10th Dec - Out again reccying Trigger; this time in thick clag and a cold wind. There was 1ft of snow across Bleaklow which was 2ft snow over Kinder making route finding / perfecting impossible! Nice to meet Tim, Ozzy and Charlie from Tod Harriers on Kinder then Nick Cable and Sarah at the Snake road as we were heading back to Crowden. Thanks to Keith for sticking with it !
3rd / 4th - Baking and jam making on Saturday and then a local run from Edale on the Sunday. Updated the www.trigger.org.uk website with the new entries that Brent send through. Hope the weather is better tomorrow for running !! ...... Update .. it wasn't and we had a very wet and windy 4 hours (due to mutiny) over Kinder. We were off the hill by 1pm and back home by 3pm so I spent the afternoon writing Christmas cards.
26th / 27th - A weekend in the Lakes in fairly bad weather! Saturday we (me, Keith, Helen and Ian) were reccying the Great Lakes Race. The winds were gusty however we got over Bowfell and both Scafells before the rain started. Heading across to Crinkle Crags the rain just poured down and the winds seemed to increase. Dropping down into the valley was a respite from the weather but the rivers were now quite swollen and after crossing the 1st one we walked uphill on the 2nd for at least a mile and then decided that as we were heading to Bowfell anyway to abort and head back to Langdale via the Band. Arrived back at 5.30pm (using head torches and completely saturated!
After a lovely warm night listening to the winds Sunday promised to be a better day. Having never been on the 1st Leg of the Joss the plan was to recce the 1st and part of the 2nd Legs to Hart Crag. Although drier we were more exposed to the winds however as the ground is more runnable we were able to keeping moving fairly fast and with Mark's knowledge of the route were heading off Hart Crag in daylight abd arrived back at the car at 4.30pm
19th Nov - Full Tour of Pendle ! 17 miles 4830ft climb. A tough race - six climbs interspersed with fast flat running. I was determined to save myself for the last two climbs as the last time I ran this race I had forgotten about the last climb and was on my knees. So I tried to set off steady and climbed the first hill ok. Running along the top I was chatting to Tim Whittaker which made that go more comfortably than usual. I stayed with Tim for the rest of the race. Willy caught me a couple of times and then so did Ash. I was ready for the last climb and although the legs were tired it passed easily. The speed work I have been doing kicked in on the flat run in passed the reservoirs and I was very pleased with 3.06 hours - 9 minutes faster than my pb.
13th Nov - A group of us; Ian C, Ian W, Brent, Mark P and Martyn went to Wales, leaving Yorkshire in the fog and rain, to run the Aberglasyn to Rhyd Ddu leg then part of the Snowdon leg in glorious clear but quite windy conditions. Lots of photos were taken and can be found on Facebook somehow!
12th Nov - The FRA do was very good and especially the hog roast and cheesecake. Anne Johnson was invited up to give me the Long Distance Award which was very nice. I also received a Lakeland Classics mug for being 2nd Lady / 1st V40 in the Lakeland Classics this year.
7th Nov - I received an email from Martin Stone to say that the panel of judges have voted for me to receive the Long Distance Award for 2011 for my record breaking Ladies Lake District Round and Tranter Round. I will be presented with the award at the FRA dinner and do this coming Saturday. I'm really honoured to win this award as it shows recognition for all the work and effort that goes into completing Long Distance Challenges.
6th Nov - Not running - family! Today we travelled down to visit my brother Charlie and his wife Carol and their newborn (3 week old) baby girl called Charlotte. A lovely beef dinner and walk with the pram.
5th Nov - Still tired from the OMM I set off with the faster group at the back of the Dark Peak Club Champs. I enjoyed the uphills but my legs were complaining on the downhills so I took it easy. Results
3rd Nov - Very exciting - the Flush brackets arrived from the Ordnance Survey which are going to be the trophies for the Trigger Race see www.marsdentoedale.co.uk
28th/ 29th Oct - OMM Elite with Kirsty Bryan-Jones. Saturday morning we stood apprehensively on the start line in the dark as the clouds were so low. Getting the map Kirsty quickly assessed the route to CP1 and we were off. I was still trying to locate the start! It soon became apparent that the ground was very wet, the clag was staying down and the ground wasn't very runnable (unless you're a 6ft man with 4ft legs which most of the elite men had that were passing us all day!). We soldiered on through deep heather while the rain came down. Neither of us were chatty; we managed a few "how are you doing?" comments but about 12pm we both admitted that the route wasn't very inspiring and I wondered why I had wanted to do this. Kirsty's navigation was faultless; I kept track on the map of our whereabouts but sometimes her micro navigation had me speechless. There was a brief respect about 1pm in the rain before it started hammering down again at 3pm. We were looking forward to getting CP6 to CP7 over with and hopefully without being caught by Kirsty's husband and brother (Simon Patton and Al) who had set off an hour after us. After CP 7 (where we got a real boost by finding the CP first while a few teams were in the wrong place) we cheered up and could start to think about dry clothes and warm food. We made the decision to stay cold and wet while running in order to save more dry clothes for camp. The rest of the CP's passed quite quickly and running into camp we were pleased with 8.29 hours.
We quickly got the tent up in some sort of fashion so we could get in it and get changed. Then we had soup and got one Expedition Foods meal ready (Chicken Tikka Masala). While waiting for it to rehydrate Kirsty went to look for Simon and Al while I sorted the tent structure out "borrowing" some rocks to weigh the pegs down as I knew it was forecast to get windy overnight. Kirsty couldn't find Simon in the camp nor on the results so we assumed (rightly) that they had dropped out. We had a really good night in the tent. Lots of food (I can highly recommend the Beef and Potato hotpot too!) a kip between 7pm while 8.30pm then whisky for Kirsty / rum and black for me. We chatted till about 10.30pm and then slept while 5.30am. In the morning our clothes were still soaking but we put them back on again (only because we didn't want to carry them) and set off for the chasing start at 7am (because its the new OMM policy to set all the women off first in Elite and A class; not because we had any chance of winning !).
Day 2 was much better. It wasn't raining, the route had more runnable tracks / short grass in it and the sun even came out at one point. I had to go and slip in a stream about 12pm so was very cross with myself for rushing .... and also very wet - I was wringing my gloves out all afternoon. The worst of it was was my knickers had only just dried out and now were soaked again. Anyway after trying to keep warm for a couple of hours in a very strong cold wind I put another layer on and was fine after that. We kept meeting people on other courses and so it was quite sociable. We ran down to the finish in 6.54 hours.
