Monthly Archives: September 2019

Abraham’s Tea Room Round, Keswick, Saturday, September 14, 2019

48km/3657m

Jules Percival

Descent of Causey Pike towards Rowling End

In mid-July an email from Nigel Heppell* entitled “This one’s got your name all over it”, contained a website link to the Abraham’s Tea Room Round. “A tea room? Does that mean there is cake?” I thought wistfully….and clicked to explore further. Fast forward two months, and Nigel’s dangled carrot resulted in probably one of my most enjoyable days on the hills to date, and the reason for this report (both to cement it in my memory banks, and to tempt other folk to give it a try…).

*please note: IT WAS HIS IDEA!

Ok so here goes for the background history bit…The George Fisher store in Keswick was originally the Abraham’s photographic shop, but in 1957 George Fisher turned it into an outdoor equipment store. High up on the top floor, with spectacular views – is Abraham’s Tea Room. The view from the café is beautiful, but often obscured by the weather, so someone has painted the view above the window, and labelled all the fells that you can see on a clear day.

A remark from Alan to Jacob (who work at the store and had clearly been looking at the painting and daydreaming) apparently went along the lines of “Tell ya wat Jacob. Garn round skyline from Tea Room would be a grand day out eh?!”

This inspired the 30 mile route that starts at the front doors of the shop, it’s creation coinciding with George Fisher’s 60th Anniversary – see the George Fisher Blog.

The website states that the tops you need to ‘touch’ are: Catbells, Robinson, High Stile, Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head (AKA Hobgarton), Eel Crag, Sail, Causey Pike, Rowling End and Barrow. You can do them in any order/sequence that you like, and successful completion of the route (photos and submission of a GPX trace as proof) is awarded with a badge, and place on their leader board.

The website states that the tops you need to ‘touch’ are: Catbells, Robinson, High Stile, Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head (AKA Hobgarton), Eel Crag, Sail, Causey Pike, Rowling End and Barrow. You can do them in any order/sequence that you like, and successful completion of the route (photos and submission of a GPX trace as proof) is awarded with a badge, and place on their leader board.

Having had a relatively empty race calendar since my Hadrian Hundred at the end of May and no trips to the Lakes at all this year, I was feeling rather dubious about our chances; not worried about the distance, but rather by the climb…with “12,000ft +” it has over twice the amount as the Tour (de Helvellyn) which I have done a few times and is always a tough one. Was this bonkers?!

Nigel and I vaguely pondered logistics…usually in the pub after club night, and mostly without any resolution (other than continued consumption of pints and soggy thrice-fried chips). When to do it? Clockwise or anti-clockwise? Who could we rope in? Could we run it as a relay? Were we fit enough? Were we mad enough?!

As the weeks went by, summer was fading and it felt like this was a project best saved until the Spring, with better weather, longer daylight hours and more serious recces under our belts. We’d vaguely considered the 23rd September as a possible date, but long term forecasts didn’t look that hopeful, and we had agreed that – after my two previous 100 mile rainstorms – this was NOT going to be a bad weather outing. But then the Met office predicted a strange thing…was this a mini heatwave on its way? Surely not?! I emailed Nigel…. we had a weather window! would he consider an outing sooner than planned…in fact very soon…like, THIS weekend?! Shall we just go and DO IT?!
After roping in another last minute willing victim in the shape of Mike Hughes, at 5.45am on Saturday morning 14th September, we were driving down a deserted motorway bound for the Lakes, not quite sure what the day had in store. We parked in Keswick, made our way to George Fisher’s (slightly eerie walking through empty streets that were usually rammed with tourists) and took the obligatory starter selfie on their doorstep before setting off soon after 8am.

The route starts with a short run out to Portinscale village before heading up and over the top of Catbells. As we made our way up the first climb, the early morning sun was shining, spirits were high and we were all enjoying the distinct lack of tourists – a rare occurrence here! A calm Derwent Water was gleaming below us, and we stopped frequently to savour the views. If it continued like this, it was going to be a cracking day.

Top of Catbells

We descended down into Little Town in the Newlands Valley, trotted past Newlands Church and up the grassy banks of Robinson: familiar territory from leg 1 of the Bob Graham, only difference being this time I was allowed to pause for breath! After another selfie at the summit cairn – all grinning from ear to ear – we descended Robinson using an easier grassy route than the hideous slippery rock scramble down to the road that we had tried on a recce (when I had ended up on my bottom x4 times), this time taking us straight to Gatesgarth and the shores of Buttermere. Well aware of the most difficult section that lay ahead, we enjoyed a quick pie pit stop and psyched ourselves up for heading into virgin territory for the loop on the other side of the Lake.

The climb up High Stile starts innocently enough as the path contours parallel with the water, climbing gradually until you cross a fast flowing gill, but then you clamber up through the crags ..up and up…a relentless quad-burning and calf-popping climb (there was swearing), which wasn’t helped by the increasing strong winds. But the views back over the Lake (and beyond in all directions) were breath-taking, and at one point the three of us just sat down to gaze back into the valley and soak it all in. Knackering, but what better place to be on a Saturday morning?!.

High Stile Summit

After a windy summit photo stop, the only way back down was to tick off Red Pike Summit too (staggering views on the ridge line but avoid Chapel Crags edge), and the descent from here down to Bleaberry Tarn was dismal…sliding/staggering down on loose scree and rocks that smashed at your ankles and sapped the (now waning!) energy from the legs. The route back to Buttermere eventually takes you through Burtness Wood, on a never ending path of rocky steps that –with wobbly legs – was frustratingly impossible to attack with any sort of speed (if you still valued your teeth).

Ah, returning to Buttermere was a relief! All feeling a bit battered, we headed to a cafe to refuel on shortbread and tea (well, it was a tea room round after all!). As we sat savouring our cuppas, my comment of “anyone fancy getting the bus back then?!” was met with unanimous agreement that we were going to crack on. After this we would be committed to be up in the hills for a good few hours, but I think we all felt ok. The thought of coming back and having to do High Stile again if we failed on this attempt was all the motivation I needed to carry on.

It was soon after 4pm when we left Buttermere, the possible rain that had been forecast hadn’t appeared, and in our minds – even though we had hours ahead of us – it felt like we’d broken the back of it. For the first time that day, it dawned on me that we had a good chance of completing the round, and we trotted out of the cafe feeling rejuvenated.
As we headed out of the village up through the woods alongside the river, I grabbed the chance to devour another of my sarnies before I needed both hands for my poles and the climb up Whitless Pike. As we clambered up to the top it got progressively rockier and ridiculously windy (same as last time I was there…coincidence, or bad luck?) and the poles were soon ditched to make sure I had both hands to grab on safely.

