Trick or treat? A question of weather, mindset and kit….

Much to my excitement, there were multiple emails in the GDH inbox this week so here is a not-so-brief roundup of how some Harriers have been spending the last few days of October. I will leave it up to you, dear readers, to decide which are the treats and which are the tricks.

Old Glossop Fell Race (courtesy of Luke Holme)

I’m not sure if Ian Crutchley gets commission somehow on promoting these ridiculous challenges but Old Glossop Fell Race is definitely a run to put in your diaries once lockdown is over. I’m not sure about the full history of this event or whether I got the full route correct but wanted to give it go. I vaguely remember someone saying this was a Dark Peak club race until being taken over by GDH who adopted a new easier route! (Just throwing a dig at Dan, Ian, Ant & Mark running the New Glossop Fell Race yesterday).

Pete, Guy, Jason and I set off from the turning circle in Old Glossop heading for the first location ‘The Pond’ just off the wonderful Drs Gate path which, as per usual, was full of mud. Next was to head up Ashton Clough which is still in my opinion one of the best climbs in the Dark Peak. Nearing the top of the ascent the clouds set in and the hail started its bombardment. At this time of year, it’s always safe to have the correct gear but watching Jason ‘Balotelli’ Hart struggle to get his coat on was worth doing the run on its own.

The next location was to hit The Mill at the bottom of Lawrence Edge from Higher Shelf. As anyone who has done The Trigger will know, most of this route is navigation and heather bashing, my strongest set of skills.  Slips, trips and falls are the most common accidents in the work place but heading over to Lawrence Edge they were inevitable, poor Pete’s slip looked like that scene from Platoon where William Dafoe gets shot in the back with the William Orbit theme in the background. After what seemed like an eternity, we managed to hit Lawrence Edge and, with time running out, Pete needed to get home. Rather than wait for a few minutes to find the path down, we took the vertical descent. I have never sworn in my life until that point! After the descent I had completely forgotten about the next bit of wading through ferns and fighting with bramble, the bramble won. Nonetheless with legs shredded, it was onward to Crowden Little Brook in which I had gone swimming earlier in the year during The Trigger (I’d packed my arm bands just in case).

Laddow Rocks was the next stop which offers stunning views of the valley. Definitely worth a run up there if you have never been. Jason decided to do his best Torvill & Dean impression on the descent down to Crowden Stile, if only the Dancing on Ice judges had been watching to score him a perfect 10.  Guy said he had burnt out at Tinsel Knarr Quarry and decided to head home via the pub for a beer or two. Only Jason and I were left to head up Torside Clough and back down via Cock Hill to the turning circle. 

Despite cursing Ian all the way round this is a fantastic route to do and hopefully, one day after lockdown has ended, the club may consider reinventing it as their own race. If you do opt to do this route then I would make sure that you pack full kit as the weather changed very quickly for the worse.  Next challenge I’m going to look at doing Chris Webb’s 10 trigs.

New Glossop Fell Race – A 26 Year Mystery (courtesy of Ian Crutchley)

While a few of our number were doing the “Old” Glossop Fell race route, a few of us had our sights on the “New” Glossop Fell Race.  Confused?  Well, allow me to explain (with a generous splashing of name dropping)….

Having already run the “Old” Glossop Fell Race route earlier this year, I set about the quest to find, run and preserve the “New” Glossop Fell Race route.  The Old race was run in conjunction with Glossop Carnival, and the route is relatively well known.  That one was hosted by Dark Peak Fell Runners and took place several times through the 1980s.  All I knew about the “New” race, was that it was hosted by Glossopdale Harriers in the early 90s, and took a very different route.

So I set about the interweb and Facebook to get answers.  Answers that I needed, because it appeared to be all but lost in the mists of time.  To begin with, the only thing I had to go on was Nev McGraw’s blog which mentions the race and a loose description of the route.  But too loose, as when I mapped this route description together, it was immediately clear there must have been more checkpoints.  

An appeal on the GDH page yielded no clear answers, although Anthony Walker had done an interpretation of the route a few years ago, although he wasn’t sure if it was quite right (it subsequently turns out he was very close). 

