Me & my dad entered this race months ago thinking we wouldnt get selected to compete & to our surprise we both did :)
Now to people who have not heard of this race i will explain how it works ,
Competitors are split into 2 categories male & female, all runners in each category are set off together making it a head to head race,forget time as its place which is important!
There are 4 steeples to reach & at each of the first 3 the slowest section of the field get eliminated.
With only 40 runners in total running the full 21 miles ( 10 women) & 30 men.
So off we head to the peak district ( a massive thank u to my mom for driving us) as my hubby was working at the chester marathon .
A very foggy morning greated us on our travels & I was hoping that this would lift or the race would be a nightmare.
We got to the start up at Castleton & looked at the surrounding scenery (gulp) it was hilly , gorgeous & beautiful also but very hilly, ( good job i like hills ) yes i know im strange lol
Race briefing done & off the men went, they were starting 15 mins before us women.
My dad was in this & he looked concerned as most of the men in the field looked either elite & at least 20 / 30 years younger!! (he wont mind me mentioning this) tough as hell my dad!!
The race was started by the local town crier which was a nice touch & the men were off!!
Straight up a massive hill!! Men were on there hands & knees & afterwards I heard by my dad that 2 chaps had actually threw up at the top.(nice)
Then we were next & then we were off gulp im sure I have never done a race with such a short run up to a mega hill, legs were burning & heart pumping & up & up we went, the view from the top was amazing & it took your breath away if only i had time to take a photo!!
My aim for this race was to finish in the top 10 & run the full distance without been eliminated, which was a strange foremat for me as with my ultra running im stronger later into the race, with this one i had to go for it from the start,i tried to get myself into a nice rythym but with the terrain been so hilly,muddy & undulating this was quite a task, but me been me I gritted my teeth & went for it , the first steeple was at 8 miles & I needed to be in the top 25 at this point to make it through to the next stage, I went through the first stage in I think 7th place & there were about 5 women pretty close behind, so i knew i had to keep plugging away ,
The next stage was just as hard hilly , muddy & complete with stiles & gates to go through !! would this race get any easier the answer was no, its funny as I was more concerned about staying in the top 10 than the distance & i was feeling pretty good and more & more confident that I would make it & I was starting to pull away from some of the other women, I did get passed by 1 and I was quite pleased because at least for a little while I had someone to follow as I was scared of getting lost as some of the race arrows were very small & at some points u needed to have your wits about you to make sure u went the right way. ( this I will go into more details later !!)
So I got to the next stage in 8th position & now the women were down to 15 & I was in the clear by a good few mins from the next person ,
This stage was 5 miles long & I ran 90percent of this stage on my own with one women in the distance & I couldnt see anyone behind, quite a strange feeling with there not been many marshalls & the odd walker every now & then to pass,
This stage for me could have completely ruined my race if I hadn't come across a couple walking , I had been running for about 3 mile & was heading to edale yha & instead of turning right I went straight down the road & now as I was on my own I was getting a bit concerned as i hadnt seen a arrow for a while, luckily at the bottom of the road a came across a couple who I asked if they had seen any runners & there answer was no!!
Sh#t I had gone the wrong way, so I had to turn around & run back up the road re tracing my tracks & hoping that I hadn't lost to much time or more importantly places!!
Yep I looked at the top of the road & yes there was a arrow I had missed damn damn damn & another female was just heading towards me , at this point I was mad with myself for missing the arrow & I asked the lady what position she was in & to my horror she said I think 10 or 11!! Gulp now I had to do something quick & with less than a mile to go to the next elimination point I realised that I may have completely cocked up my race!!
Head down & off we both went I was really hoping that we werent going to outsprint each other to get the final spot, as we turned the corner the clock/counter signalled that 8 women had gone through before us , so luckily for me no sprint was needed & I was actually the 10 th female to get through by the skin of my teeth.
So now I had reached the final stage & had 3 miles left to go, as we turned the corner straight in front was another big hill, this was were I had to make my move . As the female in front looked like she was struggling & this would be my chance to catch her & catch her I did , I wasn't going to be the number 10 in this race .I could see I was slowly catching the lady in front, as we got the top of this hill I was told by the marshall that the last 2 miles was down hill ( I did tell him that he best not be lying ) & I would say this was the easiest bit of the course ( thanks guys)
With 500 metres to go I knew I was safe in 9th place & was running out of course to catch the lady in front as she had also sensed that the finish was near,
Around the next corner & I saw my mom & dad shouting me on , & at this point I had just a road to cross & there was the finish in Castleton village.
A big well done to my dad for running this race & you did well to beat some of the younger chaps in the race.
This has to be one of the hardest races I have ever done, but also one of the most enjoyable, scenic & best value for money events around, (ok they maybe could of done with a few extra marshalls, & bigger signs maybe ) but all in all for the 1st year I give it 10/10!!
We got a lovely medal , a red bull hoodie & 2bags , a red bull towel , free food at the pub at the end ( & even the chef did me some vegi food) & as much free drinks as u wanted.
All in all a brilliant event.
And after all is said & done as Buff say 's Flat is Boring!!
Look out for my next blog which will feature news etc etc on the biggest race I have ever entered The ocean floor ultra 2013 with Amanda Boldy 160 miles across the Eygpt desert.