Thursday, March 31, 2011

Saurday 2nd April

YJ and I will be UTUPing, but plan to do a long road run to further my preparation for the Madrid Marathon 15 days later.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Liver Hill

Just three Horwich reps last night at the Marl Pits, for this first evening fell race of the season; Paul Boardman, EYJ and yours truly, and, fairly predictably, that was our finishing order.

No results yet (PS now at  ) but from seeing him as he descended, Paul was probably in the first quarter of the field, EYJ was a good five minutes in front of me and I ran 54 something, about ten places from the back.

It's a curious little race, with a serpentine and undulating start, followed by about 2 miles across flattish, but stile-studded, fields with a bit of a rough climb at the turn, which in the fading light could pass for open fell. Time is lost on the run out, making way for the descending early runners at the stiles, but for us at the tail end of the field, the way was clear on our descent.

Ex-Harrier Danny Hope was in second place half way down the descent, so it will be interesting to see how he finished when the results are published. Jan Atkins finished a minute or two in front of me and was expressing an interest in our 70at70; her clubmate had been on your blog, John, and there were a few Lostock lads there that EYJ seemed to know.

A cream egg for each finisher and scruffy but very effective showers in the clubhouse, with the water just the right temperature.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Post Race Musings

No official results as yet, but to continue the stats theme here are mine from Sunday's race. YJ had very kindly sent me some of his stats from his Edale race in 2000 so that I'd have something to extrapolate for some timings for my race. I hope he won't mind me reproducing them for comparison. In YJ's race, he reached the half-way point (Mam Nick) in 2hrs4mins. I decided to add 5 mins for each split which would get me there in 2hrs24mins, a good 5mins inside the cut off time.

So armed with this information I knew what time I needed to hit each summit. I had 4 mins in hand at Win Hill and 7 mins ahead of schedule by Lose Hill, so was fairly confident of making the cut. So in the end 16 mins clear, which meant I could enjoy a leisurely cup of orange squash to celebrate.

In my calculations I'd added a further 5mins for each section in the second half to gain a 'best possible' finish time of about 5hrs or a more realistic 10mins a section to get about 5:20-5:30 finish time. In the terms of 'best laid plans' and all that here's what happened on the Edale Skyline (times taken between CPs)

TF -Ringing Roger 18 mins YJ - Ringing Roger 16:52

TF -Win Hill 51mins YJ - Win Hill 46:41

TF - Lose Hill 38mins YJ - Lose Hill 36:01

TF - Mam Nick 27mins YJ - Mam Nick 25:07

At cut off (2hrs30mins) TF 2:14 YJ 2:04:41

TF - Brown Knoll 46mins YJ Brown Knoll 40:35

TF - Grindslow 45mins YJ Grindslow 47:54

TF - Ringing Roger 31mins YJ Ringing Roger 31:01

TF - Finish 10 mins YJ Finish 13:55

At Finish TF 4:25:26 YJ 4:17:23

Upping the pace

If anyone thought Saturday's outing was a bit pacy the stats for the last few weeks will confirm their impressions.

The numbers relating to my extended run show a distance of 21.31 miles in 4hrs. 38mins 43secs at a pace of 13mins 05secs per mile with a total climb of 3,363ft.

Pace for the previous Saturday outings were 13mins 35secs for 32 miles (Hobble); 13mins 23secs (21 miles); 11mins 56secs (South Downs); and 12mins 37secs (Amble). These figures compare with an average for our January outings of well over 14 mins. So last Saturday was pacy. But not as fast as TF's outing on the Edale Skyline which I calculate as 12mins 38secs per mile. Well done TF, your time had me hurriedly checking my records.

Stop Press!

Checked the start time for tomorrow's Liver Hill Race, it's quarter to 7, not quarter past.

EYJ and I are doing a Foxholes session this evening at 6:45, all welcome.

I'm sure we're all nearly as pleased as TF obviously is to have given the Edale Skyline Race a good seeing to. Well done TF,  you earned that one!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Edale Skyline 21m/4500ft Sun 27th March 2011

Finish time 04:25:26 (231st, winner 2hrs36mins)

When I'm back down off cloud 9 and can make any sense of my split times, I'll post a more detailed report.

