despite the drive down through the clag and rain, by the time we were going through Mold and Loggerheads, the roads were drying and there was little enough precipitation to be considered a nice day in Wales.

Moel Famau has a reputation for getting a lot of entries - and some pretty decent runners as well (Morgan Donnelly crushed the record last year, and Lloyd was there the year before), and with a field of somewhere over 200 runners - on a course that is little more than 8km long, and its a recipe for a fast one.
My suspicions were confirmed when I chatted with Jez Brown from Buckley - hard, fast and horribly runnable. He was of the opinion that it might well end up being a roadie that won, considering that there were a few very fast guys lining up at the start.

After perusing the fayre, and having a bit of a look at the first and last few km of the race route, we warmed up, got our race numbers (laminated, AND with ready attached pins) and spent some time chatting with the various characters that were racing today.
There was no kit requirement for the race, so there was pretty much no-one with any gear at all. I had a pair of gloves on, and that was pretty much the extent of safety gear.

Lining up at the start I was (for a change) pretty close to the front, next to Rob Grantham - who beat both me and Jez at Tal-y-fan. There was no small talk before the race. No "watch out for this or that", nothing at all - just a countdown and go. Proper welsh race style. Beeps of watches, and a fast, fast start. I managed to stay with the top 5 as we head out past the church and down the hill, a couple of people fell behind, and I managed to stretch into the lead for about 400m as we reached the steep downhill. Then as the track flattened, Clive Fitzpatrick (darling of the FRA - or maybe not) wearing roadshoes on his feet and fell shoes on his hands came past, along with
a fast bloke in red. They stretched ahead a little way, and then as the hill kicked up, Jez came past me. We juggled positions for a while, 3rd and 4th, and the hill steepened, and his home knowledge really began to show. I was running this for the first time - and it should be no excuse, but he was very much on local turf,
knowing when to push and when to hold off a little.

I tried to keep with Jez for the whole of the climb, and it was about half way up that we closed in on and passed the guy in red. Clive was way out in front, and going ridiculously fast. Jez never once broke his stride, and although in hill reps - the idea is never to walk so that in a race you never walk, I ended up with legs so heavy that I ended up walking.
At times like this I end up wondering what the hell I'm doing. The raffle has more prizes than the fell race, costs less to enter, and you get pretty much as good a chance of winning some pretty decent prizes, and here I am, hammering up a hill in the red zone with my lungs in tatters, legs pumping battery acid, wishing I could stop. But no.

If I stopped, I'd be like everyone else.

Keep moving.
For the short sections that I walked, to begin with I was keeping up with Jez who was running, however, inbetween the run/walk/run/walk sections that I was doing, time was still being lost, and by the time we hit the top of the climb (which seemed a looooong time in coming) there was a 15 second gap between us.
Clive had managed to get to the top, change his shoes and start running down before we got there. Tapped? Showing off? Who knows.
Apparently there was a quadcopter buzzing around at the top, but I had no idea that was there, all I could see was the ground in front of me. Round the top and down - Jez was a good distance in front of me- thats what 15 seconds affords you, and there was only so much I was going to be able to do to catch him.
On the top section where it was a little rougher I sensed that I was closing him down a little. Whether there was someone doing the same to me - no clue. Although it was downhill now, there was still that little matter of the 500m flat section followed by about 800m of road climb at the end. Go too hard now, and maybe you'll get overtaken at the end. Don't go hard enough, and maybe give someone the opportunity to catch you up, and then overtake you at the end... time it just right, and stay in 3rd.

Down across the moors, legs really getting pounded by the descent, especially after emptying them on the uphill section. Jez and Clive were a way in front of me, and seemingly uncatchable. Past the marshals and continuing down, through a field, where I was momentarily thinking about stumbling and cracking my knee, because that would probably be marginally less painful that what I was feeling as my lungs burnt trying to get
enough oxygen in.
a hard left and onto the same track as we had come up - Jez was pretty much out of sight now, its just a case of consolidating 3rd. Not going so slow that I get caught, but not going so fast that I blow up. Down the horrible tracky path thing, and a hard right. Flat for 400 metres or so. Stride out, and hope that the guys behind aren't road specialists. Never looking behind, because if I have enough energy to look behind, I'm not going hard enough, and now we have the final ascent -
Me, Caity, Chris and Al. Pre race.
40 paces up the steep part, breathing like a steam train, try to gauge if there is anyone close behind by the amount of clapping that is going on, the road flattens, and go hard, knowing that the final section is yet to come. Legs on fire, lungs on fire, final 300metres, and then the kicker at 200 to go.
Is there someone coming for a sprint finish? I have no idea, and give it all I've got. Even if this isn't a sprint contest, its good practice for the day that it happens.

