Grindleford Gallop trail race

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Saturday 17 March, 10:05

-3C, blowing a gale adding -10 windchill and very heavy snow showers. A 21.2 mile race around the Peak District.

Shivering in the car I wasn’t looking forward to this. I’d put a fleece top in the car for afterwards, but put it on to make sure I ran hot rather than froze on the crags. Good call. I had 2 shirts, a long sleeve top from Decathlon and the New Balance fleece, with my Salomon waterproof jacket on top!

It was a mass start of a few hundred runners with a very narrow step-over bridge 400 yards away. Lots of stiles after made it stop / start for the first few miles, and stiles and gates were dotted throughout the course.

I started fairly easy and just planned to get round without sprawling in either mud or a puddle. Succeeded.

About 5 miles in I noticed we were running the route of a Calver race I did last year but in reverse. The part where I was followed by sheep there were no sheep this time, just a blizzard and my left ear feeling like it was being frozen off!

It’s been a relatively wet winter and this showed with plenty of mud. Even crossing Chatsworth estate the ‘grass’ was sodden muddy ground.

At the third drink station in Baslow I asked for a black coffee. Or tried – my face was frozen. But she understood. Had 2 gels, 500ml water, 1.5 flapjacks and half that coffee during the race.

Climbing from Baslow to Curbar Edge was a lot of straight uphill walking. Then on top it was an apocalyptic scene. Dark sky, snow was horizontal, the wind was blowing hard and towards the edge of the crag. Awful and I remember thinking conditions like this could get the organisers in trouble with plenty of runners struggling.

I knew the Curbar stretch well in reverse, have run it plenty of times. I was run / walking due to fatigue. Right heel niggle as usual.

Overall, pleased to beat the conditions and very happy with my watch time. Official results not out at time of writing but I’ll update this post. Brilliant stewards and helpers throughout. Would be nice to run this in normal and dry spring weather.

Distance: 21.2 miles

Time: 4:12:39

Avg pace: 11:55 min/mile

Calories: 2369

Ascent: 2697ft

Trainers: Inov-8 x-claw 275



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Photos from Saturday’s trail race…

Wildest Peaks pic #1Taken on the path below Burbage East

Wildest Peaks pic #2

Taken yards from the finish at Longshaw

Wildest Peaks Trail Race, 17 February 2018

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2C, cold, rainy. A 16 mile trail race starting at Longshaw and taking in Burbage Edges, Higger Tor, Grindleford, Big Moor, and Totley Moor.

I thought about cancelling because I wasn’t rested or ready. Had lots of stress this week. But decided to go, it would be good preparation for Grindleford Gallop in March.

Only about 10 people in my start group and I was trailing after the first half mile. Then I remembered to start my TomTom watch, doh! Gradually picked a couple of runners off on the way up Higger Tor and down to Grindleford. There was a new (for me) route up to Hayfield. Never felt really strong though, just plodding along.

Along Froggatt and Curbar I walked more than usual. At the halfway checkpoint I enjoyed a flapjack and cordial. Really didn’t have a lot left in me but got going. The route after this took in a few paths I’d not been on before, right up to Flask. Low cloud here, with rain and on Moss Road a freezing headwind was miserable.

At the end of Moss Road I struggled with the gate latch and a very nice marshall asked if I was ok. I felt like I was close to bonking, but there was only 700m to go.

Thinking about this afterwards, I put it down to hardly eating this week, tiredness, the very heavy going (lots of mud), and just not feeling it today. It’s been a difficult week and probably should have stayed at home. My glycogen stores must have been severely reduced.

I’d carried and used 2 gels and 500ml water. I’d even had porridge at home before setting off, but lesson learned.

Official time/distance 3:05:15 / 25.6km

TomTom stats (late activation)

Distance: 15.59 miles

Time: 3:01:25

Avg pace: 11:30 min/mile

Calories: 1770

Ascent: 1625ft

Trainers: inov-8 x-claw 275

Wildlife: 1 squirrel, a herd of ‘Highland Coo’

training run #1418

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Sunday 11 February, 07:53

0C, cold, windy, snowing. A 15 mile run at Ladybower, this time clockwise starting at Fairholmes. Round Derwent and Howden Reservoirs.

