It is called Blubberhhouses 25 so I shot straight out to add some extra miles. It was frosty, dead still and very quiet down at the reservoir. In fact the only people I saw were some of the walkers who had set off early. It seems a good way to warm up and I made it back to the hall in plenty of time to shed a layer. Already at 8am it was clear it would be warm running. I managed to catch up with a few friends, some of whom like Chris and Dave I have not seen for a bit and then I had to escape outside as the hall was so hot. I spotted Shirley and Jon just before the start and then we were off. I had told myself that this event did not matter, at least as far as times were concerned, and that I could nurse my sore throat and just enjoy a day out in the sunshine.
Yeah.... Either the warm up helped ot I was running more slowly because this year I made it to the far end of the first reservoir before taking a break and a few stpes of walking. I had slotted in with Dave and some others who seemed to be running at a very steady pace. By the first road crossing it was warm and the gloves came off. I think the Washburn valley is beautiful but I managed to avoid all the tree roots and stay upright despite taking in the views. We were soon at the dam steps and the next CP. I didn't loiter but did grab two pieces of flapjack to munch as I went. The road section was short and then we were off to the moors. We could see our goal Rocking Hall on the horizon and I kept plodding trying to keep Dave and others within attacking distance.
The Hall looks quite majestic and I think it would make a great house, although I am not sure the kids would agree. I think it must be a relic from landed gentry shooting days.The section of track after the Hall was full of compacted snow. Most was firm enough to run on but now all of it. It was also slippy as one of the Clayton lads found out. Heaven knows how Dave stayed upright in road shoes.
The big drop down the stoney track to Bolton Abbey had my big toe screaming. I managed to keep running along the big path by the river- suprising what an audience of the public can motivate you do do. However by the time we got to the ford I was forced to a walk. The others would have been long gone if they had not stopped to check on a guy who took a spectacular tumble. It meant they were only just ahead at Storith CP and this kept me going across the very wet fields. I knew or hoped that the next CP after the main road would have lemon drizzle cake - I had been dreaming of it.
Yes they did have cake and the lady seemed delighted that I wanted two pieces to go with my pain killers. It hit the spot and I felt I had second wind. The haul up to the CP at the foot of Beamsey Beacon was not fast but I could see others starting the climb. The climb did not seem anything like as bad as I remembered and before long I could see the trig point.
I managed to run pretty much all the way to Round Hill, bar a couple of very boggy bits, and then I realised that the only lady I knew was in front of me plus Dave were not that far ahead. Who said time didn't matter today..... of course it does. I started to work on winding them in and by Stainforth Gill Head had caught the lady. I could see Dave's yellow shirt and made a big effort to catch him by the Ellarcarr CP. I knew from here that the real effort was over so, fortified by some orange quarters, I set off down the road feeling strangely fresh. Timble was soon passed and I found the little path between the walls. The fields from here to the woods were wet but I didn't care anymore, the end was in sight. Through the woods and down the steps to the dam. Why do there have to be so many stiles in the last sections of some races? and why do they always seem such incredibly hard work after 20+ miles? Spurred on by another public audience I ran across the dam and up the road. I found the correct footpath this year and trudged uphill. A family cheering their dad motivated me for a final push and I gained another place. I also glanced at my Garmin and noticed to my horror that it was not Blubberhouses 25 but 23.9! So, more miles to be added yet. I grabbed two cups of tea in the hall - how could I forget a water bottle today- and said a quick Hi before dashing back out. I knew that once I sat down I would hate the idea but in the sunshine and warmth it was not so bad. I went back down the field and cheered in some finishers and then did a section along the lane. Yes, at last 28 miles done and I could return to the hall. A bowl of stew, yet more tea and even a pudding made me feel more human. I also had time to chat and catch up with gossip. Jon made me feel like a superstar as usual and it was nice to be asked by so many people how it was going. (I didn't realsie so many people had found the blog). On the way to the car I got chatting again and so cheered Shirley in before finally setting off home. A great day out and
although it was only about 5 minutes slower than last year I now know it was just as fast as two years ago and faster than last year!! plus my legs did not feel as trashed by a long way. The pain in my big toe must have made me forget my sore throat when I was running but now sat in the car it grated. At least I had a choice of ice cream shops along the A59. I suspect I ate more than I burned off today- 2 flapjacks, 2 cakes, oranges, stew, rice pud and then an enormous ice cream at Mrs Dowsons. Oh well.