Dark and White – Event 3 of 3

The final Dark and White Mini Mountain Marathon finally took place after two consecutive postponements due to snow. This was third time lucky; the weather was perfect!

The 3 hour score event (format: navigate to as many controls as possible in 3 hours) was centred around Trentabank Reservoir in Macclesfield Forest. To those who haven’t been to this area, the forest is actually quite small, but it is surrounded by fabulous, barren, open fell – great running territory. Richard and I were hoping for good runs as we were in pole position to win the series (in the mens open/M40 and ladies open categories respectively).

I started the race by heading north up Tegg’s Nose. A fine idea I thought, as I saw 4 controls that easily linked together. On reaching them I was less impressed because each one was located with a significant amount of climb between them and lots of out of bounds to prevent easy routes being chosen. So, the start of the race was rather physical, especially on legs that had only just recovered from marathoning last weekend! After these grunty climbs, my chosen way ahead was slightly less hilly and I made good progress down the western side of the map, encountering snow drifts of at least 1 m in places! I carried on south past Shutlingsloe, and into Wildboarclough. With about 1 hour to go, I hastily made my way north through Oakenclough and eventually back to Ridgegate Reservoir which was only a short sprint to the finish (not that I was sprinting!). I arrived back with about 5 minutes to spare and 280 points. A quick interogation of my age category on the results showed that the highest scoring lady so far had won 230 points! Thankfully no later runners changed these results, so I won! Yay!

Unfortunately Richard’s knee/ankle/hip gave up after about 2 hours, so he arrived home (on time) with 260 points, but we await to find out whether his previous performances and changing age categories will make the top three.

A beautiful day, great running and a really well organised, enjoyable series of races!

Tree planting, a pub crawl, dinner with friends and a mountain marathon

Saturday was ‘Tree o’clock‘ day, a world record attempt to plant the largest number of trees in the UK in a 1 hr period. My friends at work, Jenny and Gemma had organised the planting of 50 free trees provided by the council. So, on Saturday between the hours of 11 and noon, 13 of us planted the 50 trees, which ended with tea and biscuits!

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From tree planting we socialised with Sarah, my sister, she had come to watch the planting and browse in the shop at work.

After lunch with Sarah, we made our way to Ilkeston to meet up with some of my old running club friends. We arrived at Catherine and Tony’s house, pre-pub crawl, and were told that they were going out dressed in “school uniforms”! Within about 5 minutes we were kitted out similarly. As we walked to the first of 5 pubs, we realised that the whole dressing up thing was just something that Tony had decided that morning and that nobody else would be dressed up! Some of our friends appeared to notice, but most just took it in there stride. The point of the pub crawl I think was to drink real ale … I haven’t liked this stuff previously because it’s too bitter, but actually the stuff I had was nice…

At about 6.30, Tony disappeared to put dinner in the oven and after another pub, Richard, Catherine and I made our way home. It was raining, we were all wearing trainers and we had drunk a fair amount, so we ran back to Catherine’s (probably a couple of miles), which was the perfect end to an amusing pub crawl (but probably only something that we would do). Tony had a lovely roast dinner ready on our arrival. 🙂

Sunday was the second Dark and White Mini Mountain Marathon – a 3 hr score (I guess you know what this means by now) from Hayfield. It was raining when we started and during parts of the event, but the views were stunning. We hadn’t been in this area very many times and hence it was interesting to see Kinder from the opposite side. Kinder Downfall looked awesome from the bottom with masses of water flowing over it. I scored equal points to the first lady, although as my time was 4 minutes longer (2hr58 vs. 2hr54), I think I probably came second. Richard was first M40 and 2nd overall. The final race is in January, so 1st place will be my target, as for Richard … he’s still deciding whether to be in the M40 or open class! We retired to the pub and then home. An early night I think.

Thanks to Jen for the pics – sorry we were a bit slack with the camera for the rest of the weekend.

A day for sitting by the fire

When we got into the car this morning it was one of those days where you ran to the door and got in very quickly! The rain was torrential. Unfortunately we’d already paid our entry fee to the first “Dark and White Mini Mountain Marathon” event, so we had to brave the weather and not sit in front of a warm fire all day.

The event centre was Edale Village Hall and the event was a 3 hour score with controls placed around Kinder and the Rushup Edge area. The aim was to find as many of these controls as possible in 3 hours. We set out in pretty torrential rain and wind with Kinder Scout surrounded in cloud. As I made my way up to Grindslow Knoll however occasionally the cloud would lift leaving the sun beaming through into the adjacent valleys and it was spectacular. I often appreciate the views much more on a day like today when you only get to see them momentarily. I continued collecting controls along the edge, visiting Wool Packs (a cool place with amazing stones), Noe Stool and Kinder Low. I then descended past the Swine’s Back and then realised that I had some difficult decisions to make with 1 hour left on the clock. I could take the safe option (time-wise) and head down the valley back to Edale, or I could take the high level option over Horsehill Tor with the descent down Chapel Gate. I decided that I would much rather be late back and have had tried to get round the tops (with high points on offer), than chicken out, be early back and freeze until Richard came back with the key.

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So I set off on the high level route, the ground was pretty rough in places and I wondered a few times whether or not I had made the smart decision. This crossed my mind again when I was nearing the valley floor and realised that the roads leading straight to the events centre were out of bounds and that I had to take detours on footpaths! Nevertheless, I managed to get back only 4 minutes late, which is a good thing according to the Dearden Oracle, who tells me that as there is only 1 point per minute lost for the first 5 minutes of lateness, it is better to be 4 minutes late than to have collected less controls and have been on time, because the 1 point is often worth the same as 5 or 10 because people who aren’t late get score with round numbers.

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It turned out that Richard won the mens (<40) and I won the ladies (<40). This is the last time we’ll manage that!

The tea and biscuits put on by Dark and White were much appreciated and eventually we pulled ourselves away from the nice warm village hall into the car where we devoured two-third of the pear rolypoly that we made with left-over puff pastry the night before. Yum!

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We got back home just in time to watch the Polesworth fireworks, which were excellent considering the size of the village!