Don’t worry; I haven’t taken leave of my senses. In the end I didn’t run this delightful yet challenging cross-country / trail marathon from Hartington. My body was still feeling a little ‘used’ and it was time for a bit of relaxation instead. Julian (my brother) was registered, so I would see him off and welcome him back, just like he did for me on the previous day. As this is (yet another) favourite of mine I was able to show him the ropes to hopefully ease his nervous excitement. I also took pictures and chatted with familiar faces. Another Lakeland 100 finisher (Ian Hodge this time) was there. You just can’t keep ultra runners down.
It seemed strange to be in a normal weekend setting for me (mingling with runners before a race), yet knowing I would not be running with them. Mixed emotions flooded through my mind, the principal one being that I was an imposter or pretender and did not belong there, or I was fraudulently claiming injury or illness and couldn’t take part when really I was feeling perfectly well (which I was). I sometimes get dreams like that, though goodness knows why. Does anyone else or is it just me? The multi-coloured sight of the throng as it set off down the hill to the sound of the air horn was an unusual one and strangely emotional. I wanted to be there with them but I had to be sensible and realistic; this was one event I did not need to run, by any stretch of the imagination.
Julian waits discreetly behind Ian.
I returned to the village hall to see if the organisers needed any help, which they did not. Matlock Rotary Club has got this down to a fine art with everything running like clockwork. Instead I chatted with a lady supporter who faithfully accompanies her partner to all his events. I joined the organisers for a pleasant brunch in the local café, which houses a very small post office – so small that the postmaster or mistress would have to be very slim (I’m not joking). I caught up with writing my Lakeland 100 running diary report. Then before I knew it the first 15-mile walkers were returning (they had started at 09:30, the 26-mile walkers had started at 09:00 and the 26-mile runners had set off at 10:00). Not long after that the first 26-mile runner returned. Time had flown by. We had prior warning of the imminent arrival so a small welcoming committee was outside to look out for his appearance on the hill opposite and cheer him back. It was interesting to observe running speeds compared to my survival shuffle at the end of such events.
Gareth Briggs just finishing.
Winner Gareth Briggs finished in 3:46. First woman was Adela Salt in 4:02, who finished equal second with Sean Ketteridge, Ian Corless and Peter Stockdale. My camera could not react quickly enough as the group of 4 raced into the village hall. The trickle turned into a flood as the walkers and runners continued to return, all of them cheered home by our little welcoming committee. Once again despite the forecast, the weather had treated us surprisingly well, with sunshine and only a brief shower.
Karl, if you see this, keep doing what you’re doing. You’re well over halfway and still going strong. I’ll see you at the Snowdonia Marathon, which I see is on your schedule. Unfortunately the JustGiving website lost my comment and rendered my donation anonymous, so I hope you see this.
If anyone reading this wants to make a donation, Karl's JustGiving page is here.
After 4:53, Ian Hodge ran up to the hall in 25th place. As he passed I heard him saying something like: “He’s just behind me.” I couldn’t work out what he was on about. Who could he possibly mean? I was chatting to another runner who had run from the last checkpoint in bare feet because his shoes had fallen apart. Suddenly before I realised it, Julian was running past me and into the hall to finish in 4:55. Frankly I was flabbergasted. He was never this fast, but he has been running most days and racing occasionally and selectively, in stark contrast to me, who never trains as such but who races most weekends and sometimes during the week on the odd fell race. His fitness has improved dramatically over the past year and he has now equalled my PB for this route, which I got in 2005. Now I’m really glad I didn’t ‘run’ this one because I would certainly have held him back something chronic.
Julian just finished.
Julian had been cramping (fortunately something I never suffer from) and needed electrolytes, rehydration and refuelling. Without the cramp that forced him to back off the effort on the final stage, he would possibly have been even faster. Well done Julian. Perhaps I should start taking this running lark more seriously now that I have some sibling rivalry.
Here are my pictures.