Bags, tumbles and a local shop
Ok so I was looking for a 13-15 mile race to get me ready for the 3 peaks, with it being 3 weeks to the race I thought I needed to get some more longer miles in. Looked around and couldn’t find one asked on TAC page and in record time Mark had come up with the Blubberhouse 25 ran by the LDWA. Oh great 25 miles instead of 15 miles, it’s ok said Mark its only 23, I’ll run with you I’m not going to be very fast. Ok entered then I get news that Craig and David have entered. Oh, Great more pressure.
Onto race day and I was picked up at the crack of dawn by Mark who had already collected David. Both looking very keen for what was coming and then off to Trawden and collected Craig. I had made 2 boiled eggs and was eating them in the car much to the amusement of the trio. Off we go who knows the way, it appeared that none of us knew where the registration was so Mark winged it and drove to where he thought it was on his sat nav, this worked and we arrived at registration in plenty of time. David said there was some good runners there, again I thought Oh Great. Into registration and I signed in and was given a piece of paper and string, never having had to dib in at races I said I looked like a child refugee from the war. More runners turned up including Mick Dobson. Managed to calm my nerves down but I was feeling a little sick, was this the boiled eggs I wondered. Last minute visit to the toilet and then outside for the briefing. Mark, Craig and David were in training for the Fellsman, they had all purchased the same style and coloured backpacks and I labelled them the backpack triplets, poles included Craig had been the butt of some jokes about these.
Ok enough now calm the nerves, RO gave us a pre-race talk and off we went. Downhill to start, was this nice and steady was it hell, I looked at Mark hoping he’d slow down but he looked to comfy the next thing he said we were running at 6.30 min/mile, WTF I had 23 miles of this ‘easy’ running, this was way too fast but I tried to keep up, we got to the first c/p and caught up with Craig and David who had set off faster than us. Right steady away the route kept going around a lake. Suddenly bang out of no where I’d caught a tree route and was on the floor taking a tumble, picking myself up off the floor other runners had stopped who were behind me and the backpack triplets had stopped, trying not to show any pain I walked with gritted teeth, I had grazed all my legs and knuckles. I was aware that my arm was grazed as this was sore but I had long sleeves on and didn’t want to look. Great I’ve got to go on for another 22 miles. It was fair to say I wasn’t in a right place; this went on for another 4 miles, I was tripping over tree roots and the slightest bump would send me wobbling, much to the amusement of the 3. We got to a dam wall and straight up some steps, the 3 of them ascended these and I told them I’d get to the top on my own, as I got to the top, I saw the first food checkpoint. Biscuits and juice inside we carried on.
The next section was road for a bit, I thought we were near Bolton Abbey but it turned out I’d read the instructions wrong prior to entering. A sign said Bolton Abbey 7 miles, we were nowhere near where I thought I was. Off the road and onto a farm track I think we were 7 miles into the race and I was starting to feel the pace we had set off at, I started to walk and this is where Mick and a few others had caught us up, one of the ladies ran with me for a bit before running off. I had kept the 3 lads in sight and couldn’t help but think I was holding them up, they would take it in turns to run with me whilst the others would be running up front. The path seemed to go on forever up and over more rolling hills. It was then we saw the shop from Royston Vasey, a local shop for local people. This was one of the checkpoints and another feeding station.
Stocked up on malt loaf and biscuits I set off and I perked up, I think this was mainly as it was gradually downhill and the food and sugar had kicked in. The route was mainly rocky footpaths and open fells but I was running at my pace I was comfy with. A few miles later I had a case of stomach cramps and every time I ran, I felt sick and needed the toilet, I informed David that Bolton Abbey was close by, he said “are you sure now”? and laughed. I knew where we were as I had recognised the path from the Bolton Abbey half I had run. We arrived at Bolton Abbey and straight to the toilet. David had got there first and the other toilet was engaged. David appeared red faced and apologised for the smell but said he couldn’t take all the credit, my god David what had you eaten.
We went back across the bridge and started off again, from there it was a case of stop and start. Trying to run at a comfortable pace but not succeeding. We had caught up to some other runners and had a chat with them. Checking in at more checkpoints we hit the start of another climb. Still with the same group of runners Mark and David had run up the hill, shortly after they came down with delight to let us know there was a buffet at the top, yeh yeh I thought however we reached the checkpoint and all I could say was WOW. Jam buties and scones down my neck more food than you could imagine on a race. More juice and biscuits and we were off, then came the climb to the top of Beamish Hill. Slow and steady but the other 3 had other ideas, they were faster up to the top than a mountain goat they even had time to run back down and back to the checkpoint to get some more food before going up again. I eventually got to the top hugged the trig point and paused for a photo.
Off we went, again the path seemed to go on for ever loads of false summits with the landscape undulating, we came over the brow of one hill and David said “Christ we are going to be out here all day”, I made the joke that it was directed at me and this had David telling me it wasn’t, I had got his humour and knew it wasn’t but that didn’t stop me reminding hm every now and again. The rest was a bit of a blur, over open fells onto paths then I went over on my ankle, I was obviously tired and not concentrating. I told the 3 to crack on and I would catch them up but they stuck with me. Onto the last checkpoint this time cheese was on the order. I took a chunk and tried to run and eat it, this didn’t work well and I couldn’t eat and run. As we descended down to the lake where I fell the 3 were in front of me and I passed a couple of ladies walking a dog who told me the 3 were a little mean on me for running away. I told them I didn’t mind an they laughed. Over the lake side and onto the last climb Craig had joined me for this and my intention was to run some but my legs were not having any of it. I ended up walking all the way to the road. Claire and Maisy were waiting on a bench for Craig and I tried to run, my legs cramped up and I looked a right sight trying to climb the 3 steps to the registration. Checked in at the end and that was it. Over to get some food and drink.
On the run up to this over the last 6 months I hadn’t run more than 11 miles, I knew this was going to be hard which it was. With the help and assistance of Mark, Craig and David they had shown patience and understanding. I will never forget the look on Marks face when he told me the speed were running at. This did have an effect on the whole race but putting that to one side it was a fun day out. Unfortunately, it didn’t help me with the 3 peaks as I was stopped after missing the 2nd cut off at Ribblehead. I know what I need to do now so roll on next year.