People line the sides of the route as I empty the rest of my energy into my legs and hammer for the line - which is literally a table right across the road, so no running through it, just a sudden stop at the end, and sweet, sweet relief that I've stopped running.
Bottle of water, and then a wait for the next guy, a good 20 seconds behind me.... so no need for a heroic last dash, but good practice anyway. Walking around at the end, its like I'm already getting DOMS and every muscle in my legs begins to hurt and mildly cramp.
Short. Hard. Horribly runnable.

Thanks to the guys who organised it - I did hear a couple of people wondering about the prizes only for 1st male and 1st female, no age group prizes, nothing. Thats pretty rare for a fell race, and when you have 160+ people paying a fiver for a race, you'd think there might be a few more bottles of beer being dished out. Still, each to their own.
Thanks also to the MR team that marshaled, and to the people out shouting at us all along the course.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Long Tour of Bradwell - 2015

I was thinking about calling this the Long Blog of Bradwell, but it wouldn't come up on google so well, so decided not to. I suspect this might be a long one with precious few pictures, so please accept my apologies in advance.
GDH pre-race conflab

Although the Old County Tops has been a regular fixture for me in the past 3 years, I've not raced solo over an "ultra" distance. The LTOB was put in our club champs by some sadistic person (probably the same one that thought the Eryri Marathon would be a good idea as well), so I got my entry off early and settled down to think about and recce the route.
Time went by, I didn't recce it, no problems - I still have a month left, then contract work started, and all of a sudden there was no time to get over to the route to have a look at it. The evening before the race was spent printing out a map and marking on the route and checkpoints and thinking this is the least prepared for a race that I have ever been.
A non-restful week of cycle commuting to a new place of work and a race in the middle probably wouldn't help either, but, hey, give it my best shot and see what happens.

Lynne and I (accompanied by Martin - my sisters other half, who was doing the Half Tour), got over to Bradwell a bit early, and faffed for a while. The sun shone down on us, promising a day of good - but hot weather. Not necessarily the greatest of racing conditions, but at least we knew that everyone else was going to be suffering as well.
Looking around there was an abundance of ultra-running packs - unsurprising as this was part of the Ultra
Lynne ready to run
distance competition (I think its organised by irunfar, but could be wrong), and I almost felt a little out of place with a bumbag.

Paul Skuse of Glossopdale fame was wandering around like a lost sheep, bewildered by the fact his Garmin had no charge. If it isn't on strava, it didn't happen...
We walked to the start field, gently taking the mickey out of the self-confessed GPS-tracking addict (though to be fair, I'd have been equally as annoyed if that happened to me), and soon enough we had the pre-race talk, a quick countdown, and boom, we were off.
A bit of a dash to get to the gates out of the field - the exit was a little narrow and I didn't fancy being in a crush to get out, and onto a hard path. There were about 8 runners in front of me, but that wasn't a particular worry. It's a long race, after all.

I overtook a few of the guys in short order, I was feeling a little stifled by their pace, and wanted to stretch out my legs a little. There were now only about 3 people in front of me, but even before we got to the Cement works, they were a fair way ahead of me - probably non-catchable at this point - but as I punched the control a huge gaggle of runners were bearing down on me, time to get a wiggle on.
Or not - the climb up Pindale was a bit of a bugger, loose stones and a lot of people around. I ended up chatting with a couple of other guys, one of whom had won 3 Rings of Shap a couple of years ago - so pretty good pedigree then. As we ran along the top Martyn from Porter Valley Plodders and I struck up a conversation that lasted for a good few miles. The Cavedale descent was just as slippy and horrible as I was expecting, and it was definitely a Good Thing that I was wearing x-talons rather than fellraisers, even having said that, I nearly crocked my ankle big style, but managed to save it.
Into Castleton, a gulp of water, and I was gone, Martyn stopped for a couple of glasses, and another PVP chap caught up. I figured I'd get a bit of a shuffle on up towards Hollins Cross, and they'd catch up with me - but would have to expend energy in the process.

