The Chris Hills 10 in 10
Race number 6 took us to sunny Hartington, Peak District, for the Dovedale Dipper, it threatened 4000ft of climb over the 26.5 miles but, unafraid, Gibbo and myself set off bright and early (5.45am) on the 400 mile round trip. Dave R had taken a more sensible option of staying over nearby on the Saturday. Once again, in a random field in some far away place a group of Striders prepared to battle the best hills that mother nature (or the race organisers) could throw at us.
The route set off and the first few miles were good running, gradual climbs with a couple of biggies in the middle taking us to the top of the valley. Halfway came and went and for the second race in a row I thought we must be lined up for an easier second half as we were running along the top of the hill looking back down into the valley where we had come from. Once more I was wrong, we turned a corner at about 15 miles and there she was right in front of us – the big one towering up into the clouds. The hill went on for days and I was sure Gibbo was going to blast off into the sunset at this point but he stayed with me – turns out there were two Strider charity runners out today!
Running with someone who is much faster makes you run up hills normally you would walk, I plodded along and after a couple of miles we were rewarded with a great section of downhill, a mile or so of nice and gradual descent that helps recharge the batteries. There were a couple more hills but we managed them without much fuss and I thought we had broken the back of it. The last 6 miles are dead flat as the route traces the river back to the village but they were the hardest as the monotony of the track was getting a bit much. Again I felt bad as I was holding the fast man back in a big way but I just couldn’t pick the pace up so we trundled along at 10 minute miles to the end. One more big hill at 24 and then straight back down it to the end at the village hall in just under 5 hours. Dave R finished about half an hour later looking fresh as a daisy, the man is a machine!
Big well done and thanks to the Rotary LDWA group, this is the second run of the year I’ve done that they have organised and they have both been very well done and friendly events. Neither easy but both had free food, cake and an army of friendly volunteers, what more can you ask for! The drive home was a bit tougher than the way there but luckily I had my tape-book that I had hired from the Library. I gave Gibbo a 5 minute recap of the 7 hours that I had already listened to of the thrilling tale of the Zulu wars of the 1860’s and then pressed play. Turns out we passed my mother who was driving back from York and she said when we zoomed past her Gibbo was waving his arms in the air and seemed to be yelling . She thought it was because of my driving, not this time. We had passed her at a very important part of the story as our heroes were destroying most of the Zulus single handed and it all got a bit much for him. I knew how he felt, I was struggling to keep it together too.
Onwards from here to number 7, the Northumberland Coastal Marathon in a couple of weeks time and then it will be onto the final straight!