Posts Tagged ‘fell running’

i escape the madness of the world,
running to the wild moors and fells i
love so much. here i am not judged or
questioned about who i am. here i can
free my mind from the madness and
run at peace with the world as i discover
my true identity amongst the rocks and
heather that live on the here. the moors
and fells let me find myself at my own
pace, discover who i really am and
become the person i’ve always wanted
to be, become my true self that has been
hidden, for so long from the world

Last week was a massive week for me running wise as I ran 43.2 miles and climbed 7,245ft the most I had run in a very long time and the most climbing for me in a week ever. The runs were all off road over a variety of open moorland, fell and trail. The week started off as normal as any other with the news about the Corona Virus being a distraction but ended with the Corona Virus being the most important issue the world has faced for some considerable time.
Monday and the week started off as usual with the East Pennine Orienteering Club run. We met at the Truly Scrumptious café at Rishworth and had an interesting run round the local area. I say interesting because some of the trails had not been used for years and they are unlikely to be used again for some time! It was a good run though as always and in the café afterwards we talked about the Corona Virus and the possible impact it might have on our lives. Little did we know then that events would overtake us and this would be our last run together for some time.
Tuesday and I decided to escape the escalating madness on my own. I had a run in mind but couldn’t decide if I wanted to do it. As I drove over the tops from Oxenhope to Hebden Bridge I remembered a small layby at the bottom of Haworth Old Road where I could park up and do my run from there. The run started with a climb up to Shackleton Knoll but it was worth it for the views. The sky was clear and I had uninterrupted views of Midgely Moor to my left, Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall with Stoodley Pike watching over them in front of me, Hardcastle Crags and in the distance Boulsworth Hill to my right and behind me Walshaw Moor as bleak and unforgiving as always.
It was surreal to stand there on my own looking round at all this natural beauty, so peaceful and tranquil and yet in the knowledge that the world was heading towards a pandemic and our lives would be changed forever. I carried on my run down to Walshaw, through Hardcastle Crags and up to Blake Dean. From Blake Dean I ran up to Walshaw Dean reservoirs and over the hill back to Walshaw and back too my car via Lumb waterfalls. I saw two people walking a couple of farmers on quad bikes and a lot of sheep. It was a perfect run for self-isolating from people and the world.
Thursday and myself and a couple of friends decide to go for a run over Ogden Moor. By now we’re getting increasingly worried about a possible lockdown and the effect it will have on our ability to get out and run. Running is vital for me and my mental health but if they are restrictions I will have to abide by them the same as everyone else. With this in mind and fearing that the next run might be our last we headed off. We did part of the old Ovenden Moor fell race route and then went to the trig point at Nab Hill before heading over to Warley Moor reservoir, down into Luddenden Dean and back to Ogden Water via Standing Stones. It was a great day with stunning views over the Calder Valley. Getting out and taking in nature is so important at the moment. It gives me a release from everything else that is going on and for a short while I can forget about the Corona Virus and breath the freshest air around for miles.
Sunday comes around and the Corona Virus is getting more and more serious on a daily basis. Things are changing so fast. I was in the club on Friday night when the government announced all pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants where to close indefinitely with effect from midnight. This meant it would be my last Friday night out for a while. So once again on Sunday a couple of us set off at 8:00am to do a recce of the Heptonstall 15 route in the knowledge that this might be our last run like this for a while. The weather was bright sunshine once again as we set off through the woods and over the moors. I surprised myself by having enough energy and strength to finish the run although the last few miles I ran on my own as I daren’t stop and wait for the others to catch up in case I got cramp and couldn’t move. What surprised me was the amount of people at Blake Dean and Hardcastle Crags getting away from everything. It was packed although I managed to avoid contact with anyone by going off the normal paths and by not stopping. What I remember most about this run is heading away from Walshaw Dean reservoirs on a road that leads to nowhere and just ends. From this road you can see open moorland with no paths or trails leading over to Boulsworth Hill just over the border in Lancashire. I’ve always wanted to run from here to Boulsworth Hill and experience what it is like to be in the middle of a raw, bleak moorland untouched by human hands and feel connected to nature at its most natural. If I get the chance over the next couple of weeks this is a run I am going to do.
And that’s what last week was all about for me. Getting back to nature and getting away from everything that is going on in the world even if only for a couple of hours and reconnecting with nature, taking in the views and breathing fresh, clean air. There’s an increasing possibility that I and others might not be able to do this very soon if people decide to continue to go to the countryside en masse, clogging up the very place they think will be quiet and peaceful and putting everyone at risk of catching the Corona Virus. I have some great memories I can look back and if we do go into lockdown I have no regrets about not getting out and enjoying the moors and fells I love so much for one last time.