The sun was getting higher now, and things were heating up. Wearing a Black cap probably wasn't the most intelligent idea, especially as my white cap was languishing in a drawer somewhere at home. Martyn and company caught up with me, but as the ascent steepened up a bit I carried on running as the others walked with the result that I topped out a little bit ahead of them. The descent to the road was on a "nadgery" (as a mountain biker friend would say), so we stayed off to the left on the bank. Cross the road, and Martyn and I wound our way through the fields and to the next checkpoint on the road into Edale. John Boyle was there with the refreshments and encouragement. Again, a short stop, and onward.

There was a bit of a hold up going into the field where Edale Skyline starts because of a number of walkers on the path and bridge, no matter as we really weren't in a huge amount of rush. Along and up to Ringing Roger - or nearly. We trudged our way up there at a pace which was very very much slower than I imagine Simon Bailey went up there on Edale Skyline day. As we went up the switchback I had an inadvertent glance back, and a number of runners were strung out behind us - some in quite close proximity. No stopping now, despite the fact there was very little shade, and the sun was doing its best to dehydrate us.

We topped out after a bit of a walk/run climb, my legs were feeling it now, and I was wondering if I had started out a little too fast. It was an effort to keep up with Martyn up the hill, and I was beginning to feel quite envious of his Ultrapack- the waterbottle on the back of my bumbag was weighing it down and pulling the waist strap into my tummy making it a little uncomfortable to breathe so well. Maybe I might think about buying one of those at some point. The run over to Druids stone was fairly uneventful, apart from the fact we didn't see anyone else. The following drop through the heather to the wall, and descent was fun, but I caught my foot up in a piece of wire fence as I went over the stile, which held me up for a few moments, allowing Martyn to catch me up.

A bit of distance stretched out between us as we went down to the road, and then up to Back tor, but when I noticed he was only about 40 metres behind me as we slogged up, I waited at a gate for him in order to have a bit of company on the way to the top. As we approached the skyline we could see a number of runners going across - the Half Tour-ers on their way to Lose Hill. We joined the path and overtook a couple of them, and were then joined by a very young girl who seemed intent on racing us up the hill - pursued by her father who was astonished at her startling turn of speed... that one'll be a winner at some point.
Me being confused by a dibber
The undulations across to Lose hill were lovely, as they always are, Kinder off to our left, Winhill ahead, and the valleys set out around us. We passed the time chatting about stuff, and as we approached Lose Hill it was a true pleasure to see Matt Dooley standing there cheering us on - no idea he was going to be there. A handshake and some words of encouragement, and I hooned off down the hill into Hope. Passing a few more Half tourers and walkers on the way. It was amusing getting past the walkers on the very thin paths just on the entrance to Hope, and it was lovely to see Sue Clapham out and about cheering us on - and then a few minutes later, Chris Clapham was at the checkpoint with camera, and more encouragement. Great to see
you guys out there!

A gulp of checkpoint water (it may have been lemon squash, but whatever it was, it was lovely), and onward. As I left Hope and wound my way up through the paths and roads, and at one point came across a Half-tourer in bermuda shorts, oakley frogskins, brand new terraclaws and the most amazing goatee beard. I really didn't know which to compliment him on first!

Up over and onto Winhill - which I always find strange when I don't go to the top - which we didn't, then a fabulous and easy descent through the woods, a sharp left, checkpoint and down to the dam. I came across a runner with a familiar rucksac on - Martin, doing the short Tour. We chatted very briefly, and I bombed along the path to the next checkpoint. Gulps of water, fill up of water bottle and a jog along to the split in the path where the Long Tour turns left toward Bamford and the Half-tourers carry on ahead.
A left turn and carry on - and at this point, I was caught up by Charlie Sharpe - vestless in his sunglasses. Today was indeed a hot day.
We chatted for a while, and as we went through Bamford and into the race route diversion and Charlie showed his strength by heading off in front of me.
A minor navigational issue occurred halfway along the diversion as I mistook a junction for one further along (and was probably influenced by the fact Charlie had gone down that path), and we ended up at a dead-end. Hmmm. Not so good. A check of the map, realisation of location, retrace and carry on the right track.

Ahead of us we could see Martyn, who had overtaken us, and it took us a good 2km - right up to the checkpoint on Stanage Causeway. We chatted again for a while, and then I strode out a bit (well, actually, I think my shuffle uphill ended up being a bit faster than his shuffle uphill), and a gap opened out. Considering how strong Charlie had been just now, I was fully expecting him to be with me - but the heat appeared to have taken a little toll on his strength and I made my way across the top of Stanage on my own, hopping between stones, saying hello to the climbers belaying on the tops, and looking wistfully at the circling paragliders, riding the thermals and ridge soaring.

