To be fair I was given a gentle reminder during this last run.....
The Peelers Hike is a local LDWA event that starts at the Scout HQ in Bury. It offers a long (24 mile) and a short (15 mile) route. I've done the event a few times before and always opt for the long, it's a nice little route really.
After you do these events you forget about the pain you go through whilst completing them. Runners Amnesia I call it, because thinking back, I now recall being nearly crippled at the end of this event a few years back, as this distance is about the limit of what I can do.
A late start for this event as walkers set off at 0800 but runners (and short route walkers) are held back until 0930. So before 0900 we all converged on the Scout HQ to top up on Tea/coffee and toast (all included in the £8 entry price).
0930 came and you could feel an air of excitement as everyone converged on the start line ready for the off! When I say 0930, nobody was really checking so it could have been a few minutes earlier. Oh and when I said there was an air of excitement, people may have just been chatting about what they had done the previous day instead of listening to the organisers comments. Oh and when I said everyone, it was everyone except those that were still arriving and hadn't registered. Oh and the start line was just an unorganised mass of people on the pavement outside the building, but they were all ready and raring to set off............Did somebody say go??? Well no, the off too is a little low key as it generally involves the organiser saying something like "well I hope you have a good day and I'll see you all later!" !?!?!
Anyway, after the intense start, we started fighting through the walkers because I'd been too busy chatting and hadn't strategically positioned myself in front of them. My running partner for the day was Jason, who had turned up about 10 mins before the event started. I tried to tell him to run off and leave me but for some reason he wanted an easy run (and somebody to blame for slowing him down I'll bet).
I didn't think I'd need the route description much, but there were changes to parts of the route I had noted before the event. After we passed Elton reservoir, people were already stopping to change their wardrobe. The day was glorious when I got out of bed but the rain that had been forecast had arrived before the start of the event. Thankfully there wasn't really any breeze with it and it wasn't too heavy.
The fields were muddy, there was no getting away from it but the company was good. Jason and I chatted as the miles past by. Out towards Ainsworth, Lowercroft Reservoir and the 2nd checkpoint at Affetside where there were biscuits and juice. I hadn't started the juice I was carrying so just took a biscuit and carried on. Downhill now and heading towards Hawkshaw, through the woods, where some grippier shoes would have been welcome, and out to Checkpoint 3 and a Tea stop for Jason. I'd forgot my soup cup so just a piece of flapjack for me and then off we went.
It was at this point we were joined by Jayne. After a few minutes running through the woods it turned out that Jayne knew me. After asking her name, I still had no idea who she was. Anyway, she's been along to orienteering a few times and had friends that followed the same people I run with so I tended to pop up in her facebook feed sometimes. A couple of years back, Josh and I went up to the Pike O'Blisco whilst the 3 Shires fell race was on. I took pictures as we climbed and Jayne was one of the elite, finely toned athletes (stragglers) we passed. We talked as we climbed the route to Peel Tower and the next checkpoint and started talking about this blog. Jayne had read my blog some years back and my post about the 3 Shires fell race had turned up in a google search. She said it was a good read and had remembered it. Now this is the second time that somebody has mentioned that post, the first said that it had inspired them to do the race and try fell running and had never looked back.
Anyway, Jayne continued with us for the rest of the run. Some confusion in the route description over the number 10 and the number 19 lamposts had us running down a hill and back up before the route took us over Rossendale golf course (a new part of the route), but eventually I knew where I was and my legs were starting to tire.
The route from here follows the Irwell valley back to Bury taking you along side the Bury to Rawtenstall East Lancashire railway line. By this point I was already covered in mud and I hadn't drank enough. I probably only drank about 750ml of water over the whole event. I know I should drink more but I just forget.
The final section of the route takes you through Nuttall Park and on through Burrs country park before an awful section that takes you through Bury town. I've never fancied the town section so always skip it. By the time I get to this point I'm usually struggling and this time I was getting to my limit and the knee injury I've been nursing (badly) since Xmas was starting to ache. So with a direct route taken we were back at the Scout HQ.
Time to take the weight off my feet and have some nosh. Hotpot, rice pudding and fruit (not together) awaited the finishers. The usual lineup had all finished and were discussing their days and each had seen some issue at some point but all had had a good day.
These LDWA events are great events and make a great training run if you want a long run along a route you would NEVER have come up with by yourself. The price and value for money is second to none and runners are generally always welcome at the challenge events. If you are a regular at these events then consider joining the LDWA, a snip at £13, to show your support and also get yourself a further discount a some events when you pre-enter. It'll pay for itself in no time.
I hope you enjoyed this read and I'll try to write more soon.
Next: Two Crosses (LDWA) - Short route