We finished both days in 26th position, 15 hours and 24 minutes in total. As the only Ladies Team in the Elite we won the 1st prize. OMM Results
Many thanks to Kirsty for her company and excellent navigation and her parents for putting us up in Stirling on Friday night and cooking us dinners. I am even contemplating doing it again next year!
22nd Oct - A recce of the Capel to Aberglasyn leg of the Paddy Buckley round with Ian C, Ian W, Simon R, Brent and Mark P. The photos that Simon took make it look a nice day but actually it was rather wet underfoot and the bogs were the worse I'd ever seen them. We were very lucky with the weather as the rain was hammering down at 9am but after Moel Siabod it cleared and was dry.
16th Oct - Yesterday was the FRA Relays. As apparently the best navigator I was given that leg along with Liz Batt. The other members of our team were Rachel Horn Leg 1, Jude Jepson and Pippa Willie on Leg 2 and Helen Elmore on Leg 4. A good strong team. Rachel was suffering with a cold and although enjoyed the course was disappointed that she couldn't stretch out on the level sections as she would normally have done. Jude and Pippa were a good match on Leg 2 and pulled us up to 4th from about 7th. I set off on Leg 3 with Liz knowing that we had a little way to pick our maps up; this was actually quite a long way when going flat out (as I was!) and I was glad of the stop to collect maps. The course looked reasonable enough - especially in clear weather and for most of it there was little route decision to make. The CP's weren't obvious and in clag would have been interesting to find. Liz led most of the way being the stronger runner but overall we were well matched. I enjoyed the last descent and even the little killer hill at the end. We finished in 4th. Helen then took over and had a good run on Leg 4 but had too much too make up on the 3rd team to gain any places. We all felt happy with our performance and congratulate the men on winning the Open and V50's and being 2nd V40's and 8th with their B team.
When I got home I was given the very good news that Steve's meeting with National Trust about permissions across Kinder had gone really well and so we are now able to release the Entry form and hopefully await a flurry of entries. See www.Trigger.org.uk for information or www.Racekit.co.uk for an entry form.
Today (Sunday 16th) I went down to Hathersage and helped out on a Marathon De Sables Training Weekend organised by Amanda and Andrew Heading of Racekit. Ian Winterburn and I led a longer run of 6 people all of who have entered the Marathon De Sables next year. It was good to run and chat. Hopefully we were able to pass on some good information and advice to help them successfully complete the race.
9th Oct - Yesterday was the last of the Lakeland Classics; Langdale. Not one of my favourites but good training nevertheless. It was a wet, claggy day and I set off strongly and felt quite strong all the way round. The slippery rocks and then deep bogs (and sometimes it was a choice of foot in one or the other) were very tiresome as was the clag after Bowfell which is not an area I know well. I only made minor errors which were annoying but not drastic and I was pleased with 2.59 hours.
Afterwards a group of DPFR's went to Shap Wells Hotel for the BG Dinner. This was a great night. I was presented with flowers and champagne by Fred Rogerson's daughters for completing the Lake District Ladies 24 Hour round. I also had the honour of presenting BG certificates to the new members. It was lovely to see everybody getting their well earned certificates.
5th Oct - Earlier this year Steve and I were having a few drinks with Amanda and Andrew Heading and the conversation turned to classic routes and races. Marsden to Edale is close to our hearts as we live in the Peak District and run over the hills and bogs on a regular basis. Looking at the map the trig points make obvious landmarks and slowly a plan was formed to see if we could start a new race called Trigger for January 2012. Over the summer of 2011 we planned and got Woodhead Mountain Rescue involved as we are friends with many of their members and also they knew the ropes for running a race and very importantly obtaining necessary permissions. We also felt that they should receive 100% of the profits from the race. Amanda and Andrew offered to sponsor the race through RaceKit.
We planned the route wanting runners to have as much route choice as possible making the race a severe navigational challenge as well as a very long way in the middle of winter. Nice!
Over the last couple of months Steve bravely took on the task of permissions and has done a stirling job of it. We are now in a position to announce that the race in one form or another will go ahead on the 15th January 2012. The entry forms will be issued from www.racekit.co.uk when we are 100% sure of the route. Other news and updates will be on www.marsdentoedale.co.uk
2nd Oct - I've been up in the wet and warm lakes today doing Leg 4 of the Ian Hodgson relays with Helen Elmore. We had a good run and even though it was claggy and Helen had reccied the route the other way round (before the direction / start had been reversed) we navigated well and did the Leg in a respectable 1.34 hrs. Overall Results Hopefully this is the start of my comeback in time for Langdale next week.
26th Sept - After feeling tired on the 3 Shires I ran a couple of easy times this week and felt really fresh and for the first time since Pyrenees running seemed easy. That was good as I'd entered the RAB MM in North Wales with Kirsty Bryan-Jones. The start was at Bethesda and the area we ran was the Carnedds and north. On Saturday we soon climbed into clag and rain where we stayed all day until we finished when the sun came out and it was glorious. We were quite ambitious going for the high points but it paid off and with a bit of rethinking towards the end we got back with a few minutes to spare and were 9th overall in the Standard course. We had a good evening socialising and eating (or rather me eating as I was constantly hungry). The campsite was lovely and we got a good spot with rocks to dry our clothes on.
On Sunday we planned to head off early and it was 7.45 when we started. It seemed very busy compared to Saturday when we were on out own for most of the day but maybe it because we could now see people! We were slightly more conservative with our route options but still managed to tot up quite a few points while enjoying the sunshine. Kirsty's navigation was amazing and we made a very good team. We finished in 12th position 1st Ladies winning a fabulous RAB sleeping bag each (not one to share!).
