|Gordon - the route description man|
We checked out various sections of the route on the previous Sunday and Monday. I ran from Houghton to Mellor and then Tockholes before looping back to Houghton. This meant then I could drop Bob in Mellor on the Monday and he could do a linear reccie from there to almost the finish. He knew some of that would be in the dark. The text seemed good and it was worth the reccie to know the way after Darwen Tower. we should have checked leaving the fell before Hawshaw but both muddled through on the day.
Next decision was where to spend Friday night. Home or the van. Bob had opted for the 8am start so we drove to Turton on Friday evening and parked up just before dark. He was up by 6.30 and then dressed and ready to go by about 7.15. I tried to go back to sleep but was awake now so had a leisurely breakfast in the van, checked my gear and wandered down to the sailing club to register. The early start was just coming up the main road. Registration was very swift as there were fewer than 30 runners.
Plenty of time to chat to Albert who was running with Toney, Abi who was waiting for Mark S and surprise surprise Dave Kamis and Patrick Barry. The rain stopped and started and then stopped again. It would be a frustrating morning with the cag. I headed out to the start and was surprised to find runners lined up on the reservoir side of a gate. I went through and started a trend; no need for a bottle neck in the first yard! Gordon spoke a bit and then we were off.
I had told myself it was not a race just a challenge. No prizes, no points...... Thinking I might just trot round I had even told Dave Kamis not to rely on my for nav as I might not keep up with him. Sadly I never saw him and I think he did get lost a couple of times. After a few hundred metres I found the only runners ahead of me were Albert and Toney; they are stronger and faster than me. Climbing to the ridge of Turton I could see a stream of other runners not far behind me and expected to be caught soon. Instead it seems I pulled away. The drizzle was back and as I dropped to the main road it was heavy enough for me to get my cag out. Just as well because the rain was even worse as I ran towards Belmont. En route I helped a late walker with nav and then a group of walkers who had missed a grassy trod. Picking off others on the way to the San Marino at Belmont made me feel good even if they were walkers and joggers. As I drew near to the CP I could see Albert and Toney just leaving. I grabbed two jaffa cakes and set off for the big climb up Winter Hill. Although I did run bits of the ramp the boys were ahead and out of sight by the time I reached the top. The moorland fires had led to the creation of new 'roads' on the moor to allow firefighters access and to act as fire breaks. It looked very different.
|Wet on Rivington Pike|
This CP thoughtfully provided little over booties so I refilled my water and enjoyed a couple of sandwiches with my cup of tea. Fortified I set out for the relatively steep climb from the A59 up through fields to Mellor. It passed faster than I expected and I was soon zooming down Church Street. On the fields descending to the Blackburn road I could see the boys again and on the way to the next farm I caught them. The car park on the back of Billinge Hill was gated to prevent dodgy events (I have seen male pron there and a male friend waiting for DoE kids was propositioned there). It was deserted today and I really enjoyed my run down to the athletics track and out towards the canal. Being flat should make the canal good but I don't like tow path running and had to really talk to myself and make sure I kept a reasonable pace here. From the canal to Tockholes was new to me but the route description was perfect. Marshalls at Tockholes greeted me with real enthusiasm so I sat eating pasta and supping tea. I also refilled my water yet again.
|Darwen Tower- so many photos, no wonder I beat them!|
It took several cups of tea before I was ready for food but what great food it was. Home made soup, lasagne, a cheese board and Manchester tart. Wow. Rumours that the showers were not staying hot for long meant I just washed the mud and sweat off in the sink but even that revived me. It was about 10.20pm. Should I wait for Bob? How long would he be? Was there any point? The pull of my bed was too strong so I slowly ambled back up to the car park with Ian. Albert fell asleep in the sailing club.
A grand day out. I really hope they decide to run the event again. The CP staff and food were brilliant and it is good to have a 50 mile LDWA on our doorstep. Now he has a qualifying event I think I have persuaded Bob we should do the LDWA 100 next May as our birthdays treat.