Wednesday, 1 October 2014


This nearly did not happen as both Bob and I felt so trashed earlier in the week. By Wednesday we were definitely not going. Bob had a heavy cold and I felt wiped out after the UTMB, LDMT and H60, plus my achilles really hurt. I even tried to sell my entry on two forums. By Thursday we were thinking about it again and on Friday evening we packed. At this stage I guess we knew we would drive up on Saturday morning unless there was torrential rain or worse. The forecast was quite good.We knew there would be lots of friends there and after all you do not have to run hard or competitively do you? Ha ha.
The view from the toilets!
Luckily it was only just over an hours drive from home and the 'open' start window made it easy to just turn up. By the time we had registered we had bumped into Tony, Albert, Mark, Stewart and many more. My pack was over 5.5kg but did not feel that heavy. Bob and I wished each other luck and went our separate ways. I walked to the start with Chris V which was great until I realised I was so busy chatting that I had not started my watch until after I marked up the map. marking up the map seemed to cause me more brain ache than was reasonable and I was unsure how much time to estimate it had taken. Within the first few hundred metres Chris BH and partner came past me but I knew I would not stay with them for long. The pack seemed to split into two - those heading north around the edge of the map and those going west up and over, down, up and over etc.I am not very good at score events and either dither for ages or make a decision and then think everyone else will have made a better one. Today I decided to make a decision, stick to it and not to worry about what else I might have done. The first control was easy and there were about 6 of us together. I used this to spur me to run harder on the next leg. Chris gallantly held up a river fence debris catcher (what do you call them?) and I kept up almost to the next control. Now it was decision time. I headed SW and then got caught in the confusion of tracks and OoB in the valley bottom. It worked out OK but was a long way over rough ground to the next high point and then there was still another valley to cross. At this point I was sure I had made a mistake. The OoB was even worse in Longsleddale. I found my way to the more northerly access point but wondered how many would cheat and use the marked track through the OoB. As I hit the road in the valley bottom I had to decide left or right. Right was closer but a mistake as the big track would have been faster. Still I made it to the ridge and got my 40 point control. Things were looking up, especially as the next one was 30 points. I was pleased with my nav and looking forward to some better running now I was off the tussocks and steep slopes and on big bridleways down into Kentmere. I thought I was on my own but just as I entered the village I heard voices and found Sabrine V plus partner and Richard D passing me. I tried to keep up and did as they hesitated at the Garburn track. We climbed together to the next control and then they all shot off. The next high point control was on Troutbeck tongue but that seemed too far for me so I headed for the Kentmere horseshoe path. It had been  thick mist and drizzling for a little while but now the wind got up too. Just as I was losing my sense of humour Albert and Tony appeared.

A chat with them and a bit of company soon cheered me up; plus Tony was suffering even more than I was. We found the pond from Shane's promotional video and began the tricky decent to Kentmere reservoir. It was steep, rocky and the grass was wet. Not my favourite slope. it also split the side of my shoes. The climb to the enormous boulder was fine but the big climb to the ridge top was an effort. By now they knew they would be late and I thought I might be.  I toyed with trying to claim an extra control but decided against it. A lovely run down the ridge path soon saw me at the top of the final gully. This was steep too but as there was no rock I overtook many and made good time. I should have gone for the other control as well. I said I was hopeless at score events. A quick blast down the final track and I was back with almost half an hour to spare.A longer look at the map and a check with wiser folk showed that I should have gone round the north of the map anyway. Still I was back in time and in one piece. Later that evening I was disappointed to find slower runners had beaten me but pleased that I was first equal FV. I met Bob and was shown to where the gang were camping.
You cannot be in SELOC if you don't smile
Bob, Mark, Tony, Julie, Albert, Chris V, Splatcher and daughter, Steve Wilson and Peter.... all clustered together and Stewart, Kevan and others not far away. I was tired putting up the tent and relieved when Bob went to collect me some water. Drink and food revived me and I ambled off to find more friends and to collect more water. The stream was very low and I found a small swimming creature in the bottom of my next cup of tea! I spent most of the evening eating, drinking chatting and lying down.

 It was windy and cool but stayed dry. Well before it was dark I had been to the loo and battened down the hatches. I might have been cool when I went to bed but before long I was toasty and shedding layers. My trusty neoair is a worthwhile luxury with great insulation and relief for tired hips. I had planned a small lie in but in the end I was up at 6 and could easily have been ready to run by 7am. I faffed a bit and set off for the start around 7.30 only to discover that I had no idea where my dibber was. Panic! quick unpacking of sack and search of tent and there it was. Phew.
Along with many others I had spent some time trying to guess a sensible route for today but without control values or knowing exactly which ones would be active this was hard. Then at the start line we were informed one of the ways through the OoB was now shut. I left the campfield and turned right- this was downhill! I decided to get as many of the western controls as I dared and plan on the hoof. This was fine for the first 6 but then tiredness crept in and the realisation that staying there could make me late or would lead to running back on the A6. I hated the idea of that road run and so binned some precious points and added in a load of climb, but at least it was more satisfying. Bumping into Hanno and Colin sat debating their route cheered me and I stopped for a chat.

We should have collected the 30 pointer but they like me were stressed by the OoB and worried about being late back. The climb up out of Longsleddale was steep and long but the two controls were fairly easy to find. The cluster towards the finish were on big features but I could not see which order would be best and this was made more complicated by being undecided about getting an extra control if there was time.
Thanks to Steve Burt for most of these photos
I bumped into Bob at the second of these controls and told him I was heading back next. I then realised that I had stuffed up the timing and was going to be 90 minutes early so I started to go for the extra control. Stumbling across tussocks had me doubting this plan and the fact it was only worth 10 points set my mind. I said bye to Hanno and Colin and turned back. Lots of pointless running but never mind. I made it back with half an hour to spare so perhaps I might have made it in time with 10 extra points. Who knows? It had been a frustrating day and those on the short had just as many points. After download I spotted Bob, Julie and Splatcher eating. I joined them for a great chilli stew, cake and lots of tea. The car was not far and it was good to get changed and have dry feet. we wandered back for more tea and met Hanno, Tony and others. Results were put up and it seemed despite an indifferent run I had managed first female vet on the long score. We sat outside with Sarah, Kate and Kirsty for the prize giving and laughed as Shane and Charlie tried to work out all the category winners. I even managed a quick chat with Nick and Claire. For me it didn't matter this year but I was pleased to see Shane give prizes for solo (as well as pairs rather than combined). He had not known it was any other way in the past and felt solo deserved credit for the extra effort of going it alone. Kirsty had a great run and becomes a vet next year so we will have to run better if we want to win again. I bumped into Sue hands and Helena several times over the weekend- I just hope I can still enjoy Mms for as many years as them.  All in all a great weekend and I was glad we made the effort even if it will not have helped my achilles.

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