Monday, September 21, 2009

Stanage Struggle

I had a vision of my first fell race of endless bog squelching through mist and rain, with back breaking hills being galloped up gazelle like by impossibly fit old men. Well the latter was definitely true but luckily bogs were almost entirely absent and weather wise it was one of the best mornings of the Autumn so far. The course was a long drag up out of Hathersage through the Plantation and up onto the Edge at which point I was pretty sure I was doing some permanent damage to my spine. Then a mile an a half along the tops past High Neb before a hell for leather descent back to the village. Unfortunately I hadn't counted on the series of mini hills leading up to the church to finish which almost brought me to my knees. The personal point that really summed up how special this race felt was on those finishing inclines when I was doing all I could just to keep going, several of the marshalls started cheering me on. That often happens at most races but they personalised it by shouting out my number, a small thing but it seemed to make a massive difference.

Of course with all races you like to compare where you finished and this one had a high proportion of climbers. I was 62nd out of 286 just behind Al Williams - guidebook design guru, and about 2 1/2 minutes behind Ron Fawcett, who I'd put as a good proper runner, although rumours are that he was recovering from an injury. I was pretty chuffed to beat Neil McAdie by nearly 7 minutes as he'd goaded me into doing the race, but very humbled to be thrashed by a similar amount by Alpine guide Jon Morgan who finished in 3rd place!!

The Struggle's website has results, pics and more info

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