Well, if I thought the Tynedale Jelly-Tea 10 miler was hard with that enormous hill out of Corbridge, boy, how wrong I was! On the Nidd Valley Road Runners’ website, it is aptly describes as “an accurately measured hilly course with the first and last miles on forest trail and bridle ways. The race finishes in the stunning Ripley Castle Courtyard.” Okay, no worries, I thought, but once I had arrived in Ripley, kindly escorted by Flip and Anna, rumours abounded about loads of hills, “tailing off after 9 miles”, “downhill then, when you are flagging”, then other comments like “lots of chocolate at the end”, and “terrific goodie bags” which helped placate me somewhat.
Flip and Anna had been explaining en route about meeting “random Fetchies” from the Fetchpoint website www.fetcheveryone.com and how you only had to look for their teeshirt or rather swish-looking hoodie, to make friends, get the gen, and swap running notes. Too true, they must have met about half a dozen such Fetchies here that they knew! They were the ones with stories of hills and chocolate …
The start was somewhat confused, as the start had altered to near the Castle grounds. It was a rather murky, humid and grey day to be standing around getting cold, and the race was due to start at 10.30 am which easily came and went. About 10 minutes later, all were ushered via a most feeble loudspeaker to the start right in the village centre, and off we went. 10.40 I reckon – took my Garmin which ran out of battery, so fat lot of use that was!! DUH!
I started well with Andrew Thompson (also running were mam Maggie, Jean Gillespie, and we espied Jim Nicholson too from our Striders’ clan) as we stumbled over the bridle path to find good footing. I soon got left behind as he and Anna (not-racing-just-running-Seeley, only kidding – she has hurt her achilles) moved past me up a slight incline. Undulation seemed to follow undulation, with the odd downhill bit until we hit 4 miles. Oh heck! The Birstwith Brute. What a formidable sight. I chose to fast-walk this beast, and save my energy for other anticipated hills – anyone who ran it must have been mad. Then more slight ups and downs, till the Swincliffe Swine – not quite as bad as the brute, but fairly leg-knackering all the same. I adopted the same method of reaching the top, and kinda free-wheeled (free-legged??) it down the other side.
Bit of a blur between 6-8 miles, I didn’t feel so good by then, and just concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other. Then another flaming hill with specially-devised title “For Fawke’s sake”.That one (ie the joke) passed me by till the end, goofy woman that I am! But then what happened? We were at the 9 mile point, and suddenly the bridle-cum-forest trail opened up in front of me and Flip-I-take-a-long-while-to-speed-up-Owen raced past me with an encouraging call. Smelling victory, my legs suddenly came alive and I shot through the trees and towards the courtyard, cheered on by onlookers and finishers.
I got passed the finish line, completely unaware of my time, expecting 1:40 after those hum-dinging hills. What do you know? 1:31:53, nearly 5 mins faster than the Jelly T and (to my immense delight) only 28 seconds after Flip. Of course, Anna, and Andrew were a good 10 mins ahead of me, and Jean, Jim and Maggie soon followed. I nearly didn’t find them in the carpark by the way, Flip, and was envisaging getting bus and train back to Durham, till Maggie yelled at me and pinpointed their location – good lass!
I hear some stranger called Ian Crampton won the race in a bizarrely fast time like 56 minutes, but I bet he didn’t get his picture taken with Guy Fawkes, ready to set off his sparkler-bomb! :-))
|1||Ian Crampton||Durham City Harriers||M45||1||0:56:51|
|23||Karen Pickles||Pudsey Pacers||F35||1||1:03:52|