Sunday, 2 February 2020

Pendle Way in a Day

A new race to kick off the Runfurther season. 42ish miles of fun from Barrowford. This route officially opened in 1987 so it's rather surprising that his taken until a couple of years ago to have a race along it. I am lucky enough to live nearby and so I was able to do some reccee runs and make sure I would know the way and what to expect. I had visited Wycoller and Pendle many times but parts of the route were totally new to me.

Mt recce runs over the Christmas holidays with a very damaged foot were slow but fun days out in good weather. I could run the even ground but suffered badly on the rest. What really stuck in my memory was the mud. Come 1st Feb I was wondering how much I would be able to run and how much grief my foot would give me. A late Street O run around West Houghton on the Wednesday suggested my foot was steadily improving even if not fully mended.
I was first to arrive at the Heritage Centre in Barrowford and as I was putting the flags up by headtorch the warden arrived to open up the premises. Jamie the RO arrived a few minutes later ready for registration to open at 6am.

I handed over mint cake, put up the final banner and then erected the display boards and laid out prizes with the help of Dick. It wasn't long before friends started arriving and there was plenty of time to socialise before our 8am start.

It was chilly but not really cold. The forecast was for strong winds for much of the day and then as these died down for some light rain to move in. I am dreadful for fearing cold and so started with two thin base layers, long tights and a cag. I was too warm for much of the day but never seemed to find time to do more than open the zip and push up the sleeves. With about 10 minutes to go we were herded outside and spot on time we were off. I knew the first path was narrow and so went off a little faster than I had intended. It was good to know the way and not to have to faff with maps or route descriptions. I was even able to shout helpful instructions to others. I could see Lorraine up ahead but knew not to try to keep up with her, in fact at this stage I was a bit bothered to find that Tim C and Martin T were only just ahead of me. The first section was relatively flat by the stream and then just a gradual climb to Admergill. We could see the Tower on Blacko as we started our climb up to Weets and across to our left looking tantalisingly close was Pendle - it would be almost 30 miles before we climbed up that mass. From Weets it is a lovely descent to Barnoldswick (Barlick). I was still not sure I could trust my foot and so took it steady. The forecast wind had arrived but was at this stage on our backs. Just as you are about to enter the village there is a funny little dink to show you the local history- hard to believe it once had over 30 weaving sheds and a big steam mill.

Then a short road section led us up and over Letcliffe Hill before dropping down the other side to the canal. I am not usually a fan of tow path running but this canal twists, has a road crossing and a bridge where the tow path switches sides and some locks and boats so the 3 miles passed very quickly and allowed us to up our mph (a buffer that would be useful later).

As I was faffing with food I met a lady walker who was trying to tell us all we were going the wrong way? I think she knew a short cut and didn't understand our route- I tried to explain as I was worried she might cause others to divert. The field path to the Rolls Royce factory and main road was muddy but much better than it had been in December!

At the church I was surprised to find people running in all directions as they had missed the turning just before the cemetery and so I guided runners across the golf course and then the very wet fields towards Earby. Some easy running led us to the first CP just above the YHA.

Adrienne was manning the CP from the boot of her car and I felt a little mean not stopping to chat. Mill Lane was fine and the fields afterwards were drier than I remembered. We were now quite spread out with a couple of faster runners suddenly rushing past. Chris C appeared as we neared Harden Clough and the moors that would drop us to the pub and another short section on lanes and we ran together for a while chatting. Claire was just ahead. I like the next section as we climb to near the trig point and then steadily drop to Laneshaw Bridge and I was starting to trust my foot more. Chris steadily pulled away but I was reeling Claire in. It meant I was tired when I reached the second CP at Wycoller but I was pleased with my progress.

 I grabbed some food and water before climbing to the lower sections of Dove Stones Moor. I had to shout Claire onto the correct path and I know of at least one other runner who went awol here. I do wonder how many took the Bronte Way shortcut too- perhaps a self clip needle punch is needed as you turn onto the big track on the moor. I was having a nice time with my memories- we had orienteered at Wycoller when the boys were still tiny.
The next section in theory should be great running but today it was straight into the westerly wind and what a head wind! We were now passing runners on the 30 mile route and all were finding it tough to make forward progress.