Yours in shock

Pennine Way recce/Lakes training runs

In my build-up to the PW challenge on May 28th I am hoping to do some extra runs either as a Pennine Way recce or in the Lakes and would welcome some company. You can see the dates that are available here:-

APR 2 Road training for EtU’s Madrid marathon
APR 3 Recovery day

APR 9 Coniston 14
APR 10 Recovery day

APR 16 Free for Pennine Way recce/Lakes training run
APR 17 Free for Pennine Way recce/Lakes training run

APR 22 Free for Pennine Way recce/Lakes training run
APR 23 Scafell Pike/Rivington Pike race
APR 24 Free for Pennine Way recce/Lakes training run
APR 25 Free for Pennine Way recce/Lakes training run

APR 30 Barbondale round
MAY 1 Recovery day

MAY 7 Free for Pennine Way recce/Lakes training run
MAY 8 Free for Pennine Way recce/Lakes training run

MAY 14 Free for Pennine Way recce/Lakes training run
MAY 15
Free for Pennine Way recce/Lakes training run

MAY 21 Easy run UTUP
MAY 22 Resting


I am available most Monday’s, Tuesday’s and Friday’s for extra Pennine Way recce/Lakes training runs.


Open to offers regarding route but prefer initially to tackle the first leg of the Joss Naylor traverse from Pooley Bridge to Rampsgill head, returning via Mardale, a distance of about 20 miles.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Saturday 26th March

I will be UTUPing tomorrow, following a warm-up lap starting from the main drive at 0710.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

We're Already Doing It!

…forgot to mention!

So excited to be back out on our local hills on Tues evening, I forgot to mention how fantastic the Lakeland Four Passes event was on Saturday.   Gorgeous weather, as you all enjoyed on your outings, superb organisation and a classic route, which some of you will remember from it’s earlier format when run by the YHA Borrowdale.

Anyway, some pics here, which I think capture the day.  Hope to be out on Saturday.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

First Outing of the Season

Spring really feels like it’s sprung.  SN and I met up at 5.30pm at Wilderswood for the first Tues evening outing of the season last night (Tues) and what a great night to be out.  Very busy with cyclists, runners, walkers.  Great sky, we managed 5.6m and got back to the cars just as the light went completely. 

Route – track up to water station, across to road over to quarries, burnt edge, over to stream crossing and along to green road to mast, trig point, straight down to Belmont Rd/Georges Lane, Pike, Georges Lane to WW car park.

Winter Hill 011

Winter Hill 010

Winter Hill 012

Winter Hill 014

Winter Hill 016

Winter Hill 017

Welsh mountains clear as a bell from Rivington Pike.

We intend to meet at 5.30 for next few weeks as EtU has signalled his intention to maintain track attendance for marathon purposes.  After that the time will revert to 5.45pm as per last year.   Feel free to join us if you’re around.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy Days Are Here Again...

...or rather light nights are here again.

As you all know, the clocks spring forward in the early hours of the morning of Sunday 27th March.

This means that we can get out on the fells again in the evenings, work and other commitments permitting. Dates worth considering are Tuesday 29th March, when the first evening race of the year in the FRA calendar is Liver Hill from the Rawtenstall Marl Pits, with a 6:45 start.

Then on the 31st we could have the first Thursday wfdbwgua UTUP massed start of the year from Horwich Stocks at 6:30 ... anybody?

There could also be a resurrection of the Tuesday evening fell session (reps or roaming), but I'll be giving this a miss in favour of the track until after Madrid.

Any takers?

Monday, March 21, 2011

YJ and BiL Put the Pressure on Me for Snowdonia!

For those  not acquainted with the Swift family tree, the over 60 winner is the OSH's brother!

Last Saturday and a Week next Friday

Just me at the barn again, then up to Two Lads to meet EYJ. Apparently he runs hard to the meeting point, uses our run as a recovery period (cheeky so-and-so) and then runs hard home again. We cruised around Winter Hill, taking in Burnt Edge, almost to the Cigarette Tunnel, Smithills Res, Winter Hill Trig and down the Ramp. John left for home and I returned via Belmont and Hordern Stoops.