my motivation had gone
i could no longer run
i sat there staring at
the wall playing back the
memories in my mind of
when i ran all day over
the moors chasing the
ghosts of the Brontes,
hoping to catch them and
tell their new stories to a
new and different world
i reached down and tied
my laces, stood up and
went outside. it was time
to run again and revisit
old places and old friends

Last Saturday was the Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round feel race and I decided to run it. I’ve never run around the Pendle Hills before, but I have heard plenty of horror stories about how hard they are and how people will never run them again! So once again I tried to find a good excuse as to why I couldn’t drive to Barley but couldn’t so got up at 5:30am on an overcast Saturday morning to run in an area I’ve only heard gives people nightmares and make the drive over the hills and into East Lancashire.
After checking my kit for the umpteenth time, I set off following the directions Doris my trusty satnav voice gave me. I knew part of the route to Colne but after that I could end up anywhere so up to that point, I drowned out Doris’s voice with 80s hits and then turned the music down when I had to. I still took a wrong turn going over a roundabout which is to eb expected but arrived at the carpark at Barley at 9am giving me plenty of time to wonder what the hell I was doing especially as the race didn’t start till 11am.
Arriving early proved to be a good tactic in the end as by 10am the carpark was full, and people were parking on the road. The Pendle Hills are very popular for good reason so it wasn’t just fell runners turning up but hikers too. I registered for the race, put my number on and then had a walk around taken some photos of the landscape. After buying a hat from the Pete Bland van (the only thing that wasn’t discounted!) and taking a selfie with the legend Antonio Cardinale I put my kit on had a last look at the map of the route which meant nothing to me and set off for the start. Along the way I had a chat with a guy called Chris who recognised me from the Pennine Trail series last year and Paul from Stainland. I did see one other Calder Valley runner, but he was too quick for me to stop and say hello.
And then we were off. A mile or so on the road past a reservoir and then a right turn and the climb up Pendle Hill. Pendle Hill is big and steep but this didn’t worry me as despite my legs feeling tired, I was confident I had enough left to do the race. I made decent progress too up the climb passing a few people and almost getting onto the tail of a group in front of me. My plan was to follow someone round and enjoy the experience. Well that was the plan. At one point I was catching the group in front and then at Checkpoint 1 I turned around and they were gone! I saw the last of them disappearing over the summit and gave chase.
Unfortunately, my chase was in vain. I followed the path and kept seeing the back of the group in front, but I was on my worse surface Yorkshire stone slabs. I’m never very confident on these even though I’m getting better, but all my efforts weren’t enough as the group kept getting further and further away and I found myself on my own in an area I didn’t know. And then out of nowhere this old guy appeared. He had taken a shortcut over the moor and I naturally assumed he knew the route. I followed him for a mile or so and we went past Checkpoint 2 a woman and her dog and then he turned around to me and said, ‘where do you think we should go’? I couldn’t believe it! I had broken one of my rules, don’t follow anyone as they might not know the route either. I said that I didn’t have a clue as I’d never run around here before, and we set off in what he thought was the general direction we should be headed in.
We had slowed down as we looked for what we thought was the right route and some runners behind us caught us up. I was glad of this as it meant we had less chance of getting lost now. One of the women seemed to know the route and she went off in the lead and I was happy to follow her and her friend round. We picked up speed again and although we had a few moments where we wondered which direction to go in, we were getting around now and finding the checkpoints. My legs however weren’t happy. My calves were screaming at me to stop and if it hadn’t had been for my compression socks, I think they would have torn in half. On one climb I was shattered and in pain, but I knew I had no choice but to carry on and finish. I didn’t know where I was and if I slowed down, I risked getting lost, so it wasn’t an option.
We got to Checkpoint 5 where the course is flagged to the finish and I found some speed from somewhere. It must have been my hundredth wind of the day but all of a sudden, I was pulling away from the ones behind me and catching the old guy in front. That was until we turned left through the woods and the final descent. This was steps or rather a wooden plank with some mud piled up behind and I hate them. I slowed immediately and the old guy pulled away. The sweat was dripping off the peak of my cap as I concentrated on staying upright and not falling over so close to the finish. Two runners went past me on the descent, but I managed to stay upright and was soon rewarded with the sight of flat tarmac and the finishing straight.
I got onto the tarmac and set off as fast as I could, but I didn’t have much left. Both my legs were aching everywhere, and I was telling myself to keep going and not stop now and walk. I can do this I kept repeating in my head. Two more runners went past me and there was nothing I could do about it. I had, had a good run on the Thursday before but I was paying the price now for pushing hard on Thursday. I kept going and sensing someone behind me I found something from somewhere to keep them at bay and went over the finishing line in 2 hours 6 minutes. I had aimed for around 2 hours, so I was happy with this result on a tough 9 ½ mile fell race.
At the end of the day I did better than I thought I had not being too far behind some of my friend on the Strava segments and in a few cases faster than them. This perked me up as I was nowhere near 100% at the start of the race so to be so close is a good sign. I haven’t been put off Pendle Hill either. I can understand why some people would be, but I want to go back to it, learn it and run around it as fast as I can. I have friends who have done the Tour of Pendle, the 16 mile, 4400ft of climbing beast in November that I want to do and we will go up in the summer to get used to it and learn the routes.
Early April is the Pendle fell race a classic straight up and down Pendle Hill so no chance of getting lost on that one. Despite my legs being barely able to support me when I got home, I went out for a run yesterday and felt better for it. I’m having a rest from running now, Thursday is my next planned run and I have a massage on Friday to get my legs working again. My next race is the Boulsworth Bog on the 21st March an area I have run around so I know what to expect and I’m looking forward to it. A rest and a massage will do me the world of good and I can’t wait to see how I perform at Boulsworth.