A brilliant event - really well organised and friendly. The flexible start time is very good as it means that everyone can go at their own pace in the morning. There was plenty of route choice for the ambitious and the conservative so it was always interesting and there weren't long crocodiles of people everywhere. The food at the finish was put on by the school and was beef stew, pasta or bean chilli. When that eventually ran out they cooked up sausage, beans and chips - which some of us (from Dark Peak mainly!) went for as well. Results
19th Sept - Yesterday in fairly foul conditions I ran the 3 Shires race up in the Lake District. I'm not sure what I was expecting; it is the first proper race I have run since the Pyrenees. The first ford was amazing - a small ford turned into raging river; so the bridge was the only option. I was at the front to start (probably a mistake) and so half the field came past me on the track. The climb seemed hard and the legs were aching but I got the feeling it wouldn't get any worse so hung in there. Wendy Dodds was in front and so I followed her knowing that she would know the best lines - which she did! It made life a little easier for me. The clag wasn't really a problem and after 3 Shire Stone it actually got warm when the sun came out so I took my jacket off. I was fine in my vest to the finish. And I was right about the tiredness - it was the same on the last climb as on the first. I think I did 2.45 hrs - about 15 mins down on last year. So - the overall conclusion is that recovery is still happening. It just doesn't usually take this long but then again my body has never fallen out with me to such an extent before. It wasn't talking to me for at least a week after the Pyrenees so I think I shall just have to continue being nice to it!
12th Sept - After a couple of easy weeks - mainly forced upon me as I couldn't run for a week - I went to the Lakes in wet and windy conditions to compete in the Lake District Mountain Trial. As it's an orienteering event it's permissible to walk and even stop (with the excuse of studying one's map!). I set off with no illusions of racing; I just wanted to get round the now Classic course which up to last year was only for men. I ran with Mark Pearce for most of the day until the legs woke up and I still had energy on the climbs. The weather was very windy with heavy showers but at least the tops were clear. Having run around the area reccying my Lakes 24 hours record I knew a few lines that paid off. I had a brilliant day and really enjoyed it.
I'm going to put a menu option for my Lakes Record and one for Ultra races to condense all the information and reports into one area and hopefully make it easier for people to find. Anne Marie at Sleepmonsters has put an article on their site about my win in the Pyrenees.
1st Sept - I've done my Pyrenees write up
Added photos to the Gallery I forgot to mention in my write up that on Monday the owner Gerard arranged with his farmer friend for us to visit cows up in the mountains - passed Merlans towards Col de Barages so there are many cow pictures!
31st August - The August edition of Trail Runner is out. Many thanks to Sarah Rowell for putting me forward as an inspirational person; I am in awe of the other people featured though. This is the Trail Runner article on me and the advert that RaceKit have on the opposite page which works really well as an update.
21st August - I'm all packed and flying to the Pyrenees on Tuesday evening to defend my 2010 win in the Ultra Raid Pyrenees which starts at 5am on Friday 26th August. It is possible to follow my progress on the website - my number is 170. Other people I know doing the Ultra are Olly Stephenson 521 (his friends doing the Grandl; Nigel 1685 and Chris 1688). Tim Laney 127, Simon Rippon 1484, Mandy Calvert 221
Race Kit will also be getting updates from my brother Charlie who is coming out with me.
18th August - I finished my "official" report for the BG club records a while ago. It is now up on the Bob Graham Club 24 Hour Records page but also here
I have received a few supporters write ups which I will add to The Lakes 24 Hours Record page when I get back from the Pyrenees.
14th August - Steve and I took the canoe out again on Calder and Hebble Navigation. This time we took a proper picnic including a little bottle of champagne (which Amanda bought me for the Lakes record). We celebrated that and getting the steel framed building up the week before. Not being experts we had many hours of measuring, calculating and remeasuring, re calculating. Once the posts were concreted it we had to hope the rest would fit on top - and it did !!! Photos
13th August - My last "training weekend" before resting for the Pyrenees. I went over to Wales and did the Capel Curig to Aberglasyn legs with Simon Cox. The weather was annoying; gusty winds which should have blown the clag away but they were struggling to do that. When it was clear the colours were great but not really shown to their best on my Photos
7th August - I spent the day with Steve practising paddling our inflatable canoe on the Calder and Hebble Navigation Canal. We parked at Calder Grove pub and paddled towards Mirfield for 2.45 hours with a couple of stops for coffee and cake plus we had to get the conoe out and walk it round three locks. We then turned round and paddled as hard as we could back to the pub for lunch and beer. It took us 1.30 hours to get back. The beer and lunch were very welcome. On the GPS we did 10 miles and averaged 5km/hour there and 6km/hour back. So that's both arms and legs that are tired now.
6th August - I travelled up to the Lakes and ran the Borrowdale Fell Race. In 2011 this race is being classed as a Superlong in the Lakeland Classics Trophy which means I can complete the series as I missed Wasdale being the week after my Lakes Record attempt. I was tired from the Tranter but set off just wanting to get round in under 4.30 hours. The first climb was very hard - lots of running then a steep very hot climb to Bessyboot summit. I had set off in a helly and waterproof but I soon took them off. On the long contour to Esk Hause I was caught by Ashley Kay and it was good to have someone to chat to. It made the long contouring section go quickly. I stayed with Ash until after Scafell Pike when he left me on the descent along the corridor route. My legs were more tired on the descents than on the climbs. I enjoyed Great Gable and got a couple of gels down ready for Dale Head. The weather / temperature was perfect now. Dale Head was hard but the legs had woken up - I couldn't run much but got a good stride going. Passing the 3rd Lady I tried to open up a gap as I didn't think I would descend very fast off the top. I held it together through the slippery slate quarries and along to the finish. I finished 3rd Lady in 4.08 hours. Very pleased as my best is 4.02 in 2010 but I have also done 4.14 in 2009. Results
2nd August - I wanted something to do that would "continue" my training for the Pyrenees on the 26th August. As I have always wanted to do the Tranter I thought that this would be very suitable and emailed a few people and sorted it all out at very short notice. Brilliant day out in excellent company. Afterwards I travelled north to Lewis to visit my parents and while on the ferry wrote my Phillip Tranter Round Report
26th July - After another quiet week of non running I went to the Lakes to support Ruth Batty on her BG. She set off with Greg Rimmer and Ben Robson at 4am and were 1 hour up on the schedule by Dunmail (but the schedule was for a 6.45pm start so in daylight is was obvious they would get ahead). They all looked strong at Dunmail and we set off up Steel Fell in good spirits. Ruth seemed to be lacking a bit of energy across to Calf Crag but having just eaten I thought it was ok. Going up to Sergeant Man though she was very sick and unfortunately that became the norm with very little staying down. We had a sit down at at the top of Billy Blands Rake with Greg and Ben both who had been also going through a bad patch. Willy and I cajoled Ruth on towards Scafell Pike offering everything we could - and to Ruth's credit she was getting stuff down only to have it come back up a few minutes later. We had lost the hour gained and at risk of losing more but with no option of proper food we continued down to Wasdale hoping that some pasta might settle the stomach. Ruth set off up Yewbarrow and we waited at the bottom. They went out of sight and we were just debating whether to leave when we spotted a headtorch - they were on their way down.
