5 mile trail race

A new event – the Pendle Family Running Festival.  Not a lot of participants at this first weekend, but loads of potential and should take off.  The 5 mile trail race was on the Sunday, the second day.  This was my daughter’s choice of race and I tagged along with her and my son in law.

But just to go back.  Firstly, it turns out that I gave misleading information about ‘walking’ barges through the Stanage tunnel; it seems that the bargees did not walk against the roof of the tunnel.  Rather, they lay on their sides and walked against the walls to propel the barge.  Quite an undertaking either way up, as it’s a 3 mile (5 km) tunnel.

Liaising with the fell race last Tuesday seems to have gone OK.  It was a lovely evening, there were plenty of runners, and everything passed off without a hitch.  No new records, though, despite the dry conditions.

And I did watch the sheep shearing at the Great Yorkshire Show.   In the open final there were 6 competitors, all male, and they were required to shear 20 sheep each.  The winner, from New Zealand, completed his 20 sheep in 15 minutes; the last of the 6 was his father, who took 17 minutes and 20 seconds.  Amazing to watch.  But they went so fast that I did not pick up any tips.

And we did get a nice walk the next day.  Pleasant day, nice route, but some of the paths rather overgrown with nettles, brambles, thistles and the like.  There are disadvantages to walking in shorts.

So Sunday started very wet.  Driving to Pendle we went through a shower with which the wipers could not cope.  Yet we had not a drop of rain during the race.  A lovely route, with something for everyone; a modicum of tarmac, some rough track, a fair amount of path, through fields, woods and by a river; and some climbing.  Quite a strong wind in parts, rather blustery, and some mud.  It seems I only kept ahead of my daughter as a result of her getting a stitch.  With relatively small numbers (about 40) I did fear coming last – I didn’t – but also hoped I might get an age category prize – didn’t achieve that either.

Certainly one to suggest for next year’s Club championship.  44 done.

Radcliffe 5 mile Trail Race

Final one of the 3 races.  Meanwhile here’s a general shot from the Bull Hill fell race.

courtesy of Dave Haygarth
courtesy of Dave Haygarth

My legs did not want to move – but I did haul in a few runners as the race wore on.  Short stretch of road; up onto the old railway line; a scamper along a road and onto a wide dirt track; a run along a disused and somewhat insalubrious canal (though seeing two swans with their big cygnets was a bonus) and back along a dirt track to finish with 100 m on a running track.  Again really well organised, and a nice technical top for completing the 3 day event.

Mercifully it was not as hot as the previous 2 days, although this was the mid day race of the 3.  The day had started overcast, with a breeze, and a hint of a shower to come.  The shower didn’t come, much of the cloud rolled away, but a bit of breeze stayed.  So, once I had got moving, conditions were really quite pleasant.  It would have been better if I’d got moving sooner.  The shower finally arrived around 19.00 – hours after the race.

May well not run now till next weekend; Tuesday I’m FRA race liaison officer at a local fell race; Wednesday we’re at the Great Yorkshire Show.  I’ll probably spend much of the day watching the sheep shearing competition.  Open mouthed.  They get each sheep shorn in about 60 seconds.  Rather quicker than I, or my family, can do.  Won’t get home till late.  Thursday we’re out walking with an old friend and same on Friday – with a different old friend.

Giants Seat Cross Country

4 laps with repeated up and down (and up and down) through woodland.  5 miles (8 km).  A hot and sticky evening – the water station emerging from the trees onto the finish field was eagerly awaited on each lap.  Part poured over, part drunk.

So that’s 2 of the 3 done.  I found it very hard; it was disheartening to be overtaken by the leading runner only half way round my second lap (and therefore his 3rd).  And to be lapped by V65s.

It was a good route through the trees; lots of variation, one water splash as we got through a stream.  Otherwise no mud/water to speak of, following the recent dry weather.

I did manage to pick off precisely one runner on each lap.  Not sure what that indicates.  I had another in my sights as we got onto the finish field, but I could not get tired legs moving more quickly; he told me afterwards he was good on the flat, just poor on the lumpy bits, but my view is that it merely showed I was not good enough on the flat.  Nor perhaps on the lumpy bits.  Though he’s only 38 – barely half my age.

Anyway looking at my time compared to the front runners; I did appreciably better tonight than last night.  Which surprises me – it felt much harder tonight.  Perhaps the elite runners stayed away. Probably the 2 minutes waiting at the stile made a difference.

finished courtesy of Myra Wells
courtesy of Myra Wells

Roll on tomorrow.  A trail race.  When I’ve done that, I will have completed 43.