Over the top, we took the track to Wandhope and over to pass east of Crag Hill. By now everything felt a lot more isolated & exposed, and the only other faces we saw were the fluffy-cheeked smiles of Herdy sheep that were idly chomping on their early supper, but the terrain was more runnable in parts. Stretching out in front of us to the left was Sand Hill & Hopegill Head behind it, and Grisedale Pike to the right, both of which we had to climb.
The skies (that had been full of high cloud for most of the afternoon) were clearing, and the low sun gave everything an orange glow as we set off to do this out and back. The odd shaped triangular bit of the route on the map didn’t look too daunting compared to what we’d already done. Someone commented “this bit’ll be over in a jiffy”, which of course wasn’t the case.

It was hard going, but again the views from Hopegill Head were a just reward. The ridge route along Hobcarton Crag was, er, bracing! (and another crawl on all fours in parts…just felt safer when my bum was on the floor!) and after a quick selfie stop on top of Grisedale Pike, the pace quickened to get back down asap, and retrace our steps back to the crags, and back to the route that returned to the eastern side of Crag Hill. After a ludicrously steep but relatively short climb up to Eel Crag, we pushed on to Crag Hill summit, and paused. This was the highest point, with spectacular views and beautiful skies in all directions, and the landscape around us was burning in low evening sun. Wondering if I’d ever be lucky enough to experience these kind of views and conditions again, I just stood there and savoured it for a bit.

Shortly afterwards on our way down, we sat in a line on the grass, legs stretching down the hill and resting back on our rucksacks, and just had a breather. It was just before 7pm, and my Garmin said we’d done 25 miles. Only 5 miles to go? Hhmm I was starting to suspect it would be longer, and it wouldn’t be long before we lost the daylight. But the toughest climbs were behind us…for the next few miles it was a case of running along the ridges with gradually decreasing height…it felt like the end was in sight.

We pushed on across to Sail, past the squiggly ‘fix the fells’ giant zig zag path, and along Scar Crags. The increasing wind had become bitterly cold (yet more layers were pulled out of the rucksack), and again going was slow as safety demanded trying to get as much contact with the rock as possible. The side wind on Causey Pike summit was mental…I struggled to stay on my feet, removing my glasses before they were whipped off my face. The sun was just setting behind us as we descended down, creating orange and pink clouds ahead of us and rich inky shadows down to our left in Rigg Beck Valley.

The out and back run from Causey Pike to Rowling End was memorable due to the attentions of an extremely stubborn and persistent grouse*. Not content with bursting out of the undergrowth around us every few minutes, flapping about our heads and generally making a horrendous din, it manoeuvred itself on the path in front of Nigel and became our little bobbing front runner! This somehow seemed even funnier on the return journey. But even so we were glad to be rid of it when we turned to drop down into Stoneycroft Ghyll.

* it turns out the grouse had almost celebratory status on the ATR facebook group. George Fisher commented “we actually decided you needed a bit more of a challenge so have been training “attack grouse” to help keep your times competitive”. On a more serious note, they realised that it was probably protecting a next somewhere and have asked folk to be considerate.

By now it was almost completely dark, and I could just make out Nigel and Mike’s silhouette’s as they headed down into the valley through the heather ahead of me. Even in daylight, there is no visible path or trod…. it’s a case of spotting the path up (eventually bearing right, up to Barrow) on the opposite side of the valley, heading in that general direction and hoping that you can cross the beck when you get to the bottom. It was a long slog down, but thanks to Nigel’s lead, we found the path, crossed the beck, and paused to put on head torches before we climbed up again…the LAST ascent…and not before time.

We climbed up in silence, tired but determined, the world around me confined to the small pool of light from my torch, with spiders, toads and other wriggly wildlife things scuttling out of sight. At Barrow summit we stood and looked down at the twinkly lights of Braithwaite and Keswick. The three of us let out an audible sigh of relief…we weren’t home yet, but it was all downhill from here.

The inky black route down to Little Braithwaite seemed blanketed in calm after the earlier windy heights. We let gravity tug us down over the gently descending grassy banks and every now and then spotted the little flicker of a glowing insect (beetle?) flashing up from around our feet. Once down on the road, for the final couple of km (that dragged!) we followed the signs to Portinscale and Ullock and the feeling of nearing civilization grew as the houses became more frequent, until we found ourselves back on the same path leading back into Keswick, and walked through town back up to the market square.  We got some odd looks from Saturday night revellers who were spilling in and out of the pubs around 10pm, and looking at the selfie we took when we reached the doors of George Fisher, I’m not surprised!! We looked somewhat more bedraggled and weather beaten than we had at the outset, but the big smiles were still there. We had done it!!

At the end, Mike had muttered something under his breath about “never opening an email from Jules again”…!…but over the few days that followed there was swapping of photos and stats. 32.89 miles; 14:01 hrs; 14,603ft ascent: 7hr15m going up: 5hr43m going down; and 1hr05m flat time. After emailing our gpx proof to George Fisher, a reply informed us that we had been added to the Leader Board of Glory and would also receive some spoils in the form of Badges of Honour, and…wait for it…. free tea and cake in the café next time we are there!

Next time I am there? Will I be in Keswick to just to sit in the café, or will it be to try this again? There is no doubt we could have done it quicker (skipping the food shops/food stops/sit downs/café visits/grouse chasing episodes), but would I want to? I’m not so sure… the day was pretty near perfect as it was.

But one thing is certain…next time I am in Keswick for whatever reason, there WILL be cake.

Well earned cuppa

Coxhoe Trail Race, Sunday, September 22, 2019

10km

Simon Graham

Courtesy of Kev Morson

I can’t remember the last time I entered a 10K race. Sure, I run 10k’s as training runs, but they are normally at a nice comfortable pace. I made the decision after my last Ultra to give up on distance for a while and just focus on getting my love for running back with some shorter stuff with my ‘Long runs’ being around 10 miles unless I was at an event.

The Coxhoe Trail 10k was just a random event that I knew would see a good Strider turnout. It was local, cheap (£10), and had a nice t-shirt. It was the T-Shirt that sold it for me.

Registration was quick and easy at the Active Life Centre (formerly the Leisure Centre) in Coxhoe itself collecting race number and event t-shirt. It is then a miles walk uphill to the actual race start location. This worked quite well as a bit of a warm up.