the water is ice cold
the mud is thick and deep
my legs ache and struggle
to move from tussock to
the next as my knee and
ankle give way and I slip
and slide to the next step
thoughts run through my mind
creating problems that aren’t
there making me anxious
driving me on to do more
so that pain and tiredness
take over and I forget

The day after my run up to Alcomden Stones in a snowstorm I did another run! This time it was with my mate Steve for a recce of the Coiners fell race which takes place in May. I arrived at Mytholmroyd Community Centre just as it turned 11:00am and Steve was already there. The traffic is bad at the moment with the flood defences and there are queues of traffic most days. I ran to the toilet as usual, put my pack and set off. At this point I didn’t know we were doing a recce of the Coiners or where it started. I just knew we were heading up to Stoodley Pike and so I set off on the route I knew. Halfway across a muddy field Steve told me we were doing Coiners, so I let him lead and show me the route.

We weren’t off course, we’d just missed a field and soon we were climbing up a steep, muddy trail through some woods to Erringdon Moor. At the edge of the moor the climb flattened out and we were running through cold water and bog as is usual for me at this time of year. I was feeling strong and I wasn’t far behind Steve who is a much faster runner than me. We got onto the path that leads to Stoodley Pike and I still felt good. This surprised me as I’d had two tough runs and I thought this might be one run too any but at this point it wasn’t. Stoodley Pike was steadily looming ever closer a giant monolith that dominates the Calder Valley landscape.

