By 6 we were down in the car park and putting up flags and banners. The display boards were up and spot prizes from all our sponsors laid out along with free mint cake from Romneys. Registration opened early so that job was ticked off too.
After pasta in the van it was back inside to socialise with other runners and volunteers. Great to see Matt Neale and Hisayo both wearing their Northern Traverse hoodies, as I was. Nick eventually arrived after a long boring delay on the M6 due to a lorry fire.
My self doubt grew and grew overnight. I knew I had not really run much due to our NZ travels and also our ski trip. I was praying that time on my feet would count for something and that the first 52 miles of my NZ dnf race would help. Running for 3 hours on Thursday was probably not the best idea in retrospect and I had a sore toe.
By the time I went into the hall as the sun was rising I seriously doubted my chances of a respectable time and was resigned to battling it out to finish. At least the forecast was good, there would be good company and it is a fantastic route.
Well before the 6 am start I moved outside to see how warm it was. Decided to start in cag and gloves but as I suspected they were not needed for long.
|Josie at the start|
Across the common and heading for Loadpot Hill I was still feeling like I was rubbish but the views were at least now letting me enjoy myself. It is always interesting when the field splits and runners take their preferred lines. I saw Josie. Tony etc head off towards the trees but soon enough we were back together again.
|Alwyn crossing the common in the early light|
From Loadpot Hill the grassy running is a joy. There was one dodgy moment where I almost followed a group heading off south, god knows to where. I shouted them back and I think we all made it to High Street.
|Oh heck, we go over those next|
|Josie and Albert (photo from Toney Donnelly)|
Back in geography teacher mode I explained what an isthmus was- the next self clip was by Angle Tarn on that feature. Then it was off to Side Farm and greeting the first of the day's walkers coming the other way. We joked about refusing to look up at Place Fell as we neared Boredale Hause; it would be the last beast of a climb later that day.
The path down was being repaired making it even worse than usual but I arrived at the CP unscathed. I topped up water but forgot to pop inside for any food. Nevermind, I has some bars and some Mountain Fuel jelllies in my sack.
|Steep slopes everywhere- its a tough route|
Wythburn had good food as well as water. I tipped in magic powder and grabbed loads of cheese, crisps and dark chocolate to fuel me up the monster climb to Helvellyn. It goes on a bit this climb and I needed a jelly too. I stuck to the tourist path as I think it is easier and just as fast as the OCT line.
|Helvellyn (Toney Donnelly)|
|Whiteside (Toney Donnelly)|
|Up and up and up some more. Last big climb|
Post race recovery at Nav4 events is wonderful. A choice of 3 homemade soups, real bread, huge slabs of cake and as many gallons of tea as you can drink. It was cosy in the hall so I didn't even bother going to wash or change.Instead I spent the early evening chatting and welcoming back the next 40 or so runners and signing up new and returning Runfurther members.