Looking at snow through windscreen

Pic: driving in I could see it was set to snow some more

There was a layer of snow (some places slush) on the road/path, and heavy snow showers. Seemed to be blinded by the snow in the headwind whatever direction I ran in. Right heel niggled throughout, and later on left adductor and hip weren’t quite right.

Kept a slow, steady pace. Had a banana, coconut & date bar and a gel, and 400ml water. Enjoyed battling through the conditions. Wore my old Cascadia shoes rather than breaking in a new pair in the slush.

Distance: 15.1 miles

Time: 2:27:48

Avg pace: 9:43 min/mile

Calories: 1704

Ascent: 1485ft

Trainers: Brooks Cascadia

Wildlife: 10 sheep

training run #1412

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Saturday 27 January, 07:49

4C, overcast and windy, turning to rain with low cloud on the high parts of the run. A 20.3 mile run on the Exterminator course.

Started from another point in Totley and went up a gentler ascent towards Totley Trig. Adapted the route to avoid Carl Wark and the swamp. Kept a good steady pace. Lots of soggy ground.

Had a gel and a Clif Bar and 800ml water. Tired towards the end but walked strong when I had to. Loved it, chuffed to do 20 miles when I’m not at that point in a marathon (or ultra) training cycle. Heel niggled throughout. TomTom didn’t find GPS for the first half mile.


Distance: 19.8 miles

Time: 4:06:38

Avg pace: 12:08 min/mile

Calories: 2229

Ascent: 3094ft

Trainers: Inov-8 x-claw 275

Wildlife: 1 deer, cows and sheep

training run #1407

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Sunday 14 January, 08:08

1C, cold and grey. A 12 mile run down along Froggatt and Curbar edges, back along A621, Flask Edge, Totley Trig to Fox House.

Looking back at Curbar Edge

Curbar Edge pic

Wrapped up and aimed for an easy pace, zone 1&2 heart rate. Right heel niggled on and off. Had 450ml water, a Clif Bar and 1 gel.

In places I could have done with my inov8 trainers as there was a lot of mud and boggy patches. On the return stretch after Clodhall Lane I stuck to the road (A621) up the hill as even in hot weather the cross-field route is a bog. Found a new track that led me over to Flask. Still got damp feet but not as bad as it could have been.

Only 1 week to my next race, Wildest Peaks. And it is 18 weeks to the Windermere Marathon, 25 weeks to Ultimate Trails 55k, and 39 weeks to the Yorkshire Marathon.

Distance: 12.12 miles

Time: 2:31:49

Avg HR: 121bpm

Avg pace: 12:31 min/mile

Calories: 1374

Ascent: 1310ft

Trainers: Brooks Cascadia

Wildlife: 1 squirrel, about 10 sheep on Flask and about 8 highland cows near Clodhall Lane

Small flock of sheep on Flask Edge

Highland cows eating

training run #1403

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Sunday 7 January, 08:09

0C, ice and frost, cold northerly wind. A 9 mile run on the first part of the Exterminator route again.

Another great sunrise as I climbed the first hill.

Sunrise over a cold Sheffield/Totley

Made it all the way up that hill except for sheet ice on the first part of the climb and 5 seconds to take the photo. Improving.

Totley Trig

Totley Trig was bathed in orange sunshine.

Right heel was less of a problem than usual today, less noticeable but there. Had 1 Clif Bar, 1 gel and 300ml water.

While the ground was frozen hard in places, elsewhere I broke through and got wet and muddy feet and ankles. Went slower to dodge my way through or around the worst, and avoid sheet ice in places.

As I returned through Horses Field there were 2 in the field, one of them waiting for something at the lowest part where I have to exit to the road. Friendly, gave its face a stroke.

A horse in Horses Field

Distance: 9.08 miles

Time: 2:11:02

Avg pace: 13:41 min/mile

Calories: 1036

Ascent: 1582ft

Trainers: Brooks Cascadia

Wildlife: sheep and 2 horses