|Andy, Bob, Dick and Josie|
|The only time I saw Mike until Sunday morning|
|Bob- Fellsman virgin|
|Nick making sure he stays warm this year|
Aleks was there in sandals again although he had put socks on too. All too soon we were herded outside and our tallies got their first clip of the day. Suzanne had a quick chat, told of us snow still falling on the tops and we were off. I tried a different way out of the field this year. It had a short sharp pull up but was a little shorter. I am not sure there is much in it really. As we left the road and started our first big climb I could see Josie ahead and I fell in with Mick C and Dave R. I felt I was really struggling to keep up and just did not feel in the zone. Tearful? what is that all about?
Descending the slightly wet rock did not improve my humour as 36 people overtook me. Having had two bad falls on rock I am now a real wuss. I tried to laugh it off but I was cross with myself. Still a few others did tumble and there are many miles and hours left at this stage so perhaps I was wise. Once off the flagstones and onto the lower paths I picked up the pace and set about regaining places.
|Great photos from Racingsnakes|
|The start of my happy face|
|Looking back to snow on Ingleborough|
At Kingsdale I grabbed a flapjack and stomped uphill closing on Josie and others. I did stop to catch my breath and admire the views but progress was good.
Soon I was on the little out and back to Gragareth summit and the friendliest marshalls on the hills.
It was as boggy as I ever remember it along the tops to Great Coum but I was with a small group and this kept the pace up even as we picked our way through the worst bits. From the trig CP I tried a slightly different line this year.
I didn't get it totally right as I crossed one band of rocks but it was otherwise drier, more direct and more runnable than the wet by the wall. I had been dreading the stony track down to Dent as I had opted for grip not comfort but in the end it was fine and I met Josie in the campsite field. She was having a bit of a nightmare as her too small sack meant she also had a bum bag which was uncomfortable and her water bottle had been crushed and split. I have gradually learnt how to be efficient at CPs. Knowing what would be available helped and I planned ahead. Grab some orange pieces, ask for a cup of tea, top up may water and take a cheese and onion roll. Leave the field walking with the tea and roll. 5 minutes at each CP, even just road side ones easily adds up to an hour not running. I couldn't help Josie, except to suggest she rummaged in the bin for a bottle, so I pushed on. It was now very warm in the valley and running along the lanes totally alone I got hot. I was regretting the thick tights I had on but knew later I would be grateful and I had not wanted to paff with leg cover at dusk when the rules insist on it.
Climbing the big track to the shoulder of Whernside I could see other runners ahead and I tried to reel them in. I didn't catch them up but did get closer. By the time it was time to leave the track people were taking many different lines.
I stuck to my plan and left before the ruin and found the trod to the fence line. It was very wet in the valley before Blea Moor but it always is and being light helps so I stuck to my shortest line route and headed for the cap of peat hags that were my guide. I caught one guy just at the CP.
A quick stop to admire the view and chat to the marshalls and I was off towards Stonehouse and more food. What a motivation! I tried to shout the guy back when he missed the fence climb to the trod but it was too windy. The mud in the forest section was a bit grim but I was soon at Dent Head Farm, minus the turkey now, and then the lanes alongside the river.
|Thanks Laura Sportsunday|
I ran this section alone and it was nice to see supporters out at the bridge, including Jane and Laura who both took nice photos of me. The CP staff here are amazing and had a new fancy dress theme of super heroes this year.
They also had a nifty foot operated water filler. I stopped for pasta, two pieces of cake and a cup of tea. I must have woofed it down because I left only just behind a group that had been some way ahead of me.
|Thanks David Sportsunday|
|Determined but slowing -Racingsnakes|
After a short discussion we stuck to the left hand path and soon emerged at the top of Buckden Pike.
It was almost sunset and the temperature was dropping. Having got the climb over with I now wanted to run, well jog. It is one of the frustrations of grouping that you cannot always move at the pace you would prefer.
I told myself we were still moving OK and tried to chivy things along. The flagstones were still fine but the stiles were now getting a very thin coating of ice.
|Thanks to Aleks for photo|
I was glad I had planned ahead and left a drop bag. I hobbled round to collect it and then sat in the showers. It was a battle getting shoes and clothes off but I was determined to get a shower. It was hot and forceful. My feet were suddenly painful and the toes on my right foot started going an alarming purple blush. I struggled into skins, more clothes and then hobbled round to the van and bed. It was cold enough for me to put the heater on for an hour or so and I couldn't sleep at first as my hips just wouldn't get comfy.I remember wondering where Bob was and how he was doing as I drank a recovery shake and then fell asleep. I was up before 7am to find the van was very cold and just 0.5C. I threw clothes on and wandered in to the school for a toilet and food. I ate more and more breakfast and sat chatting. I didn't actually feel too bad really. I am sure the skins and recovery shake do work and the soft ground meant my legs were less trashed than often.
My recovery 'run' involved a fast stomp up to Yarnbury! Just before the CP I spotted him- stooped, twisted and bent over to one side. He had hurt his back in the dark on Fleet Moss and had been like that ever since to ease the pain. I told him there was a V70 trophy with his name on it and he must keep moving. I walked down the hill with him and a friend he had made Dave.It seemed to take forever but he was beyond running. I was very worried when he hugged the wall at the river but he made it up the slope and jogged into the school.
I pushed Bob to move into the hall and fetched him food. He had his own mini presentation and it was good to see the fuss they made of him after his efforts.
It is a tough event at 61 miles and 11,000foot of climb but a great organisation and a lovely route. Despite the tough terrain and climbs there are long cut-offs as it started as a walkers event which means many people can have a go. There were awards for people who had completed 10,20,30 and even 40 events. I don't see how I can make 40 as I would be in my mid 90s then but it might be nice to complete 10 Fellsmans.
So a fantastic weekend that finished with a great family double with two trophies and a shed load of voucher value from Patagonia! After all it will be alright in the end!