Report from Chris Brunold:
Kit packed I pointed the car to Pendle and arrived seeing it shrouded in mist from a distance. Driving over the shoulder to Barley it seemed impressively steep and impenetrable.
Kit check on arrival reinforced my great gift for forgetting one important item – this time my watch left on charge – but better than the time it was my left running shoe! Having parked and spotted the familiar Pete Bland van I found my way to registration finding and meeting Tom, and Matt who was marshalling. The feelings of being nervous and anticipation were added to by Matt telling me it was a ‘good effort’even to turn up.
So I lined up and spotted Richard Bell from Wetherby. No recce and a first timer the nerves were up. We were off and the mist had cleared as we approached the first ascent past the reservoir. The ascents are a case of march with the pack unless you are an elite -its as steep as fabled. it was good underfoot as there hadn’t been much rain lately. Top of the first rise revealed amazing views and a good path for the first passing of the trig at the top. It was odd joining the throngs on the main path for a section. Then down the first gradual descent across classic moorland to a checkpoint with a sharp turn to reveal a new great view. Second ascent went fine and third, great mix of runners the odd friendly word at stiles and some of us fall over. The third brought another sunny endless vista into the distance and made it a great race. Disaster then struck with severe cramp at the top of this climb. having trained to 12 miles and 1,200’ of climb this was the first time I ever got cramp in a race rather than the end! With a dead leg that felt like a stump I fell in a bog. Stranded as a woodlice on its back in spasm there was nothing I could do until a kind runner righted me! After jog walking through it and asking a marshal or two for salt one runner gave me a sausage from her ‘foil wrapped pre-pack of 5’ (some fell folk have a fascinating fuel strategy) and another a salt capsule that did the trick.
Then came Geronimo – don’t believe the images on google its steeper! The edge falls away and you can see the path in the bottom of the valley but not how to get there. I nearly bottled it but after the effort so far decided to focus on my feet and one step at a time – don’t look up or down.
I made the time check and the last ascents but lost time on the last descent due to tiredness. At the end the soup at the village hall was gone but I had two mugs of sweet tea and three glasses of water in about 10 mins to re-hydrate and a great invention – chocolate cake liberally sprinkled with salt. I had a heady couple of minutes and shed a tear for what I regarded as a lifetime achievement in those minutes.
Overall a brilliant well organised race with unbeatable value as it includes a dated t-shirt. as ever recce and training give a better result – but I think ill return next year and should do a PB! I will endeavour also to be a less severe case of chaos on the fells.
|1||Chris Holdsworth||550||M||Ribble Valley H||02:15:08|
|77||Tom Lynch||484||M||Otley AC||02:57:54|
|454||Chris Valerie Brunold||270||W50||Otley AC||04:36:14|