I have just gone through two weekends without an official event - something of a rarity for me only normally encountered over Christmas up to a few years ago. Fear not though; the non-events were replaced by back-to-back reconnoitres.
On Saturday 4th April it was the last 25 miles of The Fellsman from Fleet Moss to Threshfield. We ended up as seven after two separate groups combined on the cold, wet, windswept moors on the descent from Buckden Pike. We (Sarah R, Stef F, Mark D, Mark T, Ian H and Andy?) were ably pulled along by Sarah to a fast 5hrs 30mins finish including food stops. I never imagined ever covering that terrain in that time. We would normally have slogged 35 miles by that point and darkness wouldn't be far away. A fresh pair of legs and daylight make all a difference. Even so I know I held Sarah up. She is undoubtedly a very capable runner. I had been admiring her effortless fell-running style as she bobbed along in front of me. She is none other than Sarah Rowell, third female finisher in the 1984 London Marathon who went on to represent GB in the Olympics. She is just like all other long distance runners I have ever met, irrespective of ability - friendly, down-to-earth and great to be around. This is such a friendly sport.
In the afternoon as the rain cleared out and the sun began to make an appearance, I drove westwards to the Lake District and my B&B in Staveley, where a good night's sleep set me up for the Lakeland 100 Grand Day Out number 5 on Sunday 5th. It was a led reconnoitre of the 19 miles from Wasdale Head to Ambleside. The previous day's exertions meant that I was bringing up the rear a little more than usual, especially on the steep technical descents, where my sense of self preservation was kicking in big-time. The sun came out and blessed us with a warm dry day. I took a few pictures. The views were spectacular. It's a shame it will be dark at that point when we do the event for real at the end of July.
Moving forward a week to the Easter weekend, I have just enjoyed a couple of days reconnoitring the Calderdale Hike route on Good Friday (slightly naff weather) and Saturday (warm spring sunshine!) with Mark D. Pace was quite a bit slower than on the previous weekend, but Calderdale is navigationally challenging as we all know: "Should I take the footpath on 22 degrees that's not on the map and will probably take me the wrong way or the one on 23 degrees that should be there but is invisible on the ground because it's hidden behind a shrub up someone's garden path and the sign post is missing?" We all know the scenario but there will be no such anguish this year. Now I know where I'm going I'm looking forward to the real event with a sense of excitement instead of the usual forboding that is always the precursor to navigational cock-ups. Bring it on!