The past couple of months have been rather good running-wise. I have achieved two new PB’s in 5k and 10k and also been part of a winning vet’s team at the Elswick road relays on Good Friday. Oh, and the “small” matter of the Coledale Horseshoe fell race which cannot be underestimated in terms of effort! During this time I have neglected my long runs in the hills which probably wasn’t the best preparation for this classic race.
The 60th Yorkshire 3 peaks race took place on Saturday, 26th April. I was looking forward to the event but also conscious that it may be a step too far in terms of the distance and cumulative ascent/descent.
On arrival at Horton-in-Ribblesdale, it was rather bleak. It was raining, cold and there was low visibility which dimmed the mood from quite keen, to “I’m not looking forward to this!” There was a lot of talk about what footwear would be most suitable prior to the race. Some were saying road shoes and some saying trail. Given the weather I opted for my Mudclaws and they turned out to be a wise choice (lucky!).
I registered in the marquee on got prepared, debating whether to start in my waterproof jacket or faff around getting it out of my bum bag when I really needed it. I decided to wear it from the start and within ten minutes I was beginning to regret feeling like a boil in the bag ready meal. The first peak, Pen-y-ghent, was soon upon us. The climb wasn’t as bad as I had feared and felt in a comfortable place. So much so I neglected to acknowledge my pal John, who wasted no time in getting my attention :o)
First peak done then it was a long and undulating section to Whernside. A good opportunity to stretch the legs and get some miles ticked off. The trail was good with some muddy and quite rocky sections with great support along the way. The checkpoint before the viaduct at Ribblehead was superb with a loud speaker shouting each runner’s name as they came through and a good sized crowd to give you a boost before the ascent of peak number two. The ascent of Whernside was on fell rather than rocky path so it was down to a hands on knees job. I scoffed my first Nakd bar, although with a dry mouth it was difficult to get down! I reached the top greeted by the race marshalls and checked in, wasting no time to head off on the descent.
Reaching Chapel-le-dale checkpoint I was beginning to feel quite tired so stopped for a minute or two to get myself together. The quads were beginning to ache from the fast descents. Arriving at the bottom of Ingleborough, I began to bonk and took on some food immediately (shame it was too late). I was on for sub 3:30 at this point which was way above what I expected. The climb up was brutal, and I think everyone at this point began to struggle. I ploughed on slowly, telling myself that once I reach the top it’ll be all downhill. Unfortunately it turned out to be a very long and painful 4-5 miles. At Sulber Nick drink station I was in shock to hear “only 20 minutes to the finish” when I was convinced it was only ten. This was bad news. I reached the finish to a great reception in 3:43 and in 61st place. I had nothing left and collapsed to the ground with relief that it was over. Looking back at the splits I had got up to 23rd place. Next time I will have to pace it better so I can finish stronger.
What a fantastic race and first class organisation. I shall return and will be gunning for sub 3:30! A grand day oot.