2016 Trigger Race


The organisation seems to be getting easier each year as everyone does the jobs they always do and we try and make improvements year on year. Still the night before the race Steve and I hardly slept as the wind was howling as the rain and sleet battered the windows. As yet we have not had totally foul weather for the Trigger Race and although we have tried to plan for it with Woodhead Mountain Rescue it would be a challenging day we know.

Driving to Marsden at 6.30am the sleet was coming down and it was much windier than the forecast. Woodhead Mountain Rescue were already there and Keith Wakeley got out of the WMRT landrover and spoke to Steve "It's a bit tasty at Isle of Skye but it will be ok". "Whew"  I thought - "well if they think it's ok; then it's ok". It was bang on 7am when we were let into the Marsden Cricket Clubhouse and as usual the heating was already on! Rearranging the seating and tables as to a "new layout" we sat and waited for registrations. At 7.25 all was quite quiet; maybe the weather was putting people off? But "No" by 8am the place was packed with runners. The new layout worked well and by 8.20 am 201 runners had registered for the race. Jasmin Paris came to say that she had injured herself falling off her bike and wasn't running but also her mum had had a minor bump in the snow on the Woodhead road while bringing runners to Marsden - so there were two runners stuck there not able to make it.

Tales of snow were worrying but at 8.25 am I got ready wearing some old leggings (that look terrible in the photos) and some new tops; Inov-8 Merino , my Dark Peak vest and the Inov-8 Softshell on top as I've been really impressed with them while training. I'd packed decent waterproofs as well as the weather just sounded foul. Andy Plummer gave a speech before starting the race which included a tribute to Tanky Stokes who had passed away recently. Tanky was the creator of the original Marsden to Edale race called "Tankies Trog" and it seemed very fitting that after the tribute we applauded in his memory.

So off we went - the skies were clearing but there was a very cold wind and even the run over the dam wall was boggy so it was certainly going to be wet! I always enjoy getting running and leaving the organisation behind for a few hours. This is why I run the race - it's my treat for helping to organise it. I have always loved the route and the Tankies Trog was my first 20 mile race back in 2003!

We ran up the paths and tracks to more snow and interestingly no-one took the boggy path option to Wessenden road. The road itself was covered in snow with cars crawling along and I was so glad that WMRT had taken race safety on board and were there cheering everyone on. The flags to Black Hill were slippery - the grass on the edge of them more so so it was a steady plod with more walking than running. Reaching the plateau the wind hit us head on and so I drafted behind Digby Harris to the trig! I thought I was 2nd lady as Sally Fawcett had stormed passed me on route to Wessenden but I wasn't concerned about racing yet as there was too far to go.

The route to Sliddens was obvious with the front runners making a trod through the snow and the track alongside Crowden Little Brook seemed easier than usual. I hoped that all the speed training I had been doing was finally paying off; "we'll see when we get to the Snake" I thought! It was a different world at Crowden - warm and green; no snow to be seen anywhere and none on Lawrence Edge either. Jasmin was there and she said "the 2nd lady is just in front". I caught Sally as we were running out and chatted to her climbing Lawrence Edge. Pulling ahead I hoped I could find the good line across to Wildboar Clough. I never get time to recce and so just try to remember from one year to the next. I got the map and compass out and stuck to my bearing. For the 1st time ever I found it and was soon running up Wildboar Clough through ever sloppy bogs. Onto the Pennine Way and to Bleaklow Head. Passing some cheery Mountain Rescue guys I headed off after the guy in front. Then we passed the PW marker post and I realised we were heading down the PW not to Wain Stones! I veared right and got to Wain Stones. Even though I could see for miles I couldn't make out Hern Stones nor Outer Shelf Trig so not wanting to lose my advantage I dug my map out again and took a bearing. Off I went across rubbish and wet ground and soon Hern Stones came into view. To my right I could see some runners and the way to the trig. It was all awfully wet but I just ploughed through it all.  Reaching the Trig I turned and looked for the path to the Snake careful not to drop too far right as I have in previous years! Again I got it spot on and reached the little path to the Snake.

Thinking about the long way to Edale yet to come I made myself drink all my drink and got some food down. It's all runnable across Kinder and I'm not that fast on it usually. I was still catching runners though and so hoped I had made a big enough gap on Sally for her not to catch me on the flags. I was offered warm water by WMRT at the Snake road CP; which when mixed with my energy powder tasted just like lemsip and was very pleasant!  The flags passed quickly to begin with but as usual then dragged on and on; I looked longingly at the direct route to Kinder West Trig - hopefully next year we'll get permission to use that again!! I passed more cheery Mountain Rescue guys climbing onto Kinder edge and then the long, long, never ending edge path. But the sun had come out and although it was still cold the views were great and I felt good. Round Kinder Downfall, more edge path and then at last Kinder Low Trig. I have always vowed not to take the lower route and hoped that Sally wasn't near enough to get passed me while I went via Grindslow Knoll. I had caught Paul Faucet and we pushed each other along now. Running round Grindslow the view across to Lose Hill was fantastic and I imagined everyone sat in the sunshine at the campsite. I never carry a camera but I wished I had then. Down the long descent my quads were painful, then the fields were lethal and I could see long skid marks from runner's shoes which I tried to avoid. Onto the road and now I really hoped that I was 1st Lady and had won the trophy which my husband Steve and I designed and made five years ago. I have always wanted to get my name on it - just once will do! I finished and was told I was 1st Lady!! Yippee!!!! I did a little fan dance in celebration.

The atmosphere at the Finish was wonderful; the sun was out and runners were milling about. I got showered and then helped Andy Plummer with Results. Steve, Simon Rippon, Charmian Heaton and Bernice Nixon had the Finish all sorted, Jeff Miller was out on the road shouting runners in. It was all sorted. Andy did the Results sheet for me and once Brent had finished we walked down to the village hall which was busy but coping! We organised the prizes - beer donated by Bradfield Brewery , wine donated by The Huntsman , clothes donated by MyRaceKit and cakes made by me!!

The winner was Nic Barber in 3.40.16 and was presented with the Men's trophy. I presented myself with the Ladies Trophy and then the rest of the prizes. Andy hadn't written down the Men's Team prizes so we guessed - wrongly that 1st team was Pennine. The Dark Peak lads looked nonplussed and on asking it was clear that actually they were 1st Team. Well done Stephen Pyke, Dave Lund and Dave Taylor. 1st Ladies team was also Dark Peak - me, Sally Fawcett and Nicola Parkin. Full results

Thank you to all the runners that entered and ran. Woodhead Mountain Rescue especially want to thank all the extra donations added onto the race entry fee. That along with the breakfast donations, the Dark Peak bus collection, cake and beer sales have raised the final total to just over 5000.

        Nik Barber - 2016 winner                                                                                                                                                    Me at home with the trophy !