Monday, 7 October 2013

Penny’s Run and Whoop Bob Graham - 20th/21st June 2013

Leg 1 Navigator Jules Coleman - Support Ian Mercer

At the last minute I brought my BG Date a day further forward than scheduled due to the poor weather forecast, which proved to be a good decision. Due to last minute rescheduling I put a note on the FRA forum and I gained some extra support from some people I had not met before.

I have really enjoyed the build up to doing the BG and the long training days I experienced this year especially the winter days in the snow, the new people I have met training, and the races I entered including the Haworth Hobble, Hoka Highland Fling and the Old County Tops.

Waiting for the clock to strike 5 0clock at the moot hall I felt excited that my day had finally come. I stood on the moot hall steps with Jules and Ian squashed amongst the busy market. My friends Fiona, John, Anna and Tom were there to see me off and counted down the last ten seconds. I felt like a caged animal being released. Hooray, at last we are off down the alley way, through the car park and before we knew it we were out of the town and crossing Fitz Park. 

Ian, Penny and Jules

The air felt very humid and approaching Latrigg carpark I could see that Skiddaw was covered in mist.  Jules had said that I could ease off the pace if I wanted. I felt as though I was floating up Skiddaw and that the pace was comfortable. My mission in completing the BG was to WHOOP on every summit. Whooping makes me feel good and is a way of releasing all those endorphins. My first whoop seemed to come round very quickly. Only 41 summits to go. I was enjoying the banter with Jules and Ian. Not long after we summited Skiddaw Ian was really drifting off the pace and I didn’t really see him again until I set off on leg 2. 

After leg one I was 13 minutes up on schedule.

My first rest stop in Toms van felt like ages although it was only a few minutes. Time to change shoes, socks, have feet massaged eat a roll and drink some soup and then ready for off.

Leg 2 - Andy Mcracken Navigator
Support Team - Dave Barnes, Cath Aubrey and Dave White
I had run this leg only 2 weeks ago with Andy and Tom so it all felt very fresh in my mind. Again I felt the pace was comfortable and I was enjoying the banter. Whilst Andy was navigating he kept shouting to the support team to make sure that I ate something on the half hour. (Andy had told me that he thought that  eating every half hour had helped Steph French to get round on her BG the previous week as on leg 1 she was down on schedule. By leg 2 she was up on schedule.)
As we ticked off all the dodds and before approaching raise we could hear cowbells and see lights shining in the distance. I knew immediately that it was Mike and Helen Smith (they are known for shaking their cowbells in all sorts of strange places). It felt very magical hearing them from a distance. Lots of cake and tea was on offer at this stop and I felt very rude in not stopping or managing a morsel at this time. All I kept thinking was 'keep on running if you stop it will be hard to leave this tea shop'. So I kept going with Andy, and the rest of the support team did stop for a brief snifter of tea and cake. It started to drizzle on the way up Fairfield but the air was still warm.

The time passed quickly and before you know it we could see the lights of Toms van twinkling in the distance at Dunmail Raise. The first person who greeted me at the stile was Mike McKenna from Dallam. It was lovely to see him for only a short moment to wish me well.  A brief stop again to change shoes and wet clothes, then a foot rub, soup, tea and a roll and off again. Andy had mentioned to Tom that I had chatted too much on leg 2, 'But Andy I am still up on schedule by 24 minutes'.

Leg 3 - Navigator Tom Phillips
Support Team - Jessica Goodfellow, Debbie Copley, Jo Hill and David Swift

I had not met Jo and David before. They had been recruited from the FRA forum. David had already completed a BG and Jo was going to have his attempt in a few weeks time.
Setting off up Steel Fell it was still drizzling with rain but felt warm. After a while I decided I didn’t want to use my poles and passed them back to Jo. I then heard a loud squeak from Tom who shouted don’t waste your energy just drop em and carry on. This I would have to get used to (so 'drop em and carry on' I did ). We were still using head torches up to the Stake Pass and the clag was down from Sergeant Man making navigation very tricky. Tom kept about 50 metres a head concentrating on the navigation. I was so relieved that it was Tom navigating as he is known for taking the best routes in these conditions. 

Before we approached broad stand Jess and Debbie headed down past the stretcher box to Wasdale.

Approaching Broad Stand still in the mist Tom shouted to alert Steve and John that we were nearby.  Steve and John were ready for us and ropes were already in situ. In no time at all I was up the climb. It felt good to give my legs a break with a short climb. Waiting for Tom and Jo I collected my thoughts, enjoying every minute of my surroundings.

The run down to Wasdale on the scree felt exhilarating. On previous occasions I had not enjoyed this  descent but today I felt as though I was dancing down the scree. YAHOO YAHOO. 

Descent into Wasdale

On arriving at Wasdale car park the smell of John cooking bacon would normally make me quiver, not today a cup of soup and a cheese roll will do. I didn’t hang around at this stop as the midges were around and doing their usual tricks.

Leg 4 - Navigator Steve Jeffs and John Leech
The rest of the team - Jessica Goodfellow, Joe Hill and David Swift
Steve and John had only just made it down to Wasdale in time before setting off again.
Half way up Yewbarrow I had said to Jess that I was feeling light headed. Jess replied that it was a cheap day out then. I came to realise that this was a sign that my blood sugar was low. After some more custard and swigs of red bull I felt ok again. On leg 4 we were again most of the time in the mist and traversing across the rocks was very slippery. Traversing under Pillar was a memorable moment as I had to stop and empty my stomach contents. That was 10 minutes wasted but at least I felt a whole lot lighter. 

Yahoo!  Approaching the summit of Gable I was focusing so much on touching the summit that I failed to notice David, a friend of Jess who was sitting there with tea and cake laid out for us. Yet again I felt rude at not being able to stay long. I did ask Jess to go back to get me a cup of tea which felt like a great boost. As we descended down the grassy slope into Honister I saw a friend John who was waiting with his mad jackrussel Tess who bounded towards me. Don’t trip me up now I was thinking.

At Honister John, Debbie, Tom, Grace, Karen and Fiona were there to greet me. A change of socks and shoes, a roll and soup to eat and then I was ready for the off again.

Leg 5 - Navigator Tom Phillips
The rest of the team - John Hodgson, Grace Leedham and Karen Gates

John had said to me as we were setting off up Dale Head 'It’s definitely in the bag now'. I had replied that still anything could happen -  I’m focusing on one step at a time.

Leg 5

As we approached Dale Head 'Yipee', the clouds were lifting and at last we could see the last two peaks. Standing on top of the 42nd peak Robinson the sun came out. That was a very special moment. 'Yahoo. Yahoo'. I didn’t want to come down off the tops now I wanted to savour this moment for a bit longer but I knew time was getting on and I had to continue.

On Robinson

As we came into Little Town by the church John’s support car was waiting. Another change of shoes and socks again, a swig of drink and then off again following the off-road route along the windy footpaths to Portinscale. As I turned into Keswick High Street dodging all the people, it was a fabulous sight seeing the moot hall and all my supporters waiting for me to finish. I felt myself speeding up for a sprint finish. 'Watch out here I come!' and then it was all over I was at the moot hall and had a bottle of bubbly in my hands.  Before you knew it I had shaken all the bubbly on the crowd and moot hall without sampling a drop. It was an amazing feeling finishing and a day in the hills I will never forget.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Bob Graham Round Attempt June 2013

This is my information for my attempt on the Bob Graham Round this year. 
So far I have added support runners and schedule information

I completed my Bob Graham Round in 23 hours 39 minutes.
You can see pictures here