Up to the trig point, a check of the map to get the right route off, and then down to Burbage. My legs were really starting to hurt, and my feet were feeling the stones  - xtalons perhaps not the optimum shoes for an entirely track based ultra. Burbage carpark - a swift fill of the bottle, a gulp of drink and onward. I heard another runner arrive at the checkpoint as I left, but didn't look around to see who it was.
There is a choice of routes here, and my chosen route was the left most route - the main path which simply descends, no uphill to worry about, and certainly nothing to think about in terms of hazards underfoot.
Burbage was a bit of a low point. I could tell that my happiness levels were taking a bit of a dive as my "hellos" and "good afternoons" were getting less and less enthusiastic, so I made a bit of an effort to brighten up and be more positive - despite my sore feet and the nagging feeling of a potential quad strain.

At this point I really didn't know how far I had gone, and also hadn't bothered to put a "distance" section on my watch in order to easily check. At that moment, it bleeped, and the total km came up. 41. crikey. No wonder I'm feeling it a bit.
Down through Burbage, wondering if the runner who was so close behind was following me, or if they had taken one of the other 2 lines. Past a couple of Long Horn cattle and to Toads Mouth. Now this bit I had recced, and began to go to where I thought the control would be... glanced to my left and saw it on the other branch of the trail. Aha! so it IS in a different place.
Dib and go, down into Padley gorge with families aplenty, BBQ's and kids running around with shrimping nets (yes, really). The prior recce with Lynne a month ago paid off, and I didn't really need to think about route finding here, up and over to the next check, and then down the next hill.

Just heading down, I caught my foot and thought... oh dear, getting a little tired, best be caref... and then really caught my foot, staggered a little to catch myself right towards the edge of the path. Quick thinking meant I launched myself upward, and managed to land in a bush feet first, rather than head first, ending up with my shoulders at the level of the path, buried in undergrowth.
Well, it could have been a lot worse, but now I have to get out.

I manoeuvred myself out, and continued on and reflected on the fact I could have ended up headfirst down the side of the path, then put it out of my mind and concentrated on the steep downhill. Across and down again to the trees, and along to Leadmill. By this point I was fairly sure there was no-one in sight of me, and that I wasn't being "followed" - everyone was navigating themselves now. There was perhaps 10km or so to go, and a couple of hills left. All I needed to do was keep putting one foot in front of the other, at a speed faster than walking pace, and that's it.
The sun was beating down, and as soon as I hit the checkpoint at Leadmill Bridge, I grabbed a cup of water and threw it in my face. Much better. Dib and move. Although I had looked at this part of the route previously, I still managed to go 50m up the wrong road, so retraced my steps, wondering if anyone was catching me up. I looked around warily, but as there was no-one appearing, I turned right and went the correct way. Idiot. I must be getting tired.

A long walk up the road, followed by a navigation intensive route down into, through and out of Abney Clough, my map had been a constant companion for a few hours now, and although the route through the clough felt longer than it should have been, it was probably a product of me being tired, not moving as fast as I thought I was, and the heat on top of it all.
Eventually I hit Abney, a left and right, and this was it.... the final uphill before the descent to Bradwell.
Keep the legs moving, keep on turning it over. I knew that for every step that I ran up hill, it would get me to the end faster than anyone who decided to walk. Also, if I broke into a walk at any point, someone behind me who was running would easily catch me in these final few kilometres.
The choice to walk was there, but it was no choice.
I ran.

Around the curve at the top, over the stile/gate thing and a final descent.
I took it gently, and at one point saw some directional tape going uphill along a path - when I knew I should have been going downhill. A pause, a think.... I know I need to go down, there is no way that is the correct way, I'll ignore it and carry on.
A good plan.
Down the route, and into the village, down the steps, and the final K along the road. Lucy and Martin were there and cheered me on, down the road and finally, into the finish. 5:44.
Not bad for an ultra which I was less than well prepared for. I'll spare you the post race generic flapping and feeling rubbish, but needless to say I was a tad dehydrated, and it took until about another 3 hours to feel like I was anywhere near back to normal.

