Thursday, March 31, 2016

Short and Curley's

A new series of three short, 5k, trail races from Curley's restaurant started last night. It wasn't a Horwich race but it was in Horwich and SWINW wanted to do it. Unfortunately she has a just had about 4 weeks off running due to a combination of hurting her back and bad asthma. But she decided to walk/run it, so we filled a car up from Settle and drove down on a sunny but chilly evening. The sun was quite problematic on the downhill start to Wallsuches and also in Wilderswood as it made seeing where you were running quite tricky. It was also muddy in places so I don't know how the many runners in road shoes got on.  The uphill finish was tough but soon over.
I was second of the Settle four, beaten by Jill and followed home by Roisin and Anne, and more amazingly, was 1st V60, my first ever category victory in an open race. It will probably never happen again and probably says more about the quality of the field more than my performance, but I will die a happy man!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Did You Know That Canaries Are Black?

Well, at least parts of them are.

Just back from a week on La Palma, which is an island in its own right, not to be confused with Las Palmas which is the main city on the island of Gran Canaria.

A few snaps:-

Typical mountain terrain, at about 3,000 ft on the flank of Mount Negra.

Looking down into the crater of Volcan San Antonio.

Whilst back at sea level:-

La Palma prides itself on having the most extreme height to surface area ratio of any island in the world. With a high point of 7,959ft on an area of only 273 square miles, that's almost believable - but do Scottish sea stacks not qualify as islands?

By the way, noted that our Salford friend has has treated herself to a personalised number plate, but it would seem that this has been financed by economising on the valeting:-

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Pike Race

One of my ambitions for 2016 is to do as many Horwich races as possible, so yesterday I drove the 50 miles down from Settle along with Anne and my clubmate Richard who I had persuaded to also do the race.
The weather was not as nice as last year but from the runners point of view it turned out to be an unexpected bonus. After the usual pleasantries(??!!) had been exchanged we lined up on Lever Park Avenue read for the off. t'Y set off next to me but quickly dropped me before we reached the school. However, as soon as it ramped up I started passing people, partly thanks to being able to train on the steeper hills at home and partly because I was being blown by the wind. I got to the top in just under 17 mins and didn't lose any places on the steep part of the descent. But as soon as the upper quarry was passed my lack of leg speed came into play and I lost about half a dozen places before the finish. But I was over two minutes faster than last year, so I was well pleased.
TYC was first home from wfdbwgua in the excellent time of 21.35. A long way behind were my good self in 27.13, t'Y in 28.21, YJ (1st V75) in 31.56 and EtU in 36.15. (My apologies if I have missed anyone). My thanks to Horwich RMI for putting the race on, a  good day out .

Monday, March 21, 2016

I ran with the Ghurkas...

...and the Navy, the Air Force and the Army. The Fleet half marathon being situated so close to Aldershot naturally attracts many entries from the Services and as such is well supported by the community  as well as being a big attraction to myself  because of family connections with the area.

Last Sunday's race had 2574 finishers, including myself in 1079th place. After a disappointing result last year I had high hopes that improved training times linked to the speedwork the Parkruns provides would yield better results. 

 And they did. Gun time of 1.48.21 was 2mins  9secs better while the chip time knocked 1min 35secs off last year to put me first over 75 and third over 70.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Plane spotting

Item on the news tonight. Eddie Swift arrested in Kenya for plane spotting!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

|Away days

At least two regulars will not be UTUPing on Saturday (19th).  I will be out of the county for the weekend competing in the Fleet half marathon and EtU will be out of the country running, or possibly sunning himself, somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Ran Hobble to plan - shame the plan was wrong again

Last year I had set off far too quickly and suffered later for my exuberance. This year I went through my mile splits from last year and set a schedule which was up to a minute per mile slower for the first few miles. It almost worked out exactly with my time being just two and a half minutes slower. But it could have been so much better. I think the moderate strength of the headwind for the first six miles meant I was working harder than I should have been so should have slowed by a further minute per mile. TM had an excellent run and I should have stopped to wait to run with her (I started further up the field due to arriving at the start line at the last minute - it was a good five minutes late starting due to the long queues at registration). At one point I was six minutes ahead of her but she caught me at the hot dog station where we joined the Calderdale Way. The next section along Stoney Lane was particularly wet underfoot and Christa moved ahead of me. It was a good job that I took ibuprofen at Mankinholes as just after Stoodley Pike me right knee became painful. The next descent was slow but after that the painkillers started to take effect I started to get back to my schedule (slightly quicker than last year for the second half). The schedule would have brought me home in 7:10, three and a half minutes faster than last year, but I had to settle for 7:16, still quicker than my first hobble, nearly thirty years ago. I was just out-sprinted crossing the road by the first F60 - no doubt there were numerous M60s in front of me.
Yesterday, we spent the morning on the Kieghley and Worth Valley Railway with just a little walking and by the time I had driven home I was as achy as I have ever been after a race. Hopefully I will have recovered sufficiently for Sunday's Two Crosses.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Black Combe Sat 12th March 2016 (Championship Fell Race)

I'll be the first to admit that preparation this year had lacked a little focus. The foot square weighing machine in the bathroom had been side-stepped every morning and the 'winter' work uniform was still in use past the first day of Spring.