Some emailing with Frank Fielding revealed that he had worked registration for the race, although wasn’t too sure of the details of the route beyond what we already knew.  He did however turn up the 26 year old Fellrunner magazine results, which was some feat in itself.  It revealed the race was hosted by Glossopdale Harriers on 9th October 1994, and was classed as BL at 21 miles and 4500 ft.  Although the write up suggests permissions were granted bi-annually, there is no evidence to suggest it was ever run more than this single time.  It seems that gaining permissions for the race eventually became insurmountable.  Frustratingly though, the route description was the same as Nev’s blog (having also been written by Nev himself).

A conversation with Alison Holt, directed me to Rebecca Ashworth who kindly set me up with a call to Bill Buckley, another GDH legend.  I was on the phone to Bill for a good hour, and it was lovely to shoot the breeze with him on all manner of related subjects.  Bill had marshalled this race, with his charge being the Seal Edge checkpoint, at the top of Blackden Clough.  He photographed the race from this location, and was right then looking at a picture of a determined looking Adrian Jones (another Glossopdale legend) climbing the last section of Blackden before going on to win the race.  Unfortunately Bill didn’t recall or have record of the exact checkpoint locations beyond his own.

I decided to cast the net a little wider, so posted the mystery on Fellrunners UK, figuring there may be a few people who did the 1994 race, and somebody might know something.  I was almost immediately directed to a thread, lurking in the bowels of the FRA forum.  Here, was a concise list of the checkpoints, and when I returned to the map, the route now made total sense!  Under my nose the whole time!  Dave Lindop and Bernice Nixon (nee Tingle) of Penistone posted up that they had taken part and recalled the race, with Dave commenting “great route if you are a fell running sado-masochist”.  Dave also managed to dig out the results!

Without further ado, here is the New Glossop Fell Race!

  • Glossop                            041 946
  • Shelf Stones                    089 948
  • Alport Low                       129 932
  • Alport Castles                  142 916
  • Blackden Clough             130 895*
  • Seal Edge                         116 884
  • The Edge                          096 896
  • Snake Path                       092 907
  • Ashop Moor                    073 907
  • Pennine Way                   069 915
  • Drs. Gate                          089 934
  • Glossop                            041 946

*Due to the position of this checkpoint on the snake pass road, we believe the original route went from Alport Bridge through Hayridge Farm, with access granted through Blackden View Farm.  Nowadays, this would require a trespass on private land, and therefore the only option (without a kamikaze run along the road) is to take the slightly more convoluted way to Blackden via the fence trod from Upper Ashop Farm.  Therefore this checkpoint is moved a few hundred metres to the wall corner at 131 893.

Mark Davenport and Dan Stinton had expressed just enough interest in the route that they couldn’t back out, and Ant Walker made the mistake of missing one of the checkpoints on his previous attempt, giving him no choice but to join us.  Having had a passing encounter with the Swan family, the 4 of us set off from Manor Park at 8am, with a distinctly dodgy looking weather forecast, which promised gale force winds and heavy downpours.  Unfortunately for us, the forecast delivered what it promised.  The initial climb up to Higher Shelf went fairly smoothly, very very windy but the rain hadn’t yet materialised.  A brief encounter with Steve Knight was had on James Thorn, although we could barely make out what we said to each other.  We managed to lose Dan between the plane crash and Hern Clough, before he emerged from the clag a few minutes later, after his pipe had detached from his hydration bladder.  On down the camber trod of the Alport Valley and up to the trig, the rain was coming in now, and we passed a couple of runners going the opposite way.  This subsequently turned out to be Josh Southall, although there was no way in this world either party could have known they were passing their brethren.  From Ashop Farm, we took the interesting ferny trod along the fence line, where I annoyingly slipped, catching my Kamleika Jacket on the barbed wire, making a 1 inch rip.  Doh!  We fought up Blackden and onto the edge path, where we took a direct heather bash to cut out the corner of Seal Stones.  More direct, but was tough going.  The elements were ever present across the Fairbrook Naze, but eased a little as we dropped into Ashop Clough.  The wooden footbridge here was lethally slippy!  It was climbing back up the Ashop where my increasing struggles really started to tell, and not for the first time this year, it was my slowness that was dictating the pace.  I discovered a tear in my bite valve which meant I had been leaking the whole way so now had no drink left, I’d yet again tweaked my dodgy right ankle, and was generally spent.  We hit the flags over to Snake Summit, and by this time I was wincing with every step.  Down Doctors Gate we went and we were barely able to run at all along Mossy Lea and to the finish.  Its no exaggeration to say, I have never been in a worse state after any run I’ve done, many being much longer and harder than this one.

