Waltz (n) a ballroom dance in triple time in which couples spin round as they progress round the room.

All very genteel, oozing glitter, sequins and high heels.

But prefix “Anniversary” and suffix “Fell Race” and it’s far cry from the Strictly ballroom. And the highest heels in sight have a 9mm drop.

Helen, Hester, Tim and I lined up for this classic horseshoe round Robinson, Hindscarth, Dalehead, High Spy, Maiden Moor and Catbells. At a shade under 12 miles and almost 4,000 feet of ascent it is quite a beast, but this was the ‘fun run’ of the day as it has a big brother, the Teenager With Altitude which is about 15.5 miles and approx 7,500 feet of climbing.

The 400 runners doing the Waltz milled around with the usual excuses coming thick and fast – sore ankles, lack of fitness etc etc. The best one though had to be guy who proudly told us that he had slept in a cave the night before.

“It’s my stag do,” he explained, sporting a cheerleader’s outfit.

Then we were off. The climb up Robinson is the sort of thing not to be dwelled upon – three points of contact, ‘nuff said. But after that the rollercoaster of down, up, down, up, down kicks in and it’s just brilliant. The steep hurtle off Dalehead offered some route choice fun and, different to my last attempt at the race, there is now a flagged descent from Catbells. It was a nice day and the views, when I was able to look up for long, were simply breathtaking.

At the finish we were three happy ladies. Helen had taken a bulldozer to her previous time for the race, wiping 45 minutes off her 2009 result. I managed to be 25 minutes quicker than last time and Hester reported her knee to have survived this pre-three peaks test in fine fettle. Tim must have had a good one too, because none of us ever saw him again after the start!

This time I knew what to expect so I only have myself to blame for spending my Sundays getting wet/cold/exhausted on the hills of the NW. Once again I managed to complete seven races, although I would have done eight if Fairmile hadn’t been cancelled.

The first Sunday in January saw Steve Moor and I arrive at a wet and windy Scout Scar. I had had a chest infection after Christmas and still had a nasty cough, but having enjoyed(?) this race last year, I thought I would have a go. The winter had been so wet that nearly all the courses were muddier than in 2015, and Scout Scar was no exception. In the end I did ok and had a good battle with Jan Wulf, which I won by dint of being smaller so I had less problems with slipping in the mud.

The weather the following Sunday at Firbank was less bad than last year, but apart from a short section on each lap, we were running through water most of the way. In a funny sort of way I enjoyed it. On the way back, we made the first of several visits to the Barbon Inn.

Race 3 was the “home” fixture at Giggleswick. Once again there was snow on the ground, and being a southern softie, I took it very easily to avoid any accidents. Whitestones on week 4 was a new one to me, and I was worried about the descent. As it turned out, it was the strength sapping bog on the top that I didn’t enjoy, the descent was fine.

Week 5 saw us back at my favourite venue, Birkrigg Common. This was my best race in 2015, and I was looking forward to it. It wasn’t quite the same course as it had a new start and finish and there was a lot more mud. This race saw the first of my battle with Helen Greenep;  we swapped places several times before she opened a small gap on the last climb.

Fairmile was cancelled, and Barbon is too steep for me. However, it is a good race to watch and enjoy the sight of the runners trying to stay upright on the steep descent. And of course the Barbon had to be visited on the way home. Cunswick was wet and cold but it was my best race of the series. Maybe it was the conditions or maybe because it was a bit longer and not so fast as some of the others, but I managed to beat some V60s I had never beaten before.

I missed Sedbergh (back south for a 60th birthday)  and I decided that Cautley was too steep. However, it was another good one to watch, and on the way home we happened to go near the Barbon Inn…

My last race was at Helm Hill, another one I had enjoyed last year. This year it was very warm, vest only weather. Helen was there again, so I decided to go off fast in the hope of dropping her. However at the end of the first lap she came past me. So much for my tactics!

Once again I enjoyed the series, and in most races I did better than in 2015. I must congratulate Carol (1st FV50 and 2nd F), Mike (1st V60) and Barry (2nd V60). But most of all I would like to thank Steve , my travelling companion, for  his encouragement and friendship. Steve finished 5th V50, a massive improvement from last year. An early contender for the most improved runner of 2016 award. Cheers Steve.