News is filtering through from the Celtic fringe that Bowland’s very own
Steve Sweeney (V50) was outright winner of the Sprint ( 50km aggregate )
distance at the Gaelforce North adventure race in Co. Donegal, in a time
of 2:26:19, beating the 2nd placed competitor (a V40) by over 4 minutes.
There are not many pure mountain races in the NW corner of the Emerald
Isle but plenty of composite events that usually include a couple of
running legs, a cycling leg and a kayaking leg.
This event was pretty much on Steve’s home turf and included an ascent /
descent of his local hill, Mt. Errigal.
Saturday June 19th 2014 – a humid, wet day for Ingleborough Fell Race. 5 intrepid Bowlanders launched themselves at the cakes on offer in ‘Frumenty and Fluffin’ as part of their pre-race carb loading.
Shaun’s efforts clearly paid off – finishing 1st out of the 5 runners, closely followed by Rachel. However, being towards the end of the pack Ann, Ruth and Emma spotted the more sprightly Bowland figures of Mark Chippendale, Sam Harrison and Ian Charters descending at speed whilst they were still toiling onwards and upward towards the rain-shrouded summit of Ingleborough. Sadly, no pictures of the post-race tea and cake in Ingleton Community Centre – too busy scoffing!
Photo’s here … Ingleton Cakes
Since the last blog which ended at our run of the Yomp at the start of June, Angela and I have been a little busy. I have ran 9 races and Angela 5, she has to work shifts! In that time I don’t think I have got muddy once, you have to love summer.
I started the racing by doing Paddy’s Pole on the Wednesday after the Yomp. My legs really didn’t want to drag me up any hills that night but the mind was stronger and I managed to get round reasonably well. It definitely helped that it was a glorious evening for a run. I also got to meet a few more Bowland runners, though there is little chance of me remembering your names. My memory is awful, sorry.
Two days later I ran the Cuerden Valley Badger 10k Trail race. Angela was on a late shift week, so missed out on both runs. This is a quick but tough little race that I have done several times, it never gets any easier though!
The 15th June brought us back into some serious miles again, as we did the Hardmoors Rosedale Marathon. This is a race series over the North Yorkshire Moors, it has plenty of climbing and some pretty quick areas to stretch the old legs out. The first 10 miles or so are a long slow climb up onto the lonely moors and then you run a very fast and relatively flat route across the tops for several miles. This is my least favourite bit, as you have no big climb to give yourself a little excuse for a walk! From here you drop into the valley and climb straight back out of it. This was a good chance for a walk.
Once you get to the top you have another long run across the tops before a tremendous single track descent to the gorgeous village of Hutton Le Hole. As trail marathons go, this is fast and mostly ran on firm tracks. great if you want 27.5 miles of hilly speedwork in a friendly environment.
Three days later and the Colby’s headed to Cumbria for a rare 10k road race at Hawkshead. Another lovely evening to run round Esthwaite Water, while getting stunning views over to the Langdale Pikes. Certainly beat plodding round the streets of Fleetwood, especially as we got to stand in the village square with a beer and burger afterwards.
The 28th June arrived with the Bowland vests having now been dragged down to Dorset, another trail marathon to up our fitness for the Lakeland 50. The Giants Head Marathon promised us plenty of hills and cider at the mile 20 feed station, so what was not to like?
This was the toughest marathon I think I have done this year, harder than any Lakeland or Howgill run. This is purely because we virtually constantly up or down hill all the way round. The route was quite varied in terrain, from grass, gravel, waist high bracken covered single track to rock hard tractor ruts. It was a series of 100 metre climbs and descents, this happened continually over the course of every 3 miles or so. Made much harder by the often ankle snapping ground conditions. Concentration was needed to make sure you put your feet on some kind of semi level ground.
I ran it really well until the final severe descent, where both my hamstrings totally cramped out. More embarrassingly, I had to turn and stand facing uphill, to try and stretch the cramp out, while a family stood and watched me with concerned looks. A lady eventually came and offered to help me down the final 300 metres to the finish, I had to decline the offer as I couldn’t move an inch. Despite her promises of me not being disqualified for taking assistance, I still had to decline as I couldn’t move with the hamstrings locking back up again.
So there I stood for about 3 minutes, facing uphill, away from the finish. I must have looked a right good lad! Suddenly the cramp left me as suddenly as it had appeared, so I scampered gingerly down to the finish as quickly as I could. My finish photo wasn’t very smiley!
Angela came in shortly after me with her usual big smile, making it look like she had just been out for a jog! I still couldn’t sit down as I knew the cramp was waiting to assault my already ravaged body once more!
A valuable lesson was learnt that day. We had decided not to take our own drinks as there was plenty of water stations on route, sadly I didn’t manage to get any salty drink down me. We usually run marathons with a mix of vimto and a little added salt and have never had cramp while using this.
The cider at mile 20 was very nice, the scenery was stunning, organisation was fantastic and friendly and it got some more good tough hill miles in our legs.
My next race was the 20 Barriers near Carnforth, not sure a couple of days was really enough recovery time from the marathon but the sun was shining again. It was a nice fast little trail run, with a bit of cow dodging here and there. My legs felt ok once I got going, so speedwork done for another week! Poor Angela was yet again on the late shift, she probably would have hated it anyway as she is majorly not keen on cows!
Two days later I did the next instalement of the Cuerden Valley Badger 10k Trail race. I decided to take it easy after the previous few days activities, yet came away with one of the fastest times I have ever done there. I suppose it proves if you run relaxed then your times improve.
Our next and 7th official marathon of this year arrived 3 days later. Again the Colby’s headed back up to Cumbria to run the Lakeland Trails Coniston Marathon. Another stunningly glorious day for getting out running in the fells greeted us as we set off from Coniston.
This marathon was always going to be a “take it careful”, as we are getting far too near to the L50 kind of run. Again running relaxed and soaking up the views, made it a very enjoyable day out while continuing to add fitness. The old legs have definitely took a beating lately and the first few climbs reminded me of this, once through the boring trails of Grizedale and onto the rocky descent I really enjoyed myself. It got very hot near the end though and I was very glad to be sat with Angela having a cider soon after we finished. No cramp this time as we had taken the special vimto/salt mixture.
Our last run to date was again up in Cumbria, doing the Endmoor 10k. This is another on of the Kendal 10k roads race series, as is Hawkshead.
You get a lovely downhill start at Endmoor that lures you into setting a stupidly quick pace, this has got to be calmed down before you hit the long drag up to the highest part of the course. I got it wrong last time and by the 3 mile water station I just wanted to throw up! This time I stayed at a steady pace and chugged up, then hammered the descent as much as my now very knackered legs would allow! Angela adopted the same approach, so we both got round in respectable times and without picking up any injuries.
Weekend took us back to Cumbria, you will be surprised to hear! We finished mopping up our last little bits of recce that we wanted to do, knocking up another 30+ mile weekend. We have been up and done a recce every weekend when we haven’t raced, well we don’t want people think we are lazy!
So now we are tapering for the Lakeland 50, our legs won’t know what is going on. We have decided to raise sponsorship for doing the event, for the Brathay Trust. It is a local charity based near Ambleside that helps promote positivity in young under privileged people and helps lead them away from trouble and get them to be decent members of their communities. If you would like to sponsor us through our 50 miles of suffering, then this is the link.
This year the Arenig Fawr fell race has moved forward to August 3rd. Details, including map, in the race website which is completely free from adverts etc.
I am looking for marshals and will gratefully receive any offers from the club. Marshals and runners will be looked after as per usual.