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.
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.