Saturday 23 February, 07:18
Hill session at Hope, Derbyshire. Followed a route recommended by VR coach Mikk. From Cheshire Cheese pub on Edale Road to the top of Lose Hill.
It was cold and misty. The slopes were slippy and muddy. I’d have been better in my inov8 fell shoes. Sunny at the top of my first rep.
Went back down as far as the stile at Lose Hill Lane, then 2 more reps. Had to walk parts that were very steep and slippy but pleased to get three full reps done. A slight wind got going and made reps 2 and 3 shrouded in mist. Loved it though, I’ll be back.
Distance: 7.64 miles
Avg pace: 16:17 min/mile
Trainers: Brooks Cascadia 13
Sunday 9 December, 08:03
Didn’t feel well prepared, hadn’t followed a set marathon training plan since doing Yorkshire marathon in October. Had done a selection of half mara, 10k and parkruns so was ‘race fit’ but not specifically for trail marathon.
I hadn’t reccied the route but other runners at the start reassured me it was sufficiently taped and straightforward. Started toward the back with survival in mind.
The first climb was, as forecast, muddy. A steady power march, picking the best footing.
Then at the top the sun broke out and cast a warm winter glow across the fields. Soon the first view of the top of Roseberry Topping came into view.
The route took runners up and down to the far side of Roseberry, then back up to the top again and off by a different route.
Next was a longer, more gradual climb up to moorland. Lots of variety of path on this race: tarmac, rocky trail, stone slabs, terraced steps, narrow cuts through heather and heathland, and mud.
Managed to keep my spirits up, welcoming other runners, marshalls and photographer with a ‘Ho Ho Ho!’.
At the second or third checkpoint I heard the Marshall tell a lady runner doing about the same pace as me that she was 3rd woman. Made me think I was doing ok, though I was running my own race.
Up on the moors there was a bit of wind, made it much cooler and towards the end my eyes were drying out making it hard to see.
At the 22/23 mile checkpoint a marshall told me I was 40th runner. Thought I must have misheard him. But it started to dominate my thinking. I began counting my position as runners passed me and I passed them. I ran long stretches of those last miles in 36th or 37th place. Positively nose bleed positions for me, being near the top of the field, but I still wondered if the marshall was correct.
Descending the last muddy hill to Guisborough I was taking care but making good progress. Then my first fall of the race. Some mud was covering a loop of bramble or root, which trapped my right foot and sent me sprawling across the path. I put my hands out to break my fall but my face just lightly brushed the ground.
Picked my self up, muddy knees and glove but nothing broken. Pushed on, soon hitting tarmac road. Tried to remember where I was going, how far it was to the finish and where to turn. Thought there were a couple of other runners not far back so worked hard.
Suddenly I saw a runner draw level alongside me. I looked at him and just thought ‘I’m not giving up my position, whatever it is’. Exactly then I realised the turn was very close so I gave it everything and really sprinted up the drive and into the Sea Cadets building ahead of the other guy. Don’t know where that burst came from!
The two lady timekeepers looked at me, asked if I was ok. Asked if I needed first aid (no thanks, and I have a kit in my pack). Suggested I might want to wash my face, washroom is over there. Got my medal and shirt and went to see what they were talking about.
It was good to meet and chat with a few other Vegan Runners. I ran with Paresh on and off, till he took off. Chris had offered me accommodation and food, but a bit too late as I’d checked into my hotel. And Nathan works for the same place that I do, different city.
A fantastic experience and I’m pleased with my performance. Think I should have eaten more.
Official results show I was 37th out of 132 finishers, and 6th MV50 out of 22 🙂
Distance: 30.2 miles
Time: official 6:31:19, Suunto 6:31:15
Avg pace: 12:55 min/mile
Trainers: inov8 x-claw 275
Thursday 15 November, 18:49
Hill interval session with Sheffield Vegan Runners. Will, Fisher, Julie, Kelly, Helen, Mikk and me. On the golf course running to trees. Great session.
Distance: 4.26 miles
Stats include WU and WD
Wednesday 7 November, 18:39
Hill intervals session with Sheffield Vegan Runners. Running up and down a middle-effort track in Eccy Woods, with headtorch. Good fun, a great group.
