Some say that Dave Woodhead's races have it all. Anyone who attended this morning's race would be hard pushed to disagree. A huge field of Juniors braved horizontal rain, blown so hard across the top of Pennistone Quarry that it actually hurt. Spurred on by the thought of the goody bag and the chocolate throw out at the prize presentation, they all duly returned from their sojourn across Heathcliffe country each and every one of them covered from head to toe in mud and smiling faces.
Then came the turn of the Seniors. The rain had thankfully abated, and after the unpleasantness of putting on wet mud-laden Walshes, worn in the Junior race by my Ellie, I entered the abyss that is the start of the race. Many Harriers were there, all keen to pick up valuable league points and a curly wurly or two. After waiting for an eternity at the start, with plenty of time to ruminate on last night's preparation (or lack of it), the gladiatorial scramble up the first rise out of the quarry commenced. I had forgotten about the road bit, and it's length, and it's gradual soul-destroying rise, but it all soon came back, along with the thought that this may be the only time I would be able to run, unfettered by mud, reeds, bracken and bits of gorse bush resolutely sticking to my (unusually) naked calves.
We ran up, through extreme mud, and I pinned my hopes on a little house in the distance, wistfully hoping that my in-head sat-nav projection was correct, and that that would indeed be the summit, at which point we would turn and descend. Running uphill into a wind that would have had Beaufort frantically re-doing his calculations my hopes were dashed as I saw a little figure way way above the house on the hill.............curse his speed and high-vis Helle.
Anyway, much much later the summit was reached, and I looked forward to running down, with the wind behind, over firm terrain to the open arms of my family waiting dutifully at the finish. Ha! This is the fells, and they lay in wait with cunningly disguised thigh deep bogs which removed at least 2 shoes from runners in front of me. Survival was the order of the day, route one - obviously taken by the leaders had been abandoned by us back markers who valiantly struggled to forge route two, buoyed by the certainty that seven reeds would support the weight of several runners going full pelt (!).
Then Lo! in the distance - another up. How could that be? At this point I was past caring. League points - pah! I just wanted to get back to the car, and get some coffee. We neared the finish, Dave's words of wisdom - it's your responsibility not to get run over on the road run-in were pushed to the back of my mind by uncharitable thoughts about those runners 'warming down' faster than I was finishing - ok you're good, but don't rub it in, that's just not nice.
The finish came into view, Edward, bless him cheered, Ellie was sensibly sat in the car eating her hard won chocs. It was over................
Or so I thought..........As I was gasping, Pete B came over - 'Sue where were you? And you're doing the 3 peaks!' Hmmmmmmmmm, maybe a bit more training is required.