This is a tough race (and I was warned) hence the AL category. The conditions were good for the race, sunny with a light to moderate wind. I’ve never run this one before so wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew it would be tough given the category.
The race starts at the peoples hall in Sedbergh and after a short run up the lane it heads up the fell side bypassing the summit of Winder before climbing to the summit of Arant Haw and checkpoint 1. I had planned to take it slow over the first couple of miles and ease into the race. Given the first 2+ miles were uphill I had no choice but to take it slowly! A nice long downhill to Chapel Beck and a wade through it followed before the long pull up to Castley Knotts. It was on this steep pull (where some runners were using their hands) that I realised this was not going to be a good run for me. My legs felt like jelly and I just wasn’t up to the pace – I was continually overtaken by runners. The run from Checkpoint 2 to 3 was much of the same, good ground but steep up and downs and ankle-straining contouring. The route was fantastic with big steep drops and great views across the valley Black Force waterfall. By the time I hit checkpoint 3 I was shattered and still not quite half way round. Yet another long climb then very steep descent got me to checkpoint 4. For a mile or so I felt as if I might have gotten my second wind as the route headed along the valley but the next climb to the Calf put paid to that. Even so I managed to overtake a few runners. The final couple of miles are more or less runnable and I crossed the finish line in 3 hours and 10 minutes. At least I wasn’t last (which at one point I thought I could be).
This is not an easy race, but it is on good ground and in a fantastic setting. If you like steep climbs and descents then this is your race.
|1||Jon Morgan||Dark Peak FR||M40||2:18:55|