Friday, February 26, 2016

White bear way

Would love to recce WBW but as I am planning  to run the Lostock 6 on Sunday this would be unwise. I will be available for a second recce in the next few weeks if anyone else is interested.

I will be UTUPing tomorrow for a couple of hours.

White Bear Way Recce tomorrow

I'm planning a long run tomorrow and thought I'd do the WBW route (21 miles), but starting either from home or at the barn depending on whether anyone wants to join me.

If you fancy it, let me know by the end of the day and I'll meet you at the UTUP. Otherwise, if I'm on my own, I might just have a lie in and run from home.

If you fancy it but don't want to run the whole distance, there are loads of places you can turn back to shorten it.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Amble PW

Apologies for taking so long to add my thoughts on the Amble. Suffice to say I've had a busy week job-hunting, learning new skills through training courses and correcting sloppy reporting in the media. Hopefully the job-hunting effort will bear fruit this week with numerous interviews.

This was the first occasion that my better half and I had both entered an athletics event - I'll not call it a race as it is not, it is a challenge event, but you would be surprised how competitive walkers are in these events. Julie and fellow Macchu Piccu adventurer, Jackie, made their debut on the 16 mile challenge whilst I was on the 24 mile event, with a plan to run in under six hours.
I had run over Winter Hill and up to Darwen Tower on the previous Wednesday, nearly 18 miles at sub 12 minute mile pace so everything looked optimistic for a decent time as the conditions, although cold, represented no barriers to a reasonable performance.
The start as ever was somewhat chaoitic, but at least I wasn't late. It was obvious that numerous walkers were early with some possibly setting off as early as 7.30! I took it reasonably steady early on but by the time we got on the mast road found that I was walking part of it - unusual for me but it did not concern me as I was well ahead of schedule for 6 hours. First checkpoint done and then through the kissing gate to descend towards the San Marino. 200 metres from the gate I came to a halt. My ribs were in pain. I'd felt a bit of discomfort on the the previous Wednesday's run but this just stopped me and I thought my AA may be over. I supect this is a recurrence of the injury at Decathlon two years ago which prevented me starting the Haworth Hobble. I walked a little and had a few abortive attempts at running but thought that I will just have to walk the rest if that is all I can do. After 5 minutes TM (Temporarily Misplaced aka Christa) came whizzing passed me. After 10 minutes I was able to cope with slow paced running.

Chatting with a bloke from Chipping

Having crossed Belmont Road, I found myself chatting to a fellow runner as we followed the route which took us to the east of Belmont before heading for the Strawbury Duck. I didn't know him but he knew me, as he'd been sweeper on the Pendle Cloughs fell race in 2014. I'd been persuaded to do the race by Albert as training for my GRP. My relationship with Pendle is not great and ultimately I retired after running from the previous checkpoint with the sweeper. At least the hours of toil did benefit me in my build-up for the GRP. He also said that he knew Ed and YJ, having supported Ed on his BG (20 years ago?). We ran together for the next 15 minutes. Just after leaving the road near Belmont Reservoir he headed off a bit quicker than me whilst I toiled with the terrain. Navigating the mud, I finally reached and crossed the Bolton to Darwen Road.