Around here I started running with Steve and I must admit it helped pull me along. The trade off was that I knew the way and so could keep us on track. It seemed to take ages to cut across below Boulsworth Moor but eventually we could see the Coldwell reservoirs and our path left the Pennine Bridleway as we headed on lanes past the Outdoor Ed Centre and on to our third CP. The mud as we approached Catlow was dreadful and the workmen insisted we got the full glory by going to the footbridge and avoiding their digger.

 I was glad to wash my feet in the ford afterwards. I had made an error just before the quarry on my reccee but today I got it right and we were soon dropping to Walverden Reservoir before the short steep climb up the other side. I was sure Steve would pull away here but I was still with him as we crossed the road and headed to the golf course. He was faster on the good path but then I caught him as he was a little indecisive on the rough ground. ' Head for the red dog waste bin!' The next section is the least interesting as you use suburban street to drop through Brierfield and then over the railway and the canal.

 More memories here of a term working at Edge End school- ugh. The wooden board walk following the river Calder must be the rotting remains of the original from the 1980s. Runners on the 30 mile were picking their way through but I had long given up worrying about water, mud an dry feet. Neal and I were now both looking forward to the CP at Higham and I knew I needed to refuel.

We chatted about campervans and life as we crossed the fields to Pendle Hall and then up the bridleway to Higham.

The CP was a bit crowded, possibly due to the 'bar'. I had a cup of tea and tried to stuff some food down. As we left the CP the forecast rain arrived and I was glad of my cag. The wind was a little less but it felt colder now. Steve pulled ahead and then I lost sight of him altogether. Luckily as I  took the path to Tynedale farm House I spotted him in fields below and shouted to him.

We plodded on to Newchurch together.

No time to admire the witches today, instead we headed off up and over to the Ogden Reservoirs. I was struggling a bit and Steve pulled away never to be seen again as he finished 12 minutes ahead of me in the end. My foot was a bit sore for the first time as I sent down through Fell Wood. More memories- of a small child scared to enter the woods in case there were bears! It was very tempting to turn right and drop into Barley as we met the reservoir road but today we had Pendle to climb first.

I overtook a group of what I guess were 30 milers and began to climb into the mist/ low cloud.  I was pleased to find that what I had described to Dick and another runner was accurate- small stone way markers after the kissing gate. I know this route pretty well but I must have been going slowly as it seemed to take forever to reach the trig point!
Thanks to KJ Birch for photo
 I was even having doubts I was going the right way although I knew I had to be really. The weather up here was not pleasant and the 'stones' they have tipped over the paths are not an improvement for runners with sore feet!

I happily dropped to the runners trod and was soon descending out of the cloud and down to Barley. I was amazed to find some walkers on their way up. It was late afternoon, grim, with no prospect of a view and it would soon be getting dark? Even more worrying was the family with young children at the foot of the cobbled steps. They didn't even have waterproofs.  I suggested it might not be fun and ran off through the village to the CP in the village hall. I let myself be sucked in my the warmth and promise of toast and tea. I possibly 'wasted' 10 minutes.

 I knew from here it could only be about 3 miles or so and wondered how far I could get without my head torch. Steve was gone but Neal appeared and he was moving well. I made a determined effort to stick with him or at least try to hang on the best I could. More memories as we climbed to Whitehough Outdoor Ed Centre- the nights I have spent there with kids on DoE! I was irritated by the runner who had cheated and taken the field path down by the river and then presumably the lanes. Another needle punch needed.

I managed to keep Neal insight down to Roughlee, over the stepping stones and over the last little hill before he got away from me on the very very wet fields that followed. at least they were short and then it was track and lanes all the way down to Barrowford, into the park and back to the Heritage Centre. I did put my head torch on for the wet fields but could probably have managed without, just.
A great day out and a very tough 42 miles. I suspect every year will be muddy but the headwind made it worse. It was good to sit and refuel- beer, tea, sandwiches and cake.

 Dick had bailed at 25 miles and so had beaten me back David C and Kevin both had storming runs and finished together. Lorraine beat me by almost an hour.