Ben and Greg had been through Wasdale 30 minutes up on schedule but as darkness fell the clag came down across Leg 4 and they lost all there advantage. Running as hard as they could across Leg 5 they couldn't get it back and finished in a disappointing 24 hrs and 5 minutes.
17th July - Having done a couple of local runs I thought I would try Holme Moss Race. I planned to set off very steadily but was shocked at just how slowly I seemed to be going. The road/track section was hard then I had a break with a down/up bit before the long drag into wind to Holme Moss main road. Glad to be off there and to drop then climb again. I had warmed up a bit. It was obvious I was slow on any flat running but on steep downs or ups I was catching people back. I was told I was 2nd Lady at Crowden which was also a surprise. I enjoyed the route across to Laddow Rocks and then ran all the flags upto Black Hill. The rain and clag had really set in by then but the route to the road was well flagged and so navigation wasn't necessary. Looking at my watch I thought I should make 3.30hrs (last year I did 3.10hrs when it was a Championship race in better conditions). I was getting a bit jaded and fed up of the weather. The last steep climb was hard but then on the road I couldn't see anyone behind me so ran in hard but not racing! Finished in 3hrs17 minutes. 2nd Lady, 1st V40 - chose a bottle of Gordins Gin as my prize.
An excellent race as always - well organised, friendly, good route, flagged when necessary, good food and lots of prizes.
16th July - I'm writing up my report and have received a few pieces from supporters to include. I have to have it in within a month (now two weeks) so if anyone else is going to write a paragraph can they do so asap please.
8th July - I've updated my account with a "kit worn" page and changed my home page photo. Recovery is going well after an initial slowdown due to the stomach not getting back to normal for a few days. It seemed all it would accept was chicken curry, soup and ice cream. The appetite has returned now though and I'm constantly hungry. The legs are surprisingly good and I even got the Fell Calendar out today to look at the next race I could do. Steve reminded me that I've got work to do! More hay is cut .....
Yesterday - Friday 7th a photographer from the Trail Running Magazine came to the farm to take some photos for a feature on me (and other athletes) who have one way or another made a come back after injury or illness. Its a good thing I had already a sports massage as he required me to do hill sprints up Hoppits - a steep rocky hill at the back of the farm. I think the article is going to be in the August edition.
5th July - I've written quite a long account of my attempt on Ladies 24 Hour Record .
29th June - Ladies Lakes 24 hour Record update. I can't quite believe that the weather is getting better daily for this coming weekend. I've sorted all my kit / food / supporters bags and am well rested. Thanks to all my supporters lining up already. I'm starting at 3am on Saturday morning - planning to finish at 2.30am on Sunday morning.
It might be possible to follow my progress on the Dark Peak Fell Runners site - I was "tracked" around the Ramsay if I remember correctly.
I have written a piece for Racekit News and (it says!) they are going to put updates on Twitter as I go round.
19th June - Dark Peak BG weekend. The contenders - Carl Betts, Ruth Batty, Yvonne Beckwith, Tim Ray, Dave McGuinness, Paul Fauset, Jim Paxman and a late arrival Tom Saville. The weather forecast was grim but changing constantly so we were hopeful of improving weather. The rain started on cue at midnight but with no winds it was still very warm (and midgy). At 3am we waited at Dunmail. Lots of other groups came past then ours arrived just on schedule. A few looked tired and were wearing waterproofs but they all got some food down, picked up new supporters and we were off up Steel Fell. As navigator for this leg I was under pressure. Although I have been along the route many times the clag means that especially to Bowfell you have to concentrate on the compass, map and ground. I don't do much talking! The cloud did keep lifting which was a pleasant surprise however upto Bowfell it was thick and that's how it stayed. The group split into two which was better for logistics. I was trying to stay on schedule knowing that the slippery rocks of Scafell would be slow (and they were!). I had Carl, Tom, Paul and Jim with me and their supporters did a good job of feeding and looking after them. We decided on West Wall Traverse for Scafell and it was good. Descending out of the clag to Wasdale we were 15 minutes down on a 23.30 schedule and so I was confident that they should all get round.
Waiting at Honister - first in was Tom, then Carl followed by Paul. It was a nervous wait for Jim and Tim - the only other two contenders still in. Tim appeared and was quickly escorted out and I waited for Jim. We got the message that he wanted to carry straight though and so got his tea etc and were waiting on the road. He was climbing well and very positive but now slightly behind the 24 hour mark he knew he needed to work. He was worried about descending and accepted an ibrofen as his legs were hurting. Descending off Robinson we (me, Simon Rippon and Brent) could hardly keep with him. He did a brilliant job of pushing on the hills and maintaining a reasonable pace on the descents. With a final push on the main road he ran up to the Moot Hall in 23.45 hrs.
Tom did 22.50ish, Carl and Paul between 23 and 23.30 and Tim Ray 23.50hrs.
So that's my training completed. Now its complete rest for me in readiness for my attempt on 24 Hour Ladies Lakes Record on the 2nd / 3rd July. We've just watched the Countryfile weather and although its rubbish for this week there was a high on the horizon for next weekend .... and hopefully beyond.
12th June - I was entered into the Elite LAMM with Kirsty Bryan Jones this weekend but unfortunately on Thursday she came down with flu. I couldn't find another partner but subsequently heard of a Paddy Buckley attempt - Mick James (Carnethy) on which I could support. This fitted in well as he was setting off from Capel Curig at 9.45am. I offered to do the first couple of legs to Rhyd Ddu and then the last one over the Carnedds to Capel. I drove over (it started to rain) and met his minimal band of supporters and family. We set off and had a good run over the ridge to the quarries, then over the Moelwyns arriving at Aberglasyn 30 minutes up on schedule. The next section has a couple of tough climbs; the sun came out and Bryn Banog felt steep! After that though we were moving well, finding mainly good lines and had just about enough liquid. Mick was cheerful and relaxed and we arrived at Rhyd Ddu at 7pm - now an hour up on a 23.30 schedule. Mick maintained the advantage overnight even though he had to climb the Gylders and Tryfan in the dark. Arriving at Ogwen at 5am the sun was rising and the skies were clear but with bad weather on the way we briskly set off up Pen Yr Ole Wen. At the top the wind arrived and it was very cold but no signs of rain yet. Gaining time on most of the legs we were soon running down to the final road section at 22.25. I suggested that 22.30hrs was a nice idea and Mick was off down the road like a 200m sprinter! He touched the cafe at 22.30.05 by my watch - an excellent effort by Mick and his supporters.
