The last missive from a balmy June…

After another week packed with racing, challenges and Club Champs action, we’ve got some great reports for you to catch up on along with details of the Monthly Mash-Up event for July, which takes a turn for the aquatic!

Imogen Trinder – My Paddy Buckley Experience

When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I started walking in Snowdonia with my dad and granddad. I remember marvelling at how my dad could stand on a summit and name all of the other mountains in view without even looking at a map. In the last few years, I’ve gained more confidence to go on solitary adventures, and started to develop these skills myself. It’s a wonderful feeling, knowing the mountains, recognising them as though they are old friends. It’s for this reason I decided to attempt a Paddy Buckley: a 61-mile route over 47 Snowdonian summits, taking in over 28,000 feet of ascent. This was never just about a grand, physical achievement. It was an act of love; a pilgrimage to the places that have made me who I am.

I started from Capel Curig at 7am, going clockwise, with support from Captain Crutchley. This was the section I had known the least well, and so I had recced it 3 times. It’s a tough leg to navigate, the ground is boggy and in contrast to many parts of Snowdonia, it’s fairly deserted. Whilst I had been nervous about the navigation, on the day I fell in love with this leg. It has some wonderfully runnable sections interspersed with a dramatic descent into Rhosydd Quarry and some short, sharp climbs near the end. My mom, brother and their partners were all waiting for me in the quarry, as well as Mark D and Dan S. We had a short stop to top up on water supplies and carried on to the Moelwyns, Dan joining Ian and myself for the second half of the leg. We reached Nantmor in my best time to date – just over 7 hours – feeling strong, but suffering with some knee pain, which was concerning me slightly as there was a very long way still to go!

Dad, Granddad and Mark were waiting for me at Nantmor with supplies and fresh crew. I managed a pretty efficient pit stop – 12 minutes for some mushroom risotto, a sugary tea and a change of socks. Dan continued with me onto leg two, and we were joined by Chris J. The second leg takes you through a godforsaken tussock bog, up to a minor top, Bryn Banog, and then up onto Moel Hebog. From there you sweep up a few more summits on the way to the north-eastern part of the Nantlle ridge. My knees were still niggling, but I otherwise felt so good that I chose to ignore it. This was the culmination of months of training and planning, so I wasn’t going to stop.

Pont Cae’r Gors was another swift changeover. Dan’s shift was finished, Chris was carrying on to leg 3, and we were joined by Glossopdale’s most beloved chatterbox, Zoe B! I had some ups and downs during the next leg – I was feeling strong, but upset that my knees were potentially threatening the challenge. I desperately did not want to give up. Zoe lifted my spirits by singing filthy songs from Monty Python sketches, and we were treated to the most glorious sunset on Snowdon.

We reached Llanberis well ahead of schedule, and I had been looking forward to seeing some more of my beloved mountaineering friends. Richard and Paul have shown me around some wonderful places in Greece, the Alps and Ireland, so it was really special to be able to share part of the Paddy Buckley with them. A friend of theirs from Keswick MRT, also Paul, came along too, bringing with him a wealth of experience of supporting rounds. Almost a complete stranger, he got stuck right in with tending to my disgusting, blistered feet, and shooed me off when I had spent more than the allotted time at the checkpoint – a true pro! I had a complete change of support crew this time – Kasia O, and my friend Simon.

The Gylderau leg was where things started to unravel. My knees were killing me by now, and my stomach was started to turn, meaning that fuelling became really difficult. I don’t remember a huge amount, other than struggling with the scrambling, and even when the sun came up not being able to see anything because of the mist. I was grumpy, snappy, teary, and incredibly grateful to Kasia and Simon for putting up with me in my darkest hour. I think under any other circumstances, quitting would have been a no-brainer, but I had gone so far at this point that it just didn’t feel like an option. I reached Ogwen at around 7:30am in tears – I had lost all of the time I had gained on the schedule, plus some, and gained a sore ankle in addition to my sore knees.

Dad, Granddad, Mark and Dan had been waiting for me there for hours. I was so glad to see them, but so upset that I had made them wait for so long. I managed to get a small amount of food and water in, as well as some fresh dressings on my feet. Unfortunately, my change of shoes had been left drying at the cottage we were staying in. I stared at my VJ Irocks and came to the only possible conclusion – they’ll just have to go back on. I’d been hoping to change into something squishier and comfier, but a lack of fresh trainers was not going to stop me tackling the final leg.

This time Mark was coming with me, along with Saddleworth Runner Paul Taylor – a wonderful person who I had met only once previously, on Kasia’s Paddy Buckley Round. His dog, Ode, came with us too. The final leg over the Carneddau was slow and painful. I felt sick and faint. Mark scouted out the easiest lines for my joints, whilst Paul stayed behind me to stop me falling backwards on the scrambles. We were treated to low cloud and strong winds, and for the first time I put on all of my layers plus some spare ones of Mark’s. The final two summits were Pen yr Helgi Du and Pen Llithrig yr Wrach. Usually they boast some of my favourite views in Snowdonia, but on this occasion they offered only cloud and false summits. So many false summits. I was really struggling at this point, genuinely feeling as though I could pass out at any time which felt quite scary on some of the little scrambles.

