Monday, 24 January 2011
The Hebden 22mi. 22/01/2011.
Calderdale can always be relied upon to offer an intense workout, no matter what the weather or ground conditions may be. This year was mostly dry and mostly frozen, but the hard knobbly mud added a new, ankle-twisting challenge. The route takes us from St Michael's Church Hall in Mytholmroyd and undulates quite violently through Old Town, Slack, Eastwood, Broadhead Clough, New Road, Little Scout Farm and back to Mytholmroyd. According to Tracklogs, the total ascent is over 4,650'. Back at the finish we were waited on by waitresses and plied with mulled wine. The event, which also includes a shorter option, was a sell-out with 400+ entrants. Its reputation has already spread.
I pushed my limits as always, which resulted in an average heart rate of 173bpm for the 4hrs 25mins duration. Maximum was 195bpm. I'm surprised I survived the ordeal. My exhausted clumsiness caused me to kick an unseen rock on the woodland path before the stream crossing and steep climp to Checkpoint 5. I launched myself onto the ground with such speed that I was still in the process of trying to save myself as I hit the deck, sending my left calf muscle into spasm. Too many seconds of writhing, groaning and massaging of the rock hard twisted muscle got it to switch off. I sprang to my feet, picked up my water bottles and shuffled gingerly onwards before anyone noticed.
Unfortunately, the self-imposed beasting meant that I was not able to take as many pictures en-route as I would have liked. However, Brian Fisher, who was far more sensible with his pacing, captured some brilliant scenes. I hope he won't mind me publicising his efforts via this link. My efforts are here.
The winning time of 3:04 leaves me speechless. The perpetrator of said impossibility was one Gavin Mulholland. Second was Ben Mounsey in an equally blistering 3:09 and Andrew Dobby was third in a no less scorching 3:10. First woman was Helen Hudson in 3:36. She set the course on fire too.
I was sad to hear at the finish that a man who was walking the short route collapsed and died before checkpoint 1. Condolences to his family, and well done to all those around him who did their best for him. I hope his family can get consolation from the fact that he went quickly, doing what he enjoyed.