Report from Tom Lynch:
The Blubberhouses 25 is a long distance walk starting from Bland Hill village hall and taking in the Washburn reservoirs, Rocking Hall, Storiths, Beamsley Beacon and Round Hill in a 23 mile/38 km loop. Runners are welcome, and as with most of these events the route is stocked with bounteous checkpoints offering all sorts of sweets cake and food. It’s an ideal preparation race for the Three Peaks Race and is often popular with Otliensians, however this year most had opted for the Baildon Boundary Way or the Manchester Marathon, and only me, Ed Davies and Tom Pomfrett were on the start line for Otley. Perfect conditions with a dry period over the past few days, good visibility and cool calm weather made for a fast race, particularly with the dry conditions underfoot.
The fast downhill start saw Ed immediately break away with the front runners and I quickly lost sight of him, and I settled in somewhere round the back of the top 10, for most of the first half of the race. I felt pretty good, and tried to pace myself knowing that most of the climbing comes in the 2nd half over Beamsley and Round Hill. Conserving energy and local knowledge paid off on the climb to, and descent of Round Hill, where at least 5 competitors ahead of me took a longer line off Round Hill and I managed to move into 4th place. I think I managed to catch up some time on Ed during this, and by the time we came to the final fields I could see him in the distance. However the uphill finish meant he still had a good couple of minutes on me, and he came in 3rd, only beaten by a small amount of time by the 2nd place finisher who he’d been guiding across the last part of the race. Tom had taken a steadier start to the race, having recently started to ramp up his training for longer races, and I’d not seen him since the start, where he seemed a little worse for wear after an early morning wake up call for dad duty. I’m not sure he had the most enjoyable race, having ‘felt terrible at 20k’ which sounds OK until you realise it’s pretty much only half way, and you’ve not yet climbed all the hills!
No results yet, but the race(/walk) was won by Alistair Shuttleworth (I think) in 3hrs not many minutes, Ed came in 3rd around 3hrs 15ish, I came in 4th in 3hrs 16ish, and Tom in 4hrs 15.