The rain started 15 minutes later and hasn't stopped since!
5th June - Barnsley Boundary Relay - I ran Leg 6 for Penistone Ladies. A 12 mile leg with corn fields, hilly hay fields, nettles, 4 miles of tracks through Wharncliffe woods, a steep climb onto the crags then a rocky descent to a railway line into the finish. Legs didn't feel too bad but toes were sore so I wore large comfy shoes. I set off steady and got going halfway. I finishes 6 minutes faster than my best in 1.35 hrs.
4th June - I entered Ennerdale as the quieter option to Duddon (a Championship race). I travelled up with a car full - Tim Ray, Jon Coe and Roy Gibson. It seemed quiet around the start but there were 98 runners entered / started. I tried to be steady but the legs were fairly fresh. I felt fine until Green Gable when I got cramp, was very thirsty and felt very hot. I just tried to maintain my position. I made a few minor errors on route choices which didn't cost me any places but were annoying. Thanks to all the marshals that carried water to the checkpoints and to Tony Heron who offered me Lucozade! I finished in 4.48 - about 5 mins slower than 2010 but 16th overall and 1st Lady!!! Results Paul Dobson's Photos
31st May - Hallam Chase. I sent in my SYRRL 5 mile road race times for the organiser to work out my handicap. I have run this (the oldest fell race in England) a few times and love the atmosphere and organisation. Its a tough little race with no flat bits. I ran quite hard - that's what my legs told me on the uphill finish and was very pleased to be 4th and 1st Lady back. A nice trophy and bottles of beer as prize.
Bank Holiday weekend - I had a weekend at home! We did get out for a run on Saturday across Bleaklow which was quite cold and very dry. Sunday was spent paddling our inflatable canoes on Mirfield Canal with Andrew Heading. Further practise is required before we can tackle the Rio Atrato and San Juan in Colombia in December 2011!
26th May - I met Ian Charlesworth and Simon Rippon in the Lakes on Sunday. After driving through extreme hail on route to Langdale they were quite keen to do Windermere Marathon instead but I persuaded them to do hills with the promise of bacon butties. We did all of Leg 3 - the wind was very strong in the morning making running almost impossible. Looking up at Bowfell we feared the worse but the winds were dropping and all the high level route was good. A long day of 8 hours by the time we reached our car at Langdale.
I stayed up on Sunday night and at 8.30pm set off from Newlands to retrace the route to the top of Dale Head. I wanted to recce Leg 5 in the dark. Reaching Dale Head at 10.30pm (leisurely waiting for darkness to fall!) I took a few photos and set off back. The route seemed easy enough until the descent of Robinson - a couple of re-ascents were needed before I had the initial descent cracked. Dropping to the stream the path crossing to Newlands was also hard to pick up and so I retraced my steps a few times to get that sorted too. I was very pleased with the recce overall. I arrived at the campsite at midnight and immediately had a welcomed shower. I was just cooking tea when there was a knock at the van door - the farmer was up and checking his sheep; he was friendly and fine with me crashing without booking !
Monday dawned as promised - winds that rocked the van and rain that flooded the road. I didn't emerge until 9am. After finding the farmer and paying him I went into Keswick to while away a few hours in the hope that the rain and /or wind would go away. Parking at Threlkeld at 11am the rain was easing. I set off up Blencathra at midday and got to 700m before deciding that this was not a good idea - the winds were very strong and coming from all directions. Hanging onto heather for safety I retraced my steps to the van. A bit of lunch, sleep, book reading, frustration, map studying etc, etc and at 5pm the winds seemed to be dropping so off I set again. This time I got to the top and reccied the parachute drop up and down.
Monday night - I met Mark Townsend at Newlands at 9.30pm and we reccied Leg 6 in the dark. The winds were very strong in places (Eel Crag where 4 points of contact were appropriate) but overall the weather was better than we expected. A good exercise as its all so different in the dark. Finished about 1.30am. Photos of Sunday
21st May - I had my Coaching Assessment day on Saturday which was hard but the assessors were very encouraging and both me and Bob passed. I learnt a lot and am very pleased I went on the course. For a small club it was hard work (especially in winter) to get all the track and field sessions covered but well worth the effort and I will be able to coach the youngsters in throws and jumps now as well as running!
15th May - Steve and I had both entered the Fellsman which was on Saturday 14th starting at 9am. The weather forecast was ok - blustery, cloudy with some rain. A last minute change to two checkpoints meant navigation and google were necessary! New maps printed and marked up. I thought my legs were still tired and so tried to set off steadily. Looking forward to beans, rice pud, fruit salad and the other culinary delights I made my way across Whernside, Gregareth and Great Coum concentrating on remembering the route and eating. A slight "sheepnish" off Great Coum had me running off the wrong way before logic kicked in and I veared right to the wall. After that navigation went very well and no more mistakes were made.
I filled up with beans at Dent but felt very tired up towards Blea Moor and was worried I had overcooked it. Getting a good line and descent off Blea Moor was encouraging and I ran into Stonehouses a lot happier. I always think of Great Knotberry as a long slog and am pleased to be running down and off towards Redshaw. Here I had black coffee which really hit the spot. The next section is my "pace tester" - if I can run a lot of the uphill towards Snaizeholme I know my legs are good and I will be alright. Even though it was boggy I ran sections and so was happy. My stomach was better than last year - I was eating well and looking forward to food. Across Fleet Moss I was good and stuck to the south of the wall although in was rough going. Contouring across I was pleased to see the waving arms of the new checkpoint. On a bearing I headed for the wall but lost count of the groughs I dropped in and out of, eventually I found the wall and the running was much better. I was told at that CP that I was 4th which surprised me a lot.