A fine bright morning, I clocked a good 12 and John 15.

In the absence of any firm "regrets" I've booked the Thatch/Cherry Tree for Friday 1st April.
Weekend roundup for TF

Saturday - Part I -Parked up at Ribblehead and caught the 10:49 train back to Horton. Set off on the 3P route as far as right turn for Pen-y-Ghent, 25mins steady pace. Turned left and followed 3P route to Ribblehead, 1hr 10mins for this section. This included a short section of walking & chatting to a bloke with a dog called Dillon, he was also doing 3P route that day but was aiming to do it all. Back to the car for a spot of lunch (soup & 2 pitta breads) and then set off for
Saturday - Part II - followed the permitted training route to gain summit of Whernside. Back onto 3P's race route to the bottom of the fell and then back to the viaduct, Dillon and his owner had nearly caught me up by this point. Not sure I'm going to like that descent if I'm under time pressure to make the cut-off, so need to go back for one or two more recces just to make sure. Part II was at a lot gentler pace (mindful of my race the following day) but managed to be back at the car in 2hrs.

So a useful day out gaining critical pace info, especially the tarmac section.

Sunday -Part I - Dark and White Mini Mountain Marathon - Chaple-en-le Frith.
Some more running around areas I'd not been to before. Improved a place this time in my age category by finishing 3rd, but dropped a few overall by finishing 72/120 this time. I scored less points, 195 as compared to 213 on the first event, maybe I was playing it a bit too safe as I returned with 10 mins to spare. But better that than lose the lot by being over ambitious
Sunday - Part II - Following a relax in the sauna & steam room at the DL gym, a couple of hours strolling round John Lewis admiring the new seasons collections.


Might be up for brief utups this week. I've got Edale Skyline on Sunday so will be taking it easy, definitely no reps!


Friday, March 18, 2011

I'm doing a recce of part of 3 peaks route tomorrow so not out for utup. Depending on how much I get done will influence whether I need a further weekend trip 1st/2nd April. Could affect my availabity for soltice do.                                                                                                                                                    TF  

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Change of plan, can't make the UTUP this evening.

This and That

Great run out at the Hobble last Saturday, although I didn't think that at 5.00am.  The only thing that got me there was the alternative prospect of having to help my sister with a day of domestic chores in preparation for nephew's 21st party.   I think everyone said it all, plenty craic all the way round with the five of us to-ing and fro-ing.  One highlight was stalking T'Y before he cottoned on, and then leaving him on the descent from Stoodley - as he says, big difference from last year with all his training for the Pyrenees.  No doubt this will be remedied at the end of your course T'Y.

Not out Saturday, looking forward to the classic Lakeland Four Passes event which has been resurrected for the first time for many years.

We're OK for Solstice Supper on 1st April.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Saturday 19th March

I won't be UTUPing on Saturday as I shall be in Fleet for the pre-London Half Marathon but fully intend to be back with the squad the following week.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Last Saturday and This Week

Just me at the Barn on Saturday, whence I ran to Two Lads to meet EYJ.  We proceded to the TP where we agreed that it didn't seem the same without it's main fan. Then down the road to Walker Fold Rd, left towards Belmont and then back onto the fell after the rifle range, then the wall route up to the top of the ramp, where we parted company.

John reckoned he'd clock up 15 miles by the time he got home, and I was disappointed to find that I'd only done 11 and a bit.

Not now UTUPing Thursday 17th, but on for Saturday 19th.


The race site now lists accepted entries and these include TF (no. 31) and yours truly (no. 111). There is a scattering of other Horwich entries including Suzanne, who must have been sharp off the mark as she's no. 1!

As of today only 222 entries are shown and with a limit of 500 to be applied it looks like there's still time to enter; although it's not clear just when the list was updated.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Vernal Equinox Do

How does Friday 1st April sound?
Haworth Hobble/Wuthering Hike

Congratulations to the gang for putting up with the Novice Hobbler. I did warn everyone that I wasn't sure what would happen after 22m, as that was the furthest I done in one go on an off-road route.

