Thursday, 15 July 2010

Tockholes Fell Race 2010

After much ummming and ahhhing during the week we decided to stay local and head for Tockholes. I had my mind on an ldwa event in Langdale but it just looked too far for me in my current state plus we would have been out all day again which probably wouldn't have gone down too well with the better halves.

So it was we lined up in the sunny but slightly breezy conditions outside the village school where the annual fate was also on. It's four years since I last did this one and the first time I had seen a gala here for even longer so it was a nice surprise and gave the kids something to do while we were off running.

There was the usual warnings from the organiser, along with some about cows on the course and killer dogs then we were off. You run down the lane then climb back up, crossing the main road that goes through the village then joining a farm track that heads towards Sunnyhurst Woods.

I was enjoying myself, taking it steady in the sunshine. Through the woods the path undulates for a while then you start the main climb up past Darwen tower. It was quite windy on top but it was a relief to get cooled down a little and I managed to pick up my pace here heading across to the top of Aggie's Staircase. As paths go the one down there is not great but I managed to pass a couple of others and stay upright then saw 'NotOnYourHelly' from the fra forum marshaling so had a quick chat with him while climbing the stile at the bottom.

The woman in front of me went wrong here, she turned right heading back to the tower so I shouted her back then we headed back down towards the other main road crossing past Vaughn's Cafe. I was having a good run and felt strong running down through the woods to Roddlesworth Reservoir, my favourite part of this route. The path then undulates for a while along the side of the reservoir before you turn right and climb back up out of the woods heading for the village. Looking at my watch I was surprised to see I was a good 5 mins quicker than last time I ran four years ago and if I pushed it I could beat 50mins. So that's what I did, we passed the cows and the killer dogs (they hadn't killed anyone, not that I could see anyway) and as I reached the tarmac road back to the school I put in a final spurt and made it with about 4 secs to spare.

I was really chuffed with the whole run, the fact that I had run it faster than ever and also that my knee finally seems to be on the mend. I had a quick drink then it wasn't long before Mark finished just under the hour saying he struggled a bit with the heat. We met up with the others, had a quick pint in the pub while the results were done then headed home for a well deserved curry.

The question then was what to do Sunday. The forecast wasn't great so again we decided to stay local, Skiddaw Fell Race was on but I didn't fancy the drive and was also struggling to find all the kit I would need. I wanted to go somewhere I hadn't been before so we ended up going for a trot round Pendle Hill. Mark has done a couple of the races they hold on there so he showed me a few of the routes. We parked in Barley and headed up the half tour route to the trig point then carried on round to the 'Nick of Pendle' road. It was quite windy but the predicted rain never arrived, I was having a great time but Mark started suffering a bit with tightness in his legs as we headed back past the reservoir.

Back up the climb to the top of Geronimo I was surprised how dry the ground was, you could tell this could get really slippery though in wet weather. Geronimo seemed like a great descent, once we figured out where we were going anyway! We split up here, Mark headed back past the reservoirs while I headed back up to the trig point for a bit more climb. I was also surprised how few people we saw, maybe the weather forecast kept them away. One good thing about the weather was the wind seemed to blow me up the hills making me feel much stronger than I actually was.

I had a cracking run and was still feeling good as we got back to the car, I could have stayed out all day. A brew from the cafe there before leaving for home with me promising to spend more time training around there. Those that did Skiddaw seemed to get the bad weather though, the race ended up being shortened due to the conditions.

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