As the summer continues, it just gets busier and busier!
3rd July saw Harriers in 2 locations. Tockholes saw John Raho, Matt driver and Matt Dunn continuing their strong seasons with a 5th, 8th and 12th place respectively: http://dashers.org.uk/events/TockholesEvening/tockEve14
while in the Badger rail race, 6 Harriers flexed their running muscles. A great trail race on a hot and balmy evening was enjoyed by Mick, Greg, Tim, Steve, Hannah and John K who were all well placed in repective age-group categories scoring some high points in this Championship counter. Results here:http://www.ukresults.net/2014/badger2.html
Next up was the local Bull Hill race. A lovely sunny night for Renee’s debut fell race. A newbie Harrier Renee looked strong and smiley to the finish! Carmen came in 3rd lady in site proclaiming she had tired legs. Many wish they could run as effortlessly as her tired legs or not!
This was the first race in the Radcliffe 3 day event and some of the Harriers went on to do the 2 next days…
Day 2 was a 5 mile cross country/trail race on Friday evening, involving 4 laps of course at Giant Seat Scout Camp. John Raho was 3rd home in 34:44 and Matt Dunn came in11th with a time of 37:28.
Day 3, a 5 mile trail/road race followed the cycle path behind Radcliffe Asda to Ringley Road, then after a brief road/trail trail section it met up with the Bury/Bolton canal tow path. John came 5th with a time of 31:02 and I came in 10th in 32:59.
Over the 3 events, John came 3rd with a combined time of 1:43:11 & Matt came 8th overall and 2nd MV40 in 1:50:28. All in all the guys report that it was an enjoyable few days of running, a link to the full results is below…
Meanwhile Mick made the most of working away with a cheeky 10k in Morcambe on 16th July. He came 14th and was pleased with his time of 38.13 given the lump in the middle and was 2nd v40 on the night.
One of our far flung members began a new Harrier challenge for the most northerly result representing Holcombe. Mike Thomson did excellently in the Huntly Sprint triathlon, latitude 57.4412. though he does have an obvious geographical advantage being from that neck of the woods…
Matt Dunn took on a lakeland classic at Kentmere on 20th July. The sun was shining for the start, which made the initial ascent hard going, but things did cool down on the tops and by the time he got to the finish line it was raining heavily… Not one to ask much, Matt wanted a sub 2hr, so was very happy with 1:56:52 and he even managed to get his car off the field before it became a mud bath!
Results here: http://www.holmfirthharriers.com/joomla-pages-iii/category-list/26-fell/586-holme-moss-fell-race-20-july-2014
Going up Walna Scar Road toward Seathwaite and the first checkpoint hit home just how hot and unpleasant it would be. Sweat was simply pouring off my face to the point I thought something was wrong, until I looked at people around me and felt relieved to see it wasn’t just me. I eased off my pace and decided within the first couple of miles that the 31 hours I had in my head was to be forgotten. This was a get me round.
Bit disappointed at the Seathwaite checkpoint, by the time I got there, there was no cola left, just water and a few crap biscuits. So water it was.
All of this was forgotten watching the sun set a deep red over Great Gable as I dropped into Wasdale, surprisingly bang on where I wanted to be when it went dark.
The cooler night air over Black Sail, into Buttermere and onto Braithwaite was pleasant and tagging on with 4 others, we yomped at 5 to 6 m.p.h towards the dawn. By the time I was going along the Keswick by-pass I was ahead of where I thought I would be, but by this time my quads really didn’t appreciate going downhill. Maybe yomped a bit too quickly through the night, but I couldn’t take that back now.
I felt fairly strong with the now numb feet and aimed to get to Dalemain before 50 set off and see Carmen, Sue, Will and Beau and dreamed of my complete change of kit which had been dropped at the half way point as I was now beginning to stink.
Strong through Dockray and fuelled up on cheese and pickle sandwiches and sweet tea (manna from heaven), put my head down for Dalemain (only 10.1 miles) where I had also promised myself a half hour rest.
Made it to Dalemain before the 50 start and really appreciated the cheers and applause from the crowds and the waiting 50 milers, lifted me a lot, but not as much as seeing my family.