 BUT I was happy- I had finished, my foot wasn't too bad at all and I had enjoyed my day out.

Another beer and lots of chat and I realised it was time to take the flags down and get home.

There were still runners out there but they did not need me and nobody would miss the flags in the dark- I hoped.

Sorry to Janet, Ian and other late finishers.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Review of 2019

Prompted by John Kyntson's review I thought it might be worth having a look. It seems it was a satisfying but mixed year with more and more injuries as I get older.
First off was a race in NZ - St James southern Alps miler (100 miles) which was my first ever ultra DNF with a medical issue at 52 miles. It was the correct decision to bale but it took 48 hours of tears and a week before I was over it.
Back in the UK I was asked to make up a scratch team for the High Peak marathon- another adventure into the unknown. It was brilliant and our team were fairly evenly matched so it was good fun .. well except perhaps for a few stretches on Bleaklow.
At Lakes Mountain 42 I had a reasonably good run considering how little I had run over our winter in NZ when we were busy with big walks and kayaking. There was only one small return of the 'not a hernia' pain under my ribs and 4th F was OK.
Calderdale Hike would follow the same route as the previous year and so I knew the way. Sabrina was there and it was good to see a younger female challenging for the Runfurther award. She would have been much more then 30 mins ahead of me if she had known the way. As it was the day was glorious and I finished inside 7 hours.
Next up was the Fellsman- my 7th at the race. I always enjoy this event even if at times it makes me suffer. I managed 3rd F and we got the old people's team prize! Unfortuntaley it left me with a very fat ankle by the next day.

