The Bank Holiday Weekend Bonanza… it’s the April Monthly Report!

Well done you lot! Plenty of exciting things going on amongst the troops this month. For this reason (and also because my tea is nearly ready), I’m keeping the intro short this month so that you can get stuck into the good stuff!

Kate Bowden – The Joe Barber Herod Farm Hill Race 20th April 2022

This was a race of firsts. The first midweek fell race of the year; my first time as RO; and the first race hosted by Glossopdale Harriers since the pandemic. The weather was perfect; dry and sunny with a cool gentle breeze. We also had over 150 entrants for the first time. 

Herod farm is a traditional AS fell race of 3 miles and around 1,300ft ascent, climbing up Whitely Nab twice by to different routes.

This was a great race! It was as glorious to see the excited faces at the start line as it was to watch the hard won battles of runners at the finish. Allen Bunyan of Macclesfield Harriers fought it out with Josh Williams from Dark Peak with an exciting finish. The amazing youngster Alice Gamble, Sheffield University, blew us away with her astounding lead in the women’s race. Junior winner Caleb Winfield, Buxton AC and Grace Longdon both finished with a great time. 

It was brilliant to hear the runners share their race stories, and the praise they shared for the cheery and encouraging marshals and GDH team who pulled together to make this a fabulous evening.

As first-time RO it has been an uplifting and  humbling experience, and lessons have been learned. Not least, the generosity of spirit of the running community who have supported me post-race by sending messages and emails, every one of whom shared how much they and their teams had enjoyed the race. Unprecedented numbers of runners led to a few issues with the results, which will be resolved for next year when we introduce chip timing. 

Thank you everyone involved or making the return of Herod farm a success, and for the generous sponsorship of Joe Barber Plumbers.

Charlotte Bliss – Manchester Marathon 

A Spring marathon cycle offers a different challenge to its Autumn counterpart. With long, hard training miles in the dark and cold, it can be difficult to find the motivation to get up and out. But for this year’s Manchester Marathon it was a bit easier. With a solid group of Harriers setting their sights on running 26.2 miles around the four Manchester boroughs, this training cycle had a real sense of community and definitely made the whole process infinitely more enjoyable! 

I’ve tended to train alone in the past, focussing on grinding out the miles and training sessions off my own back. But this time, with so many other club mates going through the same thing, we did our sessions together. And whilst me might not have done all our long runs as a collective, it definitely didn’t feel as lonely when you were out there solo. And I looked forward to seeing those miles appear on Strava every Sunday. 

So when lining up on the start line on Sunday 3rd, it felt not like the end of a cycle, but the start of a new way of training. And I hope that for the Autumn cycle we have we have a similar sized group to share the whole journey with! 

As for the actual race, some of our number had been wiped out by Covid-19. But for those of us who did make it, we had almost perfect racing weather, and the people of Manchester were out in force to cheer us on. The good weather was definitely reflected in some of the results which were really phenomenal! And although others (myself included) didn’t have the race they planned, that’s all part of the process too and often it’s what keeps us coming back for more. 

Sorry if this report has been too heavily weighted on process than race (although it is the most important part, right Jeroen? 😉) but I thought I’d leave my club mates to the bulk of that…

From Dan Stinton:

After entering Manchester Marathon for 2019, I finally got round to doing it in 2022. Despite lots and lots of running I’d only ever done one road marathon in 2016, so it was quite a different focus from my usual training of getting out into the hills. I had a great first-half, feeling good, decent pace, but it all started to get a little harder after that. Great support from Greg and Jeroen out on course and ultimately I got it done in a time I’m happy with (3:11:11). That’s the marathon ticked off then, so now back in the hills!

From Frank Hamilton:

Manchester was my first marathon and I would highly recommend it – brilliant atmosphere and a flat course. On a personal level I was really pleased with how everything went. Fortunately my training went really smoothly, with no disruption, and being able to prepare as part of a GDH marathon group made things a lot easier, more enjoyable and well structured.

On the day the training and hard work paid off and I was able to hit my sub-3 hour target with a time of 2.55.03, despite setting off way too quickly in the first 10k! 

I’m looking forward to training with GDH friends for future marathons and hope to run London in April 2023.