After a complete change, food, blister treatment and even mouth wash to get rid of the fur from my teeth from too many Jelly Babies, setting off on the last half was the hardest thing I had done in my life to that point. Agony. Pure agony. 2 m.p.h trying to get some sort of cadence back into my legs was difficult and walking away from a lift back to Coniston, psychologically very difficult. But I had come this far and was determined to now more than ever to get that finishers medal.
The camaraderie from the 50 milers passing me through Pooley Bridge and over to Howtown and beyond was special, some even took time out of their race to walk alongside and chat. Any 50 milers reading this, those few words of encouragement went a long way and were and still are hugely appreciated.
I had managed to get into a rhythm which would see me back at Coniston in around 32 hours, through Mardale Head – exorcising the ghosts of 2013 where I had collapsed of heat exhaustion on the 50, through Kentmere and their famous, delicious smoothies, over Garburn Road, strong. World at my feet (literally). Rang Carmen from the top of Garburn “Everyhting ok, feel good with my new numb feet” said I.
It’s hard to describe the next few hours. No sooner had I cursed myself by telling my wife I was ok, the wheels definitely fell off heading into Troutbeck. Blurred vision, fighting to stay awake, shaking, then shivering trying to put my layers on as it started to piss down. Must practice putting waterproof trousers on blindfolded with someone holding onto my ankles after being spun round a dozen times to simulate the feeling. Thursday night Harriers training session??
Then came the hallucinations. Sunglasses strewn on the floor, people in white shirts staring at me from the dry stone walls, thinking cars were coming up behind me on footpaths. Just focus on Ambleside. Come on, more cheese butties, strong coffee, cake. Made it, but in a bit of a state, but made it. How I enjoyed running past the pubs I used to frequent when I lived there.
Rumour has it that if you make it out of Ambleside, you’ll finish the race. Made it out. By this time I attempted to switch off all senses and just focus on one foot in front of the other and navigation, although I know this part really well so not worried. I am now resigned that my 32 hours has no hope and I just want to finish, so I can stop, lie down and get my feet free from these shoes.
Chapel Stile checkpoint had sofas! What twisted mind puts bloody sofas at the checkpoint with 10 miles to go. No. Not joining the ranks of wasted people who had very little chance of escaping the clutches of the soft furnishings, sat on the edge of a hard wooden, unstable garden chair. Bliss. Food. Water. Go. Come on feet go numb again. Blisters have re-filled. Not even attempting to take the shoes off to strap them, can’t bend to undo the laces anyway.
Blea Tarn, climb and drop to Tilberthwaite. Losing patience now, have they moved the sodding checkpoint? It was never this far away. Who put all of these bloody rocks on the path. Sadists. Crown Green bowling, now there’s a sport I could get my teeth into. Possibly darts.
Sat down at Tilberthwaite and was waited on by beautiful virgins in see-through dresses. Bollocks, more hallucinations. The crew at Tilberthwaite may not have been in see through dresses, or virgins for that matter, but they are beautiful and with 3.5 miles left had kind words and a helping hand.
Leaving Dalemain was the hardest thing I had had to do to that point in my life. Until now. Physically getting off that chair gave me pain I had never experienced.
1 m.p.h as I crawled (literally over that limestone rock) up and over the last hill. I didn’t get any quicker on the flat bit. Second sunrise witnessed of the weekend. Nearly back. Rang Carmen from the top, I could see Coniston but knew I would be another hour. They had been watching my splits through the checkpoints on the screen at the finish and knew I was suffering. Carmen came up to meet me with half a mile to go. I had been strong, disciplined and bloody minded for 99.5 miles, but fell apart when I saw Carmen. Nearly there. So close. How much could I get for a second hand pair of Mud Claw on ebay when I take up bowling?
The last 100 meters I had tears streaming down my face and after dibbing in and being introduced into the sports hall at the finish to big applause and cheers (everyone gets it, I ‘m not special) I couldn’t look up or acknowledge it because of the uncontrolled, chest heaving sobs. 35 hours, 38 minutes and 7 seconds. Could have pushed a bit harder over the last 100 metres and got under 35 hours 38 minutes. Need to man up.
Medal, t-shirt and a seat. I didn’t think it was possible to inflict so much pain on myself through my own choice. But when I stopped,the world was a better place.’