We went through the final gate and I found some energy and sprinted up to Stoodley Pike against a headwind. This is a Strava segment and I had come close to getting my best time on it a couple of months ago and decided that today was the day I was going to beat it even if I had tired legs and was running into a headwind. I felt strong going up towards Stoodley and then just as it was within reach my legs went. I had nothing left but being so close I kept pushing harder and harder until finally I reached Stoodley Pike and could catch my breath. Steve had sensibly gone at his own pace and arrived 30 seconds or so after me. We did the customary selfie at the top and set off back to Mytholmroyd and it was very cold and windy at the top.

I had wrongly assumed that we would be going back the way we had come but I was very wrong. Steve went right over a stile and through some woods on a trail that was ankle deep in ice cold water and mud. And then my legs went. two days of hard running and the sprint up to Stoodley had taken everything out of me and I had nothing left in my legs. I had no choice but to carry on though. Across more cold, muddy fields until we hit a road where the Coiners cottages are and I thought ‘at last’, ‘downhill to Mytholmroyd’. Wrong again. Instead of going right towards the road Steve turned left towards more cold, muddy fields.

We followed a trail around the edge of Erringdon Moor on the opposite side to where we had come up and I was struggling more and more. I was slipping and making mistakes and getting slower and slower. Steve was flying now dancing over the mud and having to wait for me which is something I don’t like people to have to do. I kept going and soon we were on the final downhill. This was really tricky for me with loose rock and tree roots ready to trip me up, so I was extra careful as I didn’t want to fall and injury myself so close to the finish. At last we hit tarmac and I could run confidently again knowing my chances of falling were greatly reduced.

It had been a great run along a new route with stunning views across the Calder Valley and I had learnt to never assume you are going where you think you are because quite often you might not be. It was still worth it though for the experience and knowing that a couple of days rest would benefit my legs and I would come back stronger and better than before.

