The familiar route took us over three main climbs: Threshfield and Boss Moors, Sun Moor Hill and Rylstone Fell, and finally from Skyreholme up to New Road (near Trollers Gill) then Appletreewick Pasture. The cold wind really made itself felt on Rylstone Fell, so on went the gloves. On the descent from the second climb past the Barden Reservoirs we had the surprise of passing two Sportsunday photographers (another hint that this is a runners' event now). I thought they could have been a bit more imaginative and spread themselves out a bit better instead of standing 100 yards apart on the same track to take the same pictures with the same backdrop. Another surprise came at Skyreholme in the form of a pair of Camelids (camel-like creatures, the ones that spit) in a field. I only know of llamas but they may have been something else. From the final high point came a long, gentle descent to the River Wharfe for the right turn and 4-mile slog back to Threshfield via The Suspension Bridge. I didn't trust myself on the stepping stones.
The waymark arrows were a novelty. Navigation without map or route description was never a problem. As it was my 6th time it wouldn’t have been a problem anyway. The arrows also reinforced the need to take the full, official route, which comes out to exactly 25 miles as advertised. To attempt any short cut meant ignoring the arrows and would be 'taking the wii'. Without map and other paraphernalia (the weather was dry and the forecast was good) I had been able to travel light, with emergency rations (essential as it turned out), an extra layer, gloves, Buff and camera stuffed into the back pockets of my ‘bones’. I rolled into the finish in 4:30, which was bang on target for the best I could have hoped for. Not only that, the only walking I did after the New Road checkpoint was across the bouncy suspension footbridge. I had pushed just enough but not too much. I felt human and content.
The lack of food out on the course was corrected by a jacket potato and tasty dollop of chilli back at the school. Jason Dean of Movement Wisdom was giving post-race leg massages, sweat pouring, while identifying and discussing with great enthusiasm the possible causes of any injuries and niggles that we may be suffering. Muscle strength imbalance -> asymmetry -> poor running technique -> injury. I have a pronounced muscle weakness in my left hip I never knew I had. I also have a right knee tendon inflammation I definitely knew I had. The two may go hand in hand. To prevent the problem continuing / reoccurring, treat the cause (strengthen the weak muscle), not the effect only (the part that’s hurting). What a wealth of information that man is. If I lived in Leeds, that’s where I’d be going for my biomechanical advice and therapy. He earned a generous donation.