So the beginning of the week saw me fretting about cut-off times, something I'd thought would be a few years away for this race. For the un-initiated, this race starts with a 150m dash across a farmer's field, jumping a 4ft wide ditch with the aim to be first through a 10ft wide gate. It's a bit of a crush with an average entry of 120, this year the entry was 700+! Even allowing for a 25% drop-out rate come race day, it was going to be 5x the number to squeeze through. Despite the weekly track sessions at Sport City, it'd be unlikely I'd be elbowing the likes of Rob Hope and Ian Holmes out of the way. At best guess it would be probably 10mins before I was out through the gate.

By Tuesday a rainbow had appeared over the gloom. The RO's instructions had arrived via email and the Ladies were being set off ahead of the Men. Chivalry prevails in the sport of Fell Running!

Race day arrived. After 6 years of practice the weather was perfect, wall to wall CLAG!! Vic Wilkinson of Bingley led us ladies off at 12:00pm, the men followed 10 mins later. Vic demonstrated a master class in fell running, leading from the front and running the whole route on her own, and finishing before the men. The leading male group ran round in a trio. Need I say anymore!!!

Further back, well given the weather you'd  expect a few tales of woe and as they say every picture paints a 1000 words. Below is a Strava trace of those brave enough to post.

For my part of the proceedings, it was interesting racing against the Blokes usually 10mins ahead. Amusing to be passed for a 2nd time by the same ones. Particularly glad of the Cow Bell calling us in to the last CP on the south summit of Black Combe (vis down to 20m). Twitchy on the final path descent (having fallen on similar terrain 1 months previously). Not so amusing to realise I'd created Mea Culpa by missing the turn off for the last bit, almost heading back to CP1, before correcting myself. I'd been running on the RHS of the path to avoid all the slippy/trippy stuff and hadn't realised the turn off was so easy to miss. Won't be doing that again. Thankfully it was only a slight detour and I didn't lose any places because of it.

For those who enjoy a few stats the results are now on the race website which can be found at

Not quite a PW for me, but it was close, a matter of 16 secs. A slow, steady performance all things considered. Still ranking as my favourite race. Long may it continue (fitness permitting)


Saturday, March 12, 2016


Due to circumstances beyond his control, The Lord of Brentford regrets to announce that he will not be UTUPing on Saturday after all. He hopes that this late change of plans has not inconvenienced any of his friends.

Thursday, March 10, 2016


The Lord of Brentford wishes to announce that he will be UTUPing this coming Saturday. He looks forward to enjoying the company of his wfdbwgua friends.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Stan Bradshaw Round

I missed this race last year due to injury and so was determined to get round this time. Anne had to drive me as I have damaged my scaphoid bone (again) and we got there in good time. We saw TF at registration but there was no sign of EtU. Just as we were being counted through the start, he appeared having clearly been taking lessons from t'Y on time keeping.
The start is an uphill drag of about a mile on road and then it is straight up Pendle. It was here we had our first taste of what was to come, snow, mud or a mixture of both. In places it was quicker to walk uphill because any attempts at running ended in sliding backwards. After the summit it was a long steady descent to the next two checkpoints, then a nasty little climb followed by a long slippy traverse. I had been looking forward to the next nit as it was a steady climb which I had enjoyed on the recce. However, today it was a mud slide and I had to walk the first bit. Over the top and then a diversion from the normal route, followed by a tricky descent through a wood (one unfortunate lady had a bad fall here and was taken to hospital) and then back down the road to the finish.
Tea, soup and then more tea with EtU and TF made a pleasant end to a great morning out. For the record the course was just over 9.5 miles and just under1600ft of ascent. I took 1hr 53m, TF 2hr 08mn and sadly EtU had to drop out but it didn't stop him enjoying his dead pig butty!

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Saturday 5th March

I'm trying the Stan Bradshaw Pendle Round, so won't be UTUPing. It's a sort of re-routed Half Tour. EOD £7, starts at 11:00 from Barley.

Lift/s offered if anyone fancies it.

Ask TF for route details.

Was last man home last year, so things can only get better - 'but what chance a DNF?' do I hear you ask?