|Chris having number issues|
Although the relays were very close to us this year- literally across the moor on the Dark Peak Runners side, the organisers asked that reccying of the route, or of the location was kept to a minimum. Well, to be honest, they basically said "PLEASE DON'T RECCE". Basically because of ongoing permission issues. So we did not. (and to be fair, anyone that did, I'm a bit disappointed in- particularly after they expressly asked us not to).
So we turned up on the day, I cycled over from Glossop, mooched around for a bit, cheered our
Bang, straight up a muddy slope, to get the heart beating- what a warm up, and then along the footpath to pick up the maps. As mentioned above we had already looked at the mandatory line which headed straight up the clough for a considerable way, so didn't have to think about anything apart from moving, breathing and looking at the map, working out some decent lines from one checkpoint to the next.
By the time we got to the top of the clough and dibbed the first CP we had already overtaken 3 teams- a direct line over some tussocks saw us have to deviate into even bigger tussocks to overtake another 2 teams. My heartrate was hitting some numbers that I haven't seen in *quite* a long time, so I told Chris to ease back just a little... then we hit flat ground, I recovered quickly and we belted down the path to CP2. Bang, in and out, another team overtaken and straight up the hill through more tussocks towards the next 3 or 4 teams ahead of us.
The terrain across here was classic Dark Peak. Tussocky, hard to run on and easy to decide to walk through. We ran.
Over the crossing point and down the path as fast as possible- this was a place where you could deviate into 2 or 3 different lines- for us it was ohms law- path of least resistance and go as hard as possible- while leaving something in the legs for the inevitable slog across some pretty hard ground later in the race. Down into Abbey Brook- which, to be fair, pretty much everyone was doing- but the path was obscured a bit by heather which seemed to be slowing a fair few people down.
The path along Abbey Brook was fine, and we could see a line of runners heading up the crest of Berristers Tor. There were some runners taking an early exit into the brook and going up the West side of the tor, and others going right the way around taking the very runnable- but much longer route up toward Cartledge Bents.
We decided to go direct up the Tor and hammered down to the crossing point that used to be used for the High Peak marathon, and took as direct a line as possible straight up the crest, topping out and immediately following the trod along the top of Crook Clough to CP3- via a very very gnarly section of Tussocks that someone else tried to follow us through. Bad idea.
Out of CP3- directly west, and the only section where we really had to resort to a fast walk because of the craziness underfoot. Chris went over a couple of times, but it was not long before we were on the trod up toward Robin Hood Moss. We went up a little higher than most (but not by a lot) in order to get a decent descent contour into the checkpoint. Down and through, catching up to the guys in front and suddenly "I've lost the dibber!" says Chris. Dammit.
He stops and looks around.
"Dyou know where?"-
" no point in looking for it- the checkpoints have orienteering stamps on them as well as dibbing stations so we can record that we have gone through, and we can tell the marshals we have gone through as well. Easy. "
Into CP4, tell the marshals, Chris Clips his number, hunky dory- Down into the brook on the West side of Gravy clough. I took a pretty direct line which ended with me pretty much falling down a rock hole/cliff thing about 10ft deep- slowing my descent with judicious use of heather grasping.... "uh- don't come this way!" I shout, and Chris seeing what happened, made his way around, shouting the same thing to the guys hard on his heels. We get past, and then an Eryri guy behind us does EXACTLY the same thing as me. Checking he was ok, we bundled down the rest of the hill, across the Brook and up the other side. Now comes the fun part- about 2 kilometres of tussock and bog bashing to the next checkpoint. No paths of any description, just moorland. It's like we've been training for this since we joined Glossopdale!
Up the hill and across Poynton Bog, we made good time, hammering the ascent and hitting the tussocks at pace. Around the bottom of the hill where Lost Lad is, and down into CP5. Again, a quick explanation to the marshals, Chris clips his number and off we go, bashing around and through the bogs and quagmire that is the top of Far Deep Clough. Ahead of us is a train of runners- another 5 teams? Maybe, we can get them... I grab a gel and we lurch on a little, catching the back of the train half way around. There is only one really decent line, and that is why there is a train- no-one can get around anyone else without expending some serious amounts of energy.
What's energy there but to be used? Chris and I bash through some truely awful terrain alongside the rest of them, taking occasional rests by running in the trod when the opportunity presents itself, and by the time we've got out of the bog we're pretty much at the head of it... and our collective brain shorts out. We've spent so much effort getting past them that we neglected to look at quite what we were meant to be doing next on the map! 5 or 6 steps in the wrong direction (south), and as I realise our mistake, looking at the compass, someone shouts "over there!"- and we swing back to the right line and onto the last CP. Another explanation and a stamp, and we're onto turf we know- we saw it about 2 hours ago as we wandered back to the starting pen.
We smashed down the final hill, new shoes- new grip- feeling excellent, and down into the final circle to finish and unleash our final leg runner onto the hill.
Final official time 1:24:33- 14th overall on our leg. Unbelievable.
Apparently the guys that came 3rd overall were disqualified for losing their dibber, so I have no idea how we stand on that score, but whatever- we had an amazing run, really pleased with it as my final race as a Senior... V40 next. Crikey.
|Smashing run. Hot food. Happy days.|
(sorry, I can't find any photos of us actually running the leg- apparently we aren't photogenic enough).