From Immy Trinder:

I’ll be honest, marathon day was pretty stressful for me. I was very nervous, and although the first half went pretty well, things started to fall apart much earlier than I wanted them to. But that said, although race day did not go the way I wanted it to, I cannot express enough enthusiasm for the excellent training programme and support provided by Jeroen, which as Bliss has said, was only enhanced by the awesome group of GDHers taking part! Greg even jogged a few hundred metres with me on the day at a point where I was really struggling and giving myself a hard time about it. Massive thanks to Jeroen and everyone else who formed such an encouraging, supportive training group!

GDH Manchester Marathon results:

363 Nathaniel Hicks 02:45:29
365 Chris Webb 02:45:34
794 Frank Hamilton 02:55:03
1947 Daniel Stinton 03:11:11
2747 Steve Page 03:21:58
3604 Imogen Trinder 03:30:09
6738 Charlotte Bliss 03:57:56
10869 Alan Byrne 04:43:41

Rachel Boorer-May – The Gin Pit Double Marathon

Sarah Mills and I decided to take up the challenge of running 2 marathons in 2 days. It is something that neither of us have done before. I personally hadn’t ran a marathon since Manchester in 2019, whereas Sarah was doing 1 a month during lockdown. So this felt like a massive challenge for me.

I booked this as part of my training for Endure 24 which I’m doing in July to get my mileage up.

During the build up to the big weekend we kept asking ourselves ‘why are we doing this, we must be mad’ and ‘can we actually do this?’ And telling ourselves ‘yes we can do this’ and we did!!

Day 1 we were both full of beans and raring to go, the weather was perfect even if a little windy. Just after mile 6 we headed onto the canal which was around 11 miles long which felt like it lasted an absolute lifetime and was never ending! Towards the end around mile 23 I was ‘in the zone’ and missed a sign and ended up going around a mile further than I should before I turned back and found the sign! Then right at the end a sign had been moved and we both went the wrong way and again ended up doing more mileage than we should have done! Day 1 I racked up 27.55 miles (my first ever unofficial ultra!)

It was an enjoyable day, lots of talking and laughing and some nice views along the way.

In the car on the way home we were both saying to each other ‘can’t believe we’ve got to do that again tomorrow’!

The next day came and we woke up very stiff, but once we got moving we weren’t too bad. Thankfully Marie Williamson was doing day 2 and even better she was driving! She told us after the first few miles the legs will realise what they’re doing and we’ll be fine! She was right and I don’t even think it took that long for them to realise! They were achy and sore but we kept on going and made it to the end! We both made a friend along the way and both chatted to him which helped massively.

At the end we were very sore and I felt broken, but thankfully recovered after a couple of days. 

I’m so proud of us both for doing it, but don’t think we’ll be doing it again! Maybe 2 different marathons on different routes, but felt it got quite monotonous on day 2 with the never ending canal! It took a lot of mental strength to do it when the legs were telling us to stop, but we did it and we’ve got 2 medals to prove it!

Sue Clapham – The 5 Trigs

18 miles(ish) with 3000ft of ascent

I hadn’t previously done any of the Craggrunner events, but when Clive told me about the 5 Trigs, I had a look at the description, together with suggested route map…starting from Delph and covering at least 50% of ground I’d never been over before, I was sold. Although suggested, the route wasn’t set in stone; you could make any amendments, providing all parts were over permissive tracks, roads etc and providing each of the 9 checkpoints were visited. Great stuff, I feel a recce coming on. We entered as non-competitive runner/walker which allowed for an earlier start. When making the final arrangements, I gave my standard response, “I’m not coming if the weather’s bad”, but needn’t have worried about it; gone was the incessant rain and howling winds, hello cold, crisp morning, clear skies hooray!

