Bradwell Fell race

the route (yes, the map is South at the top)

Fun short one today. 3.7miles with 750ft of ascent. (thats 6km and 229m for the modernists amongst us). The fastest time for last year (and current record) was 24:40, so I figured finishing about 30 mins or so. Any better than that, happy days. Slower than that and it would definitely be an off day.
Spent the day over in Hope with family, on a lovely little walk around the valley, chilling out and enjoying the mugginess. Then a nice largish meal at about 5:30pm.
Not what some people may call ideal preparation for a pretty fast run, but I figured having 2 hours or so to digest before we set off, so that gave me enough time. (Eating while running in adventure races is good practice for digesting on the go!).

Jules and his Tanlines….

Lynne and I wandered over to Bradwell at about 6:45, experience telling us we certainly wouldn’t be the first people there. No, not by a long shot. There were already a swarm of Blue and Orange vests around the field, it looked like Glossopdale runners were going to form the main part of the running field.
Yes, today was another in the Midweek counters for us lot, and there was a great turn out. There was much milling around at the start. At one point, Jules (who was sporting rather delightful tanlines from a recent trip to Scotland) and I wandered to the actual start 40 yards down the road, and wondered if we were the only people that were actually going to start running on time. I wouldn’t have minded… 2nd would be a pretty good result!

Eventually the rest of the runners got the message that the run was about to start and wandered over to the area. A short speech was given and the race organiser got on his bike and rode off down the road to stop the traffic at the lights. Not seen that one before!

The start, right down the road

This week we got a warning of what the call was going to be, and so everyone was ready for the “ready, steady Go” that send us hurtling on our way down the road.

What a mental start! There we were hooning off down the road for a good 6-700 metres or so, the guys on the front of the pack striding out like there was no tomorrow. No way was I going to keep up with that pace, and still be able to run for the rest of the race. I saw Gwyn prancing off at the front as if he wasn’t actually trying, Charlie (who has been starting brilliantly lately) and Jules across to my left, and then pulling out in front of me. I pulled off the pace a little, allowing a little gap to open between me and the front runners. Up over some steps, and then the “upness” started.

First of all it was up a metalled road, where I gained some time back, and took back a couple of places from the minor pace slowing of 200 metres earlier. It got steeper, and there was Charlie, working his way up the hill. I passed just as we went around a corner, and up ahead, a gaggle of runners, with Jules in it.

If you look very carefully there are runners there…

Aha, I’ve been in this situation before – back at Shining Moss where I overtook Julien and subsequently blew up. I carried on running, and luckily, Julien was keeping going at a pace which I probably couldn’t catch without blowing a fuse anyway, so I didn’t need to worry too much about surprising him with an overtake.
However, as the climb got steeper and rougher underfoot, the gaggle in front of me kept resorting to walking.
Its always the way, when one person starts walking, the guy behind pretty much has to, unless there is a very convenient passing place. This kept happening in front of me, but Julien was managing to keep the running going in places and muscle through.
I kept plodding at the same pace all the way up and managed to pick one, the two of them off in slow succession. It got steeper, and then flattened out at the top, across a long field. There was one guy ahead of me in a Steel City Striders top, and quite a way in front of him, 3 runners, one of which was Jules. Right, let’s see what we can do.

Across the field and a leap over the stile, turn right, and onto the bridle path. Just as I start across there I glance to my left and see the front runner belting across the moor, what half a mile ahead of me and on his way back. Wow.
I’ve got a bit of speed work to catch up on… no time to think about that now, think about speed work right here and now. Concentrate on the Steel city guy.
As we hooned down the bridleway, I could hear footsteps behind me, the guys I caught up and overtook on the ascent perhaps? No idea, follow Steel city.
Julien and his 2 closest competitors were disappearing into the distance, evidently trying to break each other with sudden accelerations and leaving the rest of us behind. No time to worry about that now. Up to the end of the road, around a load of people cheering us on and onto the moor. The Steel city guy had opened up some space on me on the hard pack, and the others were closing on me. But dodgy ankle turning tracks covered over with heather is my territory,
I gained on Mr Steel, and was close enough to see that he was a bit dodgy over stiles. The guy behind me was catching – I could hear him on the stile behind me. Over more fields, and up a nasty kicker of a climb. Striding away from the one behind, and cruised passed the Steel guy, who sounded like he was on his last legs, puffin all over the place. Onto flat land again, and down, then up, and over a stile. Excellent. More stiles means more gap opening up. But I can still hear the huffing puffing behind me.

Run. Run. Run.
I can’t seem to get closer to the guys in front, up and over a stile (excellent), and then back onto the bridle way (but going in the opposite direction), damn. I know I’m not too slow on this, but I might not be a match for the guys behind me. I can hear them, I can hear breathing, but I keep concentrating on the massive gap between me and the 3 in front of me, and running. The path twisted and turned, and I kept planting my feet, the breathing getting closer all the time.
Then, a left turn into a field, a steep field. Yes!

I take off down the hill with wild abandon, no idea what happened behind me, if they reacted or not, brain off brakes off, and enjoy the speed, hooning down the hill, just go with it and love it. All I knew was that as I started the hill I was 100 metres behind the next guy, and by the end of it I was about 10. Down and through a field, 3 people in front, we’re getting to the end now, I can’t see Jules. He has obviously managed to break the guys with his speed and got on a bit ahead. Right.
Can I take these guys? We must have 500 metres to go now, I don’t quite recognise the field yet, but I can see the end through a couple of hedges. When do I kick?

The 3 are closing together and one of them begins to speed up a little, we must have 400 metres now, onto a path, I still don’t recognise it, but I speed up, beginning to close, then we come around a corner, and the one who is speeding up tries to overtake another.
Right, I recognise this now, we have 300 to go, just speed up – it’s simple. Bang, three guys in one fell swoop. One of them is wearing a triathlon top… oh, I hope he doesn’t go in for sprint finishes. Keep it going.
We come into the final part of the track with a load of spectators at the end – thats 150 to go or thereabouts, and there is no-one in front of me to catch- only people behind me. Damn.
Run faster.

Jules coming in, Thats me in the background

Someone shouts “Go on Tim”. Who the heck is that?! Its not Lynne and I don’t know anyone else around here… right around a sharp corner, and its a straight and then a curve around and then the end. Keep it going, there are 3 right behind me, I really really hope I haven’t kicked too early, keep it going. I’m on the bend, going around, and I can see Jules finishing only 30 metres ahead, one person inbetween us, and I’m at the end of any type of anaerobic power I’ve ever had, face screwed up, I’m burning it all at the end, and come in. No-one overtook me from the beginning of the climb all the way to the end. 28:34. only 9 seconds behind Julien. 13th.
Not a bad run at all, though I may have been a tad fatigued at the end.

Thanks to Karen shouting at me at the end – lovely to see you in the aftermath of the run – I was a little in the knackered zone – good luck at the weekend for your rehab race.

And thats me face screwed up at the end

Gwyn came 3rd, Jules was first V50 (I didn’t beat V40 or V50, but I did beat V45 by one place…). I’m slowly getting better, and I just need to convince people that they don’t need to train, and I might just make up the difference.

Gwyn recieving his prize

Not feeling too bad at the moment, but the key is going to be tomorrow. I’m running Cracken edge, which is going to be a bit of a different prospect, 7 miles of so and a fair amount of ascent. Not done 2 races 2 days in a row before, that that could be amusing. Have a couple of clients as well, so a bit of work followed by a bit of play should prove to be a delightful day.

oh, and my garmin track is here

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