Having handed over the navigating responsibilities to YJ, I just had to relax and soak up the atmosphere. With the added bonus of being able to stuff my face for over 7hrs. I reckoned I'd have about 5200kcal to play with, using some basic sums to calculate my daily allowance with a base of 2000kcal + 100kcal / mile.

So I went for it. The day kicked off at 5.00am with a bowl of porridge. Arrival at registration just after 7.00am and 4 biscuits. CP1 snaffled the biggest bit of shortbread before YJ. CP3 Shortbread again. CP4 hot dog sausage (for the salt) and hotcross bun. CP5 Jelly babies and Shortbread again, declined offer of tot of whisky. Last CP jam doughnut. Post race refreshment was a bowl of pasta and vegetables and a selection of buns/cakes. I also made light inroads into the bag of dried fruit I was carrying in my rucksack pocket.

I was one ounce heavier on Sunday morning than Saturday. I'm blaming that on the 2 Ibuprofen I had at Stoodley Pike taken in preparation for the last 10 miles. Definitely tipped the balance!

Will I be back? Of course, other plans permitting. Having been expertly led and encouraged round the route by YJ without putting a foot wrong, I'm confident I could manage it again. I would say that having done the Hobble now, if you like this race then you have to do the 'Hebden'. It serves as a good warm-up and has the added bonus of a proper flushing toilet at the halfway point. The post race refreshment this year included mulled wine and waitress service, always a bonus when you've seized up!

70at70 blog

My blog relating to the 70at70-ish Pennine Way run on May 28th is now up and running although it no doubt requires a little refinement and a few photographs, which can hopefully be sorted out. At the moment its content is limited but I hope to have weekly updates on how training is going and an introduction to members of the support team. To this end it would help if supporters could email me a potted running biography and picture for inclusion.

Any matters relating to support on the day will probably be best dealt with on this blog. Meanwhile I would appreciate any help in publicising my blog address and the site where donations can be made as widely as possible.

Howarth Hobble

As preparation for the Pennine Way run the Howarth Hobble/Wuthering Hike fell race produced more questions than it answered. Teamed with TF the plan was to have a nice easy day out that hopefully would produce a time slightly better than last year when the other half of the team was NLN.

The team of two had already been expanded to three by prior consent with the inclusion of NLN and as the event progressed the group swelled to five with the addition of Paul M and Geraldine W and briefly to six when we caught T'Y.

The early pace was edging ahead of 2010 and by 20 miles we were 4 minutes in front in spite of taking the climb out of Calderdale at walking pace. A pattern was emerging where TF and I were taking our pace from the other three, myself losing ground on the descents and making up the loss on the next climb. By Hardcastle Crags (25miles) the gap between last year and this had opened to 11 minutes and by the finish to 27 minutes largely due to a 12 minute improvement over the last three miles.

The question is whether the conservation of energy on the slower walk on the climb from Hardcastle Crags was responsible for the faster descent to Howarth or whether there was more energy in the first place. The answer is probably a combination of the two and a similar strategy on May 28th may well be the outcome.

To finish strongly certainly makes for a more enjoyable event and I shall definitely avoid destroying myself on the climbs when the big day comes.

To my Hobble partner congratulations on her first Ultra event. She never flagged and looked good enough for a second lap at the finish. She would have had an impressive time without me holding her back.

Stats for the event were 31.87 miles; total time 7.12.49; average pace 13.35; total climb 5,637 ft.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Why oh why?

Do I turn up to do a 33 mile race after no more than ten milers since last June?
Aching today, but it could have been much worse if the weather had been bad. Had planned to retire at Heptonstall, having forgotten it was no longer a checkpoint but luckily the ibuprofen started to work from there so managed to recover a bit of lost time and avoided a PW (by 27 minutes in the end). But whereas last year 6:50 was a doddle with a very gentle first 10 miles, this year's 7:30 was hard. Suppose I can take comfort that it's as fast as my debut - 23 years ago.
I should have held back early on with the rest of the team but seemed to got drawn along. Stopped at Top Withins but no sight of anyone so kept going. Started to suffer on the Calderdale Way and by the descent to the Tod road was in agony. The climb up to Stoodley with the rest of you was enjoyable and would have probably gone quicker but by the time I was descending was becoming very disgruntled and seriously contemplating retirement - just couldn't get running. Having run all the way up to Heptonstall and the option of retirement removed, I seemed to pick up a bit and decided I may as well keep going at Hardcastle Crags. Was able to run most of the rest of the route and finish 18 minutes behind the rest of the group.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

M70 Masters

Congratulations to EYJ on his success in the Long Mynd Valleys Race. Now, not only have we got a master on the roads in YJ but also a master on the fells. Pretty soon, anyone wanting to join the group will have to fill in an application form detailing their achievements, and be interviewed by a panel which will have to include YJ and EYJ. What an elite group!