Funny though that “non-competitive” malarkey as I still felt nervous as hell. The recce had gone well a few weeks earlier and Clive had spotted an excellent little up and over which would cut off some distance of unnecessary stony track. Registration in the pub done, we had a quick look at the altered start, faffed as only runners can do, then off we went with “sorry about the stile” (the organiser’s words at the briefing) echoing in our heads. No messing, we shot off and got over that stile then up, up, up, Knott Hill, classic fell race start stuff which reduced my legs to jelly. Never mind, recovery was possible along the next km of minor road, which allowed us to ease that pace (which clearly was competitive). Funnily enough, everyone behind did the same thing so we found ourselves leading the pack, somewhat bemused. This continued up to the first trig, Bishop Park and over the next couple of kms. I suggested to Clive that we hang back a bit to see what happened. Sure enough a lady with a map in her hand charged on ahead with the crowd eagerly following. This was a point where we both distinctly remembered turning off the main track but hey ho, the route was only suggested…

We had one chap who clung to our heels, he did ask whether we minded him tagging along as he wasn’t local by any means. Off we trotted across fields and stiles before the next climb to Tame Scout trig. Just before the outward M62 motorway crossing we saw a chap cutting off a chunk, another time and distance saver (and when I checked the map later I did note all was permissive). Others were coming along the suggested route but we didn’t see them again. The solitary chap was from our non-competitive start we discovered, and was very speedy. We had warned our companion of the delights to come and braced ourselves for the climb up to join the Pennine Way and on to Blackstone Edge Trig – whose bright idea was it to site the dibbing kite right of top? I’d been expecting the competitive lot from the 10am start to overtake and sure enough, the leader literally flew past us on the descent from Blackstone to the motorway (Gavin Mulholland, Calder Valley who finished in an eye-watering 2:17:34). Gradually a handful more of the speedy chaps passed us, we applauded them on their way, amazing running as we covered the remaining miles over White Hill and Standedge Trigs, before descending (in the main) back into Delph and the Finish, yay. Clive very kindly bought us both a beer which we took outside and chatted to none other than Rick Steckles who had finished in under 3 hours, brilliant. First lady, Gaynor Keane, Saddleworth came in at 2:56:04, another brilliant result. We later demolished our pie, chips and peas, reminiscing on what a brilliant day we had had. In Clive’s words, a super route, mile 10 is a killer, the recce paid off and pie & ale always makes a good combo.

Footnote: we hadn’t expected all the results to be grouped together with the two different start times, however we actually both finished first in our age categories in just over 3:42. I concluded that I had really enjoyed the event and possibly some of that was down to that earlier start time, without feeling the need to keep up with the crowd.

Ian Crutchley and Zoe Barton – Kinder Downfall

From Ian:

Come the day, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the prospect of this race, mostly due to an ongoing lack of form and motivation.  It was great to mingle with runners at registration, but the impending dread was building in me.

I had already decided to set off steady for the first climb past 20 Trees, and really start my race after this point.  However, as a consequence of the steady start, I got totally hemmed in on White Brow, where I just wanted to let the brakes off.  Into William Clough I increased the pace a bit, but was still largely hemmed in, but managed to make about 10 places and catch Rob Murphy through some sneaky manoeuvring at the ford halfway up the clough.  By Kinder Corner I was feeling good, enjoying it, and wondering why I’d got myself so worked up before the race.  The edge path was great, lots of overtaking and making about 5 places by cutting off the corner of Sandy Heys (amazing how much it pays to know these little sneaky lines), and then hunting them down one by one to the end.  Felt great to be overtaking and not being over taken like normal! 

Meanwhile, despite a few pulling out of the race at the death, GDH had quite a good turn out albeit we were all Veterans.  Some great times all round.  Big Thanks to Sikobe as our unofficial photographer and cheerleader, turning up on the route here and there.

From Zoe:

Nine Glossopsdale Harriers attended the annual kinder downfall race in fantastically clear conditions on Easter weekend. All completed 9.6m/ 600m ascent race which consists of the never ending climb up William Clough,and the rocking and rolling (for some too much of the rocking) edge path run along the kinder plateau, then down back to the sociable finish field at Hayfield park.

It was excellent to see lots of riendly support along the route both from GDH, and from our neighbouring clubs. Special mention for photo-sneak supremo Sikobe. Personally I can’t wait for for a rerun next year at this tough, sociable, classic local race. 

