Sunday, 14 July 2019

Duncombe Park marathon 2019

A short summary : Melanie had a great run and was second lady 😀😀

I had a not so good run...

This was our second It's Grim up North (IGUN) event. They are well organised events and often lapped events. Today was four laps.

There was a nice start

downhill along a Duncombe Park estate road into Helmsley. Some good views of Helmsley Castle

Into Helmsley and a long a road to the start of the Cleveland Way

It was then a long drag up the Cleveland Way to the checkpoint 2 miles into the lap. This included a dip down and out again so a few steps to do each lap...

From checkpoint 2 outside a small but lovely house

we continued along the Cleveland Way but turned off before we reached the Rievaulx road. Now the path go a little muddy in places and there were some steep climbs before we reached a viewpoint looking down on to Duncombe Park

Then south past the house and a steep road descent to a very long flat couple of fields before a steep climb back to the start/finish. Repeat three more times.

I had not felt great the last couple of days, a sore throat was gradually getting worse and my throat felt a bit like sand paper at the start. Lozenges helped a little, but I was struggling a bit at the end of the first lap and in my head I was saying there more hills than I expected and you have to do them three more times ! It was warm but not stifling and a bit of a breeze so that wasn't a factor. I slowed a bit in lap 2, but a quarter of the way in I realised I had not put any vaseline on my nipples (I normally run with a race vest so I rarely need any) and we had both left our tins at the start/finish. Luckily a fellow runner overheard us and offered me some which was lovely. Too late though and I arrived at the end of the lap looking like I had been shot. I changed my shirt and a marshall kindly came along with some plasters which solved the issue.

Into lap 3 and I was slowing so we agreed Melanie should go ahead. It was good timing, if she had stayed with me longer she probably would not have won her trophy.

I was getting some attention through wearing a Hardmoors shirt

One marshall commented - you're a Hardmoors runner this should be a walk in the park ! That pretty accurately described what I was doing in most of laps 3 and 4 !

Finally I finished, 45 minutes ahead of the cut off so no problems there. The usual finishing goody bag, beer, chocolate and a medal.

This may be the end of my lapped marathons... Definitely no more this year.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Baslow Boot Bash 2019

This was a new one for Melanie and I, but not for many of the runners we met there. Everyone we met had done it several times and one person had done it every year for fifteen years. This tells you something about the event and the countryside you run through is just beautiful.

Near the end a path took us right through this field of poppies and that was just one of the highlights

The route has hills but they are not as steep as the hills we did last weekend, which was a bit of relief as we did not think we were fully recovered from the Hardmoors White Horse.

The start took place this side of this strange gate which was a bit like revolving door but with only one entrance and exit.

There were a couple of runners we had met before from various marathons and it was a very laid back start, no announcements or briefing. Probably about half the field were runners and the event had an eleven hour cut off so there was no pressure on the walkers.

The route description was a list of checkpoint grid references and suggested points to go through. I had plotted a route on our watches, then looked around the internet for other people's routes I found one and amended the one I had drawn. However, when talking to one our running friends who we met there, the suggested points to go through were not compulsory and you could go any way that you liked between checkpoints as long as you stayed on roads or footpaths. In the Village Hall, which was Race HQ, there was a suggested route which differed in two places from the one I had drawn. We were a bit undecided and although we had a physical map and OS maps on our phones, we knew it would be easier to follow the route I had drawn (now on our watches). Anyway it would a few miles before we had to make some choices so we decided to leave the decisions until later (or so we thought).

The route started in the outskirts of Chatsworth House grounds, which are enormous. So big that there was another running event starting about half a mile away. They started at the same time but did a different route to us. Our route took us down past Chatsworth House

and after crossing a bridge we followed signs which took us off the route I had drawn ! This could have been very interesting, but after about half a mile we joined back up again. It was strange, some of the route was well signed, some not signed at all and in both cases runners were going off in different directions.