This Week

Planning to UTUP on Thursay 10th, work permitting, for the dreaded monthly reps; we'll be short of at least one regular due to that prospect.  We'll have the choice of either doing our own thing, or joining the Harriers' session, what do you reckon, TF?

UTUPing on Saturday, but, in the pursuit of miles, will probably run from home, so may be even slower than usual.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Saturday 5th March

Saturday's outing saw EtU, NLN SN and myself heading out to 2 Lads to meet EYJ who stayed with us briefly before heading off to rest up for Sunday's championship race while we continued to the mast and then to Belmont.

Undaunted by the barricades across the dam access road EtU's strength and perseverance created a gap for us to squeeze through (under) and after pausing briefly to admire the standard of the new stonework we took the track through Dog Bucket Farm and on to Hollinshead Hall, Piccadilly and Great Hill where the squad split up EtU and SN returning via Spittlers leaving NLN and myself to take the Amble route back to Rivington.

EtU and SN had done about 13 miles, NLN 15 and myself 21 having done a warm up lap earlier.

My stats for the day were 21.36 miles in 4hrs 45mins 25secs (13.22 mins per mile) with an elevation of 3750ft.

Hi, Ho, Silver Shining...

Probably a bit too early in the season to be clearing a space in the trophy cabinet, but our youngest John finished in silver medal position in the Long Mynd Valleys Race, the first of this year's English champion races.

No first hand account as yet, but full results at indicate that he came in as second over 70 in a time of 2:45, behind his category winner, Peter Covey of Bingley.

Other names to spot are John's assistant coach Peter Ramsdale, who took a nasty fall but got up again to finish, and Mary White and her sister Margaret Huyton.

Well done that man!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Black Combe 8m/3400ft Sat 5th March

Well chuffed with the result for this one. A dry week prior to the race helped me achieve a sub 2hr finish. A bit of mist on top of Black Combe, but all nice and springy and no boggy bits to speak of on the top circuit round to White Combe. Thought I could get close to 2 hrs, but in the end absolutely 'nailed' it with 1:52:27.

A quicker time than Noonstone, when all around were doing slower than the week before. I'm sure it must have something to do with the % leg length that sinks into the peat bog. Being 50% in, must have a more detrimental effect on your race time than being 25% in.

Await the split time results with interest, but for now have to make do with the straightforward results

New Chew 'O' Sun 6th March

Choice on this one was 4.5hrs Score Event, 3.5hrs Score Event, and a Scoreless event (find designated controls, no time limit)

I entered the sensible option of 3.5hrs Score, given the fact that I knew I was racing the day before. Albert S and Mark Sammon (paired) opted for 4.5hrs and Tony V and Paul Murray (paired) opted for the Scoreless. Controls had different values, furthest away from start had the highest points, being back late incurred penalties of three points per minute.

At the end of the day we all left with prizes for various reasons. Mostly alcohol, and something to drink it out of. So a definite result for the all the Bolton/Horwich contingent. Some minor quibbles about not being able to spot controls at twenty paces and time keeping but all in all a tough but satisfying event.

Will we be back next year? Jury's out on that one! Results available for perusal on Saddleworth's website here

(tab keys at bottom of excel page to bring up the results of the separate races)

I'll be out for a utup on Thursday this week. I notice that an official 'whistleblower' will be available on Foxholes from 6.30pm (see Horwich website). Will we be making use of this service?


Friday, March 04, 2011


Planning on UTUP tomorrow - Saturday

Thursday, March 03, 2011

This Week

Planning to UTUP today (Thursday) and Saturday.