A fortnight later and all seemed good as we rocked up for our first attempt at The Spire Ultra. I ran some of it with Daryl and I am sure this was in part responsible for my good time.It was an interesting and varied route and at just under 6 hours for 32 miles was probably a PB of sorts.
A fortnight later was the LDWA Hadrian 100. Another first for me although I will be looking at future LDWA 100s too. Despite the pretty awful weather over night where we went over Cross Fell and then High Cup Nick I survived. It was good to have Matt N for comapny and to help with the nav. The biggest issue for me was macerated feet that were well on the way to trench foot. Only a 3hr plus break to dry them would help and I wasn't prepared to sit around that long. It was painful  but I managed 2nd F and 5th overall with 24hrs 43 mins for the 100 miles.
June was busy with the SMM/LAMM replacement where Rowena and I had a good run and we only narrowly missed being 1st vets M and F by 11 seconds over the two days.
Collecting in the controls after a low key orienteering event on Beacon Fell somehow did some serious damage to the outer side of my ankle and then up the front of my foot into the shin. I have no idea how and do not remember any fall/slip/ or jarring. I still managed the Lakeland 5 Passes but it was sore and not my best run even if I did manage 4th F and 1st FV50. Again great to see Hayley winning and getting points for Runfurther. A week later was Pennine 39 and I was secretly pleased that many who I sometimes try to run with or keep up with were not there. I went into the race with a very relaxed attitude and it seemed to pay off. A PB of spot on 7 hours. My foot was fine until the next day. Sometime i the next days I tried to recee the 3 Towers Ultra and caused a serious issue with my foot/shin. It ended in tears and I truely thought I might have to call mountain rescue.  I did have to get Bob to come and get me.
I was very anxious about the SLMM this year as the Klets had been axed and I had entered the Scafell along with all the elite men, plus my foot was not totally repaired. It was a very tough weekend with 10 hours and 9 hours of big climbs and long distances. Luckily I had Richard for company for almost all of Day 2. By the end I had a sore ankle tendon again but luckily also a sizeable gap before the next race.
The Beacons 100 in early August should have been wonderful. I did several recee run/walks in the week before it and the weather was fantastic. As we stood on the start line on Friday at 8pm the rain started. A night of steady rain, clag and gales followed. Nav was difficult in such conditions and by the time I got to CP 3 I was exhausted and scared. I carried on but once up near Cribyn the wind was even worse and I was struggling to crawl on all fours. I made the decision to bail and head off to soft ground with no rocks. It meant hitting the road a few miles south of the Storey Arms but I did not care. At that point I was in a good position and 2nd lady. I arrived at CP4 to find 1st F had also bailed and an hour later mountain rescue pulled the plug on the race anyway. Such a shame for the runners and the RO. So now 2 DNFs in one year.
I escaped to Europe and sunshine. After 4 weeks of climbing and via feratta it was time for the longest race I have ever attempted- the Tor des Geants. With almost 340km and close on 28000m of climb I knew it would be hard and more of a challenge than a race. I had wanted to enter something that I was not 100% sure that I could finish. I was stressed about how little I had run in recent weeks but perhaps it was a good taper. It was tough  and in the worst of the weather I was also struggling with food and sick but after that things improved again and I loved the race. Running sections with Andy H and Matt N was good fun and the views were amazing. . The last morning was glorious and I loved every minute. A finish in 121 hrs 21 mins was only a bit outside my gold target so I was very happy.
After another fortnight of sun, climbing and VF we returned to the UK. Just in time for the 3 Towers Ultra. Another new race for me. The first miles were dark and a complete mystery to me but luckily I had company and made few errors. I was glad I had receed the sections over near Bury and was pleased with my run. Fiona appeared after Pilgrims Cross (she had got lost) and although she initially sped off I was pleased to only finish about 4 minutes behind her.
The last race on the Runfurther calendar was Round Rotherham again. Sabrina was racing because if she didn't and I won it could mean she would not win the Runfurther lady's trophy after all. She didn't enjoy it which is a shame. It is not scenic like the Lakes but only a few bits are truly grim and the rest is pleasant enough and with great CPs and marshalls. Ellie beat me this year (although only by about a minute; if only I had known) so I was 3rd F and 1st FV50.
Late October saw the Street O league start plus a journey to Scotland for the OMM. The terrain was dreadful but Rowena and I still enjoyed our weekend away and managed 2nd F place on the podium and also 1st V. Another first saw me do 2 OMMs in a fortnight. I travelled to japan with Richard and we had a blast. Lots of sight seeing but a very successful OMM too. We made a judgement call to move from Elite to A. After learning what worked on the terrain on Day 1 where were finished 3rd we had a fantastic Day 2 coming 1st overall. We ended in 2nd place, just and came away with masses of Yen to spend on OMM products.
This left 3 big events for the remainder of the year. I had picked the Kong mini MM to be the event preceding the Runfurther AGM and I had a wonderful morning out on the Saddleworth Moors.  My nav was pretty good, I hooked up with Mark who pulled me faster than I would otherwise have gone and I got masses of points. Very satisfying.
The year had a theme.. find challenges outside your comfort zone. Next up was The Hill. Mark C has a reputation for events where almost nobody finishes and this was to be no different.  44 laps of around 4 miles to complete 160 miles in 48 hours. It seemed so possible on paper even with food stops. It was a new venue as the Cat and Fiddle is shut and last years attempt in the 3 Peaks had iced up. A wet quad bike track was our route for over half the laps. It was wet when we arrived. After 20 odd runners had been up and down it all night it became a bog fest. Over half the field bailed over night (we started on Fri eve) and by Saturday lunch time we were very few. The weather except for 2 hours of wet sleet on Friday night was pretty good. Not super cold and dry. It was windy though. The whole field are DNF! I don't feel I failed though. The line was not runnable so I made the decision to concentrate on a half Hill of 22 laps in 24 hours. When I stopped I was 3rd man standing and the other two bailed not many hours later.

 By morning my right foot was huge and several bits on the outer side of it were incredibly painful. Oops. It went down but the sore bits were still sore. Local runs on flat tarmac showed I could still run after a fashion. Last race was Tour de Helvellyn which I love. I had no idea how far I would get but set off to see. I was ridiculously cautious on the descents and rough ground but pacing myself seemed to work well. I never felt totally shot and despite a tumble on the return loop to Askham Common I managed a PB of 7.55. I have never been under 8 hours before and the conditions were probably the best yet.My joy was short lived and completing the race has not helped my foot/ankle at all. Doing RED in Dec was not the best idea either.
Strava shows 551 hrs and 3313km of running with 183 personal records. The graphs shows a very unbalanced year but I guess months in NZ, climbing etc most of the summer mean it was not just running that got my time.

