I was fortunate to share a lift with Andrea and Sarah, chauffeured by Phil. Andi and I had a small bag for post race use whilst Sarah seemed to be planning on staying for a week she had so much stuff…Phil was glad when we finally left the security and warmth of the car as he’d had to endure conversations about our bowel movements and what underwear we did or didn’t have on. Poor man.
I was aiming for a time of 4 hours 30 ( I had to be at a Swim Meet with Mark in Harrogate later. Warm up was 5:30pm).
With my race plan written on my hand in marker pen to remind me I set off with the hoards up Penyghent (Carol and Bob were just before the ascent to lift our spirits) arriving in 46 mins. I even briefly shed my windproof top – not for long though as the rain started again in earnest. Simon informed me that I needed to pick up the pace if I wanted to reach my goal so I got a wiggle on and hot- footed it over to Ribblehead arriving an hour and five minutes later. There were several familiar faces to cheer me on including Bob with Mark and Paul as well as Helen and Ruth with drinks and gels.
I still felt great so pressed on quickly, fording the river before the steady unrelenting climb up a very squelchy Whernside. As we approached the top Graham appeared out the mist – a very welcoming sight (so welcoming in fact that I hugged him) – I dibbed and realised I’d made it up in 45 minutes! Wow! Down then to the Hill Inn with 25 minutes to spare dodging the weekend walkers and slippery muddy sections on the way. Roger greeted me there with encouraging words before I left him for the last peak of the day: Ingleborough.
Shazza’s and Ruth’s smiley faces followed by Clare’s and Julia’s warmed me up as I hurried past; eager to keep to my goal. At the foot of Ingleborough I had to put on more clothes or I knew I’d be in trouble off the top. My hands were so cold that I had to ask another runner to open my sac for me! Five minutes passed but it was worth it later. Annie greeted me just before the summit looking frozen. It was snowing by this time and the wind was vicious.
46 minutes saw me off the top and then the long and treacherous descent to Horton. This really IS the worst part of the race and on Saturday it didn’t disappoint. I took two tumbles resulting in cuts, bruises and a torn jacket. I was starting to feel a bit dizzy but the lower I got the better I felt. Seeing the field ahead was a welcoming sight and it was such a relief to dib 46 minutes after leaving the summit. I finished with a time of 4 hours 38 minutes.
I looked like death but felt elated…….Bob was there to welcome me (Shazza and Ruth were there but didn’t see/recognise me) and took me home where I had a 10 minute bath before dashing off to Harrogate for the afternoon and evening eventually landing home at 11pm.
A super race under vile conditions but still want to do it again!
Thanks to all those who supported us Harriers; it makes a HUGE difference.