At Cray I asked for rice pud and fruit salad much to their surprise. Filling my container half of rice pud I then topped it up with fruit salad and gave it a good shake - brilliant I thought "this will see me nearly to the end". I set off up Buckden working out whether I could get through Park Rash without grouping. Pushing on I thought it should be do able. I reached the CP at 7.10pm and went straight through. I could see someone climbing high up - it was nice to "have company". As I reached the top I looked back and saw someone leaving the CP - I didn't want to be caught so ran all the gentle uphill and was catching the next person. Just as I caught him and was about to speak he decided to go to the loo so looking the other way I ran past. That made me 3rd which was exciting - I didn't think it would last but the legs were on a roll so getting the last gel down I ploughed on. The sun was setting and it was good to be on the home straight. Through Capplestone, down, up, across fields and down the track to Yarnbury at 8.30pm. Sub 12 hours must be on I thought and set off fast down the road. That didn't last as I'm not a roadrunner at the best of times but I managed a good jog all the way down, along the road, up and into the school. Finished ... 11.51 hrs and there was Adam Perry having finished 5 minutes beforehand. Jez Bragg had a good run and broke the record in 10.06 hours. I broke my own record too by 48 minutes!
Steve completed in 20.27 hrs - an exceptional performance since he has hardly run since the Watershed in March. He had a good group and they helped one another through bad patches. Initially it was "never again" but I've already heard him say "if I did a little training I could do a lot better and maybe even enjoy it" !!.
Picture from www.grough.co.uk
11th May - Not surprisingly my legs felt tired last week so I went for a couple of easy runs locally in the hope I would feel good for Calderdale Relay on Sunday. I was running the first leg with Helen Elmore. We set off quite fast and the tiredness kicked in when we hit some flat running. Unfortunately there was too much flat and not enough hills for my liking but we finished in 1.35 hours and 2nd Ladies on our leg. Results
Also this week I was contacted by Expedition Foods to say that I had won 7 days of Expedition Meals in a Prize Photo raffle draw. I ordered my 14 meals and are eagerly awaiting delivery.
5th May - a lot of news - not all running either! Running wise I did the 3 Peaks on Saturday. A race I always do and wonder why on the track to Pen y Ghent as I find it very hard. This year I was determined to set off slower and hopefully pick up on Whernside. The plan worked a treat and even in the high winds I knocked 13 minutes off my best to do 3.51 minutes. I had also been drinking Elete for a couple of days beforehand and that also worked in that I didn't get cramp. 8th Lady overall and 2nd V40 so I got a prize!
Also Running wise - I then drove up to the Lakes and supported Dave Sleath on an anticlockwise BG. I did the night section from Dunmail to Threlkeld - 8.30am to 2.15am. The winds in the Lakes were worse than in the Dales. It bit through our clothing and battered us across the ridge until we were very glad to be descending into Threlkeld at last. We could only wonder at Dave's strength to have been out in it for 20 hours and still have 4 more hours to go. Unfortunately although he tried his hardest across the last section the winds were horrendous and he finished in 24 hours and 9 minutes. Without the wind he would have easily completed and he will just have to be even older (than 67 and a half) when he does!! Well done to him.
Other news - In January I went on an Athletics Coach course - a 3 day course with an assessment (which you can fail and lots of people have!). After the 3 days we had to do an ongoing Coaching Diary which has been a lot of work and hard to organise as Penistone does not have an all singing and dancing stadium in which to train the enthusiastic children of South Yorkshire. However with the great help of our club and coaches (especially Ian Charlesworth) Bob Innes and I have completed our sessions and subsequent diaries. I sent mine in about 3 weeks ago and hadn't heard anything so was getting worried. But last Monday I got the confirmation that I HAD PASSED !!!!! That's the diary bit over - I still have the assessment day which is the 21st May (Old County Tops race day!) to pass and then I will be qualified.
More Other News - I have been testing bits of kit over the last year for Amanda and Andrew Heading of Racekit and its a job I enjoy. Free kit (all very good) in exchange for feedback. However they have taken the big step (well I think so) of asking to sponsor me. I was honoured and hope I can do them justice. So I've lots of kit to wear (mainly Raidlight and Patagonia which is all very good stuff) in return for me continuing to do well in races and long distance events. Now that's the hard bit but this will give me even more incentive to plan, train and race hard.
25th April - Travelled to the Lakes to do Teenager with Altitude. Left Yorkshire in blazing sunshine - got to Stair looking at thick clag. Still very warm so ran in a vest. The clag came and went but always came at tricky navigational bits - I'm not really sure which line I took from Outerside to Grasmere - the compass was out and I found my way with the help of some more knowledgeable runners. From there I knew the route a bit better and could concentrate on trying to get my legs going. The climb upto High SnockRigg was understandably hard but I was still going well. The clag made Robinson, Hindscarth and Dale Head seem sereal after only doing them on the BG and I wasn't sure of the line to the tarn so followed compass again. Once onto the ridge to Catbells there were Anniversary Waltz runners everywhere - I was always on the wrong path and I was pleased to see Catbells emerge eventually. A fast descent to the finish in a time of about 3.34 hours. 1st Lady - my first Lakes race win!!
On Sunday I was back over the same hills with Helen Elmore but this time in glorious sunshine. A very pleasant 6 hours with time to take photos, talk to walkers and look at the views. Photos
22nd April - I rested until Thursday when I did the Hartcliff Hill Race - only 2.5 miles (not my favourite distance!) but as I was taking cakes I thought I should run. It was ok. The fields are very poached, dry and hard at the moment so it was difficult to control your legs! I was 2nd - 2 minutes behind the winning U16 lady!! Won a cake - chose a very nice lemon drizzle cake. Results
20th April - I was back in the Lakes on Saturday to do Coledale Horseshoe - a brilliant race of 9 miles around Grizedale Pike, Eel Crag, Barrow and a nice run down to the finish. I had picked up a small calf tear which I had treatment on but could still feel it while warming up so I planned to try hard on the ups and watch my footing on the downs. The first hill goes on for a long time and I was around Keith Holmes a lot. He took off on the downs after that and I couldn't keep with him although I nearly caught him on Eel Crag !! I finished about 100th, 2nd Lady and 1st V40 in a time of 1.34 hours.
