28 Feb 2015 – 5 miles / 1250 ft
After a torrid experience on Ilkley Moor the previous Sunday, it was time to dust myself off and go again.
The usual pre-race rituals observed, bordering on the obsessive compulsive and perhaps even religious.
Fell running is my Church and today’s venue is the lovely West Yorkshire village of Luddenden, on the millstone grit flanks of the valley of the Luddenden Beck.
The tightly packed huddle of stone buildings which characterise Luddenden, and many Pennine villages, are man’s historical answer to the geological and climatic conditions of the area.
Race registration at Booth Cricket Club was a testament to all that is great about village sport. An impressive location, where a receiving batsman would be faced with the distraction of Oats Royd Mill’s chimney. A very fine venue indeed.
Having regsitered, collected my packet of ‘sweet peas’ seed by way of a thank you from Cancer Research UK, more OCD followed. None of which I shall divulge here!
A throng had now gathered on the lower pasture land between the Mill and the cricket club. An excited or maybe even a nervous vibe permeated those within the start area. The main protagonists, fine athletes amongst them and novices alike sharing a passion, personal success, an inner most thought. Mine, to conquer the demons of Ilkley Moor.
Restricted parking at the venue saw a delayed start. Without much fuss or ceremony we were eventually off!
Up through the pasture we head, it’s very soft underfoot between the dry stone walls that adorn the ginnel. I take note of the ground below, as it will be taken at speed upon my return.
Natural bottlenecks await in the form of a couple of stiles. These providing respite from heaving lungs induced by the ascent to CP1 at Crow Hill. At this point a sanity check prevails, I am positive that I am going backwards!
After rounding CP2 at the trig point on Dimmin Dale Edge we head NNE on good running terrain, the ground naturally descending towards Hough Dean, Halleluaja! I am now truly in the moment, totally focused and joyous only for a fall to shatter my fragile confidence during an attempted pass!
I dislike following other runners when descending at pace, preferring to watch the ground rather than the footsteps of the pursued.
CP3 to CP4 is a wonderful flowing descent bearing South Easterly arriving at a stile bordering a tarmac road near Spa Wood. Heading SW and back up onto Midgley Moor to CP5 a steep climb awaits.
With little thought of running, a hands on knees approach aided by a couple of Jelly Babies, sees a resurgence in strength and the recovery of a few places on the way back up to the Moor.
It’s now a free for all back to CP6 and the last stile. With the infusion of sugar finding its way to the parts other fructose based treats cannot reach I kick on. At this point I sense myself grinning from ear to ear.
A hesitant runner in front of me thwarts any bold over taking moves as I sense her trepidation. Over the stile we go and I find a way past, rejoicing in the freedom of a couple of open fields which I feel I can attack.
Descending via the ginnel I am wary of the broken and hard ground below, thoughts of living to fight at Flower Scar next Saturday consume and I slow until I reach the soft pastures that adorned the start and finishing area, pressing hard until I hit the finish. A glance at my watch allowed a private sense of satisfaction to radiate from within.
Caroline finished within a minute or so, I waited around to cheer her in as I was pleased to see another Claret and Gold vest.
It wasn’t until Sunday that I noted that Neal Crampton, having run incognito finished a very fine 2nd in an impressive 41:07.
Neal Crampton 2nd 41:07. Mike Rees 121st 58:51. Caroline Harding 151st 1:03:05. (Full Results)