At the start area a huge strider contingent amassed and led by Captain Michael a number of us headed out for an out and back warm up. It was at this point I was starting to feel like the odd one out. I had chosen, as I always do, to wear my striders t-shirt and not club vest. everyone else was of course in their vests. Since I don’t like wearing a vest I’d just have to be ‘unique’. Back from the warm up and now assembled on the start line we were ready to go, though I soon realised that I was far to near the front of the pack.

The 10k route spends a lot of its first mile running downhill, and starting to near the front, I of course got swept up in the initial stampede.

Running a 7:30 minute mile downhill is all good and well if you can sustain it onto the flat, I, in my current shape (round), cannot. For long anyway.

As more and more sensible runners passed me having already reached their appropriate cruising velocities I reluctantly eventually reached mine. This was after thinking about a mile in that I was on course for a 10k PB on the flat, never mind off road. Reality soon kicked in and forced me to slow to the far more comfortable 8:30ish pace on the flat.

After the initial downhill sprint (and delusions of grandeur) the Coxhoe Trail 10k course is actually really nice. It’s an out and back loop course, so head out along the flat trails, which I assume are a former railway line, drop down, and then at around 2.5ish miles start a long steady climb up to Quarrington Hill. Several runners were struggling on this climb, but I felt strong. Anyone who has ever ran a Hardmoors event would probably only consider it a minor blip on an otherwise flat section, but to those who haven’t I can understand why it was a struggle.

As said, this is an out and back with a loop, and what goes up must again come down. As I approached the summit of the climb I passed fellow Striders Ian Jobling and Lesley Charman, who obviously weren’t loving the climb as much as I. They both caught up with me as we descended, and Lesley kept with me for the majority of the rest of the race, though I kept both of them in my sights.

Down the hill, back along the flat former railway line (please someone tell me if I’m wrong) and back up the hill which I flew down at the start. Going up the hill, I again felt strong, perhaps because my delusions of grandeur had long since passed and a PB was now just a passing memory. As I eased my way up through the field I was about to pass Lesley when she suddenly let out a huge scream and pulled up in pain. Concerned I stopped to make sure she was ok, she assured me she was so I pressed on with Ian Jobling now in my sights.

I passed Ian, again on the final hill, and noticed Anna Mason was just ahead, she too looked to be struggling on the hill, and as we approached the top I shouted some words of encouragement to her “Don’t get beaten by a fat lad”. I suspect it didn’t work since I didn’t see her again.

Slightly cruel, but to finish this race you actually have to almost run past the finish and into the woods for a final loop, I did this and entered the finish field to see the Strider finish staff doing their jobs admirably.

Ok, so lessons learnt; Hills for strength, Track for speed. Guess where I’ll be headed alternate weeks on Wednesdays, even though I dislike track (sorry Allan). 
I really enjoyed this race, even though I’m not used to ‘racing’ and would recommend it to anyone.
Special Congratulations to Gareth Pritchard for 1st male and Emma Thompson for 1st Female, and to all the other Striders for some great efforts.

Click here for results

Harrier League, Wrekenton, Saturday, September 28, 2019

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. Mud King/Mud Queen Race - click flag for more information.

Fionna Brannan

The first fixture of the 19/20 Harrier League season saw an impressive 68 Striders, old and new turn out for a sunny fixture at Wrekenton. Rain in the week meant that there were a few puddles around, but the weather on the day was kind – there were even complaints of it being too hot!

In the mens race, Captain Michael lead home with an excellent time, resulting in a promotion to the medium pack. Michael will be joined by Tom Hamilton, who ran a fantastic first fixture, also leading to a promotion. As usual, XC Captain Stephen ran a blinder, and is currently sitting in 4th position in the overall standings.

In the ladies race, Emma Thompson had a brilliant run, coming through from the fast pack and overtaking nearly 500 runners to finish first Strider home, followed shortly by XC Captain and coach Elaine, who was promoted into the fast pack.

On the day, the men finished in 5th place overall and the ladies 7th in what looks to be a very competitive season. The new tent performed admirably, and everyone put on their best singing voices to with Susan a Happy Birthday – well what else would Mudwoman do on her birthday?!

Photo Credit: Heather Raistrick

Results

men
PosNumNameRace TimePackCatActual Time
11504Samuel Charlton (Wallsend Harriers)30:57SMU2030:57
23530Michael Littlewood36:29SMV4036:29
36569Tom Hamilton37:00SMsen37:00
41560Stephen Jackson37:15FMV3532:15
68481Bryan Potts38:04SMV3538:04
80507James Lee38:23SMV4038:23
126499Georgie Hebdon39:18FMsen34:18
135477Allan Renwick39:30SMV5039:30
163531Michael Mason39:56FMV4034:56
185526Matthew Archer40:25SMV3540:25
208508Joe Finn40:42SMsen40:42
212501Graeme Watt40:45FMV4035:45
234506James Garland41:03MMV4038:33
251513Juan Corbacho41:25SMV3541:25
278516Lindsay Mcewan41:55SMV4541:55
291538Nik Corton42:08SMV5542:08
295563Stuart Ord42:13FMsen37:13
310498Geoff Davis42:28SMV6042:28
324561Stephen Soulsby42:45SMV5542:45
333485Conrad White43:03SMV6043:03
345500Graeme Walton43:12SMV4543:12
361553Robin Parsons43:35SMV4043:35
365509John Bisson43:41SMV4043:41
399473Aaron Gourley44:38SMV4044:38
437549Robert Allfree45:36SMV4545:36
447489Dave Halligan45:53SMV5545:53
466548Richard Hockin46:24SMV6546:24
467533Mike Bennett46:25SMV6546:25
488478Andrew Davies46:52SMV4046:52
489570Trevor Chaytor46:59SMV5546:59
501487Daniel Mitchel47:15SMV4047:15
532544Peter Hart48:18SMV4048:18
541503Ian Butler48:36SMV5548:36
559528Michael Dale49:13SMV4049:13
569556Shaun Roberts49:38SMV6049:38
585518Malcolm Sygrove50:24SMV5050:24
588520Marc Watson50:40SMV4050:40
611535Neil Garthwaite52:16SMV5052:16
641504Ian Jobling54:56SMV5054:56
647559Stephen Ellis55:46SMV6555:46
649474Adam Bent55:50SMV6555:50
women
PosNumNameRace TimePackCatActual Time
1671Katherine Davis (North Shields Poly)25:02SFV5025:02
25340Emma Thompson28:26FFV4025:26
38339Elaine Bisson28:57MFV4027:42
93376Rachael Bullock30:21SFsen30:21
99378Rachelle Mason30:34SFV4030:34
102374Nina Mason30:38MFV4529:23
104336Corrine Whaling30:41MFV3529:26
116363Katy Walton30:51MFV3529:36
129389Susan Davis31:00SFV5531:00
194350Jean Bradley32:17SFV6032:17
219365Laura Jennings32:48SFsen32:48
221366Lesley Charman32:49SFV4532:49
260386Stef Barlow33:33SFV4533:33
267373Natalie Bell33:39MFsen32:24
269332Camilla Lauren-Maatta33:41SFV5033:41
273351Jenny Search33:48SFV4033:48
286371Lucy Whelan33:56SFsen33:56
290388Sue Gardham33:58SFV4033:58
292345Heather Raistrick33:59SFV5533:59
297328Anna Mason34:04SFV4534:04
333398Zoe Dewdney-Parsons35:01SFV4035:01
363393Theresa Rugman Jones35:48SFV5035:48
378349Jan Young36:13SFV6536:13
385379Rebecca Blackwood36:24SFV3536:24
399380Rebecca Talbot37:16SFV4037:16
408355Joanne Patterson37:54SFV3537:54
422348Jan Ellis38:21SFV5538:21
424335Catherine Smith38:22SFV4038:22
460325Alison Smith43:09SFV4043:09
Under 17 girls and U20 women
PosNumNameRace TimePackCatActual Time
160Ines Curran (Gateshead Harriers)19:32SFU1719:32
4355Anna Jobling29:33SFU1729:33