The incident

A couple of girls had got in front of me and took the northern side of the gully/beck which heads towards the pylons : I decided the southern track was likely to be a little drier. After about 100 metres I glanced to the left and saw what I first thought was someone delving into their backpack. I then heard shouts the revealed a more serious situation. I crossed the beck and heard "Quick, help, he's dying". I think there was either one or two on the scene with a chap on the floor and I was instructed to take over CPR. There was no pulse, no breathing. We kept going. As other runners reached, we shared out the CPR and after a few seconds (it seemed a lot longer), there were signs of life and he started to breathe. However, it was intermittent and we kept losing him. Eventually, after about 10 minutes, he was breathing continuously but still of great concern. A young lad also arrived on the scene - later an article in the Manchester Evening News appeared which reads as if he single-handedly saved the man's life! He contributed in the same way that half a dozen of us did, but the critical work had been done by the time he arrived. If anyone needs singling out, it was a South African lady who organised us into sharing the workload. I now believe that she was a nurse or at least had a nursing background.
Meanwhile, the emergency services had been contacted (using Michelle Sunter's phone I think) and told we were just off the A666 so odd that Bolton MR went first to Belmont! As well as Michelle and Abigail, YJ and Kev arrived. Kev supplied a bivvy bag which was important in heat retention - I know YJ was feeling the cold. I think adenalin was keeping me warm. Kev headed to the road to aid the emergency services when they arrived. 15 minutes after the incident started (exact times taken from my gpx track), the paramedic arrived so YJ and I decided that we were no longer needed. I recognised the runner as being the guy from Chipping who I had been running with - we were able to see his number which confirmed this - he had also parked just behind us and I knew he was 150 to my 146 from our arrival at the previous checkpoint. One of us thought he said his name was Colin so he probably wondered why we kept calling him Colin when in fact I found it to be Keith (I now also know his surname). Following our departure, we could hear the helicopter arrive and he was airlifted to Wythenshawe Hospital where he is recovering.
Sorry that it is so detailed, but there was much misinformation with the MEN article so the truth needed clarifying.

Back to the event

I ran with a John for awhile but the rib pain returned. At Batridge CP I took some ibuprofen in the hope that the pain would ease off. A mix of walk and gentle run which I now realised would be the formula for the remainder of the day. On Darwen Moor I caught up with Michelle and Abigail. Michelle was walking due to knee problems. Darwen Tower came and went and I was able to run on the ridge heading for Slipper Lowe. I caught up with a group  heading up Great Hill and then at the final bit of ascent caught up with Julie and Jackie, who to their amazement were not last of the 16 mile walkers. After a chat I headed on and finally after White Coppice managed a steady 13 minute pace for the last three and a half miles to finish in 6hrs 45.
Whether I get to the Haworth Hobble will depend on the next couple of weeks. I ran four miles on Wednesday and 5 miles including 5k in 22:57 this morning without rib issues so my next long run will be the decider.
As for YJ's suggestion it was a good day out, I am not so sure. From a running viewpoint, it certainly was not for me, probably not for Ed, and I don't think our friend Keith would want another day like last Saturday.

Monday, February 15, 2016


Better weather than we could have hoped for on the Amble, given all the recent rain, but still some slippery and boggy sections.

The day was somewhat marred for a number of us caught up in the collapse of  one of the runners halfway between Belmont and The Strawbury Duck.  KLM was more involved providing a bivvy bag and legging it back to the road to await the arrival of the ambulance.  Other runners were torn between not wanting to rush off seeming incompassionate and at the same time not wanting to appear as spectators.  When the paramedics arrived and it was obvious we would not be needed we continued the run hoping that the outcome would be positive from the runner's point of view.

Up to that point I was hopeful of getting close to six hours, finding a comfortable pace. I knew that TM was ahead, T'Y just behind and KLM probably racing to catch up after his humanitarian duties.  Catch up he did just after Darwen Tower and then followed some tooing and froing . I was ahead over Great Hill He overtook me by  opting for the quicker quarry route   down to White Coppice,  By this time I was running short of energy and KLM was kind enough to shepherd me to the finish with encouraging words and picking  me up off the ground when I took a second, this time heavier, fall alongside the stream almost within sight of the finish.

We were credited with 6hrs 24mins from which I could deduct about 9 mins for the stoppage giving  me a  faster time than any of the last four years.  Back in the hall TM had been back about an hour and T'Y  followed about 20 mins later with EtU a couple or more hours after that.

For most of us it was good day out.

Muddy Shoes Race Sun 14th Feb 2016

I decided to choose a race with potential for a softer landing this week. I could have done KWL at Barbondale, but thought I'd opt for something closer to home and a bit longer.

