May 5, 2018 (AS)

I agree, this race sounds like a book by J.R.R Tolkein and in hindsight it could have been. It had rocky climbs, epic scenery and new discoveries were made as well as hairy feet exposed. AS stood for ‘Ard and Sunny: it was a tough, hot day at the office but very enjoyable and highly recommended for the calendar next year.

The race was advertised as 5.1m with 1549ft of ascent, starting off at the Yorkshire Dales car park in Bucken. The route took us out up Buckden Rake to the summit of the Pike then down the disused lead mine back into the car park. The race organiser stated it would test you on the up and the down and he was not wrong.

I entered this race with very little fitness, as I’m still trying to find it, but I was looking forward to getting back out and giving it a go. As the race was only in its second year it had a very small field, 38 to be exact, and based on the two schoolgirl errors I’d made when packing, I had resigned myself to being back marker or thereabouts. The other eight female entrants were like racing snakes or very young. Annie Roberts from Todmorden won the women’s race, got the course record and was 10th overall. More on the schoolgirl errors shortly!

Anyway, having chatted with the race organiser and other runners I’d discovered it was 2.5 miles up, 2.5 miles down, with some more climbing once at the top. This was not too far from the truth with a few up and downs following the long slog to the pike. The downs were quite steep in places with some narrow paths but generally made for some good descents, though they were quad trashers.

Schoolgirl error #1. I left contact lenses at home so to had to run in glasses – not good for vision, confidence on the rocks and scores zero on the cool sunglasses look.

School girl error#2. I forgot my sports bra. This was a major concern while getting ready in my tent at Street Head as I’m not the smallest person in the world. Anyway, the new discovery was that my Inov8 back pack can double up as a bra or at least strap me down sufficiently to be able to run.

New discoveries made: The above errors must not happen again and also, I learnt what a Mangold Wurzel is.

Jenny Cooper