On this day (25 Sep 1990), Thursday, September 26, 2019

POSNAMERACEACTUAL TIMEPREDICTED TIMEAGE GROUP
1Shane SmithA4.34.5SM
2David ShipmanA4.48.14.55SM
3Keith GreenwellA4.59.4
4Brian McKayA5.00.25.05M45
5Paul ChadwickA5.06.44.4SM
6Charles PattersonA5.12.95SM
7Keith HayesA5.22.75.45SM
8Chris HedleyA5.29.65.15
9John BoltonA5.30.15.4M40
10Bill OxburyA5.35.75.38SM
11Geoff AlredB5.40.16M40
12Peter McDermottA5.40.35.3M45
13Richard WardA5.40.95.45SM
14Greg MearmanB5.41.6
15George GlendinningA5.43.8
16Mike HallA5.43.95.5M60
17John McAdamA5.47.9
18Bill GibbonB5.48.56M45
19Alan PurvisB5.48.96.3M45
20Ewan SquireA5.51.65.5M55
21Bill ApplebyA5.52.55.45M45
22Eric ShortB5.53.96.1
23Nick YoungB5.55.96.3SM
24Maurice PashleyB5.56.96.3
25Richard HepworthB5.57.86.45SM
26Mary ChambersB5.58.66W40
27Stephen RowntreeB6.04.76.3SM
28Jan YoungB6.05.26.5W35
29Jan HallB6.07.4
30Carol HallB6.13.06.15SW
31Lyn DixonC6.40.87SW
32Roz LaytonC6.41.47W35
33Richard BevanC6.45.27SM
34Christine FarnsworthC6.48.67W35
35Jan SpencerC6.53.6
36Ann CurruthersC6.58.5
37Dorothy WaggottC7.00.87SW
38June WelshC7.20.37W35
39Carole SeheultC7.22.98W45
40Mary CoffieldC7.23.68.45W35
41Pam KirkupC7.34.87.3W35
42Jackie SmithC7.56.1
43Linda ShortC7.57.39
44Janet WymanC8.02.79
45Jean GibbonC8.54.210W40
46Tina CookC8.55.08SW
47Kim HallC9.13.610

