This weekend has been another amazing adventure, and something of a novelty for me. I took part (along with colleagues from the shop) in the ‘12 labours of Hercules‘, an event organised by Beyond Marathon. From a central location (the magnificent Losehill Hall), competitors tackled 12 ‘out and back’ legs of a 78 mile ultra distance race. Every time we left the venue, we had to reach a different destination – ranging in distance between 0.5 and 6miles away. The return journeys therefore ranged from 1 to 12 miles respectively.
Stu and Debs joined me from the Store, while Colin Papworth from Holywell Health made us a confident four.
We poured over the route description, released at the last minute – then Colin and myself readied ourselves for the beginning of the race. There was a 24hr window for all teams, pairs and solo participants to complete the entire 78 mile course. Debs and Stu were going to come and join us later, after a full day at the store.
We did alright, let me tell you. I rattled away first thing on a 2 miler – into Peak Cavern for some authentic cave water (many of the checkpoints featured tasks or ‘Labours’ for us to complete).
Colin then attacked a 3 mile clamber across Lose hill and fetched back a small plastic cow for proof he’d been. I flung myself to the top of Pindale and back for a 4 mile stage, but arrived back at base so early that Colin’s next checkpoint wasn’t open yet – so I immediately flew out again to Edale Village and back via Hollins Cross (6miles). So far – so good.
Since I’d double up, Colin agreed to do his 1 and 8 milers in the same way, affording me a nice little break with my tub of pizza. It was during his 8 mile stint that the announcement was made, Colin had won the archery competition as part of the 1 mile checkpoint challenge. We were clearly doing very well.
I shared the good news with Colin upon his return, but couldn’t hang around to enjoy it for long. I had a 12 mile round trip to contend with, up to Stanage Edge and back via the gruesome track over Bamford Edge. It wasn’t easy, but I didn’t waste too much time. I’d have been even quicker if I hadn’t had to search some boulders for a piece of string (that wasn’t there!), then fail miserably at a spear throwing contest. It seems Mr. Papworth is our ‘Hunter Gatherer’.
After my 12 – and Colin’s final push to the top of Win Hill and back for another 5 miles, it was over to Debs and Stu (arriving at the exact point Colin returned), and the last few stages. 9 miles from Stu, then an 11 miler by Debs (finishing in the dark). One more each meant Stu racing away across Rushup Edge and back in pitch dark crossed with thick mist for 10 miles, and Debs scooping the final ‘victory’ leg of 7 miles via Bradwell.
Result…….we came first in the Team category! Second quickest overall for completing the entire 78miles and I personally completed the 6 and 12 miles faster than anybody else. Fandabby-double-dozie!
I had a brilliant time, as did everyone there. It was great fun and a brilliant format. It was also a good chance to test out my new Inov-8 kit, so I once again wore the Base Elite 140 SS, with the Race Elite 140 Trail Shorts – as well as the Hot Peak 60 cap. The shirt and shorts are superb. The cap’s a life saver. In the recent heat I haven’t left without the Hot Peak, as it wicks the sweat and keeps the sun and salt from my eyeballs. I can’t be bothered to list all the reasons for choosing Inov-8 clothing right now – but can feel a review coming on, so keep an eye on the magazine for more.
Anyway – for the first time in my life I found myself posing for pictures, having leapt from a satisfying 9th in my recent 10k attempt, to 1st Team this time around (says more about my team mates really). I’m overjoyed and looking forward to whatever my next race brings. No need for a cabinet just yet, but one trophy in the bag. Nice.
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