 I have started 2020 injured and reduced to easy climbing and cycle rides in the hope that it will improve enough for me to make the most of my plans for the year.

Feb 1st Pendle Way in a Day (new race)
March 7th 10 Reservoirs (new race)
March 14th Haworth Hobble?
3 weeks of ski and sunny climbing
April 4th Calderdale Hike
April 18th Northern Traverse
April 25th Fellsman- probably marshalling!
May 9th The Spire
May 24th LDWA 100
June SMM?
June 27th Lakeland 5 Passes
July 11th Pennine 39
july 25th Lakeland 100 a new one for me
August 7th Beacons 100? a score to settle
Aug GRP? Monte Rosa??
Sept White Horse??
Oct 3rd £Towers Ultra
Oct 10th Round Rotherham (would be my 10th)
have not really thought about Nov and Dec yet.
Happy running and don't forget to up the challenge.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Tour de Helvellyn

I love all Nav4 races but this one has a special place in my heart after using it to complete my 52@52in52 challenge back in 2013. The year of wading through thigh deep floods and a hyperthermic Jon S.  Also it 2014 it was my first race in freedom having just retired. I then missed some years with trips abroad and skiing but do remember the snow in 2017 and using my kathoolas.
This time I was fit and felt that I was recovered from The Hill- all that is except for my foot.
Before the race... sore but running seems sort of OK

It seemed to have multiple issues and this was confirmed by Angela W on Friday evening in the hall. Oh well, the forecast was good so I would see how I got on. Short runs in the week suggested running didn't make it worse so long as the path/ foot plant was predictable.
I slept well in the van and had plenty of time to chat with people in the hall. My plan was to wait until almost dawn so that my the time I reached the fell it was light and I would not need my torch. The good forecast also meant I could just about fir everything in my race vest. The staggered start is good- less pressure to use the toilet and also less pressure to shoot off too fast up the lane and over the first few miles. I started steadily up the lane and was happy to walk a bit. From the fell gate I picked up the pace a bit as I love the grassy tracks on Askham Common. As usual some runners went west on the main path but most went my way. It was now perfectly light and warm enough for me to take off my hat and gloves. Thank goodness I put thin tights on. It wasn't long before I passed John K and then Matt N came racing past me. Leaving the common I was cautious on the lovely ramp; it was too early for me to trust my foot. I then opted for the lower road route and the climb through the zig zags to Martindale church. At least there were no floods this year, just some large puddles. It must be faster that way because I ended up ahead of Matt again- although not for long. The road into Boredale suited my foot today with no sudden or unexpected twists. I felt I was moving OK but looking at my splits compared to carol and Fiona it was from Martindale to Side Farm that I lost most time (about 40 minutes!). I knew I had been slow on the descent over the rocks as I was guarding my foot, plus there was a queue at the Farm but even so that's a huge loss. I took advantage of the queue to eat and set off for Glenridding replenished. I chatted to Derek F for a bit and then Mark S and others as we climbed out of the valley and up past the old mines. I seemed to slow down here and especially so on the steep rough climb through the loose old workings. Then I spotted Tony, Josie etc ahead and that perked me up.
Two cuddly Nav4 Santas
Stuart was at the bridge as usual but with no snow it was on, on. The climb to Sticks Pass took a little longer than I remembered and it was a relief to crest the ridge path and start dropping towards Thirlmere.
The biggest patch of snow this year
Once I hit the fence line the path got steeper and I slowed down again. Barney came flying past shouting Hello but I didn't speed up even for the photographer.
Steep down the Stannah and Thirlmere
Despite this I only lost 10 minutes on the girls here. The next path section is a jumble of mud, rocks and bracken. Time to be careful again. I met up with Albert here. Jim was scanning bar codes on the fell side and then Gaynor was taking numbers in the car park. We had a brief chat.
The Winter Hill Billies- so friendly and always a laugh
The Winter Hill Billy team were all waiting for Albert and others. I grabbed more cheese and some crisps and set off on the forest track. Another 'easy' section that would allow me to run.
I found a good place to cross Raise Beck and was soon on the main path clambering upwards. It was wet but not slippery this year.
Climbing Raise Beck
John B was there dressed as Santa taking photos and Fiona appeared. She was powering up the path and I made a big effort to stay with her. We ran together in the clag past Grisedale Tarn and onto the nasty rocky path.
The trod I need to find
One day I really will check out the valley trod because even if it is boggy I am sure it will be faster for me than the rock. I tried to relax knowing that once we reached the bridge that the path was much better. As we reached the farm land I caught Fiona again, she had taken a small tumble on the gateway gravel. It was fairly easy back to Side Farm. Despite being so slow on the rocky path I only lost 1-2 minutes here. At the farm Howard helped me refill my soft flask with MF and I grabbed some more cheese and crisps to eat as I plodded up to Boredale Hause. One guy came flying past and then jogged all the way to the top! Eating savoury seemed to be working well for me and I felt OK. Fiona needed the loo and this let me get ahead by several minutes but I knew she would be racing to catch me. I made a slight nav error at the top but soon regained the correct path. Once I had negotiated the first rocky section I really enjoyed running down the ramp and then along the first section of lane. Ken S came blasting past and shot off into the distance. I was busy doing mental maths and thinking there must be an error. At this rate I might actually get a PB and slip under the 8 hour mark. Next Martin T appeared and I used him to pull me for the next few miles.  He was always ahead but not by much and when he slowed to a walk I made myself run and narrow the gap again. This worked all the way to the edge of Askham Common where I suddenly tripped and fell heavily. It was so sudden I didn't even have time to put my hands out and so bashed my knee and elbow.  I soon realised that I was OK really and jogged on rather than stiffen up. From the cockpit it is a lovely run back and I could see runners ahead and on the skyline. My foot was sore but no worse than when I had set off. I think it is the fastest  have run from the cockpit all the way back to the hall.
Tony recorded 59km, Albert over 60km. 38 miles?
Yes a very surprising PB of 7.55 (in the best conditions I have had on the route). 1st FV50 and 5th F overall. A good day out. Carol was 1st F in 7.14 and Fiona was 14 mins ahead of me. Adam Perry broke the 6 hour barrier. Awesome.

