Well that was hot wasn’t it? I’ve run a few Long Tours, but I think this was the hottest I’ve done, and I found it very hard going. I wasn’t the only one to suffer though – there were far more DNFs than the two shown in the official results, including last year’s Runfurther winner Ian Symington, and our own Nick Ham. At least I finished!
First home, for the second year running, was Ken Sutor, in 5:21:22, 7 seconds slower than last year. Second was Kevin Hoult in 5:34:01, half an hour faster than his time last year. Third home was Oscar Partridge of Mynydd Du in 5:36:17. First woman, in 13th place overall, was Lisa Trollope in 6:50:57, 2nd was our own Karen Nash, 7:12:27 (1st FV50 as well), 3rd was Brenda Phillips in 7:21:10. Fraser Hirst was first MV50 in 6:03:05, Chris Davies remains undefeated as 1st MV60 with 6:51:10, and Bob Nash finished last but was 1st MV70 in 10:18:35. Congratulations to all 64 finishers. The full results are on the race website here.
Photos and race reports
No report from Karen Nash this time, as she was away on holiday as soon as the race finished. Nigel Aston has written his race up though, and you can find his report here. I’ve finally got round to writing up my race too, and you can find that at the end of this post. Nick Ham didn’t finish the race but he still took loads of photos, including the ones I’ve used here. You can find the rest here.
That’s 8 out of the 12 Runfurther races for 2016 completed, so it’s time to have another stare into my crystal ball and try to work out who might be this year’s winners. Andy Davies is looking good for 1st man, but Kevin Hoult could well catch him if he runs well at either the Brecon Beacons or Rotherham – I don’t know whether he’s planning to run them though. If Andy runs either Long race, he’s got a good chance of shutting Kevin out though, as his Short and Medium scores are better. Stewart Bellamy is likely to be 3rd if he runs the HP40 or Warrington. Chris Davies can’t realistically be caught as 1st MV60, but he can be as 1st MV50. Ned Lammas has run all 4 Short races, beating Chris at the Hobble. If he runs a good Medium and Long it would be a close call. Bob Nash will be 1st and only MV70.
Karen Nash is not going to be caught now as 1st woman (or 1st FV50). Second and third places will probably be taken by Michelle Brooks and Alison Brind, with Michelle more likely to come out ahead as she’s beaten Alison twice this year.
Mercia Fell Runners look like they’re going to win the team competition, and if Stewart Bellamy runs the HP40 or Warrington that would make then just about unassailable. The updated Runfurther leaderboard and team results are here.
Andy’s race report
The morning before the race I was in the south of France with my family. We took the tent down, packed the car and started driving. At 3am I got to bed at home, trashed. At 6:15 my alarm went off and I was on my way to Bradwell. It wasn’t really the ideal race preparation. Two weeks of wine and cheese, a day of crisps and driving. And my right knee was swollen, and hurting a bit from time to time, just from the occasional early morning 5k with the dog. Still, it was the Long Tour of Bradwell, one of the great races. I always suffer, but I always enjoy it.
9am and we were off, up the first long hill to the top of Cave Dale. I headed off pretty slowly, knowing I’d be hurting in the hot weather later. Up through the quarries, along the stony track, and it felt OK. The run down Cave Dale I always love, although a lot of runners hate it. Technical at times on greasy limestone, you’ve got to watch your step carefully on some sections. Down to the Castleton CP, where I drank plenty of water and poured a cup over my head too, setting my pattern for the rest of the race. The lane out of Castleton always seems longer than I remember, even when I remember that fact (I think this is a corollary of Hofstadter’s Law). We plodded our way up to Hollins Cross, and I passed Linda Murgatroyd on the way down the other side, after seeing her ahead of me for most of the race until this point.
So, through the Edale checkpoint, and now it was the second big climb, up Ringing Roger to the Druid’s Stone. I was feeling it now, and I think I climbed most of the way chatting to Lisa Trollope, the eventual women’s winner. Needless to say I couldn’t keep up with her the whole way up, and by the time I reached the self-clip she was long gone. The steep descent to the valley I always enjoy, but then the climb up the other side was horrible. Clouds of flies, and it was just too hot. I was relieved to reach the ridge, for the relatively gentle climb up to Lose Hill. The easy descent into Hope was, as always, a relief.
From Hope I struggled the whole way to the end. Dave Orbinson came past me by the caravan site, and he kept pulling away from me on the climb up over the shoulder of Win Hill. The forestry path was fine, but the railway went on forever. Bamford to Stanage was horrible, just much too hot. Once up on the Edge it was a lot better, with a cool breeze, but my knees are no longer up to running across those rocks once they get a bit tired. Four or five runners passed me across there, and it was such a relief to get down to the road. The Burbage Rocks track has a good surface at the moment, which was just as well as I was in danger of tripping over just about anything by this time. I’d passed Albert Sunter at the start of Stanage – no great feat as he was stopped admiring the view at the time. He caught me up by the time we got to the Toad’s Mouth and we ran together for a while. It was his first time round the Full Tour, and I showed him the route to the elusive Bole Hill self-clip and down to the river. I felt OK on the way down, but as soon as we were back on level ground I knew I was in trouble.
Along the river to the Leadmill Bridge checkpoint I tried to keep running, but I just couldn’t do it. I resorted to alternate trotting and walking. Even this was too much for Albert, and I pulled away from him. The climb up the road from the checkpoint to Tor Farm went better than I expected, but only because I was going so slowly. Once off the tarmac my legs just weren’t able to keep me running on anything but smooth grass – the stony bits were too much for me, even when I was going downhill. Still – nearly there. A plod up to Abney, then the awful road section up to Abney Moor, round on the level track, across two fields. Now the steep descent into Bradwell, and I went down there so slowly, on the point of collapse. Even when I reached the village I couldn’t run more than 20% of the time. I staggered along the road and collapsed at the finish, lying on the ground for quite some time. 7:56:47, 30th place, and (I think) a personal worst.
It really is a great race, but it is a really hard race too. Over a week later and I still haven’t been out for a run since. It’s taken me a week to be up to writing the race up, and I’m still pretty tired. I’m missing the next Runfurther race, so I’ll see you at the High Peak 40.