Monday, 14 March 2011

Wuthering Hike; 32 miles with 5,380' of ascent. 12/03/2011.

Race 1 of 12 in the 2011 Runfurther series.

Runfurther Karen.

Finally it’s arrived and I’m in at the beginning once again. The new Runfurther season has begun, and didn’t it just show. All the competitive racing snakes and old favourites emerged from the woodwork, converging from near and far to create a big, competitive gathering, ensuring I took my rightful place in the bottom half of the finishing field. Duncan Harris won for the men in a phenomenal 4:05:32, while Aly Raw did it for the women in an equally phenomenal 4:48:02. Yours truly got round in an apparently more leisurely 6:19:47, but in practice it was anything but leisurely. I probably pushed as hard as the winners. I gave it my all, as always, to finish 21 minutes slower than in 2009. Still, I'm now into my second week of running to work (like I had already been doing in 2009), so things can only get better.

After all that effort I heard on the grapevine that Duncan raced off down to London (not on foot, you’ll understand) to party the night away. Phew!

The weather was kind to us as the conga line snaked its way along the Bronte Way, over Bronte Bridge and up towards Withins, by which time the field had thinned out. The 32 miles continued with the familiarly testing up-and-down slog through bog and trail in Bronte and Calderdale country. A lot of recent work was evident on the Widdop Reservoir dam – landscaping, a nice new 'carpet' and access ramp to the bottom. It was good to see the wind farm at Long Causeway doing good business, with only one turbine feathered and out of action this time.

Organiser Brett and his willing helpers did us proud at the checkpoints. Boxes of broken biscuits, big hot dogs and doughnuts formed some of the offerings. Even the Sportsunday photographer left a tin of treats for us. Top man.

As we left checkpoint 4 scoffing our hot dogs I chatted with a couple of lads who were running the race in the flimsiest of plimsolls, without socks – effectively barefoot running with the most rudimentary protection. They did slide across the mud rather easily (sideways) and they both finished. Hats off to them.

I heard a couple of days later that there was strong liquor at the Mankinholes checkpoint. If only I'd known I might have climbed up to Stoodley Pike a lot more energetically and even finished with a PB.
Steep climb from Todmorden towards Mankinholes.

It was great to be back in the thick of it (not that I ever left really, just thicker than of late if you catch my drift). Bring on next week and the Hardmoors 55.

That's 1 down, 11 to go (in the Runfurther series).

Here are all the pictures.


  1. Some great pics there Nick. Never seen Widdop that still before. Good luck at Hardmoors

  2. Thanks Simon, and well done with your time. Impressive effort.

  3. Hey, I expected the usual "Ham treatment" and a blog about the length of the Old Testament. You opting for "blog-lite" nowadays Nick ?

    Seriously though, I enjoyed the read and some great snaps. An event I never had the opportunity to do.

  4. Well done again Nick, one question: You passed me on Bronte Way as I was putting my pack back together then I passed you at Widdop whilst you filled your bottles ... then you go and beat me by 7 minutes ... and I never saw you go by!. You must have ghosted passed whilst I was having a bad knee moment!
    Good to see you again.

  5. Good effort as usual Nick, I wimped out on this (as you predicted!) as it would have been 3 races in consecutive weeks - sandwiched between the High Peak Marathon and Hardmoors. As usual I found myself wondering whether I should have done it, I'd better make Saturday count now! I have wondered how your body copes with the constant 'racing' - I find that I have a limit of 2 (long) races per month or else my performence really drops off or I get injured. I did a similar mileage/ascent (slightly more even) on Saturday anyway but training pace left me feeling fine. Your schedule is far busier but you still knock out the occasional PB - is there a 'pattern'?

  6. Jan, LOL. The essays were taking too much time so I became ruthless. I'll reserve them for the specials, not the everydays. Mike offers a fuller and more pleasurable read.
    They say "less is more" but that isn't necessarily true. Last night I re-read my 2010 L100 report and blew my socks off with the raw emotion. I'd forgotten. I scared and impressed myself in equal measure.

    Mike, I remember having you in my sights for a while and have a vague memory of finally passing again, but can't recall where.

    Chris, I don't really know. We're all different. Most, including you, can go fast in the races. That takes more out of you. I can't go fast. I have one speed, possibly two: slow or slower. The best way I can explain it is that I have a gutless engine (think of a 2CV) that prevents me from going fast, so I can't trash myself as much, provided I fuel and hydrate adequately. I have noticed the benefit of daily running on getting PBs for the same effort from the same gutless engine. That was in 2009 when I also got my Grand Slam. I've belatedly started the same for this year.
    Another pattern (last year's Bullock Smithy) is adequate fuelling throughout, which I have come to realise I have often got wrong (not enough + no electrolytes). I didn't discover electrolytes until Western States in 2006. That was a revelation and a 100 PB.
    I don't think I overdo the races because my performance usually worsens if I ease off them.

  7. Good stuff Nick.
    Hot dogs and broken biscuits, much better than dog biscuits.

  8. looks like the weather was decent again nick..well done..11 to go!