Last race report of the year

Sorry, there are no pictures on this one, but Lynne was running… not taking pictures, might have to get used to that in the next year… unless I manage to work out how to run and shoot at the same time… Instead, you can have a link to my Garmin track

The Map

Its been a while since I did a race report, mainly because I haven’t been racing since September/October. (For various reasons including, but not limited to, minor injuries to toes, heels, and other less important running parts, not being in the right place at the right time, and generally there not being a whole lot of races in the area to jump in on).
However, the last race of the year, the Peak “O” trial is just in our back garden, starting from the Grouse Inn, just up the hill, and organised by the indefatigable Des of Wormstones and Chunal race route fame. The new thing about this race is that Lynne was also running it, and has just finished her report which is on her blog here.

We got up to the Grouse in plenty of time, registered and stood around for a bit. I realised that I hadn’t brought full body cover, so jumped in the car for a quick journey home to pick up some trousers…. and also a whistle that I had neglected to switch from one bumbag to the other, and straight back up the hill again. Once again ensconced in the pub, Lynne was chatting with Andy from Pennine, and admiring his rather impressive scar on his knee- caused by falling off a bike onto a metal gridded bridge – not a pretty sight – think bone, and we generally chatted with a number of people who wandered in.
Good to see Nick (baba) there, I’m sure he has something on his blog, so I’ll link to that one too, Julien, Mark Ollerenshaw, Ian, Carl and Beryl were there from Glossopdale, also great to see our wandering companion Carl Bedson back from Africa and Dave, and Rory who I haven’t seen in ages. And of course Andy A turned up pretty much as he was due to start. Perfect timing. (or not, depending on your perspective).

It was an Orienteering/ timetrial format, so a number of people got their maps and left in 2 minute intervals. There were 2 routes, Long Score, with 7 checkpoints and Short Score, with 5, missing out the 2 checkpoints furthest South on the Long Score.
I lined up at 1022, got the map and had the 2 minute mantadory map looking time, deciding the best direction to take, attack points and general information before heading off into the countryside. All too soon we were told GO! and we ran off up the road. I had had enough time to take in the general gist of the map, what was going to be up and down, the direction of the wind, and how that was going to affect the direction of travel (not too much fun running into the wind in the second half of the race), and what it would be like at the end. (either a slight downward run, or an uphill slog) I decided on the uphill slog at the end. Why not? Everyone else was going to be tired at that point, and maybe I could use that to my advantage if it came to a “sprint” finish.

Off to Monks road and then up and over into access land to get to the first checkpoint, there were a lot of people milling around making unsuccessful forays into places where the dibber might have been, and a few running around like headless chickens, while others seemingly stood around waiting for others to work out where it was. I wandered around for a short while, looking for the obvious, and while doing that, Nick, who started out 2 mins after me, caught up. Damn.
Another minute of idiocy – I blatently hadn’t got my attack points sorted out in the slightest, I orientated myself and where the point was most likely to be, over a fence, and pretty much straight on to it. That took far too long.
Next stop, Lantern Pike, I know my way there from various races, and also a bit of Mountain Biking in the area, so I hammered away, taking care not to overdo the pace, watching Nick become further and further away – he’s got a bit good recently. As I got most of the way up to the top of the hill, he came bounding down past me, but I thought I had a better line from there to the next Check point, we’ll have to see how it goes. Although in Orienteering you shouldn’t really compare yourself to someone else, it was nice to get to the top of the hill before another couple of people who started climbing it before me. Clip the dibber (by now I had decided that I REALLY couldnt be bothered to take the map out of the plastic I had brought with me when clipping, too much faff taking off gloves and trying to get it back in the right way round etc.) so I just clipped it straight through the plastic. Boom.
Off on a slightly different line to Nick, and within the next couple of km I had gained a fair amount of time and distance on him, passing another runner, and getting to the next point in Rowarth before 2 others that I recognised from earlier on in the race.

