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


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 #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 #1395

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Sunday 24 December, 07:49. Christmas Eve.

9C, windy, overcast and cool. A 9 mile run on half the Exterminator race route. I followed the same route as 2 weeks ago, run #1387.

Climbing up the first hill, I only walked up the last bit of tarmac and the beginning of the rough track. Seemed better than last time.

Light drizzle began was leaving Blackamoor and by the time I’d crossed Houndkirk and descended Burbage Edge it was heavier. But the wind was the main thing.

It was soggy underfoot but no ice like last time. Had a Clif Bar, 1 gel and 500ml water. A good workout. Right heel niggled throughout but I’ve started a regime of calf-rollering and heel lifts to get it sorted once and for all.

Distance: 8.76 miles

Time: 1:49:55

Avg pace: 12:18 min/mile

Calories: 1005

Ascent: 1537ft

Trainers: Brooks Cascadia

Wildlife: 1 flock of sheep

training run #1387

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Saturday 9 December, 08:03

-1C, clear skies, chill wind. A 9 mile run on roughly half of the Exterminator course. Wrapped up well and started on Penny Lane. Blessed by a great sunrise.


Stunning view on the climb up from Penny Lane to Totley Trig

I’d taken a week off running due to a cough. It’s not completely gone but that didn’t trouble me on the run. Good to be doing hills again, need to build up fitness again as I’m recovered from the marathon now.

Felt right heel on and off, and it stiffened up afterwards.

Ran to Totley Trig, across and up through Blacka Moor to Piper House Gate, up and across Houndkirk Moor, down over Burbage Edge (carefully!), along to Fox House, and up to Moss Road, back via Horse’s Field to the start.

Lots of ice around, in places the whole width of the path or trail. Slipped and slid but didn’t fall, phew! The x-claw shoes were great for the snow though, and part-frozen peat/soil.

Up on Houndkirk there was a fog/low cloud obscuring the view of Hathersage Moor and Higger Tor.

Drank 250ml water and had 2 sweet jelly things and 1 gel.

Enjoyed this. With heavy snow forecast for tomorrow I hope it clears so I can come back and do the other half of the Exterminator route soon.

The strap is broken on my Tom Tom watch so while I source a replacement I wore Fitbit. That froze on the Settings screen when I wanted to set off. So these stats are from recording my run straight into Strava app.

Distance: 9.1 miles

Time: 1:52:44

Avg pace: 12:17 min/mile

Calories: 1381

Ascent: 1579ft

Trainers: inov8 x-claw 275

Postscript: The black toenail I got in the Exterminator race in September fell off in the shower today. And it looks like I’ve got another black toenail coming on the same toe on opposite foot. Must be something about this route!

training run #1386

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Sunday 3 December, 08:10

6C, cold and breezy with a bit of drizzle. A 6 mile run Fox House along Burbage Edge, Higger Tor, Mother Cap, return along Burbage Brook. Was going to run further but got a good workout Saturday night at a FromThe Jam gig, so kept it to 6 miles.

Wrapped up well, took it easy up the crags. Plenty of water / mud in the peaty ground made for slow going. The drizzle cleared.

As usual, got a bit lost getting down from Higger Tor and finding the right trail to Mother Cap. Not chasing a time so no problem. Had a few near misses losing footing here and there.

Had a sweet chewy gum at the start, a peanut powerball and a gel on the run, with 500ml water. Right heel niggled throughout.

Distance: 5.99 miles

Time: 1:30:16

Avg pace: 14:49 min/mile

Calories: 671

Ascent: 779ft

Trainers: Brooks Cascadia

training run #1380

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Saturday 18 November, 08:01

6C, cold, windy, dark clouds. A 9 mile run from Fox House, along Froggatt Edge and Curbar Edge, returning along White Edge. Getting legs back after the marathon, wanted to do a trail route I knew, sensible length and difficulty.

Layered up as it was quite chilly. Had a flapjack on the drive over, enjoyed a stunning orange sunrise before the dark cloud set in. Kept it easy pace, pleased with my fitness, hadn’t lost much. Right heel niggle on and off. Drank 250ml water.

Saw a group of about 9 deer far off on White Edge, a couple of photographers were pointing long lenses that way.

A good run, the rain held off and nice to get some trail miles done.

Distance: 8.97 miles

Time: 1:43:39

Avg pace: 11:21 min/mile

Calories: 1030

Ascent: 995ft

Trainers: Brooks Cascadia

Wildlife: 9 deer