Results:

78         Ian Crutchley                   1:35:41
97         Robert Murphy               1:40:18
110       Zoe Barton                       1:42:18
149       Frank Fielding                  1:48:53
214       Nick Ham                         2:00:00
222       Kate Bowden                   2:01:37
229       Ian Jackson                      2:03:51
266       Clare Higgins                   2:44:33
267       Joanne Brack                   2:44:35

Lucy Wasinski – Goldrush Trail – Coed y Brenin

The Goldrush at coed y brenin is my absolute favourite race…8.5 miles of forest trail goodness with some awesome single track descents and excursions over gorgeous rivers, albeit a last km gradual uphill slog on fire road to the finish. Other GDH in attendance were Kate Bee and Donna Brierley…Donna another fan of races in CyB forest!

This race had been a victim of covid and the stricter rules in Wales so we’d been entered for 2020 and found this was a surprise race when we started receiving event info! Given how life had changed since 2020 we both couldn’t run the race, so greg took one for the team and sat this out. I tried to make his life easier on race day having a dog and switching my place for the main race over to the canicross. (* ok I didn’t fancy racing my Welsh nemesis when I wasn’t fully fit and was hoping the pooch would drag me up the hills!)

For anyone who doesn’t know, canicross is running with your dog on a bungee lead with the aim being your dog pulls you so you’ll fly round the course. Unless you’re a pro who does it all the time the reality is a bit different 😉  dragged left, right, multiple loo stops and sniffs!

The start line is insane, it’s a total mish mash of dogs of all shapes and sizes, some runners have 2 dogs, some dogs are chilled to the max but the real kean ones are raring to go barking frantically getting held back by their owners until the start.

Chaos ensues when everyone sets off with some dogs going nuts at the ones around them, and literally within seconds the front runners are streaks ahead!  I was hoping Rowan (all 10kg of her) would give me enough of a tug to make the race significantly easier, but although we run a lot together we’ve never done a race and she was definitely overwhelmed by the noise and kept looking to me for reassurance. Nevertheless we love these trails, so had an absolute blast and found plenty of puddles and streams for her to have a dip, and happily overtook a girl who had 2 massive dogs. Turns out 2 isn’t always better cos when one decides they don’t fancy it u are stuck with it for the duration! 

Marshals were all cheery, South Snowdonia MRT were out supporting, and the whole atmosphere is just great. We were happy with 6th place for our first go! I’ll be back next year whether cani or not, and highly recommend it to people looking for a fun, and nicely challenging trail race with great scenery!

Pic was couple hundred metres from start (we are the left pair).

Rachel Boorer-May – Longdendale Reservoirs Marathon

On 10th April I ran a marathon around the Reservoirs and along the Longdendale trail. I completed 4.5 laps along the 3 reservoirs, Bottoms, Valehouse and Rhodeswood and then along the trail leading back to the reservoir.

Thankfully I was joined for the first lap with Sarah Mills and Kate Rumball and Jessica Camp joined me for 2 laps. It certainly helped pass the boredom away of doing the same route over and over!

I intended on doing the Tissington Trail marathon with Sarah Mills the Sunday before but couldn’t get the time off work in the end to join her, so decided to stay local instead.

All my training at the moment I am doing for my end goal in July when I take part in Endure 24 in Leeds and aim to do 100 miles in 24hrs. So look out for my next post when I’m getting the miles in again and hopefully you can join me for a few!

Paul Skuse – Cake Race

Loved it.  They call it at fell race but it’s really trail. It’s very trail. If I think trail run, I’m pretty much thinking of this. 

Not a bad GDH turnout, Me, Sean C, Steve C, Frank H, James K, John G and Rob S. Stevie K was also there but in the wrong vest. It was also nice bumping into Mary J as well. Long time, no see.

It was far warmer/sunnier than expected (I’m so glad that I took water!) and that deffo took a toll on some of the lads. There was a proper tussle between me, James, Frank and Sean at various points along the route; each of us was giving it our all, driving each other forward and getting the best out of our efforts. Once again, just to emphasise the point, I was loving it. Seriously big time loving it. Racing with friends and peers is just brilliant. Sadly, Knapper (after a brilliant start) had a mare (his worst race performance he said -he was melting when I caught up to him at the weir) and Crossman’s hammy went twang early doors so it was a long limp round for him.

