Done it. All 10 km and 350 m of climb of it. There’s been a fair amount of rain in recent days, so a lot of the paths were raging torrents; not as deep a layer of slutch as I had expected, though.
And I’ve done all 70 now. Bit of an anti climax, really, as I write this a day later. The hardest was obviously Heptonstall, but Wardle with its powerful blasting wind sticks in the memory as a beast. I’ve been quite lucky – a few days off with a virus, and then later with a painful heel after the Garstang half – but otherwise no setbacks, and a massive cushion in terms of time, as my birthday is not till March. Lots of friendly faces at many of the races, and people asking how I was getting on with my 70. Overall an enjoyable and memorable experience.
Must learn to run downhill! It would only have made a few minutes and a few places difference, but I worked hard to take a couple of runners on some difficult uphill stuff in the latter part of the race, and to lose that on account of my descending inadequacy is still galling.
So this was another Tod Harriers race. Just like the first of my 70, which was Flower Scar. The Shepherds’ Skyline takes us gradually up and past Stoodley Pike, our local landmark.
This is followed by a helter skelter dash down to London Road after which there is a steep climb back up to the Pennine Way, leading to the long gradual descent to the finish.
The day started as a stinker. The rain didn’t come down in buckets – more like ten power showers. It was almost a surprise, arriving at the pub, to find people there who clearly were intending to run. But by the time I was marshalling the junior races, the rain had stopped, the clouds had shifted, and we had blue sky and sunshine. Watching the youngsters was invigorating, even though standing in a stream in wellingtons may not have been the ideal warm up for my race.
It clouded over for the main race, and we even got a bit of drizzle for a while, but the conditions were pleasant.
Well over 200 runners, so it was rather a squash on the initial run out, but I eventually settled into my usual position, not too near the front, and chugged fairly contentedly round the course.
To top off the race, the Race Organiser gave me a prize just for doing 70 races, a friendly touch – I wasn’t in sight of a prize for any other reason. A few of the chocolates have still not been eaten. And he’d very kindly announced it was my 70th race at the start as well.
Best thing of the day? The lovely lady who turned up specifically because she had heard it was my 70th race. I’ve known her for years, and she brought me a present. Not just any old present; two cushions and a blanket she had made for me in Tod Harriers’ colours. A beautiful present, made all the more special in that it was totally unexpected.
What’s next? I guess I’ll go on running as before. Might get in a bit of orienteering – haven’t done any this year. And I’ve lost my excuse for skiving off from Search & Rescue team training.
I did wonder about trying to locate 70 trig points to visit . . .
Watch this space.