Several cups of tea, soup, bread and cake and I was feeling better. I applauded all the Winter Hill Billies in and also John K, Derek and Ian C (I managed to beat Ian by 22 secs). A quick change into warm dry clothes out in the van and then some more socialising in the hall. It seemed they had more than enough helpers so we wandered out into the parking field to say Bye to Joe before driving home. I would happily have stayed if needed but it was good to have a shower and my own bed even if a gradually ballooning and stiffening foot did keep waking me up.
It was a bit of a shock to see how much worse my foot was this morning and it took hours for it to gain any sort of mobility. In the end I went for a painful limping hobble to the shop and back. It did help - less ore and more mobile but I cannot keep walking all night!

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Upping the challenge again

I had been aware of The Hill for some time thanks to Jon S. For various reasons I never managed to do the original events on Shining Tor (something I now regret). It is a strange concept as mark would ideally have almost no finishers and then there is the mental challenge too. On paper it looks OK.

Laps of 3.7 miles- 44 of them in 48 hrs. It should mean hour laps and a 4 hour buffer. Easy! Ha ha.
I don't really have an ideal local hill to replicate this on but did belatedly have a bit of a go on Parlic and Fairsnape. Distance is a little further and climb a little more plus there is no flat and the steep bit is at the bottom. I did 3 laps at a steady pace and was sure hour laps was possible.
The advert
Pre race I was worried about the weather. I am not good if it is cold and wet. Jon had suffered dreadful weather on Shining Tor. I was also worried that icy roads or snow might make getting to the event difficult. On the day it was the path and food that were more of an issue. The food is entirely my problem. I know this and took loads with me and knew I had to eat regularly. Knowing and doing are not the same though. Karen W did a great job getting us tea and food and there was a range of food on offer. (although I am not a fan of pot noodle and especially not the flavours on offer)
I banked some speedy early laps to try to gain more of a buffer. This was good but meant less eating!
Friday afternoon as we arrived
Once we had all persuaded Mark that it was NOT going to be too easy and that the snow across on The Cheviot was too deep we stuck to the original plan of 44 laps. I thought it would be good to knock off the four and start on the next chunk before stopping. I think I did 5 or 6 before going inside for tea and some food, although I had some snack food on the trail. We started at 7pm in the dark and already tired having been up all day and travelling. It was good to have a break inside but I was also conscious that this would eat into my time buffer. At some point on that evening we had about two hours of sleety snow which was annoying in our head torch beam but not a serious problem otherwise. I shot indoors to pull on over trousers. After that the weather was fairly kind. It wasn't terribly cold just chilly and the wind was not fierce until late on Saturday afternoon. Most of Saturday was really quite pleasant and with great views.
Auchinhope Hut after a few laps
After my first break I tried to limit by indoor breaks to every three laps although I did also stop to go to the loo. I have no record of exactly how this panned out and it would be good to have those individual splits and to see how much time was spent not running too (need to ask timing man if this is possible). I guess with a supporter they could record this for you and perhaps even chivy you out if necessary. It is so easy to forget when you are concentrating on just getting it done and also doing the mental maths to check what is still possible.
I do remember congratulating myself on being 1/4 way there and this was around the time it was getting light again. Dawn always lifts my spirits and it nice to get rid of the head torch which always seems to annoy my head/ears. The 'tunnel' effect from the torches was not so bad this weekend as the moon was quite full and despite the clouds was giving some light on the wider hills. I was slightly shocked to find how many had already bailed by daylight. (facebook from Mark C = Hill update. Half the field gone overnight.) This is not a race but the sort of challenge where we were all willing each other on. Well, that was my take on it. If I am honest it's a bit of a blur but I do remember going inside to find that Gaynor had stopped (at 10 laps) and that Alan had stopped at 8 laps. Alan had kindly loaned me his spare pair of gaiters and was now rooting for me so that they travelled as many laps as possible.