At the finish, it was tags off (all electronic these days -really smooth set up), get water (some dopey lads – no names mentioned- bought bottles of water from the pub when free, unlimited water was waiting 2 mins down the road) and then it was the cakes. They were amazing. As an aside, I didn’t read the entries properly so ticked the option ‘with cake’ assuming this meant I wanted cake at the end. Turns out I had to bake a cake and enter it into the competition. I had a go at flapjack but did a free style recipe. I did bring it with me but it sort of melted before getting there and looked so grim that I decided to pay for the no cake option. No one in the car would even try it (apart from Gaffers – good man).

So, to summarise: top route, top mates, top times, top weather and top cake. I’ll be there next year. Hope to see you lot there as well.

Chris Webb – Three Peaks Race

The 67th Three Peaks race was back to the usual start/finish location ofter the pandemic affected race last October, unusually however was the sun which made for a warm day in the Yorkshire Dales. Just Chris Jackson and I were out for this very runnable classic on the fell calendar. The start was pretty fast for the ascent of Pen-y-Ghent; you can run the whole of this climb but you can also blow your chances by spending your energy too early with lots of hard running to come.  Chris and I were both pretty conservative on the PYG climb summiting in just under 34mins and 38:39 respectively before the long run across to Ribblehead. I’m not sure what the ideal pace is on this section but it’s such easy going you really have to give it some beans (I think I was averaging 6:50mins/mile from PYG to Ribblehead) but overdo it and the clim up Whernisde will find you out.  There were plenty overheating and dropping out at Ribblehead (including last year’s winner Garry Greenhow) but the clouds were starting to gather as we headed up the side of Whernside where the race allows you to cross private land so you can head straight up the side, a proper off path, steep climb. The initial rocky descent gives way to tarmac and at Hill Inn I was feeling it as was Chris who in his own words had “a moment” before the final stint up Ingleborough. This climb wasn’t too bad but my lack of training on the fells told on the descent where I couldn’t descend at the pace I wanted to – work to do there. After what felt like an eternity we finally reached the turnoff to the run in through the gardens and into the finish field, spent but satisfied. I’ve been a bit snooty about this race at times referring to it as a trail race but it’s a classic race for a good reason that is a different test to some of the rougher Lakeland races.  It’s one of the best supported races with hundreds on the route and a great atmosphere – I will be back with a new found appreciation for the event to improve on this year’s effort!

28th (5th V40): Chris Webb – 3:36:50

105th: Chris Jackson – 4:08:07

Full results: https://www.sportident.co.uk/results/ThreePeaksFellRace/2022/ThreePeaksFellRace/

Imogen Trinder – Monthly Mashup: GDH Multi-Terrain Relay

Thank you to everyone who took part in this month’s Monthly Mashup: the third edition of the GDH Multi-Terrain Relay. As ever, this made for an extremely enjoyable evening with great fun had by all.

Teams 1-6 gathered at Charlesworth Park on Thursday 28th, which much trepidation about the legs, mostly caused by me. It transpired that despite two recces of the trail leg, I had no idea where I was supposed to be going. On top of this, I had been handing out all sorts of false information, including that the road leg was “two laps” of Gamesley, which turned out to be a load of codswallop. Thankfully, Ian was there set the record straight before everyone set off.

Running the trail leg were Ben Tetler, Daniel Stinton, Time Rudd, Nan Smart, Ian Jackson and myself. Ben was off like a shot, and was soon out of sight. For about the first half, I was coming second, with Tim not far behind. Unfortunately, my greatest fears were realised, and I came to a path junction with no memory of which way to go. (Despite having done two recces, my concentration had not been engaged, and both times I was able to go long stretches chatting away, without taking any notice of what was going on around me). I turned round to make a “which way?” gesture to Tim, who swiftly responded with a “what are you asking me for?”-type reaction. We  pondered for a while, spoke to a couple of locals, and pretty much decided on going completely the wrong way, before Daniel appeared with his GPS watch and rescued us. A few minutes later, Tim and I confidently missed an important turning before Dan called us back. At this point, it all got interesting, as Tim, Dan, Nan and I all switched placings. Thankfully, Tim seemed to have been concentrating for the rest of the recce, and we managed not to get lost again. Dan, Nan and Ian, however, all got lost in the final kilometre. So basically, everyone apart from Ben made a pigs ear of it! We all made it back though, and handed over to our respective fell runners.