We managed a rather pathetic time of 5 hours 48, which would have put us dead last in the 1994 race.  In our defence though, our pace wasn’t intended to be particularly race like, the conditions were horrific, and I probably cost us an hour.  Like the Old route, the New is a brilliant route for sure, but I’d recommend selecting a slightly better day for it!

5k Time Trial (courtesy of Paul Peters)

I’m getting really good at picking the weather for time trials. My last one was in a torrential downpour, and today I spiced it up a bit with strong winds instead. Since the only flat places in Glossop are the two trails, which are mudbaths at the moment, coach J very kindly drove me over to Denton to run an industrial estate loop I’ve spied on Strava before. Just over 1km per loop, so just under 5 laps. 

I came to hurt, and hurt I did. I felt good to start with, and I was trying to figure out how to balance the outward straight with no wind and the return straight with a strong headwind. Apparently, I misjudged this, with a first lap in 3:08… Followed up with 3:15 and 3:16, but by now the wind was kicking my arse. I slipped back further and after thoughts of dropping out on laps 4 & 5, ended up coming through in 16:11. But was it really a 5k effort if you didn’t want to drop out at 4k in?  For the weather, lack of competition and slight elevation I’ll take that time for now, but I’m eager to jump back into a good road 5k race when I can!  The picture is from the end of lap 1, hence the not quite dead appearance 

It’s that time of year again (courtesy of Pete Wallroth)

The month of moustache related madness is upon us and given the importance and focus of mental health this year throughout Covid, it would be great to encourage some Movember monstrosities to be grown…if nothing else but to give everyone a laugh as we enter a new lockdown. On a more serious note though:

  • 🏻15 men a day take their own life;
  • 🏾 1/8 men will get prostate cancer;
  • ‍🦰40% new fathers worry about their mental health;
  • 🏿15% men (19-59) have experienced Domestic Violence

Movember helps brings focus, awareness and fundraising to help with these and more issues affecting men all over the UK. We can help by starting a conversation, checking in on a fellow club members, encouraging each other to come out for a run (lockdown allowing with one other) doing a daft challenge….or growing something ridiculous on our face guys. Remember remember the 1st of Movember.

The Return of the Not Coached Sessions (Courtesy of Coach J)

With another lockdown looming large, time for a return of the “Not Coached Session” coach. Just as we were to re-start the group sessions, Boris put a spanner in the works and forced the coach out of his enforced “retirement”. Without doubt, you have all been keeping up with your training and speed work so no reason to take it easy, right? So, what is this week’s suggestion for you all?

  • 1x 2K at 5K pace
  • 2 minutes rest
  • 5 (or even 6!) x 1K at 5K pace with 1-minute rest after each rep.

For those very few who, for very good reasons ;-), have not been able to put in their usual effort and have slipped off the pace a little, consider doing only 4 reps after the first 2K and do not work at the pace you may have done last year, when you hit peak fitness. Judge your pace on your “current” pace and not on what you would like to be able to do! Be sensible and do not push yourself into an injury! If you have not done these kinds of sets regularly, ease yourself back into them over the coming weeks.

Talking about easing yourself back, do not forget the all-important warmup. Start with a gentle 10-minute run followed by:

  • 30 seconds high knees. Use your arms and notice how your feed land (on the forefoot!).
  • 30 seconds butt kicks
  • 30 seconds gentle high skips with exaggerated arm swings.
  • Alternate these 3 drills x 3
  • 4x 100m strides (start gently and gradually increase your pace for about 60m, until you reach about 7/10 effort. Maintain for about 30m then ease off), Easy 100m jog between each stride.

Now you are ready to tackle the main set. And, do not forget to enjoy yourself!

PS. Special instruction for Frank Fielding ONLY! You are aiming for 7x 1K at 3K pace  !!!  That is what you get for getting your coach filthy during a gentle, social 10-mile run! 🤣🤣🤣

Lockdown Timetable Change

As you have probably gathered from recent reports , the massively curtailed 2020 racing calendar means that we have, at times (but clearly not today), been struggling for content over the last few months.  Given the impending return to lockdown, the report writing team has decided to reduce the frequency of these reports to fortnightly at least until the start of December.  We still absolutely want to hear from you, we will just be writing things up a little less often, so please keep sending your tales of running-related daring-do to     

Take care and stay safe!

Ladybower earlier today before the weather changed its mind

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