On Sunday I met up with Simon Rippon (and Milo his dog) and we reccied Legs 1 and 2. A cold wind on the tops in the morning gave way to blistering heat (for April) across Helvellyn but a brilliant evening as we arrived at Fairfield and views all day that I've rarely seen before. Photos
10th April - after a quiet week (only the 1st Summer Series to bring on the good weather) I did the Calderdale Hike on Saturday. A hot and dry day was good in some respects - good going, clear views but bad in others - very painful cramp from mile 26 onwards. I ran well but I did not always know the best lines and the Greg who kept me company confessed to "not being able navigate" but he made up for that by being a gentleman and opening all the gates! We finished together in 6hrs 24 minutes and I was First Lady. An excellent event which has a good undulating course, lots of navigating, friendly checkpoints with water, tea and refreshments and then to cap it all fantastic food (and beer if wished) at the finish. Results will be on the Calderdale Hike website
4th April - Lakes again. Brent and I did Dunmail to Lingmell in varying weather. We spent a lot of time around the Langdales as it was clear there but it was claggy and cold from Bowfell onwards. On our first visit to Scarfell Pike it was actually deserted although we could hear voices but maybe they missed their target. Surprisingly there was still hard packed snow in the West Wall Traverse and so went ascended Scarfell that way but came back down round Lords Rake. At 5pm we were back on Scarfell Pike and only had a long return to Dunmail to do! At least the wind dropped and the sun broke through eventually to give us some lovely views. Picture in Gallery
27th March - Edale Skyline. 21 miles, 4500ft climb. I was determined to set off slower than in 2010 as I had a hell of a time after Ringing Roger. This went to plan until I was caught on Winhill by the 3rd Lady. She eventually overtook me on Brown Knoll and I really enjoyed the race from then on as felt stronger without the pressure. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd (me) Ladies all finished within 3 minutes of each other in the end. I finished in 3hrs 23.39. Very happy as my pb was 3.40hrs and last year I did 3.43. Results on Dark Peak Fell Runners
Picture taken by FellDonkey off Fellrunner forum and Richard Hakes from Dark Peak.
21st March - I spent a weekend in the Lakes with 5 BG contenders, Richard and Di Hakes and Helen/Ian (plus Eddie and Mia). Saturday was lovely - bit cold on the tops but views made up for that. Me and Ian were on the north western hills and had a very good day in good weather (for once!). Sunday the weather was back to clag and wind with a bit of drizzle thrown in. We went over the 1st leg of BG and I didn't even get the camera out! Photos of Saturday
12th March - as a bit more training I ran the Grindleford Gallop today. 20 miles around lovely countryside of the White Peak. I enjoyed the route but found the flat bits hard as my legs were tired. Hills on the other hand felt easier. I came in 4th lady, 1st V40 in 3.05 hrs. Very pleased as I was hoping for between 3 and 3.30 hrs. Excellent very friendly event with good food on route and at the finish. Results will appear on grindlefordgallop
4th March - we set off at 11.40pm on the Watershed. Conditions were perfect with no wind, cool but not icy. The pace was similar to last year to Moscar as conditions were the same. From then on the pace was quicker as there was no snow however vert thick clag came down at 5am making navigation across Bleaklow and Kinder hard. We gained time on some splits but lost a lot of time on Bleaklow resulting in an overall time of 10.24 hrs, 12th position and 1st Mixed Team. Results
On route to Hollins Cross - the last checkpoint!
Steve's Team - Pot Noodle had a good run and came in under 12 hours which was their target. Vets Trophy next year lads!
26th Feb - As its the week before the High Peak Marathon I chose to do something short and fun. The Burbage Baffler is an old established DPFR race but one I have never done. The format is a relay with 4 people and a circuit starting and finishing at Upper Burbage Bridge. Two people set off in opposite direction, one carries a "baton" and when he/she meets their partner passes it over. Both runners turn round and run back the way they have come. The next pair can set off when both runners reach the finish. Its 2 laps each person - 1 each way round.
My team was the Bangles - led by Steve Storey and Lee Storey, then it was me and Martyn Goodwin. 6 Teams took part in rather cold and wet weather but it was great fun and everyone tries really hard to beat their partner!! Our team won - our prize some Romneys Kendal Mint Cake and a tankard trophy! Full Results
22nd Feb - last weekend I was in the Lakes with Ian Fitz, Helen and Chris Chripps. Based in Wasdale (at the lovely YH there) we did Leg 4 of the BG on Saturday starting in wet but improving weather. We actually got sunshine on Green Gable and beyond! On Sunday the weather was colder and the wind very bitter. After a unorganised start - ie we missed Kev and Tom Saville but met them on Esk Hause - we battled our way over ice snow up Scarfell Pike before dropping to Lingmell and retreating thankfully to the valley. Photos - Lakes Feb 11
Arriving home I was greeted by a big surprise - Kia (Steve's daughter) had secretly arranged to stopover in the UK on her way back to Australia. Really pleased to see her and will have lots of catching up to do over the next two weeks.
13th February - I travelled to Wales and did the Capel to Aberglasyn leg of the Paddy Buckley is more bad weather - my waterproofs are certainly getting a lot of wear this winter. I met Julie, Kirsty, Bob and James and we had a good day out even getting views in the Moelwyns which was nice!
12th Feb - I was on the 3rd day of my Athletics Coaching course- another full packed day but I'm looking forward to getting the work done (of which there is lots) and doing the assessment day in May.
6th Feb - Mickleden Straddle - No-one looked like they wanted to run this morning with the wind howling and water being blown across the dam wall. However 190 runners set off. The track passed quickly and we were soon down and up the dip and being battered around on Mickleden Edge. I got my head down and fought into wind. Overtaking was hard as you got knocked over by the burble and I bumped into people apologising. The worse bit was the exposed top of the edge. Onwards to Cut Gate we went splashing through the rivers of water. At the top I hoped the wind would abate going down but no - it pushed us around right down into the bottom. The track alongside the reservoir, that is usually really hard, seemed very pleasant out the wind and I got 2 gels and energy drink down as the legs were feeling wobbly from the extra energy used fighting the wind. They kicked in by the return climb and I quite enjoyed the uphill jog back to Cutgate where once again we got battered by wind - but this time from behind - all the way back. Trying not to get knocked over I made up a few places and even the track through the woods didn't seem too bad! I was hoping for under 2.15 and with 30 seconds to spare sprinted to the finish. I finished in 2.14.48 so am well pleased. 1st Lady winning one of the nicest trophies I have ever seen!
