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A well earned recce

 

Hey.

 

I feel like there’s a race coming on.

More precisely, for all the running I’ve been doing, I thought it ought to be time to enjoy an event somewhere.  It’s been ages.

So I entered something local.  A 20 mile Trail Race called the Hathersage Hurtle.

This last weekend, I decided to go recce the section from start to 6miles (approx), since that looked like the part I was least familiar with.  That’s how recces work.

Here’s how it went.

I packed a few essentials and over dressed in a long sleeved top I’ve used throughout most of the winter.  It was fresh early on Sunday morning, but turned ot pretty mild with blazing sunshine at times, so the hilly start to my run quickly created a few problems for me.

I was killing a few birds, testing the route, some new HOKA shoes (review to follow) and nutrition that might soon appear in-store (yummy goodness).

But the recce was the main focus.  Race is May 21st, so not much time to get a few hilly trails in before taper.

I parked at the Plough Inn just outside of Hathersage village, a stone’s throw from where Race HQ will be on the day.

Click map to enlarge:

My Route – quarter of the race route.

 

 

I had my phone with me, but really couldn’t be bothered to take any pictures, despite using the phone constantly as navigation aid (following a screenshot of someone else’s GPS recce result).

Slowly but surely I negotiated my way across the area, taking note of where the route deviated from my assumptions about where I’d be heading.

It really does pay to approach these things with an open mind and think as if you’d never visited the area (if you have already).

I made slow progress, but got it all right first time.

It was still hard work though.  Up for about 4 miles.  So the long sleeve had outstayed its welcome after around 30 seconds.

I met people and announced “good morning”, to then reflect and acknowledge to myself that it was already well into the afternoon.

I stopped to let Horses past, mainly because I was stuck behind a car doing the same.  I passed a group of elderly walkers who had placed themselves on a high hillside and were admiring what was a pretty awe inspiring view.  That view was of the entire valley and by coincidence, represented the remainder of the race route, so a little daunting.

I had an off road motorbike wizz past me, then appear up ahead, coming in my direction – and having reached a gate first, waited for me to arrive and open the gate for him.  I’m not entirely sure of the etiquette in that situation, but I think it means that he’s a ****ing **** or something?

Anyway, I then got to enjoy a clear 2 mile stretch of downhill trail.  Hard earned, but brilliant fun.  Sharp right, and I was back on a serious, but short lived climb, until levelling and again heading gently downhill into Shatton.  I almost committed to running full tilt, splish/splosh/splash through the ford at the bottom, before realising last minute that there’s a narrow foot bridge to one side.  Ace.

Click Graph to enlarge:

Picking up a few good hints along the way and no errors in navigation (for a change), I then left the race route, in order to return directly to my car and head home.

10 miles of pure pleasure.  It’s been way too long.  I’m really looking forward to the event itself.

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