The fell leggers were Guy Riddell, Sean Collins, Paul Skuse, Wiola Wydrych, Jake Southall and James Barnard. I don’t know much about what went on up on Combes Edge, except that everyone went anitclockwise, apart from Guy, who chose to go clockwise. (I think that’s right, but as I’ve mentioned, I’ve been known to tell all sorts of lies about the various routes – maybe they weren’t on Coombes Edge at all!)

The final leg – the road leg – was as exciting as ever, with speed merchant Josh Southall going out last. How much time could he make up?!

The road leg was run by Jo Brack, Kate Bowden, Wendy McMahon, John Gaffney, Anne Williams and Josh Southall. The road leg was ONE lap of Gamesley, and all teams finished within 6 minutes of one another! 3 runners actually came in within less than a minute, so there was all to play for in terms of the placings!

Sadly, one thing that Ian and I are both rubbish at is remembering to take photos, so you’ll have leave the grimaces to your imagination!

The final results were as follows. Once again, thank you to everyone who took part and made it another fun race!

Team NoRunnersTrailFellRoadTotal
6Ben T, Guy R, Jo B28:3331:2832:221:32:23
4Tim R, Sean C, Kate B34:3025:5433:101:33:34
1Immy T, Paul S, Wendy M34:4425:5033:201:33:44
5Nan S, Jake S, John G39:4026:5827:101:33:48
2Dan S, Wioleta W, Josh S37:3035:1023:201:36:00
3Ian J, James B, Anne W43:4125:2729:241:38:32

The April Report Grand Finale: Neal Bann – Bob Graham Round

Bob Graham Round 22.02.2022

It’s 19:30hrs on the 22nd of April 2022 when myself, Greg, Emily, Luke and Ian make the short walk from the Airbnb that Greg had rented to Moot Hall in Keswick. As we walk round the excitement builds, no nerves, just a sense of relief that finally everything is in place and we’re close to starting our Bob Graham attempt.

We arrive at Moot Hall where we are greeted by friends of Greg and Emily and some of our other support runners who are there early to watch us set off. For leg one the plan was simple, Greg and I would run together, supported by Luke and Ian. Everything was set, all we had to do was get those legs turning and head off into the fells. Still no nerves. 

Whilst outside Moot Hall we chatted to Scott who was there to recce leg three the next day. He had completed the Ramsay Round previously and had travelled down from Scotland to have a look at ‘The Bob’ before his attempt later this year. We were also greeted by someone who’s name I didn’t catch; he saw us preparing to set off through a restaurant window and decided to leave his meal to come and wish us luck as he had completed his round the previous year. Top man.

Before long we had less than a minute to go and were stood with our backs to the door of the Moot Hall. Still no nerves. Then it happened… 10, 9, 8, 7, 6… oh god there are the nerves… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO! This was it; we were on our way out of Keswick. Right turn down the alleyway that leads to the car park, dodge Alan who is hiding in there taking some action shots, dodge the beer crate left on the floor that could have ended the whole attempt after less than 20 seconds then dart across the car park. As we did a car appeared to our right, I was just about to give the driver a selective hand signal when I noticed it was Rick and Immy arriving just in time to see us off!

The next 45 mins were full of laughs and the usual banter with Luke and Ian. As we climbed higher it became apparent that the wind was just as strong, if not stronger, than forecast. Not ideal, but not the end of the world. I threw on the windproof jacket that Mr Skuse had lent me and continued up towards Skiddaw. Now, Skuse warned me that the hood on the jacket was ‘a little flappy’, and as we climbed higher, I began to see what he meant. It basically inflated like a balloon and nearly took me off my feet! First job when we get out of the wind, swap jackets! We crest Skiddaw and begin to head for Great Calva… no idea if I was up or down on time as Luke didn’t have the schedule in his pocket.