The original printed results

26 Sep 1990

The story so far

Striderfastest25-Sep-1912-Sep-1814-Mar-1826-Sep-90
Shane Smith04:34.504:34.5
David Shipman04:48.104:48.1
Keith Greenwell04:59.404:59.4
Brian McKay05:00.205:00.2
Paul Chadwick05:06.405:06.4
Charles Patterson05:12.905:12.9
Keith Hayes05:22.705:22.7
Chris Hedley05:29.605:29.6
John Bolton05:30.105:30.1
Bill Oxbury05:35.705:35.7
Geoff Alred05:40.105:40.1
Peter McDermott05:40.305:40.3
Richard Ward05:40.905:40.9
Greg Mearman05:41.605:41.6
George Glendinning05:43.805:43.8
Mike Hall05:43.905:43.9
John McAdam05:47.905:47.9
Bill Gibbon05:48.505:48.5
Alan Purvis05:48.905:48.9
Ewan Squire05:51.605:51.6
Bill Appleby05:52.505:52.5
Eric Short05:53.905:53.9
Nick Young05:55.905:55.9
Maurice Pashley05:56.905:56.9
Richard Hepworth05:57.805:57.8
Mary Chambers05:58.605:58.6
Stephen Rowntree06:04.706:04.7
Jan Young06:05.208:00.007:44.006:05.2
Jan Hall06:07.406:07.4
Carol Hall06:13.006:13.0
Lyn Dixon06:40.806:40.8
Roz Layton06:41.407:18.007:34.306:41.4
Richard Bevan06:45.206:45.2
Christine Farnsworth06:48.606:48.6
Jan Spencer06:53.606:53.6
Ann Curruthers06:58.506:58.5
Dorothy Waggott07:00.807:00.8
June Welsh07:20.307:20.3
Carole Seheult07:22.907:22.9
Mary Coffield07:23.607:23.6
Pam Kirkup07:34.807:34.8
Jackie Smith07:56.107:56.1
Linda Short07:57.307:57.3
Janet Wyman08:02.708:02.7
Jean Gibbon08:54.208:54.2
Tina Cook08:55.008:55.0
Kim Hall09:13.609:13.6
Stephen Jackson04:50.004:50.004:55.8
Mark Warner05:13.905:13.9
Michael Littlewood05:06.005:06.005:08.005:19.9
Mike Mason05:22.705:22.7
Matthew Archer05:23.205:23.2
Michael Anderson05:25.605:25.6
Barrie Kirtley05:35.505:35.5
Rory Whaling05:36.405:37.005:36.4
James Lee05:44.105:44.1
Doug Jardine05:46.705:46.7
Mike Barlow05:48.305:48.3
Alex Witty05:49.905:49.9
James Garland05:29.005:29.005:53.7
Emma Thompson05:37.005:37.005:58.1
Aaron Gourley06:06.706:06.7
Andrew Davies06:02.006:02.006:04.006:07.3
Mark Payne06:01.006:01.006:10.2
Adrian Jenkins06:11.006:11.0
Malcolm Sygrove06:18.106:18.1
Peter Hart06:18.406:28.006:26.006:18.4
Mark Foster06:04.006:04.006:27.006:19.0
Conrad White06:10.006:11.006:10.006:21.3
David Browbank06:15.006:15.006:22.7
Daniel Mitchel06:31.506:31.5
Rachelle Mason06:36.406:36.4
Nick Latham06:27.006:27.006:46.5
Jordi Sabate06:39.006:39.006:46.9
Chris Shearsmith06:47.706:47.7
Peter Matthews06:48.106:48.1
Jonathan Hamill06:53.707:08.006:53.7
Alex Brown06:46.006:49.006:46.006:55.0
Neil Garthwaite06:59.306:59.3
Dougie Nisbet07:03.707:03.7
Natalie Bell07:04.407:04.4
Lizzie Wallace07:10.007:10.0
Jean Bradley07:11.307:11.3
Toni Malkin07:14.007:14.0
Stephanie Barlow07:16.007:27.007:16.0
Peter Bell06:55.006:55.007:16.4
Steve Ellis07:19.007:25.007:25.007:19.0
Camilla Maatta07:22.007:22.0
Joanne Patterson07:24.007:24.0
Mathew Carr07:32.007:32.0
Mike Parker07:41.007:41.0
James Potter07:59.007:59.0
Andrew Thurston07:35.007:35.008:01.0
Andrew Dunlop08:03.008:03.0
Andrew Munro06:54.006:54.008:08.0
Stan White08:10.008:22.008:10.008:24.0
Alan Smith08:26.009:04.008:26.0
Jan Ellis08:43.108:43.1
Alison Smith08:18.009:03.008:18.008:43.9
Paul OHara08:44.008:44.0
Louise Hughes08:46.008:46.0
Sophie Dennis08:29.008:29.008:49.0
Sharon Patterson09:11.009:11.0
Sue Walker08:23.008:23.009:13.0
Carol Holgate09:39.009:39.0
Peter Dawson08:10.008:10.009:54.0
Angela Cowell09:57.009:57.0
Mike Elliott10:03.010:48.010:03.0
Georgie Hebdon04:48.004:48.005:01.0
Gareth Pritchard05:07.005:07.0
Terry Robertson05:45.005:45.0
David Holcroft05:53.005:53.0
Juan-Corbacho Anton05:00.005:00.0
Steve Winship05:55.005:55.0
Paul Foster05:56.005:56.0
Robin Parsons06:07.006:07.0
Chris Hassell05:55.005:55.006:11.0
Matthew Carr06:31.006:31.0
Jordi Villaret06:35.006:35.0
Corrine Whaling06:01.006:01.006:36.0
Ross Parker06:39.006:39.0
Joe Dean06:43.006:43.0
Pete Matthews06:44.006:44.0
Colin Dean06:47.006:47.0
John Turner06:50.006:50.0
John Greathead06:57.006:57.0
Kathryn Sygrove07:06.007:06.0
Carolyn Galula07:30.007:30.0
Kelly Hetherington07:35.007:35.0
Debra Thompson08:07.008:07.0
Lynne Waugh08:27.008:27.0
Emma Cumpson08:43.008:43.0
Kerry Barnett09:13.009:13.0
Alex Mirley04:50.004:50.0
Graeme Watt05:05.005:05.0
Riad Ketani05:24.005:24.0
Lindsay McEwan05:30.005:30.0
Mark Griffiths05:32.005:32.0
Allan Renwick05:33.005:33.0
Kyle Sunley05:36.005:36.0
Alex Collier05:40.005:40.0
Craig Thornton05:43.005:43.0
Juan Ant05:50.005:50.0
Dave Nicholson05:54.005:54.0
Paul West05:55.005:55.0
Stephen Soulsby05:58.005:58.0
Graeme Walton06:00.006:00.0
Tim Butler06:01.006:01.0
Katy Walton06:04.006:04.0
Ian Butler06:17.006:17.0
Anna Basu06:18.006:18.0
Dan Mitchell06:20.006:20.0
Steven Lonsdale06:24.006:24.0
Michael Dale06:31.006:31.0
Paul Chute06:34.006:34.0
SarahDavies06:36.006:36.0
Trevor Chaytor06:37.006:37.0
Lesley Charman06:46.006:46.0
Cal Ibbitson06:50.006:50.0
David James07:00.007:00.0
Marc Watson07:04.007:04.0
Lindsay Rogers07:05.007:05.0
Anna Mason07:08.007:08.0
Karen Partington07:13.007:13.0
Anna Jobling07:15.007:15.0
Sarah Fawcett07:17.007:17.0
Mike Wade07:22.007:22.0
Martia Lotkowska07:27.007:27.0
Heather Raistrick07:35.007:35.0
Ian Jobling07:36.007:36.0
Theresa Rugman-Jones07:38.007:38.0
Laura Campbell07:41.007:41.0
Sylvia Poddebniak07:41.007:41.0
Kersty Nelson07:46.007:46.0
Steph Greenwell07:46.007:46.0
Lisa Lumsdon08:55.008:55.0

Track Mile Race, Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. Sprint Champion Race - click flag for more information.