The best on offer was the 'Muddy Shoes' race from Calder Vale Village (nr Garstang oppo side of M6). There was an option of 5m or 11m, you were to be given a map and a set of directions and the promise of getting very muddy.

The 11m route came on an A3 size of paper and at the 1:50000 scale. The start was part of the top loop heading in an easterly direction and then heading south to then follow the larger lower loop in an anticlockwise direction.

The numbers on the map refer to the numbers on the page with the written directions

So the first dilemma, which do I use for getting round the route? The black line depicting the route had obliterated most of the detail for the type of path you'd be running on. Was it a walled track, a track, a footpath or just a 'ROW'? Some of the road junctions and crossings weren't that clear either. Most of the other runners appeared to be opting just to have the written descriptions in their hand, little evidence of any maps. 

In the end I folded the map in half, and placed this in my A4 placcy bag with the first part of route visible with the written directions back to back so I could see both. It was going to have to be swapped over when I got to the fold. As an additional safety measure OL41 was put in my rucksack, folded so the section involving the route was evident.

So after all this preparation what happened? Well we all set off and because I was able to keep people in sight and it was well marshaled, I hardly had to refer to my map/directions at all.

It was muddy (as promised), but it was a nice route and made a pleasant change. My reward for finishing was a medal, a hat and pair of gloves, a bottle of water and a big bar of milk chocolate.

Not bad for just over 2hrs effort (?2hrs10 no published results yet).

The same organising team have a similar event on the 6th March from Bamber Bridge with a choice of a 15m or 7m run/walk. I guessing it'll take a similar format. 


Monday, February 08, 2016

Mickleden Straddle Sun 7th Feb (23k/741m)

Thankfully the weather Sheffield way hadn't lived up to it's billing. Wind speeds had settled to a stiff breeze and there was even a glimpse of sunshine. If I got my skates on I'd be back before the rain hit.

New for this year was a cut-off time of 75mins at the first CP. Now that would seem a bit generous for just over 6k, but the closer you get to the CP, the wetter and rougher the path becomes. An added bonus of running into the wind too!

Denby Dale (host club) have taken the course map off their website so in lieu of this I've posted a link to a trace of the route

The route looks like an upside down lollipop. The best and sweetest bit being the bottom loop. The 'stick' being the part that required the most concentration. I think I got my pacing about right to the first CP, leaving about 5 mins to spare. There was still plenty of running after this without starting out with an 'eyeballs out' effort. The loop returned to CP1 as CP5, I passed one runner just after leaving this first CP and then another just after the third and that was it for 17k. I could see other runners in the distance but they seemed too far away to make a serious attempt at trying to catch up and overtake.

A lapse of concentration on the final return leg lead to a damaged TF. Don't think I was the only casualty. I tripped and fell, landing with a small rock right in front of my face, part of which made contact with my front right upper incisor. Thankfully it was only a light tap, but I feared the worse. After stopping to have a feel round with finger and tongue, I was relieved to find it was likely to be just a minimal fracture off the corner of the tooth. But the sharp edge had caught my lower lip and this was bleeding.

I eased off the pace a little in the final couple of miles, primarily to make sure I didn't fall again to inflict further damage and secondly to avoid pumping too much blood out and coming in looking like the Rocky Horror Show.

Back at the car in 3hrs:16, I was able to inspect the damage fully. With most of the blood cleaned off, this was what I found.

With a bit diy with one of these this morning

Image result for soflex discs
The tooth is sorted, but the lip may take a few days yet though. I count myself very fortunate to have got off this lightly, I repair a lot worse on a regular basis on kids coming through the clinic


Sunday, February 07, 2016

Who is ambling?