Bull Hill

Another fell race.  At Ramsbottom.  OK, OK.  It’s a real place, a Lancashire cotton town, now largely commuter territory in the furthest northern reaches of Greater Manchester.  The Northern Powerhouse, if the pronouncements of the Chancellor of the Exchequer are to be believed.  And perhaps they are.  Though this is not a good week as he has, predictably, borne down very hard on poorer working households in his budget; cut tax credits today, increase the minimum wage tomorrow.  Even I can work out what that means; thousands more children growing up in poverty.

Anyway, it was a beautiful evening, sunshine, a bit of a breeze, and an eminently runnable genuine fell race.  Impeccably organised by Radcliffe AC.  Another 3 day event and this was the first therefore of 3 races.   8.8 km, 335 m of climb.  Naturally, I should have done better, walked less and run faster, but despite that it was a jolly good evening out.  And I managed to overtake in the final 200 m.

Two moans; a long walk to the start (and back again) – about a mile, which would be unpleasant in adverse weather.  And, in view of the very large number of runners (230 completed this race) some way round the first stile should be found.  There’s an adjacent gate, so, either opening the gate, or if that’s impossible, letting people climb it  rather than queuing for the stile.  A 2 minute wait is somewhat off putting.  But these are minor points on a good night.

Which might well be what I’m saying when I’ve run tomorrow and Saturday.

Eccup 10 (16km road race)

Yes indeed – sounds like an instruction to a horse.  But it really is a place, on the north side of Leeds, and amongst other things this race takes the runners round Eccup reservoir.  Red kites nest here.  So off road, and slightly muddy in parts, and well away from any traffic.

And the whole route was traffic free, apart from a good number of cyclists, as the roads were closed.  Huge race with over 700 runners.  09.30 start.  In the club championship – but I saw only three of us, all in the older age range (over 60); there’d been a party on Saturday night & maybe the younger members weren’t up to an early start.  (Generally reckoned to be good to have your meal 3 hours before a race starts).  Actually there was one younger lady in the race too.  I just never saw her.

Got there in good time, parked up, and set off resolutely for registration.  Out of the field, through some trees, down the road; not all that many people about, but there again I am early; find the building shuttered & deserted.  Bit of a confab with 2 or 3 others; a conversation with a passing pedestrian, who provided what seemed to me a difficult description as to how to get to the (new) registration point; so I went back to the parking area, and followed the crowds.  Could have done that in the first place.

Anyway, everything was efficiently handled; chipped race; a bit of a run round, then gather near the start.  Not sure I like chipped races.  Or maybe it was just the big numbers.  Anyway, for most of the first mile it was a case of dodging around slower runners who were blocking the road, and trying to get up to a decent pace.  After which I could settle into a rhythm and tell myself that the perpetual stream of runners going past me was composed of people who like me were going past slower runners – including me.  Not entirely true, as I spotted some who were runners whom I’d got past near the start.  And I do think short sentences generally are better.

There was some breeze, but I could have done with more; and the water stations were a blessing.  Some drunk, much poured over the head.  A bit of rain would have been a bonus.

Much the same time as my two previous 10 milers this year, so a bit of a disappointing time really; no hills to speak off, unlike the Caldervale 10 at Easter.

Anyway – it’s a milestone; 40 done now.


Cragg Vale Fell Race

Ah – Cragg Vale.  The road up through Cragg Vale was used for last year’s Tour de France.  Mysterious place.  Home of the Coiners, many of whom ended up being executed at York.  For debasing the coinage.  Rather like what Merkel et al would like to do to Tsipras and Co as far as I can see.

For all my new readers – I’m 70 next year.  So I’m doing 70 races in my 70th year.  Broken the back of it now; this is race 39.

Cragg Vale
Cragg Vale

Hot hot hot.  And sweltry.  Hotter I think at 8 p.m. than it was at lunchtime for the Whaley Waltz.  At the top it was surprisingly pleasant to get into the wood, get some shade, and even, at one point, get a bit of a breeze in the glade between the trees.  Fairly satisfied with my performance – we’d walked both ways over Pendle Hill during the day.

6.4 km, 244 m of climb.  Run out on a narrow rising path through a wood, then relentlessly uphill, then slight uphill over the moor.  It had been breezy on the top of Pendle.  But not tonight.  Then into the wood; the obligatory mud bath at the end of the wood was disappointing this time – hardly up to the ankles – and a downhill gallop to the finish.  And nobody overtook me on the downhill.   Then off home for tea.

31 to go