Name5KBIBRACEActual TimePos in GroupPos Overall
Georgie Hebdon00:16:5115E44811
Alex Mirley00:17:1313E45022
Graeme Watt00:17:2711E50533
Michael Littlewood00:17:1812E50644
Riad Ketani00:20:054E52455
James Garland00:19:259E52966
Lindsay McEwan00:19:485E53077
Mark Griffiths00:18:3010E53288
Allan Renwick00:19:308E53399
Kyle Sunley00:20:273E5361010
Emma Thompson00:19:406E5371111
Alex Collier16E5401212
Craig Thornton00:20:502E5431313
Juan Ant00:21:0010D550114
Dave Nicholson14D554215
Paul West17C555116
Chris Hassell00:21:286D555317
Stephen Soulsby00:21:0012D558418
Graeme Walton00:21:087D600519
Corrine Whaling00:21:522D601620
Tim Butler00:21:0013D601721
Mark Payne15D601822
Andrew Davies00:21:305D602923
Mark Foster00:22:0014C604224
Katy Walton00:21:058D6041025
Conrad White00:21:009D6111126
Ian Butler00:21:591D6171227
Anna Basu00:20:501E6181428
Dan Mitchell00:21:493D6201329
Steven Lonsdale00:22:0015C624330
Nick Latham00:22:0713C627431
Peter Hart00:22:2811C628532
Michael Dale00:25:0015B631133
Paul Chute00:26:004B634234
SarahDavies00:22:3010C636635
Trevor Chaytor00:23:009C637736
Jordi Sabate00:24:004C639837
Lesley Charman16C646938
Alex Brown00:23:037C6491039
Cal Ibbitson00:25:309B650340
Andrew Munro00:25:2211B654441
David James00:25:0013B700542
Marc Watson00:24:262C7041143
Lindsay Rogers00:25:0014B705644
Anna Mason00:23:396C7081245
Karen Partington17B713746
Anna Jobling00:25:368B715847
Sarah Fawcett00:25:3010B717948
Roz Layton00:25:0016B7181049
Mike Wade00:26:163B7221150
Steve Ellis00:26:006B7251251
Martia Lotkowska14A727152
Stephanie Barlow00:26:005B7271353
Heather Raistrick00:31:004A735254
Ian Jobling00:25:0712B7361455
Theresa Rugman-Jones00:26:401B7381556
Laura Campbell00:30:006A741357
Sylvia Poddebniak13A741458
Steph Greenwell00:27:0712A746559
Jan Young00:29:477A746660
Kirsty Nelson00:29:008A800761
Fiona Wood5A805862
Stan White00:27:4510A810963
Peter Dawson00:27:3011A8221064
Lisa Lumsdon00:28:579A8551165
Alison Smith00:32:002A9031266
Mike Elliott00:40:001A10481367

A one-way ticket, Newcastle to Durham, Tuesday, September 17, 2019

James Lee

James Lee has left the building and is about to head south from Freeman to Durham

I am lucky. The chemo I am on is purely oral. I go to the Freeman, get weighed, answer some questions, collect the pills and come home. Then I take the pills the following five nights. Simples.

Last year I found that the buses were better than the train. Recently I started wondering if I could run home. I printed out a map – 16.2 miles on road. Yesterday I left the house in my running gear.

At the Freeman my resting heart beat set off the alarms again. I was thankful, yet again, that I’m not sitting there for hours on intravenous (yet). I stowed the pills in my back pack and went down to the back door. Set my Garmin, my laces, my music. Go.

The first two miles disappeared reading the map (is that how fell runners ignore the pain?). There was the Ouse Burn to follow, a bit of park, then busy roads down to Quayside. Too many streets to cross but I was keeping good time. Under the Tyne Bridge and over the Swing Bridge, enjoying the view, then up. Two pages of A4 to get to Gateshead, one page for all those miles home.

The World outside your Window. The Angel from the bus.

The up wasn’t steep enough to require running right (see link) but there were some long gradual climbs with the occasional view down in to the valley. I passed the Angel again, ran through Birtley and Chester-le-Street.

I kept the pace up because I knew I was pushing my half-marathon PB. I knocked minutes off what I ran earlier this year – and what I ran in my 20s. Then my calves seized up. I slowed down – the next record was the distance on my Garmin so time didn’t matter. I made it home. I was glad I had stuck to off-road this year.

Lessons learned:

  • The A167 is good for speed but very boring for distance. I won’t run back from Newcastle again.
  • Don’t think that, because you’ve done 16 miles off-road, 16.2 miles on road will be OK. My theory is that, because of the better grip, I was pushing more with my feet – hence the calves problem. Whether that’s right or not, the difference hurts. It requires more cushioned trainers, too.
  • Taking the bus out is a good way to get a distance target – it’s hard to stop. I think it could be great to run all those miles without turning around. I just need to find the right route.

For those of you wondering how I’m still running:

Last summer the odds on the chemo working were 40%. It hasn’t just worked, it blew the grade III bit apart. My consultant has seen that 3-4 times in her career. The grade II bit has stopped growing but the chemo is still just buying me time. I passed the short life expectancy back in January.

Most people last about 9 rounds of chemo before the side effects get too much. I feel rough for a few days but can now do the club runs on the Wednesday after pills. This will be round 16 for me. My consultant has seen someone last 24, not that that’s a challenge… The average life expectancy ends next month and I’m not dead yet.

I’m beyond the statistics but the estimate is now some time next year. I’ve been warned that the end of chemo can be quite sudden. I’d love to finish this cross-country season. I wasn’t kidding with the “I am lucky”.

Sometimes I wonder what’s killing me. Is it the brain tumour, the chemo, or the reminder every 28 days? But it’s the living that matters. Thanks to all for keeping me running.

Great North Run, Newcastle upon Tyne, Sunday, September 8, 2019

13.1m

Kirsty Nelson

Ok so how do I start my first race report? What do I put into it? Who will read it? My god the questions that went around my head at mile 18 at my first marathon in York, me writing my race report is what got me through the next 8 miles, but this isn’t that report. I never wrote it, don’t know why. Fast-forward 7 months my 2nd marathon running Windermere with my strider girls, a completely different experience, but still no report, I don’t know why. Fast-forward 4 months my first ultra-marathon, do I write about this new-found enjoyment of Hell?  …no because I still have nightmares. Fast-forward a week it’s the GNR, it’s my 5th time I know the route. Most of us do. We’ve either ran, supported, or volunteered at it. So why this one, why do I feel the need to write about this one, even write about my 5th GNR in fact. Because this wasn’t my run this was David’s.

I met David in June when I became his guide runner, David is visually impaired blind in his left eye, visually impaired in his right only seeing shapes (but not branches he hits a lot of branches, he’s quite tall and I forget to say duck!) Anyway I digress, David and I have been running together since July, not much time to train, he doesn’t like speed work, and he doesn’t like hill reps. So basically, we just went out together he would decide a route I would follow. I would tell him when there was change of surface, heights, obstructions, roads, dogs, pedestrians (they are often the worst, quite funny though either literally jumping out of your way with an embarrassed look or totally not caring that you are running tethered to a 6ft blind guy and it’s you veering off course. Sometimes I would be chatting that much that when I needed to let him know of a change, my brain would not kick in, in time and I’d often say a completely wrong word for what was coming. Any way he somehow trusted me to be his guide runner for the GNR.

