Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Gravy Pud fell race 5+mi. 02/12/2012.

This was the second year on the trot for me, with much better conditions with ground just frozen firm. Tintwistle and the surrounding fells looked resplendent in the winter sunshine. We couldn't wish for better.

Some impressive home-made cakes were brought once again to the registration in the Bull's Head pub, earning their bringers free entry into the race. They would get scoffed afterwards by the hungry hordes.

As we gathered for the start I thought what a big turn-out it was. 188 did turn out to be a record. Fellow blogger Andy Fleet introduced himself to me at the start. Good to meet you finally, Andy. Well done with your 5th place finish - pretty good going considering you hadn't run on the fells for a good while.

With slick organisation once again by NorthernBoysLoveGravy, we were sent off up the cobbled track dead on time at 11am. The route follows a brief out-and-back on the track with a big anticlockwise loop at the end, which follows the Pennine Bridleway over Arnfield Low Moor then on to eventually reach the foot of Lees Hill. Here we go off-path straight up the steep grassy flank. Once at the top it's a left turn to pick up the path down to Hollingworth Hall. From there we zigzag our way back and forth through Hollingworth Nature Reserve and past Arnfield Reservoir to rejoin our outward route, where a sharp right takes us back down to the finish.

On the final run-in when I was totally red-lining, an unleashed dog did its best to trip me up, the hooligan. Its owner was close by. The additional adrenalin rush was too much; a feeling of exhausted shock overcame me, forcing me down to a walk. That lost a good few seconds. A few minutes earlier, many more seconds were lost when I had to stop to tie a shoelace - not the quickest of jobs with gloved hands. A PB by 1min 30secs at the end of all that was a pleasant surprise. It was even more pleasant after the PB by 15 seconds the day before on the 5k Parkrun. Two in one weekend? At my age? Whatever next! ;-)

Afterwards we relaxed back in the pub, eating, drinking and applauding the winners in the presentation. Fortunately the pub dog, which gets highly agitated by applause, was ejected early in the proceedings this time.

Since the weather was so nice the camera got a good airing again. Fill your boots: pictures.

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