Dad and Dan had walked up to Pen Llithrig from the finish, and it was great to share the final summit with so many lovely people. Time had ceased to matter a long time ago – I had reached the final, 47th summit. All I needed to do now was to get down. This was easier said than done, with my knees and ankle making the descents at least as hard as the climbs. I got back to Capel Curig in 31 hours 35 minutes. I cried, sat on the floor, and hugged everyone. My pilgrimage was complete. It threatened no records. Instead, it was a long, emotional, personal journey, and one I was privileged to share with my nearest and dearest.

Thurlstone Chase

Report by Paul Skuse

When is a fell race not a fell race? When it’s the Thurlstone Chase! This is a little gem of a race (aren’t they all?) – it’s got a true fell race vibe (entry is a fiver dropped in a bucket) but the terrain is totally trail – fast, hot, runnable trail. I’d describe the route as up a hill, cross a road, though a farm, follow a path, down a hill, up a hill and home. But being only 4 miles long, it’s balls out, lungs a-burning all the way.

Results are up already – big kudos to Anne Williams for nabbing the WV50 spot. Thanks to all the GDH who came along. It’s the company that makes the day what it is. COVID restrictions meant no formal prize giving but there was a table laden with stuff and every runner was welcome to just grab an item. How cool is that! Matt Crompton was the real winner here as he bagged a tee shirt. Top prize picking Mr C. Oh, and post-race drinks also included a free beer which Andy B spotted. I’d already gone for the water but at least I could use mine to pour over my head. Highly recommended.

Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon

Report by Caitlin Swan

This weekend, Phil (Dad) and I took part in the 2021 Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon, joining 27 other teams in the Bedafell class which is open to juniors from the age of 14. It was definitely a type 2 experience spending 2 days walking/running around the central fells, starting and finishing in Buttermere and camping overnight at a farm somewhere in Borrowdale.

The route was meant to be ~28 km with 2,200m of climbing, although we did more like 32 km with a whole lot more climbing.

The highlights:

  • Having survived without having getting lost
  • The dehydrated food (Moroccan chicken couscous from Alpkit)
  • The raspberry infused G&T (Dad only obvs)
  • The meal from the van at the end
  • No teenage strops although there was a bit of adult swearage a sheep fold went missing
  • Having a massive sleep in the teeny tent at the overnight camp
  • Overtaking a number of teams on the day 2 descents

The lowlights:

  • How much up there was
  • Trying to run on day 2 (and then getting out of the van when we got home)
  • Dad falling over and ripping his waterproof jacket (which happens to be the same age as me)
  • How matted my plaits got and then getting them caught in the tent zip
  • The rain on day 1 and the humidity on day 2
  • Having to run with so much kit in a rucksack

It was hard but good fun and definitely something I would do again.

Monthly Mash-Up: Swimrun at Manvers Lake
Sunday 18th July

Update from Immy Trinder

For July, we are going on a trip! We have the opportunity to visit Manvers Lake, in Wath upon Deane near Rotherham, to try out Swimrun course 😀 The course is 5km long (although those who want to can do a couple of laps) and has you constantly in and out of the water with 6 running legs and 6 swimming legs per loop. Those who want to go at full pelt on the day are welcome to, but I will be doing a very socially paced loop, regrouping after every swimming/running section.

Manvers Lake is an open water swimming venue and safety cover will be provided by qualified open water lifeguards. This is a great opportunity to have a go at SwimRun if it’s something you’ve thought about trying – the swims/runs are short, we can regroup regularly and the safety cover provided will help everyone to feel secure 🙂 

For this event, there will be a small charge – a donation to the Manvers Lake & Dearne Valley Trust – of £5 per person to take part. We have access from 2pm and the journey is just under an hour by car. There are changing rooms, toilets, and a cafe onsite.

Please note, it is compulsory to wear a wetsuit to swim in the lake – these are the venue’s rules, not ours. A shorty wetsuit is fine, but it does need to be a wetsuit, not a tri-suit or rash vest. They have a limited supply available to hire for £5. Please indicate on the form if you’d like to do this, and we’ll allocate what’s available on a first come, first serve basis.

Please sign up here: https://forms.office.com/r/cz2bF21NJq

Club Championships, July: Glossop Skyline Ultra

Following the midge-tastic heat of June’s blast Round The Resers, things slow down in July, with a 30-mile ultra route taking you on a tour of landmarks across the fells. Plenty of Harriers have been recce-ing sections of the route over the past few weeks and there’s been a last minute route adjustment to circumvent Blackshaw Farm. The update route can be found on the Club Champs page, along with other details and guidance.

Also this week…

  • Congratulations to Sarah Mills on completing the 62-mile Peak District Challenge!
  • Some great running by Wioleta Wydrych, who won a new pair of shoes for finishing 3rd woman in her first ever ultra, the Lakeland Five Passes.
  • Lins Palmer completed the Bob Graham Round route over 5 days with Pauline and Diana – a super achievement, and great fun by all accounts!
  • An excellent effort by Chris Jackson who took 15th place overall at the Skiddaw Fell Race today.
  • It’s been another busy week for Nick Ham, who ran in both the Sale Sizzler 5K and the Pennine 39.
  • Lots of photos from the Round Sheffield Run, which a bevy of Harriers took part in last weekend, are now up on the event’s Facebook page.

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