We had a little bit of trouble finding the dibber at the pub, it wasn’t exactly where it was meant to be- round the corner and down the way a bit, but after a brief look, all was fine and we dibbed in. Nick shot off, and I doggedly carried on. From here to the next point was a part of the Coombs tor race, and also I had run a portion of this in the Rowarth O event back in the summer, so navigation wasn’t too much of an issue. Up the hill and over for a decent few km, pulling back a couple of other runners, and seeing a couple of navigational mistakes by others which helped me pull more time back. Over to the plantation and I passed Ian from Glossopdale in his BRIGHT luminous top. He was running into the sun and didn’t see me.
Clipped the point, over the fence and along the top of Cown Edge rocks, Nick was disappearing from view, and the wind was buffetting strongly from the West – thankfully blowing us runners away from the edge, not towards. Along and down, down, down, the next point was in a Quarry, and I figured going all the way down, and in from the road. I noted a couple of runners heading off toward the top of the quarry, wondered what they were doing, and, in the best O spirit, I thought “ignore the others, stick to the plan”. Ran to the bottom and a local bloke, washing his car (or some such thing) commented that you couldn’t get into the quarry that way, you need to go back up the track and in over the wall…


Back up the hill, find a small divot in the wall, through and into the quarry. The people I was catching up with, all done, been and gone. Dammit. Nothing to do but run down into the quarry, clip, up and out.
Next- choices… do I go straight to the road and up it, Monks Road, cycled up that… its a bit damn steep. Or, up the path I’ve just come from, and through the path at the top. The path wins out, and as I churn up the path, overtaking 2 who caught up with me, I catch sight of Carl, storming down the path- impressive considering he appeared to be wearing road shoes!
Up the hill, retracing steps to the top, with the wind blowing in my right ear… the buff got taken off my arm and pulled firmly down over my ears – a welcome relief from potential earache… then, at the top a guy in a bright orange top is gains on me quite significantly. I paused on the crest as I decide that the original line to the next control that I had in mind – a direct bash following fence lines, probably isn’t going to be as expedient as going down the hill a little way and using the path across to the Nab and he takes the opportunity to run ahead.
Down to the path, and overtaking the same guy as he stops to check his map. Down past the farm, and a choice of going left or right around the trees. I go left, and overtake another person, and then a delightful horrendously steep descent down the top part of the Nab over rough and broken ground with all kinds of craziness. Just my kind of terrain. I shot down to the control, dibbed my bit of paper and back off up the hill. From here, its just a reverse Wormstones race route home, I’ll only need the map for dibbing. The guy ahead of me is walking. My legs are burning, but, he is walking. That means, if I run, I can catch him up. Right, faster feet, and run. Up the hill, I can see the optimal line across to the next gate, he goes too high, still plodding away, I break off, still maintaining my stride (if you can call it a stride), and over to the gate. I don’t stop to look back, I know that there are now at least 3 in relatively close pursuit.

Up and up, over the top and I can see the Grouse. It’s on the other side of a not inconsiderable valley that I have to go down and up to finish. Still, I need that final check point before I can consider that. Below me I see another runner, contouring around, I have the altitude advantage and use it well, charging down the hill to the corner where the checkpoint is. Hang on, am I in the right place? I look at the shape of the hill, and realise that I’ve come down just a bit too early, run along the wall, ah, here it is, the hill on the other side drops away almost like a precipice, over the fence, and there is a runner coming up behind. So this is going to be the final run off then. I dib, and launch down the ridiculously steep hill, 3 steps, slide, fall, slide on my bum, up again, and repeat until at the bottom. Not even mudclaws were gripping on part of that descent, but no time to think of that now, up and across the river, and up the other side.
The hill was over in a surprisingly short time, though I have no idea what was going on behind me, up, through a gate, again up, and through a gate to the road, and the final 400metres against the wind, traffic inches from my feet, and up to the pub.

Lynne with her winnings

Finish in 1:46:58 by my watch. 16.93km.

Soup, rolls, cake, scones and drinks were laid on by the Grouse, and very much appreciated by all who ran, there was some good sharing of knowledge around open fires, and great conversation. Congrats to Nick who came in Second, and Mark Ollerenshaw who was Third by the smallest of margins. Lynne did herself well and won the Ladies Short Score event, so we at least have a bottle of wine to celebrate with.
Thanks again to Des who organised the whole thing, and to Gordon who printed the maps and was a route advisor – or some such thing.
A great turn out for a last race of the year, good to see you all out.

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