This was a fairly popular one. Managed to get there early and bagged a carparking space, and an entry form- which were in somewhat short supply as they had been forgotten by the race organiser.
(He’d remembered EVERYTHING else, but of the entry forms, there were only 8).
So got my number, and stood around waiting. Within a short time there was an almighty queue for race numbers, not going anywhere. However, it was soon sorted and there were people all around getting changed, pinning on numbers and generally prepping for the run.
There were all kinds of runners there, from serious fell runners to what almost seemed like fun-runners. (not quite as bad as that, but there were a few obvious roadies, who were in for a bit of a shock.
From the off it was horrifically crowded, and I ended up walking some of it, simply because of the sheer volume of people in front of me. On the first descent I took an outside line and overtook a goodly number, but I must still have been at least 2/3 of the way down the field. (and I THOUGHT I was somewhere near the front at the beginning- oh how wrong I was).
Over the stream- overtook a few more people, and then a long singletrack with little or no place to overtake. To be honest, by this point I didn’t want to overtake any more as it was still the first 2k of the run and I really wanted to have a good finish. So I plodded along, took some people on a wider section of the course which was quite rocky- and tricky underfoot if you’re not used to it.
By the time I came to the plummet, I was behind a gaggle of people- so I hooned it down, and caught up with them, a lovely little stream crossing at the bottom proved fun, and then the long drag up to the head of the valley. I slowed down considerably here, wanting to have legs for the end, and was overtaken by a few eager people, who I ended up taking back further up the climb as they slowed down to walk, and I carried on plodding.
Round the head of the valley and along the top of Burbage – flat, but still slightly sloped uphill- rocky underfoot, and I reigned back a bit more- allowing 3 people to overtake – but keeping in touch with them.
The final descent was lovely, though narrow, and afforded no opportunities to get past slower runners, but it headed down to the wide open track 1.5km from home.
From being 3rd or 4th in a gaggle of about 6 or 7, I took a good line off the hill- into 2nd, reeled in the guy in front- a Dark Peaker, and stretched out in front. This was the bit I wanted to have legs for. All the way home I was worried that the guys I had just overtaken were going to come roaring past in the last few metres, so I ran and ran and ran.
Didn’t look over my shoulder the whole way- and the people who were in front of my group were a good 300m ahead, (well, only about 100 when I finished), but as you can see from the picture, there was no one in touching distance from me at the end.
The only thing to wonder is if I hadn’t held back on the climbs, would I have blown up, or would I have caught and taken those guys 300m in front?
Practice is called for!
(oh, I came 78th out of about 300ish, in 47:47, 10 mins behind the first chap)(official time tbc)