Last Friday I did one of my more extreme runs, a run up to Alcomden Stones on the moor above Top Withens near Haworth. This was a planned run as I had checked the weather forecast and knew that heavy snow was forecast. With Alcomden Stones being high up and exposed I guessed that this would be my last chance to see them covered in snow for a while as spring and warmer temperatures come closer. I wasn’t sure how much snow there would be but looking out of my back window there was a decent covering so I assumed there would be a bit up on the tops.
On the drive up to Penistone Country Park I could see the snowline on the moors and knew I had made the right decision in going for a run. For me there is something special about running in snow that other weather conditions don’t have. I think it’s the fact that we don’t get snow very often and the way it changes the landscape and what you thought you knew makes it so special to run in. Clag (fog) is my next favourite as again everything changes and takes on a new perspective when you can’t see very far in front of you.
I parked up and knew that this was going to be a very different snow run to the day before when it was bright sunshine and stunning views for miles. The wind was blowing hard and visibility was limited even at Penistone. The top of the moor was obscured in a snowstorm but this didn’t put me off as this area is one I know really well and I was confident of my ability to navigate in bad conditions and be able to keep going if the weather worsened.
Soon I was running along the trail and through ice cold water. It’s a shock for a couple of seconds and then you get used to it. You have no choice but to if you want to run off road in winter. On the trail that leads to the Bronte waterfalls the snow was falling heavier and I still couldn’t see Top Withens as I can on a clear day. I was running well but being careful as the path was wet and ice could be concealed anywhere. The thought of falling and injuring myself wasn’t a very appealing one. I knew that if I did it could be a long time before I was rescued, and the cold conditions would make things worse. I had packed my emergency sleeping bag just in case.
I stopped at the Bronte waterfalls and bridge to take some photos. The waterfall was in full flow which doesn’t happen very often, and the bridge was glistening wet even in the gloomy conditions of the snowstorm. Over the bridge and up the hill to the path at the top of the moor that takes you to Top Withens. At the end of the path I could finally see Top Withens coming into view. It was hidden in the snowstorm but was beginning to appear from the gloom. I ran along the path as fast as I dared but I was happy with my progress. At the end the final climb loomed into view and I walked up to Top Withens.
Top Withens looked very dramatic in the conditions standing out like a dark monolith against the swirling white backdrop. It took on a sense of foreboding that it doesn’t normally have in better conditions and I knew that this view alone was worth coming for as it’s not a view very many people get to see. I took some photos of the house before I set off climbing again to my destination, Alcomden Stone high up on the moor.
The trail to Alcomden Stones was just visible and I began my climb to the top of the moor in deep snow. At the top the moor levels, out and I was able to pick up pace and even run in parts. I was running on memory and hoping that I was going in the right direction. A dark, grey object stood proud of the ground against the snow and I had reached the trig point on the moor. Relived, I could now see the stones a short distance away and I began to run towards them.
The snow on the top was deep. Grip wasn’t a problem but moving fast was because it was deep. I made good progress despite the deep snow and soon I was at the stones and able to take in how different they looked with a layer of snow on them but still looking bleak and black against the white and grey surrounding them. I took some photos of the stones and had a look at the path that takes you down to Ponden Kirk. I know there is a path there, I have run it in the past, but today I could see a start and an end but nothing inbetween apart from snow covered heather. I decided it would be too dangerous to try and run across this today as one wrong step and I could be knee deep in freezing cold water and a sprained ankle or worse.
I turned around and started my run back to Penistone Country Park. The weather had noticeably worsened by now. The wind had picked up and tore my jacket hood off my head. I carried on with droplets of ice hitting my face and head. My footprints had already been covered by snow and I was again running on memory and instinct. I made it to the trig point without any problems but then I started on the right path back to Top Withens and then convinced myself I was going the wrong way and went back to the trig point only to realise I had been going the right way in the first place.
I carried on this path and soon I could see the tops of the two trees next to Top Withens and I knew I was safe and off the top of the moor. At the house I could see the weather was changing for the better and snow was already disappearing in the short time I had last been here. The rest of the run back to Penistone was nice but uneventful. I kept a steady pace watching out for any ice and soon I could see Penistone and knew my warm car was there waiting for me.
It had been a short, exhilarating experience. I had never run in a snowstorm as bad as this or in one where I was so exposed to potential danger. I carried an emergency sleeping bag and had the What Three Words app on my phone, but the element of danger is still there and had I fallen and injured myself anything could have happened. It was worth it for me though to see the moors in their most savage and brutal beauty.

Last night, was the Calder Valley Fell Runners night score event where you run around the Calder Valley looking for markers in the dark. I’ve only done one of these events before the winter score and I think I created some sort of record by covering 8.1 miles and only finding one marker and I only found that because someone told me where it was! I decided not to do another score event as while I can run around the Calder Valley all day long, I don’t always know where I’m going or where I’ve been. So why did I do the night score event? Well I sort of got talked into it and found myself at Mytholmroyd Community Centre wondering how lost I would get. This time I had a partner, Sue who knows the Calder Valley very well, so I had more confidence than I did at the winter score event.

The drive over from Oxenhope to Mytholmroyd was stunning. The sky was grey and filled with snow. Large snowflakes swirled about in the air and the moors were half covered in snow making them look like a setting for a Bronte novel. It was very romantic, beautiful and dangerous at the same time and I very nearly pulled over at the top of the climb to run over Wadsworth Moor but carried on down into Hebden Bridge and on to Mytholmroyd. At gathered at Mytholmroyd Community Centre and I looked around at the other runners who had turned up. Everybody else looked to be far faster and more knowledgeable of the area than me so it was a great relief when Sue turned up with her friend Mand. At least I was with two people who had a far better idea of where we were going, and we had a chance of finding at a couple of the twenty controls that had been placed on the 9 mile or so route. We had a brief discussion as to where we would start and the direction we would go in or rather I agreed with Sue and Mand as I had no idea where to go!