The route mark had found as a replacement for Shining Tor was interesting. After last years icy problems he was determined the event would not be stopped again. The first part from Mounthooly bunkhouse is a track with some small undulations and a gradual climb. After a mile there is a slight dip and a grassy path to a tin hut. Then the real 'fun' begins with a wet quad bike track to the skyline ridge and then along the ridge to Auchinhope Hut. Most of the first section looked great when we arrived and stayed not too bad though out. After the tin hut was a different story. The quad track was a boggy mess when we arrived. It got worse and worse as we went up and down it even though the lines we took varied as we searched for better lines.At the start it was just wet. After a few laps it was muddy. By daylight you could see a huge brown stain snaking down the hill. By the end it was a peaty muddy bog fest. It was impossible to run up this bog and even running down was tricky. We feared losing a foot or leg in a hole and wrenching forward.
The boggy quad bike track
I was amazed on Saturday afternoon when David H complimented me on my descending - but he lives in Portsmouth and gets little hill practise. I was less timid than I would be on a rocky path given that a fall would probably just mean getting very wet and muddy.
Gradually there were fewer runners passing me in either direction and so fewer cheerful Hellos or more solemn grunts. Carl and Martin bailed at 14 laps and then Mark and Karl at 16. Heather was still in albeit moving slowly. Her crew had decided not to tell her the real maths unless she worked it out for herself. We had shared some chats and maths and knew we were unlikely to do all 160 miles in the time allowed. She bowed to the inevitable after 18 laps knowing she could not make the Half Hill. There were only 7 of us trudging up and down by now 20 hours in.  I kept doing the maths and decided to concentrate on getting a Half Hill of 22 laps in 24 hours. I felt this would mean I had achieved something; although I now recognise that it also set in my mind that I would stop at that point.
Resting not sleeping
We were now heading into the second night and most of us were dog tired. Starting at 7pm on Friday was mean. A morning start to bank some laps, then an inevitable night would mean that we would now be getting dawn and a lifting of spirits. It would then be down to grinding it out through the last night if you knew a finish was possible. I think this did mess with my head. Finishing at 7pm sounded comfortable. Heading out into that night with probably little hope in the end sounded daft. This is what I told myself. Would I have carried on if it was daylight? Maybe. I think it is more likely. Plus on my last two laps I was getting blown sideways on the ridge by an ever strengthening wind. Mark sets a tough challenge. Before long we were down to 5 of us. We were still saying Hi, well done, raising a hand etc but nobody was even trying to run uphill. Even Paul was doubting he could do it. I had lost track of who had done how many laps but was sad to find Robert just missed out on the Half Hill. I didn't know him and he rarely spoke out on the route, perhaps I should have taken the initiative and dragged him with me on those last 4-5 laps.
Windy but not evil weather
Now we were 4. There was one way it was better now it was dark again- you could spot head torches and see where the others were. Somehow passing others in one direction or another was motivating and encouraging. David had said he was going to aim for 100 miles but I fear my suggestion of Half a Hill got him thinking. He was lapping faster than me and so stopped on 22 laps at 5.20pm. 
Now we were 3. Having made my decision I enjoyed the last couple of laps more and at 6.40pm went inside with my Half Hill done.
Yes- I look like I should have continued
I should say at this point that the Half Hill is just my invention. As far as Mark was concerned it was another DNF. Fail. That sounds harsh and in reality he is nothing like as harsh as he sounds on the web. Despite his "no getting as far as you can in 48 hrs" he pulled nobody even when it was obvious they could not complete. He was encouraging and did want a tiny numbers of us to succeed. I think he really wanted me to carry on and try even though a finish was unlikely. I had 24hrs 20 to do 22 more laps. So a buffer of 2 hrs 20 on hour laps. My average lap time was 1.04 (last lap was 1hr 13 but I stopped to look at the stars knowing I had plenty of time before my 7pm limit) and I have to assume it would drop to at least 1hr 10. That meant my buffer was enough for 14 more laps but not 22. Even if the bogs had frozen solid I don't believe it was possible for me. So was it sensible to stop when I did? Yes, probably but when should we be sensible?
I crawled into bed willing Paul and Guy onwards. Paul I knew from Hardmoors races and especially the H200 when back in 2017 he finished in 48 hrs, well ahead of my 56 hrs. Guy I did not know but he was moving well. As I slept Paul bailed at 25 laps having decided the boggy track would not let him do fast enough laps. Guy toughed it out for 29 laps. He did set out on the 30th lap but kept lying down to sleep and wisely decided he should return to the bunkhouse not long after midnight. All this confirms to me that if they couldn't do it then I was wise to stop; doing more laps but in a slower time would not really count as a victory.
Congratulations to all who accepted the challenge- how ever many laps you did