Distance: 4.04 miles
Friday 7 July, 07:00
16C – 20C, fairly warm and some sunshine. A 17.4 mile run along the route of the Exterminator race, to check the route I’ve plotted and see how it feels.
Managed to navigate almost all of it without reference to phone or watch, it seemed familiar from the recce runs I’ve done this week. About 10.5 miles in a triple whammy; phone died as I tried to check a turning; turned left ankle but no damage; full sunshine started and it got very hot. Took a wrong turn between CP8 and CP9, wasted a few hundred yards/ 5 minutes wandering.
Drank 1 litre of water and 2 gels. Could have done with more water, will consider using a bladder for these longer summer runs instead of just relying on the Salomon collapsible bottles.
Right heel hurt a bit in the second half. Had a niggle in right knee, most notable when climbing after CP8 Grindleford. Both feet hurt a bit. Lower left back niggled a bit due to the descents I think. Might be easier to say what wasn’t aching or hurting!
Tired a lot, but got a surprising boost of energy when I realised I could finish in under 4 hours and decided to push on. In race conditions, with adrenaline and more urgency to push on I can knock time off. Overall, this felt like I’d run a marathon, it was that tough with the climbing and heat.
Need to check if there’s a better route just before CP3, going round Higger Tor instead of climbing over it. Did find a (new to me) steep ‘short-cut’ between CP1 and CP2 🙂
Distance: 17.38 miles
Avg pace: 13:12 min/mile
Elevation gain: 3454ft
Trainers: Brooks Cascadia
Bank Holiday Monday 29 May, 07:05
12C, cool, misty and drizzly. A 6 mile run, aiming to learn about the Blacka Moor route ahead of the race on 20/6. Started on Penny Lane and headed along the route, uphill of course. Found the second hill a bit steep, and got my turning wrong. Ended up going anti-clockwise around the loop rather than clockwise. At least I’ve seen the route now though. This meant I did the long and very steep downhill as a strong walk uphill, and given the damp weather I probably avoided breaking my neck doing it this way round.
On Totley Moor I could see a turn on my map/phone but it took me a few mins to find it in the low cloud. Yikes, lost on the moors!
Enjoyed the run and even in the misty murk parts of it were familiar from the Totley Moor race. Will have a go sometime running it clockwise, so I’m ready for the race. A couple of good hill workouts in this run.
Distance: 6.14 miles
Avg HR: 132bpm
Avg pace: 12:26 min/mile
Elevation gain: 1260ft
Trainers: Brooks Cascadia
19C, warm and breezy. The 6.3 mile race set off at 19:30. I knew it would be more hilly than Tigers Todger but wasn’t expecting the first 2 miles to be all uphill. Felt ok, though legs were still feeling the effect of Sunday’s 16-miler. Learning from the first race of this series, I placed myself about two-thirds back in the starting pen. Crept past a few runners on the first mile, then as the gradient eased a little I took a couple more. Across the top of the Moor was undulating and like running between the crags, then another winding and narrow climb before the first of several steep downhill sections.
After 4 miles a downhill section really troubled me because my legs were spent. Let a couple of runners get past on a narrow bit, and had to walk the steep uphills (like most of the runners around me at those points). Finally a long steep descent back to the sports ground. I took one runner on the last road stretch and chased another runner around the field but didn’t pass them. Finished shattered with empty legs but happy.
Really pleased with my effort and found out later that I was 164th out of 269 runners. Had a couple of drinks and went off to pick up the wife from a gig (in London!). Legs didn’t stiffen up during the long drive, surprisingly, and just had a bit of a back niggle. The following day I can tell my abdominal / waist /core has been tested and think it’s been a useful exercise. Plan to train more on hills so I’m better prepared for future races and keep developing those muscle groups.
Another benefit of fell running seems to be that painful legs and burning lungs distract you from any foot niggles. I didn’t notice any foot pain at all throughout the race, or after.
Distance: 6.3 miles (official); 6.52 miles Fitbit
Time: 1:06:04 (official); 1:06:08 Fitbit
Avg HR: 147bpm
Avg pace: 10:08 min/mile
Elevation gain: 1361ft (official); 1525ft Fitbit
Trainers: Brooks Cascadia