Pendle & the first leaderboard of the year

Happy New Ultra Running Year to everyone! The new leaderboards are up. Karen’s account of the Pendle is below the fold.


Pendle Way in a Day

 First race in the Runfurther series again and I know the route pretty well now. We have had all sorts of weather for it but that was not my main worry this year. I have barely run since the Bowland Ultra except for a couple of Night Orienteering events where nav and dark force me to slow down. I also played street O catch up a fortnight ago and now regret bothering. Short sharp runs and on tarmac don’t suit me and I upset a niggle in my glute and hip on the Monday. A second run on the Wednesday was an even worse idea- I even started walking back to the pub part way through before trying to tough it out. Lots of climbing followed but no running and I could still feel it. Annoyingly, or predictably, those two runs will be discards with my worst points. At least the Night O went well and I seem to have won the FVet/ over 50 North West League.

I told myself that the forecast looked OK and that I needed to go to Pendle with the prizes, flags etc anyway. I managed to persuade Bob that he wanted a walk there and so we went on Friday evening. This allowed me to put up flags and banners, hand mint cake and prizes to Jamie the RO and to set up the display boards. A lie in would be possible on Saturday. Despite the forecast it was crazy windy all night and I kept being woken by the wind in the trees and worrying how the flags were standing up to it. The lie in meant I missed the walkers start at 7am and so did not see Andy but shortly afterwards I went to register. Kit check was swift and I concentrated on handing out spot prizes and left overs from last years prize giving. Concerned about how cold and wet we got two years ago I had opted for thicker tights and two base layers. A quick check outside at 7.45 and I found it was still windy and raining. I changed into my heavier cag. Mistakes.. I was far too hot for most of the journey.

We gathered outside for the briefing and at 8am prompt we were off. I knew I would not beat Kat or Claire and so tried not to race off too fast even though the first kilometer or so is flat.  The woods at Whitehough were as boggy as usual and I was cautious on the drop to Roughlee having promised I would not injury myself and upset our holiday plans. By Barrowford and the original start venue I was a bit alarmed to see Claire just ahead but assumed I would drop back once we started climbing a bit. A few guys overtook me in the next few miles as I walked some short sections to try to ease my glute/hip. This included Glen- the oldest racer by about a year. Before Weets we caught up with the first walkers and the day now had blue skies and great views. Martin danced by- he always looks so light and nimble and then I caught Claire. She was suffering and likely to pull out at the marshall check in Barnoldswick. Much of the next section was run with three guys and trying to keep with them helped my speed but not my bum.

Barnoldswick to Earby is fairly quick running and includes my least favourite canal section. My three friends pulled ahead a bit but coming off Kelbrook Moor we were back together again and we had been joined by man with poles (Jonathon?) and Tod man Gaz. Knowing the route on these sections of multiple paths and farm tracks really helps and pole man was very grateful. At the CP in Kelbrook I grabbed a cake and some sweets but still had plenty of my own food left too.  The path through to Wycoller was less muddy than usual and I managed to run fairly well but then opted to eat crisps and power walk with the odd jog up the big track and onto the route shared by Pendle Way, Bronte Way and Pennine Bridleway.

I was now picking off walkers and those on the shorter route which helped keep me motivated to run and stomp. Pole man and Tod man were slightly ahead but we had dropped the three guys. A good track led to Coldwell but the farm track before Catlow was as bad as always with deep mud. At the ford the river was quite high and leaving the last stepping stone for the cobbles of the ford I slipped. No harm done except the weird muscle pop out thing near my ribs. I prayed that a fast walk up the very steep lane would allow it to settle and it did. The CP had moved to a tiny church room in Southfield. I topped up water and grabbed a little to eat before jogging down the track to the reservoir.  Another predictably muddy section led up to the main road and then more pleasant paths leading to Reedly. Downhill roads here let me run again before the broken and submerged duckboards by Pendle Water. A broken bridge meant a diversion next- it wasn’t exciting being on a pavement but was certainly easier  than the usual path.  Up and up to the main road at Fence and then along to Higham – it felt longer than 4km. In the CP I grabbed a donut and cup of tea. I was tired and my glute was sore but the end was in sight. Up the boggy fields to the lane and then a short pleasant section before the very boggy track to Bull Hole.

Walkers ahead pulled me into Newchurch and another group was caught as we climbed to Fell Wood. Poleman was still with me and Tod man too, although he ran harder to Pendle trig point. Knowing the trod around the rim saved me a little time and knowing the runners trod near the awful stone steps save me trip hazards and fear of falling. I was hoping to beat 9hrs 10 but decided it wasn’t worth risking all at this stage so ran with caution until the tarmac of the village.

9hrs 12 was not so bad even if it was almost an hour behind Kat who was first F. I was 2nd F, 1st FV and 3V.  About 15 mins slower than last year but quicker than the other two and back without needing a head torch.

Bob came to meet me and I recovered with lentil dahl, beef stew and cups of tea. All the Runfurther stuff was collected together (thanks Bob) and it was a joy to do it in the dry this time. We saved the beer until we got home. Not a bad day out and a good start to the Runfurther series.