30th January - Ran the last leg of the Pennine Bridleway with Pippa for the Dark Peak Mixed Team. We were caught on the hop as Darren and Tom Saville were much quicker than we expected and we hadn't warmed up at all when we had to set off. To make matters worse a Mixed Team set off with us so we were trying to beat them for 2 miles until I couldn't keep up. After they had disappeared and I had warmed up we had a good run. On the last hill we spotted the other team but couldn't catch them! We took 1.16 hrs (6 mins off last year's time) to be 40th overall.
22nd January - last weekend I went to the Lakes and reccied the 1st section of the BG. The weather on both days was horrendous with very strong winds on the tops and consistent rain. It was soon obvious that being above 600m was impossible and everyone dropped off Great Calva to the relative calm of the valley. Some then went to the pub while others persisited with the recce but avoiding Blencathra! The night was spent in the Mungrisdale Hall and the pub opposite - very pleasant, warm and dry! The underfloor heating slowing grilling all that slept in that room.
Sunday some people went up the "parachute drop" route off Blencathra while I went to the Langdales and had 4 hours reccying from Sergent Man to Rosset then decided to call it a day as Bowfell looked cold, snowy and very uniniviting. .
14th January - Holiday to Colombia
14th March - Steve and I reccied the Skyline starting in a cold blustery wind around Rushup Edge and Brown Knoll but finishing down Win Hill in glorious sunshine.
7th March - Watershed weekend. With Ian Charlesworth, Nick Cable and John Rowe we once again completed the High Peak Marathon as its also known. Conditions were variable. The weather was perfect - clear, reasonably warm, light winds and only 15 mins of fog throughout the whole night. Underfoot Cut Throat bridge was sticky and thawed out then from Back Tor there was more snow and ice to Margery Hill. Across to Outer Trig was frozen and good going but from then on the snow was deeper, softer and progress was slower.
We set off fast thanks to John but I knew Bleaklow would be slow and so we kept it up until Moscar. Across Outer Edge and Bleaklow we kept a good pace up and with reasonable navigation (always room for improvement!) we made the Snake in good spirits. Across to Mill Hill was a slog where flags were snowy and then icy. Kinder was also tricky and then Brown Knoll was frozen and lumpy with the groughs soft snow. We had this idea about 10 hours and it looked do able until going across Rushup Edge with 25 minutes to go. So across to Hollins, down the hill and along the road we ran. Apologies to Richard Bradbury who I nearly floored trying to get my dibber in behind him.
Then the good news - 9.59 (and 14 seconds), 1st Mixed and 4th Overall. Brilliant.
Well done to Ian W - whose team were 3rd in 9.37 hours, Dark Peak Ladies who were 1st Ladies in 11.35, Team Pot Noodle - who were 14th in 11.59 - Mark Pearce, Roy Gibson, Andy Green and Amanda Heading. And of course Steve who was on his 1st HPM with Andy Plummer, Brent Lindsey and Keith Wakelely. They finished 20th in 12hrs19 mins HPM 2010 - Results.
19th/20/21st Feb - With Ian Fitzpatrick and Roy Gibson I went to Fort William to recce the Ramsay. It was obvious driving up that there was a lot of snow about !! Usually the snow line is about 600m but it was at ground level and very cold (-10oC). The plan was to do the 1st section across to Stob Ban in the Grey Corries and drop off to the Meannach bothy in Glen Nevis Valley. Then to do Mamores the next day on the way back.
We set off on Friday morning at 7am. The Ben was snowy but the path was visible. Crampons were on at 800m and path was completely covered with only the top 3ft of the cairns visible in the snow (and the 3 cairns that mark the gully were completely covered). We descended down the arete and across to Carn Mor Dearg. After having our picnic in the sun we tried to ascend up onto the Aanochs. This soon became rather scary with loose deep snow and icy rocks. While considering our route options I was thinking more about how we could get off the other side down onto the Grey Corries as its even steeper!! After discussion we decided to abort as we had lost a lot of time. So into the valley and along to the bothy we went. (There is one photo of me pointing at the drop off between the Aanochs and the Grey Corries - I'm pointing at what is now coined "Spinks Ridge" as its what I descended on my round). It was dropping dark as we approached the valley but Ian spotted some lumps of swamp wood which we broke up and carried about 1km!!
When we eventually got to the bothy Ian went off in search of more wood while we made tea and lit the fire. It was very cold and the fire was hardly giving off any heat but Ian came back and said there was a fallen pine tree across the river. So after some tea and food we reluctantly ventured out into the freezing cold on "Mission Wood". This was very successful with Ian climbing out along the trunk and sawing off 3 large branches while me and Roy were wood sherpas! I'm not saying the bothy was toasty after that but a lot better!
After a reasonably warm night we once again set off with a revised plan of doing Sgurr Elide Mor then somehow getting onto the Mamores (as Bennein Mor would be impossible) and making our way back to Fort William across the Mamores.
Good plan but at 800m the slope was very steep and once again the snow was soft with ice underneath so we decided to contour round to the loch. This proved easy and our route up onto the Mamores looked do able. Setting off once again up hill the slope became steeper and steeper but we persevered slowly and carefully and reached the crest where it was easy to reach the top. Over the Mamores the going was slow but views amazing and it was incredible to have a second day of beautiful weather. We descended off An Gearanach down into Glen Nevis and back to a shower, chicken curry and the pub.
On Sunday Ian wanted to look at the final descent off Mullach Nan Coirean and so we ambled up then back down in perfect weather before driving home. Photos
5th February - With the Watershed only 3 weeks away I went for a recce across Bleaklow with my team. It was very hard underfoot and running across normally deep bogs was very easy. Somehow I doubt it will be like that on the day but it would be fast!
31st Jan - I had a hard week hedge laying then went and did Wadsworth in complete fog. There was very little snow but after tweaking my ankle in the first mile I took it steady and just got in under 4 hours which I was pleased about.
24th January 2010 - Steve and I have spent the last two weeks in Chile climbing the world's highest volcano!! After 9 days of acclimatising, walking, and camping at altitude we attempted the volcano of Ojos De Salado at 6893m (about 22,000ft). Setting off at 3.30am from the hut at 5800m it took us 7.30 hours to trek on sandy paths the 1100m to the top. Photos are on gallery And full report on Ojos de Salado