Back over to Hayfield for the last of the May Queen trilogy – (some what spread out this year rather than being all over the same weekend), and back to the Scout hut for the actual May Queen run.
I signed in and met up with a fair old gaggle of Glossopdale runners, good to see some friendly faces amongst the crowd. It was pretty damn parky out there, it has to be said, and I really wasn’t looking forward to standing around in a vest and shorts waiting for the start to happen.
A lot of people were running around warming up, so I made a bit of an effort, toddling around while wearing my fleece, practicing running on cambers and things, but not actually burning much energy. As we headed over to the line up I spotted Dave, whom I beat (just) at the first race, and beat soundly at Lantern Pike, mainly because he didn’t race- having just finished the Old County Tops. Standing around listening to the pre-race info and bits and bobs, I saw him bend down to tighten a shoe- at which point the pre-amble finished and Ready Steady Go, we were off… uh Dave… you might want to.. ah well, I’ll just head on out.
Off we went, Adults and Juniors together on the same course, the kids tore away down the road, to be caught up by the rest of us as they huffed and puffed their way around the corner. Oddly enough, after leaving Dave behind doing up his shoe at the start, I caught up with him 300 yards down the road… what the…? I swear that man has learnt to teleport.
Then we got to the uphill, along through a wood, overtaking a couple of people, and then we got stuck. Well and truely stuck behind a Pennine runner who just wasn’t good on the hills. It was single track and there was no way to overtake. Nothing for about 400 metres. Up, out of the wood and up again, ah, a chance to overtake, and up again.
Lungs burning at this point, but still using aerobic energy, my legs feel ok, and my breathing isn’t laboured, I could keep this up all day.
Catching up with someone else, and then overtaken by a junior. (not a junior junior- but still not one old enough to know what a hangover is…) right, War.
Running up, and up the speed, damn, more anerobic, and the heart rate rises…
The climb continued, and then it flattened out, over a couple of stiles, and we can see the summit. I overtook another guy- this is almost unprecedented- me- overtaking on an ascent?! and then, within 20 metres of the top, I’m topping out on Heart rate, my breathing is going all over the place, and its all I can do to keep it together and not walk, 2 people came past, a Pennine guy and the young’un in a pair of x-talons.
I figured I could let them have it as we crested the rise as I’d quite happily take them on the descent. There was no way that I was going to get any more out of my legs or lungs on that ascent.
Over the top and down.
Down the off camber slippy slidey heathery craziness. Best stuff to run on. My heart rate comes back down, and breathing returns to somewhere near normal.
Caught up with them easily, overtaking one young’un easily, and then overtook the two that took me on the ascent as they took a wrong turn down through the heather, jumping down through the springy stuff, it soon turned back into hard path- very glad I was wearing the roclites not the Baregrips… that would have seriously hurt…
I headed off down the hill, onto a road section and round a sharp hairpin, then an up- rasping breath behind me, and the Pennine guy overtook… damn it. There was more downhill to come, so not too much concern. Up over a field, and then down the hill, back to our original track that we came up. Down, down down, I was right on his heels… whoever you are, you need to practice your descending mate.
And then, final, last uphill, he strode away after holding me back on the descent, 4 metres, 5, then 10. I just couldn’t keep in touch down the last 300 metres along the flat. At that point I was very purposefully NOT looking behind me- never look back, never surrender.
My lungs were seriously burning, legs felt like lead, and I was beginning to taste the sausage and mash I’d had a bit earlier. However, keep your eyes on the guy in front and don’t even think about whats going on behind you. No-one is going to overtake now. I’m not going to let them.
If there was space down that descent, I might have held onto a lead at the end, but there was no chance this time. I tried, but just couldn’t catch him.
And into the funnel- 12th, in a time of about 24:326 seconds slower than that Pennine guy, ah, next time…
but hey, I beat Dave. (his son destroyed me by about a minute, so I guess thats one up one down…)
Still need to practice on those uphill sections on the back end of races, thats where I’m not necessarily losing places, but certainly where I am failing to make them up.
We stuck around for a bit, watching people pick up prizes, and then a surprise. 3rd bloke overall in the May Queen series… Me! 3rd fastest person to have actually got around to going to all 3 events.
Wow. I’ve actually won a prize! Not for a specific event, but for the series overall. Well knock me over with a feathered silk bowler hat with knobs on. I did not expect that.
So, my first fell running – well, actually any running prize. I am most chuffed and will be in touch with Andy to claim my IOU prize just as soon as he gets back from a minor little run somewhere in Scotland. The Isle of Jura I do believe. Good luck y’all up that way. Enjoy the race.