There was a fair bit of gentle climbing with lovely views once we had reached the top.

The weather had been cloudy and warm at the start, but after three miles it started to gently drizzle which was lovely and cooling.

Through woods and on to the first checkpoint. Shortly after this we chose not to follow my drawn route as the path we were going to go down was heavily overgrown with nettles.

On to Haddon Hall and then a climb through fields to Over Haddon

and then on to Sheldon where the route undulated a bit. We also went through a field where a farmer was muck spreading. My sense of smell is not as good as it used to be so this wasn't too too bad for me, but Melanie really did not enjoy that !

We past what was left of Magpie Mine.

We made a minor error but soon got back on track. At the Sheldon checkpoint we were advised that the suggested route in the Village Hall was a bit steep and slippery so we decided to stick to the route on our watches and go down into the lovely Deep Dale.

On into Monsal Dale, following the river

then up to the viaduct in the picture above and along an old railway line before leaving it to head towards Cressbrook Mill.

We past close to the weir at the Mill

before moving on to Cressbrook Dale where it was quite technical underfoot in the woods. The woods soon ended and it got easier

Through Foolow and on into Eyam. Here my route design went wrong. There was a road which was the direct route, but when I looked at it when designing the route, I assumed we should stick to footpaths, so that is what I plotted. Sadly the route I designed took us up a fairly big hill and then down the other side back to the road. The road did not involve any climbing and even better was closed for vehicles, so we could have run along it very safely.

Here is Melanie almost at the top, before she had realised this wasn't a hill we needed to have climbed....

On to the outskirts of Froggart and a lovely run alongside the river before we came to our next decision point on which way to go. We could go along the river to Calver Mill (which was the route on our watches) or go straight up a big hill straight into Calver. Again this wasn't a difficult choice, the path going straight up was completely overgrown with nettles, so on to Calver Mill and then into Calver.

From there we had the steepest climb of the day up to Bramley Wood. At the top there were rhododendrons which were lovely and some of them had had their flowers blown onto the ground.

We could see Baslow in the distance but still over two miles to go

Some attractive views of poppy fields

Then downhill towards Baslow we went on a path though an entire field of poppies, which was just gorgeous

Back to the Village Hall for pie and peas

followed by fruit salad and cream and tea. A lovely way to end the run

As usual in these events, we had a certificate and badge to take away

I think we may well do this one again, we loved it !

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Hardmoors White Horse 2019

My fifth time at this event and Melanie's second time. I do love this route the scenery is lovely, but it is far from easy with some big hills to climb up.

The start is at the Sutton Bank Visitor Centre and after registration we listen to Jon's briefing.

The event basically starts with a descent down off the escarpment, a loop of Gormire Lake followed a big climb back to the top of the escarpment and once at the top there are some wonderful views. The weather was pretty good, a mixture of sun and cloud with a cooling breeze.

Past the Sports Sunday photographer, we need to work on our timing...

and on to lovely views across the moors from Steeple Cross

and on to the descent into the lovely Thorodale

On to Hawnby and up to Hawnby Hill. This is a tough climb and I felt it more than I should have done

A bit of a steep descent off the north end of the hill.

On to Bilsdale West Moor (another climb)

Down the other side, back into the south end of Hawnby, before a long road climb - the hill on the left is Hawnby Hill which was earlier.

There is a path around this ford, but maybe getting our feet wet might have been a good idea, it was getting warm.

Heading towards Rievaulx Abbey

We stopped at the Visitor Centre and bought some ice cream, which was lovely and refreshing. Now just five miles or so to go and most of it is a drag uphill. There are still some lovely spots, here we are at Grass Keld.

Got back to Sutton Bank in about 6hr 50min and that was fine. I struggled a bit more than I expected as we haven't done much distance recently, but work has been very busy and that may have contributed.

The marshalls, the volunteers and Jon and Shirley were all wonderfully supportive 😃