We crossed over the road and headed along the canal in the direction of Luddenden Foot and before I knew it we had crossed back over the road and were running through a very wet and muddy field alongside the bank of the Calder river before going back up to the main road and heading towards the start of the Hebden. Everyone on a score event can go in whatever direction and route they want and during the night we kept seeing headtorches all around the area as our follow competitors searched vainly for the controls. By this point we had found two controls, and this doubled the amount I had found on my own at the winter score event, so I was already feeling satisfied with my performance. We kept going on the trail back towards Mytholmroyd with Sue and Mand discussing route choices and then asking me what I thought. The fact that I had no idea where we were on the map and didn’t have a clue where we were on the ground didn’t seem to deter them from asking me questions about which direction, we should go in.

I just agreed with everything they said and followed them around all night.
From the trail that leads to the start of the Hebden we got onto the end of the Hebden and after finding another control we were climbing up to Scout Road and the next part of our mini adventure. At the top of Scout Road, we almost went wrong in following the Hebden route again until I noticed a stile, looked at my map and asked whether we should be going up there? The ladies both agreed with me and I felt a sense of satisfaction in that I had been able to read the map and find the route! At least I had made some small contribution to the event!
We headed across some muddy fields towards Scout Rock and into Scout Woods. I was extremely grateful to be with two ladies who knew the area and could read a map. Without them there’s every chance I would still be up there wandering around now. We headed down a steep and slippery packhorse trail that I really struggled on. I’m not very confident on downhills in daylight and the lower visibility at night made it ten times worse. I had made a wrong shoe choice too something every runner has done at least once. I wore my Roclite 275s when my Mudclaw 300s would have been a better choice given the conditions, but it was my choice and I had to live with it.

At the bottom of the descent it finally flattened out and I could pick up speed again. We had collected a decent amount of controls and met some other runners as we headed through an industrial estate and back toward the community centre. On tarmac I was able to open up my legs and get some pace into my run. It’s good to stretch your legs. At the community centre we were delighted to find we had collected nine controls and weren’t bottom. This was due to Sue’s local knowledge and Mand’s ability to read a map and had nothing to do with my ability to run around like a headless chicken hoping that I find somewhere that has some vague form of life. We had worked as a good team and our reward was we were declared first mixed team back and we each won two small Kit Kats as prizes.

The drive home was more eventful than the drive over. I went the same route and was soon in a snowstorm as I climbed out of Hebden Bridge and up to the top of the moors. The road was covered in snow and there were a few moments where I thought I was going to lose it, but I kept calm and got down the other side in one piece. At home I had a celebratory gin and tonic to round off a good nights running in the Calder Valley with friends.

Sunday was the Tour of Midgely moor fell race, finally! I say finally because I had done a recce of it on the Wednesday, but we didn’t do the right route, so I went out again on Saturday, the day before to recce the route and help with putting flags out. I was looking forward to the race and it was a relief for it finally to be race day. The night before had been hard. Even though I had done a recce of the route hors before the nerves still set in and I was wracked with anxiety about the race. Would I get lost? Would I have enough energy left to do the race? All these thoughts raced through my mind but I’m very lucky in that I have some very understanding and supportive friends and one of them had a chat with me about it and I was able to get a good night’s sleep.

I woke on time and soon I was setting off to Booth Cricket club near Midgely for the race. I arrived at Booth just in time to get one of the last spaces in the small carpark and proceeded to registration and then a chat with friends. The weather was overcast and light rain, it was better than it had been the day before as the wind had dropped. Soon it was time for the start of the race and around 130 runners gathered at the bottom of a muddy field all staring up at the climb before them ready for the off.

And then we were off! Everyone tearing up the hill as fast as they could. Well for a bit. It’s a steep climb so quite soon we were walking and with the stiles to negotiate there was the inevitable queues too, so we had time to catch our breath before we were over them and off running again. To my surprise I felt good on the hill and found myself running through a quagmire that was freezing cold and seeped into my shoes soaking my feet.