Lynne coming into the end
So I was 4th overall, 3rd under 40 - so I ended up getting a prize, which is always nice. (a raidlight buff.... there are easier ways to get hold of them)! Caity was 2nd Glossopdale in, and was 1st lady overall. Paul "strava king" Skuse was 3rd GDH, but with no garmin track to show for it, I'm going to call him out and say if its not on strava, Im not sure I believe him. Lynne was 4th GDH, swiftly followed by Jude and Nick.
What a great day out (if a little hot), thanks for the organisation, the food and drink stops which were excellently laid out and well supplied, thanks to the marshals, and well done to anyone who competed or completed. That was a hard old race.

And check this out - the results are up, not even 24 hours after we finished. Nicely done. 

Friday, 7 August 2015

Cracken edge fell race 2015

Obligatory race entry photo
So this is a little late, I must apologise for having little time to catch up with myself.
This is pretty much an annual fixture for me as a memeber of Glossop mountain Rescue. Kinder MRT are the organisers for Cracken edge, and basically threw down a challenge a good few years ago to all MRT teams around and about to see whose teams had the fastest runners.
(I think it may have been a bit of a joke to begin with, in fact, it is all taken in good jest now as well), however, there is the rather marvellous "buzzlightyear" trophy, and the fastest 3 runners from each team win the trophy and completely non-exisiting bragging rights for the next year.
We had 4 runners this year, I believe Kinder fielded 1 runner, and so did Woodhead. So I think we won by default, but we still had a bit of a lively race anyway.

I ran in Glossopdale colours, as ever - though nearly ran in trousers, as I completely forgot my shorts.... they were laid out quite neatly at home, but they just didnt get into my bag. Luckily, someone had a spare pair (thanks Judd). 
There was a decent crowd out from GDH, perhaps not as many as Pennine, but there were a good number that crossed the divide for the craic and amusement. Also, Cracken edge is a great race because it is (in general, and in theory) a horribly runnable course. There really aren't many bits where you HAVE to walk.
Mark Burton and Chris Leigh, current Pennine Speed Merchants were there to give each other a bit of a run for each others money, and from the off, they went off like someone had told them there was a Mettricks Pork Pie at the top of the hill. I reckon they had about 100m on everyone else in the race within about 3 mins. Impressive considering that the first section of the race goes up quite a gradient. Its slightly slippy, but, as mentioned, if you're not caught behind someone, horribly runnable.
The forming queue
At the top of this section, apparently Lynne was cheering us on, I was in the mix - well, I was about 15th, way behind Chris who had got a pretty decent start, and was striding out, and I was going blind with the effort (apparently cycling to and from work isn't actually considered a warm up). There were a good few people between us, and although I didn't need to queue to jump the stile, I had to wait for the guy in front to faff a bit. (and although there was a queue further back, I still have no respect for those who jumped the queue because they were impatient. Yes, it might be a race, but if you can't run up the damn hill as fast as those in front of you, be polite, and be respectful of their effort to get there before you, either that, or if racing is THAT important to you, learn to run faster so that you get to the stile before a queue forms).

Up through the field with a single track... those in front were too slow, so I deviated slightly to the right onto the rougher ground, with deep grass and fired on past 3 people, closer to where Chris was - by now, there was a definite lead group of 2, a second group of 3 - 4 of those 5 were Pennine (through legacy and transfer), and they were all looking particularly strong.
Through the gate and to the mast, I overtook Stefan, who was destroying me with alarming regularity earlier on in the year, and a couple of others, but I was still chasing Chris - who appeared to be absolutely on fire this evening. Down through the marshy bit, a guy in Salomon fellcross overtook me with ease, but as soon as it got a little choppy, I overtook again, took the next 2 guys as well, and by the time we hit the short track section, I was side by side with Chris, who was happily saying hello to the marshals, taking the mick out of unicyclists and also rocketing along at a fair pace making it look easy.

Past Phil- part 1
Down to the left turn for the next hill. As ever. Runnable. The guy in the salomons comes past, as does another guy. I slow a little, legs feeling it - its not even a hill yet and I'm getting overtaken... the cycling must have taken a fair bit out of me, I tell myself. As long as I'm keeping in front of chris, thats ok. I ease up a little, but have a little dig in a little toward the top, hang a right and pass Phil Swan - out on the course taking photos. (thanks phil). Down the track, it gets choppy again, and I swoop past mr. fellcross, never to be seen again. Down a bit more, and then... footsteps behind me. Getting louder.
There is someone going faster than me downhill... what? I must be getting lazy.
Accelerate a bit, but he's still coming, so I let go a little more and head towards the gate. Still, he takes a slightly better line at the gate and overtakes me. Crikey. Thats not good. A guy in a fat boys vest, and evidently a pretty swift descender to boot. We have a steep road descent next, so I'll try and stay with him.