The next few hours were a battle between us and the elements. As we dropped down lower, I stopped to change jackets whilst Greg kept moving. We had discussed this prior to starting and said we wouldn’t wait for each other as overall stops would even out eventually. That was the last I saw of Greg on leg one! We battled to the summit of Great Calva where the wind howled through the wire fence and caused us to become so disoriented that we were unsure of the right way off the summit. Ten minutes of faff ensued with us eventually deciding to jump over the fence and head down. As Luke set off on the descent the wind caught him and blew him straight back at me and the fence (told you it was windy). At this point the only option was to crawl down the hill on hands and knees until the gusts dropped a little. The rest of the leg had some ups and downs with the biggest up being Ian waiting at the top of Halls Fell Ridge to guide us down safely. Some pork pie, a sandwich and pint of coke at the changeover, some encouragement from Sikobe and I was off again with Jake taking over the pacing/nav. 

Leg two welcomed us with more wind but with added clag. There isn’t much to say about leg two, there were no views, the wind howled but it couldn’t have gone any better. Jake paced it perfectly and never missed a beat on the nav. The hours flew by with plenty of laughs and talk of Jake and Josh’s own plans for an attempt in the future. As we ascended Fairfield we spotted Greg and Josh coming down towards us, we stopped briefly to chat wished each other luck and then headed our separate ways again. As Jake and I descended Fairfield I felt the first twinge of knee pain, which then get worse as we headed down Seat Sandal towards Dunmail Raise.

A slightly extended stop at Dunmail for another change of socks, a corned beef buttie dipped in chicken soup, pint of coke and some Jaffa Cakes. Leg three saw Rick and Wiola take over the pacing and nav, a task that they executed flawlessly. We set off up Steel Fell with a spring in our steps and the banter started flowing. After 30 mins I was told to eat and drink. This continued every 30 mins for the rest of the leg, whether I wanted to eat or not! By this point the pain in my left knee was getting really bad, I was struggling to descend at any real pace and losing time. This would only get worse as the leg went on and eventually the right leg joined in as well. By Rossett Pike descending was painfully slow and the time was again ebbing away. Whilst the legs didn’t want to go downhill, climbing and running on the flat was still ok. We pushed on and made good progress towards my favourite part of the whole round: Lords Rake. The climb up Lords Rake and the West Wall Traverse felt good and fast (confirmed later by a Strava PR), and feeling good I instantly set off at pace to tick off the last summit. As I ran enthusiastically up to Scafell I passed a smiling gentleman said good morning (no idea what time it was) then promptly fell over only to be caught by said gentleman’s teenage son! I quickly apologised, thanked him for catching me and carried on up the to the summit. The next 55 mins were pure hell as I made the slow and very painful descent to Wasdale. 

Arriving in Wasdale I was greeted by Zoe and Lins, we chatted on the way to the van about possible pain relief and what shoes I wanted. Once at the van I sat whilst Zoe and Lins sorted my feet for me. At this point Robin announced that he had a surprise for me, this turned out to be one of my best mates from Glossop! He was in the area so had popped over to Wasdale to see me through. Definitely a big mental boost! Pot Noodle consumed I headed off to leg four with Robin and Zoe. As we left Wasdale I realised I was quite some way behind time wise. Around an hour off my schedule. 

Leg four consisted of Zoe motivating me using various tactics (ask her to sing you a Monty Python song) and Robin tailoring the lines to help my ever-worsening knees. The plan was to push hard on the climbs to try and claw back some time and just keep moving on the flat and the descents. Robin nailed the lines and kept us on track while Zoe had made it through the whole Monty Python back catalogue. At Beckhead we were met by Jude and Simon, I couldn’t believe that they had waited so long for me and was grateful for the bottle of coke and encouragement. Jude and Simon ran with us for the next few summits before heading down ahead to pass on my requests for Honister. Basically sort my knees if you can, give me soup, oh and I’m not stopping!

On arrival Sikobe had soup of some description ready for me (it was nice whatever it was) and Mr Skuse had taken up the challenge of taping my knees up (he had seen a video on how to do it). Knee taping done in record time and soup consumed I made my way towards Dale Head at 17.02….I had 2hours and 58mins to make it to Keswick. Crucially we had picked up around 15 mins on leg four so it was now game on.

