Trigger: Sunday 14th January
Wow, what a race! It’s an epic. A whole sheet of an OS map! And a race for the older person: more than 60% of runners were over 40. Place names like Pudding Real Moss, Soldiers Lump, Shining Clough Moss, Old Woman, Wool Pack, Fox Holes to name a few. What more could I want? So, a run from Marsden to Edale, taking in the trig points at Black Hill, Higher Shelf Stones and Kinder Low. Straight line measurement is 20 miles but actually around 24 miles with 4000 ft of climbing.
I first ran the race in 2015 and what stood out was the amount of navigation choices to make, the cold and the often poor visibility. This year I really wanted to nail the route and be confident and ready for the clag, and if all going well perhaps make up a few places with some choice navigation. I trained throughout October, November and December exploring different lines and establishing bearings. Some beautiful, snowy and cold outings; returning back across the moors by torchlight. Fantastic.
So we (Caroline, Dave, Anthony and I) arrived at an already heaving Marsden cricket club at 7:30am. Kit check, some chit chat and then at 8:30am set off on our way by Nicky Spinks. The first 10 miles or so over Black Hill down to Crowden were fine. There was a spring in mine and everyone else’s step.
However, heading up to Lawrence Edge someone said to me “oh the race … it starts now”. True words. As soon as I get to the top of the Edge, stinging cramp got me. Very disappointing. This meant from there on I had to take it steady across Shining Clough Moor. All that training and sorting my lines out! Let alone the fact the visibility was absolutely clear and the check points were marshalled by Woodhead Mountain Rescue people all wearing bright red. There were moments when I felt a touch, I’m ashamed to say, hard-done-by.
Heading from Snake Pass the race goes off the Pennine Way to the site of an old plane crash, which required 20 minutes of trudging through the heather. I did notice though some people make it look easy. I could only look on in my just-cramping-trudging state. After that, the race goes around the edge of Kinder to the Kinder Low trig. Along this section it became bitterly cold, with frost blown grass, a luminescent fog down below and a lot fewer people around. Quite eerie. I needed to stop behind some rocks to get more clothes on and my hands were so cold I needed to ask a passer-by to pull my zip up. At Kinder Low there is a choice of continuing on the high route around Kinder or on the low route along the Edale valley. I continued along the high route and as the end neared picked up some energy and finally dropped down from below Grindslow Knoll chatting with another runner into Edale. Miraculously my cramp had disappeared. All good.
Soup and cake in the village hall with the prize giving and finally to the Ramblers Arms for warmth, catching up and hot chocolate.
Winner 3:28, Anthony 33rd 4:26, Dave 85th 5:09, me 138th 5:47, Caroline 161th 6:17 and 173 finishers.