Race number 2 in the NECAA championship, but only number 1 for me having missed Danby Beacon back in early February.
This is a short race but it's definitely a tough lung buster! I ran it last year on a cool windy day and was surprised by the amount of climb - especially at the start. This year the weather was a lot cooler and as we headed off to the Breamish valley we spotted snow on the hills and on the vehicles coming from the opposite direction. I had not brought the relevant apparel! oops.
I registered at the start line via slipping a guy a fiver who was sitting in the passenger seat of a saloon car. And of course filling in my entry slip. Off we trudged for a 2 mile warm up.
We all huddled together at the start line awaiting instructions. I suddenly realised I hadn't even brought a jacket - the minimum requirement. A couple of runners were giving me a dodgy look. Even the guy giving the instructions!
Remembering last year's tough start I decided to go off easy. This still didn't help the quads or the lungs as they were gasping by the time I reached the top of the first climb. Once onto the open fells I could stretch the legs and shake off the excess acid only to find the snow to start, and the worst climb was to follow. It was bitterly cold up there. I was around 15th at this point and maintained around that for the remainder of the race, too-ing and fro-ing with one runner who liked the uphills more than me but I got my revenge on the downhill!
I reached the finish (tentatively due to the sheer steepness) in 18th, around 01:30 quicker than last year. Enjoyable, but it took about 20 minutes for the pain to leave my fingers from the cold. Bad circulation! No cream egg this year as Easter is now back in its rightful place of April.
It's an 'AS' race for a reason - short but brutal.