Saturday, 12 January 2013

Ultra No1 - A run to the handicap

There was nothing suitable in the calendar but our orienteering club was having it's annual handicap and prize giving. If I ran from home on an off road route I reckoned I could make it over 26 miles.The forecast was good and I was keen to get started on my challenge I thought it would also break me in gently as it is hardly mountainous. Despite the first 15 miles being on canal tow path it was certainly not all easy going. I had not reckoned with the MUD. I left the rest of the household in bed but waited until it was light.

 My first miles were sheltered and seemed to pass quickly. I saw almost nobody - just a fisherman, a dog walker and a canal worker in the first 12 miles. It was very peaceful with just swans and herons for company. I am sure I have run or cycled the route beofre but I noticed new landmarks including the Brock aqueduct.

 Every now and again there was the intrusion of traffic as I neared the A6 or M6 but it did not last long. By Garstang the rest of the world had woken up and I met more people to say Hi. It was here that I switched from canal to the Wyre Way. Between Garstang and Scorton it was positively crowded with walkers and cyclists everywhere. I joined the cyclists in Scorton for a hasty cup of tea. I had thought the canal was muddy in places but the next section of Wyre Way was atrocious. Fortuately it improved after a mile of so and especially once I had crossed the M6. I was now on paths that were new to me and soI  found places of interest to keep me entertained. The  Game Keepers Cottage just before Dolphinholme was the highlight, what a wonderful place to live. This land is Duchy of Lancaster/ Duke of Westminster estates and is both farmed and used for pheasant shooting. It was a bit of a pull up the hill out from Dolphinholme mill and it took me onto the most exposed field paths of my route. I was glad to drop back down to the river and then to plod on towards Abbeystead and the wier. Once I reached the road I realised I was going to be at the village hall far too early so I turned and continued up to the war memorial and Christ Church and then along the road to Dolphinholme and Wellington Wood to find my husband and the car. This last section did at least make me glad I had not done the whole route on tarmac. Not a bad start to my challenge with 29.6 miles under my belt. All I need to decide now is whether there is enough fuel in the tank and bounce in my legs to go again tomorrow!

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