I am not great at broken sleep and so take our van rather than the offer of the sports hall floor. It is a well attended event with walkers or slower runners off at 6am, runners at 7am and relay teams an hour later. Although we start in the dawn it is fairly well lit for the first few miles and so few bother with head torches.
|Smart shirts Thanks fastrax!|
|Andy and the fast men|
After a short briefing and instruction to use the bridge not the level crossing near the end we were off. A flat start on tarmac cycle tracks and pavements means speed. It is hard not to get dragged along although a quick pit stop in the bushes meant I lost sight of many friends for a while.
By Elsecar I had caught up with Dick and Emma but not Andy or Nick.
The slopes after the railway were slippery and I was glad I had some grip on my shoes. As we entered Wentworth I spotted Nick up ahead and used this to pull me on.
We ran together towards Kepplers Column a huge local monument and then down into Grange Park. I was not hungry or thirsty yet so just grabbed some banana and ran on.
|I ran on after grabbing a piece of banana|
Roche Abbey looked attractive in the afternoon sunshine and I caught and overtook a couple more people. 61km done and turn to the last page of strip maps! The 5km to Maltby passed quite nicely and it is on grass or small paths. At this CP I knew I needed to eat but could not stomach what they had on offer. I knew it was a bad idea but I pushed on anyway.I would have killed for a pizza or meat pie. My climb up through Maltby was pathetic but I managed to pick up once we left the tarmac, plus I spotted Splatcher ahead now. I didn't really feel like it but slurped some gel and water and cracked on. I refused to let Andy pull ahead and tracked him and a distance. It got me through Micklebring and under the M18. Climbing the stiles there was painful but my body was grateful for the sugar of the gel and I caught Andy in the next field. We muttered how tough it was to each other and I tried to push on. I had more gel and slowly reeled in a couple more runners as we crossed the ploughed fields and kale to Firsby Hall farm. The rutted stone track down to Hooton Roberts was not as bad as I remembered and neither was the climb out of the village. I passed Sharon here and knew Old Denaby was not far. A herd of shaggy cows guarded the gate at the top of the lane but luckily they all moved when I slammed the gate and they did not chase me down the field to the last CP. I was now an hour behind last year's time but at least I thought I would finish. I cursed them closing the level crossing and swore at the steps up and down the footbridge. The canal and river paths are good and only 5km to the end. We skirt the edge of Swinton, follow the remains of a bit of canal and then head over open land on good paths and cycle track to the sports centre. The last bit is easy to run as you can see the floodlights on the sports pitches and know the end is close. There is always a small crowd at the finish and a lovely lady finding us bags for muddy shoes and doing waitress service with cups of tea! As I sat and tried to ignore my throbbing achilles Nigel appeared. He had completed his grand slam and so was understandably happy. Then Emma finished so her grand slam was secure too. Well done to the two of them. Andy finished as we were sat chatting and he looked more wrecked than me. I moved indoors for food but then missed the prize giving by going for a very welcome and much needed shower. It was good to chat with Nick and others but I was tired and needed to drive home before I felt too wiped out so I missed Dick. The winning ladies this year were only just over 8 hours so great runs by them.
|Cannot believe how happy I look. Well done Emma. (ta Nigel)|