On the moor it was even worse. The heavy rain the night before had saturated the ground and in parts there was no avoiding the large puddles of freezing cold water. My feet turned into two blocks of ice and I just about managed to maintain some feeling in them. I’ve been here before, but it doesn’t make it any easier, but it is a part of fellrunning in the winter, so you must go with it. To make things worse the wind had picked up considerably and the rain had turned to hail. Maybe this helped me as I didn’t feel tired and concentrated on staying on my feet as I battled the wind. I was even passing people at this point which gave me a boost.

I went through checkpoint 1 at Crow Hill and carried onto checkpoint 2 at Sheepstones. The run along Sheepstones ridge was really tough with the wind, rain and hail. This was my fourth run on this ridge in two weeks and everyone has been in high winds. I swear I’m going to get blown off Sheepstones ridge one day! Thankfully the descent started into the middle of the moor and there was a welcome change in the weather. It seemed to go from wind, hail and rain to pleasant sunshine in no time and once again I could concentrate on choosing the best lines rather than trying to stay upright.

After a short run across the moor I was at checkpoint 3 and a tricky descent down to Luddenden Valley. This was made harder by two runners in front of me holding me up. I couldn’t get past them because it was too narrow, and it wasn’t until we got to the field and open ground that I was able to put a sprint on and get past them. Checkpoint 4 is on Wood Lane at the bottom of the descent and after a very short sprint it’s back up the hill and back onto the moor. This is a steep climb and it really takes it out of your legs, especially when the ground it wet and muddy.

At the top of the climb is checkpoint 5 and it’s here that runners go off in different directions. I chose to stick with my plan and go along the wall. This is the route I know, and I was glad I did this as I found myself in my own and able to enjoy running without the pressure of having someone behind me. I felt good too. My legs had held up and I was moving well. I was surprised at how good I felt. There had been a point further back where my legs started aching, but I had run it off and was now going as fast as I could towards checkpoint 6.

At checkpoint 6 you go back over the stile and it’s back down the muddy hill. I sprinted as fast as I could here. There were some runners just in front of me and I thought I could catch one if I went for it. On the final descent to the finish I did catch someone! I’m not sure if he had slowed down too much thinking no-one was behind him or he was tired, but I went as fast as I could and caught him just before the finish line. I was really pleased to finish this tough little fell race in style.

It took me a while to get my breath back and longer for my feet to thaw out, but I was happy with my run. This was my best run for a while. After doing the recce the day before I surprised myself at how much I had left in me and how I didn’t give up. I finished in around 1 hour 20 minutes in 108th place. I could have gone faster if I hadn’t been held up and I’m going to learn the shortcuts for next year so I can go that bit faster. It’s a tough little fell race the Tour of Midgely moor and it’s easy to get lost if you’re not following someone and don’t know the route but I can only recommend it as a good test of your running. At the end I was happy to be able to text my friend who had listened to me and tell them I was happy with my run and thank them for their support.

I like to write about my running the day after as this gives me time to reflect and think about what has and sometimes has not happened.

Yesterday was one of those times when reflection has proved valuable. I was going to run yesterday morning, helping with my club Calder Valley Fell Runners on their weekly Resolution runs. These runs are an introduction to fell running and are for people who have some experience of running but want to try fell running. They have proved popular and plenty of people have experienced what life on the fells can be like.

I woke up and felt rough. I was tired, exhausted, coming down with a cold and my left ankle and right knee were aching as they have been for a while now. With storm Dennis approaching I had to make a decision, do I go out feeling far from 100% and risk further injury and being a burden on the other runners?

I struggled to get to the toilet so took the decision to stay in bed and rest. It would have been foolish to go out driving and running feeling as I did. Today I feel a lot better, the rest has done me good. I’m not as tired and my ankle and knee aren’t aching quite as much so it seems that the rest has done me good.

I messaged my fellow run leaders at CVFR to let them know I wouldn’t be running and they were understanding and supportive as they always are. Sometimes it best to not do something whether it’s running or something else however hard that decision may be. You may feel that you’re letting people down but you’re not. You may be helping them by reducing the burden on them and you will be doing yourself a favour too by resting and hopefully feeling better for it.