After the massive workload it was to organise 2012's race I was a little worried that there didn't seem to be much to do for 2013. We had only had one meeting in the Huntsman with Keith and Brent of Woodhead Mountain Rescue and that soon degenerated into beer talk. The landowners were all happy with the race going ahead again and Edale village was given to us free by The Spine Race.
One thing to sort was a new Registration venue with plenty of inside space and toilets. By May I hadn't really found anything however I was running from Marsden one day and ran passed the Cricket Club on my way out. I thought immediately that it would be a great start location and so in the next few weeks followed it up. The Cricket club seemed happy enough to let another fell race start from there (the Ian Roberts Fell Race already does) and after a site visit we were impressed with the space and number of toilets and so booked it. The best route out is directly over the back and down some trods but unfortunately there are some derelict fences in the way and so for 2013 we decided to run down the road. This is "work in progress" - watch this space for next year - another new start route to recce! I did look at the old Pennine Way route to Black Hill and do think in some conditions it would be better than the track / flags.
So all preparations for the 2013 race went very well - everybody was doing the jobs they did in 2012 happily. We realised the Finish needed a bit more manpower and so allocated a dedicated team - Ian Fitz, Charmian Heaton and Bernice Nixon.
Two weeks before the race United Utilities contacted us because Natural England had contacted them regarding Sliddens Moss. What we didn't realise was that the RSPB have been doing sphagnum moss trials over the whole area and because of the wet weather were worried about the impact of runners feet on them. We came up with a number of options which could work at short notice and Steve met with Ian Leech at United Utilities. The flagging and use of the stile further west than the normal one was the option for this year that was chosen. In future years we are going to have a "roving flag" on the Pennine Way and a "roving stile" on the fence so that in no two consecutive years will the runners follow the same route through the moss.
So race day dawned - bright, clear, no wind, cold but not too frozen. How lucky can we be? 176 runners registered and seemed to enjoy the new venue! Andy Plummer gave the pep talk about the stile and set everybody off. I ran the race as last year and when I arrived at Edale everything was going very well. It was very relaxed and Andy Plummer had already started listing the prize winners. We had a flurry of runners in at 2pm and Amanda, Andrew and I got ready for prize giving at 2.45pm. The hall was busy and all the runners were happy - it was great to see.
I have done loads of thanks elsewhere mainly in the news / supporters pages on the www.marsdentoedale.co.uk website, but a massive thank you to all that were involved in the race especially Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team, Amanda and Andrew Heading and my husband Steve. A Special Thank you this year to Ian Fitz, Charmian Heaton and Bernice Nixon - our "at the Finish Team"- well done and thank you very much as it's a long cold job and one that was performed to perfection.
Waiting outside Marsden Cricket Club at 7am it was freezing cold and I expected that inside the club the temperature was much the same. I was so pleasantly surprised when Gareth opened the door and a blast of hot air greeted us. Off came a lot of layers! With the team - Steve, Ian W, Brent and then Andy Heading we set up the kit check and Registration area. Registration seemed to go well - I think we can speed it up next year and I was soon able to leave the desk and get ready. No toilet queue this year! Across to the road and Andy Plummer set us off. There was a bit of confusion as to the route initially and part of me wanted to run uphill but I thought better of it and ran down and across the dam. There the fast lads and lasses soon passed me but it was quite entertaining to see Jim Paxman hold onto the lead for a mile!
I was trying to go steady as since we had been back from Kazakhstan my calves had been rock solid - I don't think they were impressed at having to run after three weeks sat in a landrover and -25C! But so long as I got to Edale that was my goal. I also hadn't had time to recce the Bleaklow / Kinder section since 2012's race and so was relying on memory.
The weather was better for running and underfoot than in 2012. Slightly less ice about and a bit softer underfoot. I was pleased with my clothes choice of Haglofs 3/4's, long sleeved running top, hat and gloves. I also started off in my Raidlight windproof but took that off for the climb onto Bleaklow.
Approaching the marked stile I took the line that Steve and I had found on Saturday afternoon when we had been out to put the flags and banners out. I ran down the grass next to the blue sign and found the little trod that leads to the marked out stile. Looking back I was pleased that everybody had followed me and have heard that most people took the same line. Reaching the stile it was obvious that everyone in front of me had used it and they had made a lovely little trod through the hoar frost back onto the old line and down into Crowden Little Brook. That was the main worry over and I could relax and get on with the race.
Up onto Bleaklow and the views were incredible. I was feeling a lack of energy though and so when I saw the Woodhead Mountain Rescue guys on Bleaklow Head with jelly babies I headed their way and collected a few - thanks!! Over to Shelf Moor trig I didn't really have a line but headed towards Hern Stones and then direct to the trig. It was fun with the ground partially frozen. I seemed to be on my own now - maybe not the best line?!
Off Shelf Moor to the Snake I had a patchy recollection of where I was going but dropped quite low and while climbing out of the stream saw guys that I had already passed trotting along a nice path! Oh well. Over the Snake road past more friendly, happy marshalls and collected a few more jelly babies. Up onto Kinder I missed running with Keith (as I was i 2012) as my impetus was lacking in preference to looking down the valley at the views and lines that other people were taking. Touching the trig I paid for that with a clutch of runners catching me again. I tried to hold them off through Kinder Gates but some clearly had too much energy left. I was slightly mollified when I still beat them by at least finding a better way over Kinder. Running down Grindslow I saw Andy Heading cheerfully marking the descent and ran to him! The last descent hurt a lot with tight legs all over. Running down to the finish with Ross Litherland we chatted until I couldn't breath anymore and had to concentrate on running! I finished 4th Lady, 2nd V40 in a time of 4.06.15. A couple of minutes faster than 2012 even.
I quickly had a brilliant hot shower and got back into "Organisor" mode making sure all was well and that Amanda wasn't too frozen at her post by the Finish. It was for me a wonderful day - roll on 2014!