Our weekend started early on Friday with a rapid drive to Romneys in Kendal to collect mint cake for Runfurther.
|Mint cake for all the remaining Runfurther races|
|Spot the continent|
|Eco new bags for Mountain Fuel|
|Alston YHA- what a great venue|
It was a fairly leisurely start and plenty of time to be ready for the bus to the start at 8am. As I stood in the sunshine it was already warm, although not as hot as last year. Ken Sutor was running so the means Runfurther point would take a hammering but I wasn't sure about the women.
|Photos from Nick Ham- no idea what we were saying? Smaller? Bigger?|
There were some I did not know and I 'worried' over whether they were fast. This was the fourth running of the race and I have done it every year. The first year we raced down the little field to the gates and over the bridge, then the next year we walked slowly and carefully across the failing bridge and last year we took a long detour walk to reach the other side. This year some paths were closed due to filming but at 9am on Saturday it was deserted. We were able to revert to the original start from just off the road. Race briefing was quiet and quick. We were off. I charged the first field to make sure I didn't get stuck at the gates or the bridge - plenty of time to slow down a little on the riverside path.The first stretch on the Pennine Way follows the river and you get glimpses of the waterfalls, including the spectacular High Force. The path is very runnable with just a few trip hazards. It then crosses pleasant farmland to the first bridge over the Tees before hugging the riverside below cliffs of Falcon Crags most of the way to Cauldron Snout.
|Ros at CP1|
|From Nick Ham|
The next climb to Knock Old Man is a beat all the way up to 794m. It was warm and steamy but not as hot as last year. The streams all had more water in than I remember so I was able to refill my bottle easily. I could see the green vest ahead struggling and decided to reel him in. No running just a steady and determined plod. Then I could see another runner further up and so I targeted them too. It made the climb go faster and nobody was actually catching me yet. After the cairn the plateau is fairly runnable and then downhill to meet the radar station road. There are at least 3 route options here. The guy ahead stuck to the road and didn't turn off. That was the last I saw of him. Orange vest (Steve Rivers) was keeping an eye on me and followed. Go to snow pole 71, cut up the re-entrant, meet the wooden steps and contour the main hill. What follows is a lovely roller coaster down from Great Dun Fell, up over Little Dun Fell, down the other side and finally up Cross Fell. At 893m this is the highest point on the route. I tried to pull ahead to keep my trod a secret but Steve spotted me and followed. It's nice and grassy, only a little boggy and cuts the corner slightly too. Someone had already been down it, I guessed it would be Ken.
|Nick at the hut|
He was well bundled up in clothes so it must have been chilly stood about even though I was only running in shorts and T shirt.
|Dave with water? (Pipe?)|
|Others at the pipe|
|The Yellow Brick Road|
|CP at Garrigill- nearly back home|
|From Nick Ham- always good to see those flags!|
Stuart Fludger was an hour later and I was less than 30 mins after that. More a reflection on there not being many fast men on the day but I would get my 1000 Runfurther points. Steve came in 10 mins later followed by Colin, Ian and Chris. I had run with Chris last weekend and shown him the way several times. Today without me he had missed turning off the PW in Dufton to reach the CP but phoned Joe to let him know.
|So many memories|
Nick was slower than last year but happy to have been able to complete after an op and recovery. Dick, Bob and John seemed to be taking forever. I ate a bowl of Joe's chilli as I waited.
They were now last though as Elise and Jules had ambled round stunned by what was to them new scenery and taking lots of photos.
Joe had given beer tokens so once I had made sure that Bob was very tired but sort of OK we went to the pub. When I returned to the YHA Bob had already walked back to the van and bed.
A leisurely and breakfast of several parts on Sunday set us up for taking down all the flags etc and the drive home. The plan had been to go climbing again but Bob was knackered and his leg sore and I seem to have damage the shin on my left leg, although on the plus side the ankle seems to have fixed itself.