Lessons learnt:
Find a way of recording exactly what your times per lap are and when you have had breaks.
Have a supporter to do this and to chase you out or make you eat. (Karen didn't know me well enough)
Practise more on a local hill- perhaps 15 laps rather than the 3 I did on Fairsnape.
Have a food box outside or in the drying room as Gaynor did- this reduces your stops and getting comfortable.
Get fitter so that I do actually run the easy bits even when I am tired.

Would I do it again. Yes, but not on that course.  My legs felt fine both then and in the days after, although I could not go any faster. My feet felt fine - until I stopped and realised that the frost nip in two toes was reactivated and that the "not a neuroma" was sore and my whole foot was huge. Not sure if this was the newish shoes, laces too tight  or other. I never did change my socks as it was so wet that there seemed little point. I guess if I had maybe I would have spotted the problems earlier. Not sure it would have changed the overall result though.
No idea what went on but four days later and still not good
I keep searching for a better venue- one that has a bunkhouse or similar, won't ice up, is not a bog fest, is a little sheltered from the worst weather. No luck yet. If it returns to Shining Tor I must have another go. In the meantime perhaps I could park our van at Fell Foot and do my own Hill on Fairsnape (I haven't told Bob of this idea yet).
Am I disappointed. Mostly no, or at least not in myself. I was 3rd man standing and 4th on laps per hr. I made it to the Half Hill along with 3 fit men.