8th September 2019

The day starts early, I pick David up at 6.45 to be on the bus at County hall for 7, sorry Mark but that walk to the Lookout pub was too much to bear for David after 13.1 miles. We find ourselves on the start line at 9.45, our time for leaving was 10.16(Very precise), we are at the very start I can’t believe it. Usually I’m way back in the masses I can’t even see the start line. We chatted to other Blind, VI runners and their guide runners, a couple of guys in wheelchairs, (not allowed with the elite racers not the right chairs.). well I had to ask! I asked for advice from other guides and their runners, and asked David what he wanted from the day… his reply Just to Finish… fair enough I said. Seconds later the gun went off, I honestly jumped out my skin, it was so loud. The elite woman were off, then the wheelchairs, or the other way round I can’t remember I was too excited and I was trying to stay calm for David.

Then it was our turn, there was about 20 runners and their partners around us, I knew from our training runs it was going to be a steady pace, but that was fine this wasn’t my run. The gun goes again, and we’re off. Strange feeling being at the front, the road is all you can see not masses of bobbing heads and back signs that make you cry, no fancy dress to laugh at. We soon lost sight (no pun) of the other runners and the road was literally ours, “oh my god David Mo Farah is warming up in front of us! Hey MO, see you in 40 mins” … no reply… I suppose he was in the zone. We carry on for another 100 metres and a few other elites were warming up, one clapped as we trotted past, “have a good day” he said. The first mile was bizarre no one around us except some supporters clapping and cheering David, it was like a scene from 28 Days Later at some points, we could have literally done anything, no cars, no people, a deathly silence apart from me wittering on about how weird it was, and how I needed to wee!

So we are approaching the underpass that leads to the bridge I explain to David about the people on the bridges etc., there’s not much surface changes to let him know about no kerbs to watch and at this point certainly no runners. As we start coming up to the Tyne Bridge I say to David “are you ready?” “ready for what?”, “this I say”. The roar of the crowd was so overwhelming, so loud, clapping, shouting whooping, David’s name being shouted over and over, I couldn’t help smiling from ear to ear, I looked at David and he was smiling back, the crowd was amazing all cheering for us lonely goats on the bridge, never will that moment be erased from our memories. Incredible, no words, we feel like how an elite runner must feel, but obviously not in the same head zone, they go so fast they must only hear one syllable and one clap.

Well we only had a quick wave and shout from Heather and Ian before we found out, a marshal was telling us to stay right, the front runners were on their way. I looked over my shoulder and said David its time, up went the arms and we tried to do a MO sign as he went past. It kinda worked, well no sooner were they past us then the first purple vest went past belonging to Steve Jackson, my god that guy moves quick! He was so quick I couldn’t even get his name out to cheer him on, then another purple vest then another one with a yellow hat! Well I knew that was Michael. Then a cool breeze came from behind as more and more runners came whipping past, quite a few shouting well done to David, he was so laid back just lifted his hand like the queen.

Mile 2 and the road belonged to the masses now, my real job was about to start. From mile 2 to 6 was pretty much the same a steady pace that David felt comfortable with and no stopping, I told him he can stop when he’s dead…Not the best thing to say perhaps but he laughed, the support continued throughout, runners clapping David on the back with “Well done David, park runs are working for you David, keep going, riverside parkrun well done, go on Big Lad”, if I had a £ for every well done we would have been buying a pint for the whole of striders. I’ve never felt so much appreciation, admiration and support for 1 person ever. I kept telling him, that’s for you, how does that make you feel? Brilliant he replied. I felt brilliant for him, we danced as we passed bands. We soaked up the atmosphere and we enjoyed ourselves, we mooched along as others panted by, me on so many other occasions! We walked through the middle of water stations to avoid the caps and bottles, in the end instead of saying bottle and trying to avoid them, I would just say kick! He managed 20 kicks and 5 misses! Not bad for a Vi runner…

We get to mile 8 and David is starting to feel the emotions of the day, we slow to a walking pace as we come across a band playing heavy metal, after a minute of head banging which ended up with David’s bottle being launched into the air and landing several feet away. Forgetting that I’m tethered to David, I went to retrieve it with him being dragged along… oops rookie error. We carried on, along the way we saw other striders who shouted encouragement. Happily mooching along from mile 8 to mile 12, my day was easy apart from bottles and timing mats, it was more describing people around us, the costumes, the people who lined the streets, than many obstructions, and luckily no branches. I soaked up the atmosphere the support and didn’t look at my watch once. I didn’t need to know my pace we weren’t out to win.

I see the sea, but we’ve still got a long way to go, David is tired. The crowds are still shouting his name. We hit the 400 metre mark and I ask “are you ready?”, David nodded and that was it, we started up again, nearly there I promise, he felt the change from tarmac to grass, and he started to slow, no 10 more meters …crossing the line was the most emotional thing ever. He cried I, cried, the Marshall cried, we all hugged…..I smugly smiled that he didn’t fall over at any time! We went to collect our medal I was looking for a strider, I found Wendy and I was so happy to be with David to see him receive the well-deserved medal. Unfortunately, David took a bad turn when we finished and needed a medic, after a sit down, some Lucozade we were off we had 15 minutes to get to coach. At this point I wasn’t taking no for an answer we were ducking and diving the crowds, David remained quiet.

Safely on the coach I ask David if he fancies doing it again ,” possibly /probably,” he tells me he wants to run the Kielder marathon, I reply “are you joking it’s really hilly”, “yeah but the scenery is beautiful” he replies with a wicked grin on his face, he then offers to drive the bus home. He’s feeling better.
I get home at 6pm exhausted but elated, it was David’s 3rd GNR and my 5th and it has to be without a doubt my proudest must fulfilling GNR to date.

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Running right, Out West, Friday, September 13, 2019

James Lee

I thought I’d run hills today, so headed out West. I felt pretty good and the sun was shining. Somehow it became the run I got right.

Crossing town is pretty flat tarmac and grass, so roughly 7 minute miles. After half a mile I stopped to sort my socks out and tighten my laces. Then I just went for it, even though I wanted to run 10 miles or so. Some time ago Lisa Evette’s post showed a heart rate average well above anything I ever get – was I pushing it hard enough? Then there was a side effect of the Pilates – suddenly I could breathe faster than every two steps without getting a stitch. The core of my body really does connect to everything, it seems. It just took a few decades to find out.