Ahead of us are a Buxton and Dark Peaker taking the hill at speed.
Down the hill, and I surprise myself by taking the Fatboys runner easily, and putting some distance between us, nearly catching with the 2 in front of us - but they have about 15-20 metres on me at the bottom as they go over the stile, to the long grind up through the quarries.
Now THIS bit is runnable. I remember the first time I did this and cursed myself for having to walk bits of it. Never again.

Taking it at an easy pace, I keep the Dark Peak and Buxton guys in sight, steep for a few steps, easy for a few, steep for a few, easy for a few. Far ahead in the distance I can see a Pennine vest near the top, going hard. Behind me are the hard breathing chasers. If you stop now, you lose a load of places for sure.
Steep. Easy. Steep. Easy.

The distance to those in front never gets any smaller, I have no idea about those behind. Through a couple of gates, and then the climb to Big Stone. A massive burst from one of those behind me, and although I was running up toward Big Stone, the Fatboys runner was really giving it some, and overtook me, we powerwalked up the really steep bit, and were met by Andy Howie at the top, before we ran down to the next stile - the guy seemed to have given a little too much, as I easily overtook him, and got over the stile first, across the moor, and the Dark Peaker and Buxton guy were still not getting any closer, and as we ran down toward the right turn where Phil was, the blimmin Fatboys runner came past again. No way.
I need to start thinking about my downhills.

Being overtaken. Good motivation from now on.
At this point, I was pretty confident about my position in the race, I was happy with where I was and was thinking of easing up. Chilling out and having this as my lot. Then I remembered something I had read a couple of days ago. Why bother entering a race if you're not going to suffer. You might as well just go for a bit of a bimble. Why on earth would I run hard for the first half and then cruise the rest. Don't I want to know what I'm actually capable of in the second half?
For goodness sake. Move your legs and damn well race.

deciding to race.
Acceleration along the flat- not something I'm great at, but I took a better line, and overtook the fatboys guy, along the track, and the 2 runners ahead get through the gate well ahead of us- but heading to a downhill  - the last real downhill of the race, and its a long one.
We hit the gate a good 10-15 seconds after them - I opened, he said thanks, but there was no way he was having me on this descent.
Straight down, hitting a good line, I could head him directly behind - but not overtaking. Bit by bit we gained on the Buxton guy and by the time we hit the slightly steeper bit, I was shouting "coming through on left" and barrelled past, closely followed, I suspect by my pursuer.
Hard right and I was nearly on top of the Dark Peaker, down into the dank, slippy descent into the wood, and a bit of nifty footwork and brazen descending, I passed him and plunged downward.

Just prior to the final down
Last year, from this point, I lost 2-3 places. This year, it wasn't going to happen. Through a couple of gates, and then the final 3 fields. I could feel the guys behind me, but had no way of telling just how close they were. No looking back now. For one thing, what was I going to do? Run faster? I might as well run as hard as possible and not take my eyes off the ground. It'll be interesting to see what happens in the final steeper field. Straight on through the fields. I can never remember which is the last one... is it the next one? or the one after? or even the one after that? No idea, just run.

Caity giving it beans at the end
Lynne is there, shouting me on, and telling us to take care over a slippy stone in the wall gap, and there it is, the final downhill.
I got this.
Maybe my legs don't. Gravity takes over and I have no idea how I stay on my feet, nor do I have any idea how I'm going to stop, but I hammer it home, and come in 6th. A decent haul, considering I was thinking about cruising in and maybe ending up 9th, 10th or so.

Al from GMRT came in 14th, and Chris Gregory made up the team. Patch was also running, and came in a little later, making sure he was giving his Ultramarathon pace a good practice.
Pennine got a great haul of prizes, but didn't quite manage a clean sweep. GDH had a great showing with 11 of us running, and we certainly made the most noise cheering in our other runners.

So Glossop Mountain Rescue retain the Buzz Lightyear trophy again. What a lovely evening out, and a great race to boot. Thanks to Jonny Wilson (the descending fatboy), Austin Frost - the Dark Peaker, and Jason Bennett- the Buxtonite for spurring me into action. Though the exertion might cost me this weekend at the Long Tour of Bradwell... we'll have to see.