Chunal: waiting for the start.
Finishers at Moorfield 5k.
Monday's race was the James's Thorn 5-mile fell race with 1,611' of ascent from the Royal Oak on the A57 out of Glossop. The cold breeze was stiffening and the forecast rain was threatening as we waited for Des to return from marking the course. He whizzed down in his car a couple of minutes late and turned around with his hazards flashing. A peep of his horn signified the start as he drove up the road just in front of the front runners to lead us to the turn-off up the track thence onto the fells. A wide panorama of looming hills opened up in front of us which I'd never seen before. The view excited me. I could see our track descend down and swing to the right to begin the serious climb on the fell all the way to the top. We set about running upwards into the strong head wind as spots of rain began to blow in. The course was amazingly mud-free and it was brutally runnable for the most part, until after a false summit or two and the final climb around the back of the hill to the top, which became very rocky.
There was a small loop at the top to avoid too much clashing of the return runners, of whom I saw only one. Dave Taylor came flying back down like a thing possessed with a look of concerned concentration etched on his face. He was there before I had a chance to think about getting the camera out.
From the top it was virtually downhill all the way to the finish (save for the uphill return on the track). I got overtaken by only two on the return (I think), but I had been doing some overtaking of my own on the climb, so it balanced out. The rain never came to anything and the sun was trying to show itself again. With the wind now behind us and with the increase in speed, cooling was becoming a problem, so off came the skull cap, windproof got hitched behind the head and sleeves got rolled up to make it just bearable. Out onto the A57 it was a downhill all the way back to the pub as I chased the runner in front. I hammered as fast as I could go but, as always, it didn't feel fast enough. It was enough though because no-one else was near as I crossed the finish in 47:11. That got me 36th out of 55. Winning time was 34:48. What a machine is Dave.
Afterwards in the pub, prize presentations were made after Des and helpers had sorted out the results. Not only were there prizes for that day's race, there were also prizes for the whole series. Tom Jackson won the series. Not that many had done all three and some of them had gone home. You know what that meant? I won my first ever bling in a fell race, by default as Des read down the list in increasing desperation. I shall treasure my gift until my dying day because it will surely never be repeated.
The results as best as I can manage so far are here.
Plenty more climbing still to do on James's Thorn.