Next Saturday is the Anglezarke Amble so I wonder who will be turning out for it? I shall be, but will need to set off cautiously, as I have yet to run any distance over 10 miles in recent months. My better half will also be there, walking the 17 mile route. I may get out and do a loop up to Slipper Lowe then back over Great Hill and White Coppice - either this afternoon or tomorrow morning (the company I work for went t!tz up last Tuesday, so I now have more time on my hands).
Looking further ahead, I need to enter t'Hobble (we have already booked accomodation for the Saturday night) and plan to run The Two Crosses Challenge in my build up for the Dorset 100 at the end of May.
TLoB is also talking about the Joss Naylor Challenge, so that is something else to consider. If I end up doing lots of tutoring in addition to returning to full-time work, that may be beyond me. Let's see what the coming weeks bring.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Saturday 6th Feb '16

The Bros plan to Parkrun, rather than UTUP. YJ is returning to Preston and yours truly will be making my third appearance at Haigh Hall.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Witch way to turn?

Settle met Horwich, Chorley and Salford yesterday for a recce of the Stan Bradshaw Round in Pendle Witch country. My friend Katrina (Ed, we need a non de plume for her) travelled down from Settle to meet up with EtU, YJ and the TF. I had recc

ied the route last year but missed the race due to an injury, so another run round was needed to try and refresh my memory.

It was a great day out. there was snow on the top and it was rather moist underfoot in places, but it stayed dry and we even had sunshine! The TF proved that her navigational skills are top notch by taking us round by the shortest possible route. We finished the day by consuming a variety of hot drinks, some dead animals and some premature chickens.

I shall look forward to the race.

What Mandy Did

When our select little band was skipping (?) around the Stan Bradshaw Round route yesterday, I mentioned in my best 'half a story' fashion that I  had seen in Fellrunner that Mandy Goth (one of TF's sparring partners) had done something special, but that I couldn't remember what it was.

Thinking that it was probably something to do with long distance stuff, I re-read the Autumn 2015 copy from page 146 at the back and eventually found it on page 22 - a bit in the style of my outdoor navigational efforts.

Anyway, the article was entitled '21 Ben Ben Nevis Races' and told us that Tod Harrier Mandy had become, on 5th September 2015 the first ever lady to clock up 21 completions, thereby being awarded the Connochie Plaque.

Her achievement was made even more special by the award being made by Kathleen MacPherson (nee Connochie), daughter of the man who inaugurated the plaque, and being herself first ever lady to complete the race, exactly 60 years ago.

Well done - both those ladies!

To Allay Any Confusion That Exists Within the Local Running Community...

...I publish the following photograph:-

The one with the short grey hair and the 'tash holding the glass of beer is TV, the one with the short grey hair and the 'tash holding the glass of beer is YJ and the one with the short grey hair and the 'tash holding the glass of beer is yours truly - but not necessarily in that order. 

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Kinder Trial Sat 30th Jan

I missed last years event due to illness, so was quite looking forward to having another go at the annual 'find the control' on Kinder.

Most years it does tend to be a straightforward choice between clockwise or anticlockwise. As I much prefer the run on the path heading north-east out of the village as opposed to the rocky path up to Edale Cross, the decision this year was an easy one. It proved to be a popular one too, as I had a steady stream of runners with faster legs and later start times come past me, making the whole job of locating the controls infinitely easier. Conditions were windy with the occasional bit of sunshine. I still had to cope with the rocky path from Edale Cross, but at least it was in a downward direction. My route took me to K5 - K2 - K1 - K3 - K4 - K6 - K7 - K8 - K11 - K9 - K12 and K10

At the time of leaving I'd appeared on the results with a time of 3hrs 17mins, way behind the winner who got round in 1hr38, but still respectable enough to have a couple behind me. By the time the official results had been published online the following day, this few had grown rather to my surprise to a hefty number of 20-odd with 2 DNF's. No bad, given that this was my longest outing for a while.

Results can be found at


Monday, February 01, 2016


I plan to be at Barley on Wednesday ready to run at 9 30.

Stan Bradshaw Recce

Still on for weds, start time is now 9:30am. I'll need to have confirmation from anyone who intends to join us by 10pm Tues. There's no mobile signal in Barley village and we'll need to know who to expect.