Ring road and out to Bearpark Hall Farm. Crops harvested, gate open and what looks like a Grand Designs project all going well. Down to the River Browney then up – and up – to the top of Bearpark. Climbing has always been my weak point. Mile 12 of the Skipton trail half marathon proved that for 16 minutes. That was so wrong I finally asked Elaine about the steep climbs. She suggested I should try shortening my stride with a higher frequency. I tried that on her killing field session on Wednesday but I was still slower than some. At the end I thought I had too much left – and the average heart rate agreed. So this time I went for a frequency that felt bonkers – and kept the mile below 8 minutes.

Back down the same path to the Browney. Descent is not a rest – I think I read that somewhere – so when it wasn’t crazy steep I pushed it. Off-road, everything but the ground disappeared – those next few steps were all that could be processed. Avoiding branches relied on instinct. Speed was what mattered, not my quads.

Along the path by the Browney it was ‘just keep going’. The music helped – my son’s Now That’s What I Call Pop kept the mood right. Then there was the climb to Witton Gilbert and beyond. Keeping the stride when it wasn’t too steep; that frequency again when it was. Pushing it on those brief dips; keeping my feet down on the little steps; enjoying the view as it flattened at the top, looking back over the valley to Bearpark. Round the trig point (can’t turn down before that!) and back to the A691.

Then the footpath back to town. Fields, stiles without a stop, then faster tarmac. Picking up the pace quarter of a mile out; a final sprint across the grass. 10.8 miles, average 7:15 minutes. 3 miles under 7 minutes, only one over 8. Could I do this in a race? Only one way to find out…

Derek Price Memorial Grisedale Horseshoe, Glenridding, Lake District, Saturday, September 7, 2019

AM/16km/9.9m

Nina Mason

Image courtesy of Joseph Twigg

A fabulous, warm, sunny day greeted the runners of this year’s Grisedale Horseshoe.  This year it was one of the English Championship counters, with some of the best fell runners in the country taking part. Start and finish in Glenridding, at the parish hall, where my timing dibber was expertly attached to my wrist at registration; after a thorough kit check and receipt of a free buff at the playing school fields in Patterdale.

I had no goals other than to get round as quickly as I could. I think due to the number of runners the ladies were started 10 minutes before the men. We set off along the footpath through Gillside campsite, where I had camped the night before. Knowing what was ahead, I didn’t look at the van sat there in the sunshine.

It was a bit of a slog up the tourist path to the wall, and to Hole-in-the-wall (where the men started to catch me). From there it was focus on running as hard as I could towards Red Tarn, and then a hands-on-knees, heart-pounding, breathless ascent straight up the grass to cp1, Catstycam.

My legs felt ludicrously wobbly as I clambered over the rocks of Swirral Edge to cp2. A change of gear to run as hard as possible across Helvellyn, and over the undulating but generally-downhill terrain past Dollywaggon Pike, to the first serious descent to Grisedale Tarn.

The men setting off after worked well for me – when I could hear them coming to pass me I worked hard to stay in front; when the faster guys did (inevitably) pass me I worked hard to stay with them as long as I could. The steep ups and downs created a more level (see what I did there?) playing field for the men and women, with individual strengths showing.

From the tarn it felt like a long jog/walk up St Sunday Crag and cp4 – my legs starting to feel the climbs. I took a moment to look up (when I could take my eyes off the ground in front) – the views were amazing in every direction, a fantastic day to be up the hills.

But then no time to look, as the descent down Blind Cove to the barn (cp5) near Grisedale Beck was crazily steep. Sliding down the gully (sometimes on my bum) and then running down steep grass. I fell here, I thought quite stylishly. I did a shoulder-butt-360 roll and ended up on my feet, slightly dazed but actually feeling that I had bounced off the soft ground. Thank goodness I had missed the boulders strewn about. I got a few ‘are you oks?’ from other runners, obviously replying with a very confident (but not really felt) ‘yes, I’m great thanks!’.

Barn, cp5. Through the beck, delightfully fresh and cool and only shin height. Forcing myself to run along the valley footpath, knowing what is coming and not daring to look up to the left.

Other Striders have written reports about this race, and I think all sum up, in different ways, how this last climb feels. I keep a running diary, with races (and distances and climbs) written in the back. Part of my prep, as well as recceing, is looking at the feet of climb per mile. Of course terrain and weather etc. make every race different, but I like the climb/distance comparison – for me it usually holds true for pace and how much a race hurts.

This race has the most feet/mile of all the races I’ve attempted so far. This last climb looks small on the map. A few hundred metres. The contours look fairly close, but how hard could it be? After the 8 miles or so just completed in the race, it was…..well, polite words don’t sum it up.

So, left turn. Straight up the bank to cp6, up at the wall. My legs were screaming ‘stop, stop moving’. Breathing was ok and I managed to get a couple of jelly babies down. I took to all-fours – glancing up now and then to make sure I was still going in the right general direction, staring at the grass in front, unable to think, as it would have just been ‘stop’, as I hauled myself up with handfuls of grass, trying to take the burden off my legs. It felt very slow. Torturous. I was feeling every hill and mile that I have never trained, and now regret. I think the only thing that was ok was that everyone around was struggling too – not that I wanted them to be in pain, but if they had all looked ok and waltzed up I would have laid down and cried.

And then….the top. A dead rotten sheep. Marshalls telling me to dib, and to climb the wall. Pointing me in the general direction I needed to go as I saw a vest disappear over the edge of the hill. I obviously looked out of it. Wobbly over the wall stile. And then like a switch has been flicked, glorious downhill – some wonderfully boggy, kind on the feet and with really good grip. My legs suddenly feeling ok again. Focussed, running hard. Back on the tourist path we had ascended a couple of hours before, run past the campsite (no looking at the van now!) and back to the hall.

This one was tough (that final climb was unforgettable, and everyone talked about it as we were eating cake at the hall). A great turn out and we were very lucky with fantastic weather. Well organised and great support from the marshals. I loved all of it, even the painful bits. I got my food right (two gels and some jellies). I didn’t carry water knowing I could drink from streams all the way round (which I did, copiously, without any ill effects).

The sharp end, given the field, was sharp, and very impressive. Those that were out longer had a great day for it. I was very happy with my mid-pack position and time.

Sitting in the sunshine in the afternoon now, showered and happy, glass of cider, by the van (cracking campsite btw). Looking at the hills we had conquered.  Feeling tired and very happy.

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