Robin decided to stay on for leg five along with Rick, Josh, Jake and Skuse. The knee tape appeared to be removing hairs but not supporting anything – ah well, we were nearly at the end. Dalehead arrived quickly, climbing was still going well, and we were soon on our way to Hindscarth. As we hit the summit at Hindscarth we got a message from Guy to say that Greg had just hit the final summit on Robinson. Surely that was a delayed message! I looked across to Robinson and was convinced that I saw some figures leaving the hill, although at this point though I was seeing a lot of things so maybe it wasn’t Greg!

We quickly moved round to Robinson and ticked off the last summit! At this point, Robin informed me that we had 10k to go. My head went down, there’s no way I can do a 45 minute 10k in this state. Robin also then pointed out that I had 1hr 45mins … it was 18:15 not 19:15 as I thought! More than enough time to get back to Keswick as long as I could keep moving. On the descent from Robinson we passed Nat and Peggy, Nat informed us that Greg was around 25 mins ahead of me…. we really had made some time up. Robin again nailed the lines taking me down a descent that would be easier on the knees and faster in my current condition. The last few kilometres of trail and road saw a mixture of emotions, pain in the knees and plenty of laughs. The atmosphere was relaxed and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. About 2km from the end I realised (or maybe Josh said it) that I could walk the rest and still finish in under 24hrs, emotions got the better of me and the sunglasses had to go on for a while! 

Just outside Keswick we were met by Sikobe, Lins and Sarah who jogged the final few hundred metres with us. Then out of nowhere, there it was, the town centre, the Moot Hall! My jog turned to a slightly faster jog (felt like a sprint at the time) and cheered on by friends, strangers and evening revellers I made the final strides and touched the famous door. Quickly I was told to run up the steps and touch the other famous door or the nice man in the flowery shirt wouldn’t hand over the pint he had for me! Stairs scaled, door touched, pint in hand and I was done. 

After giving up on sub 24hrs on leg four I’d (unbelievably) made it into Keswick to finish in 23 hrs and 42 mins, with Greg finishing 20 mins earlier in 23 hrs 19 mins. All of this was made possible by the amazing leg runners and road support on the day. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank everyone enough for everything that they did in those 24 hours. This was a true club effort and something that everyone in the club should be proud of. Little old Glossopdale Harriers just got TWO contenders round The Bob Graham in less than 24 hours. Outstanding.

Credits:

Road Support: Sikobe Litaba / Lins Palmer

Leg One: Luke Holme
Leg Two: Jake Southall
Leg Three: Rick Steckles, Wioleta Wydrych
Leg Four: Zoe Barton, Robin Hoffman
Leg Five: Paul Skuse, Jake Southall, Josh Southall, Rick Steckles, Robin Hoffman

Notices

GDH Club Records/Achievements

Even more prestigious than doing the round itself, Greg and Neal have now been added to the “GDH Hall of Fame” located HERE. Just a reminder that submissions to this are always open!

It records the fastest GDH times over standard distances, the best GDH Herod Farm and Shelf Moor results along with all the known completions of any of the UK Big 3 Rounds. There’s also a section for any GDH members to submit any challenge, race or result that they’re particularly proud of. Send in any updates to gdhweeklyreport@gmail.com.

Committee Corner

We are pleased to announce that “Committee Corner” is making a comeback! The GDH committee has met twice so far since the AGM, the second time IN PERSON, IN THE PUB, for the first time since 2020! We have plenty of exciting announcements coming up over the next few weeks and months, the first of which being the following call for volunteers from Zoe Barton:

Our beloved club is in its 40th anniversary year. The committee invites all members, however long they’ve been a Glossopdale Harrier, to join a subcommittee whose role will be to coordinate and implement activities to mark the auspicious occasion. Subcommittee members should expect to be involved in some frequent planning meetings in the coming month , and then being part of the team responsible for realising the plans over the rest of the year.

Please email your interest to barton.zoe@gmail.com by 12th May.

The next report will be at the end of May. Please send report of your antics, whether a race, challenge or simply an enjoyable (or excruciating) running-related experience, to gdhweeklyreports@gmail.com!

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