Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Tour of the Central and Western Lakeland Valleys

I'm planning a tour of six Lakeland valleys starting at the New Dungeon Ghyll and visiting Easedale, Borrowdale, Ennerdale, Wasdale and Eskdale before returning to Great Langdale. Probably about 35 miles and taking approx 12 hours.

A possible date would be Saturday 25th June. Is that date suitable for anyone who may be interested?

All comments gratefully received.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sad Though It May Seem...

...I won't be UTUPing on the first Saturday of 2016, I'll be doing the Haigh Woodland Parkrun.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Season's Greetings

The Lord of Brentford and his Good Lady would like to wish all their friends in wfdbwgua a very happy and holy Christmas

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Run out to Healey Nab

Lovely morning for it, well almost, certainly was for the Baileys coffees at the Bowling Green.  Have a fab Christmas and New Year everybody   :-)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

We made it, just

Saturday's run was started by only three of us though it was good to see TF and KLM making the start for social reasons.

EtU, TM and myself set off to circumnavigate Winter Hill and Great Hill anti clockwise starting via George's Lane and the ramp, at the bottom which EtU was running out of time and had to leave for home.  This left TM and myself to complete the circuit via Belmont, Piccadilly, Roddlesworth Res, Abbey Village, Brinscall and White Coppice.

By the time we hit the bridle path below Healey Nab we were beginning to tire and it was a weary duo that made it back to the lower barn.

The total distance was 18.5 miles and we took 4hrs 6mins, not particularly fast but a useful endurance run.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Tuesday meet

I know it's a concept harder to grasp than Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, but the long time slacker from Harwood has a big demand on his time. I'm just a boy who can't say no. If I was a girl I'd be  having a very good time! Anyway, as a result, all things Christmas are behind shed yule, wherever that might be. If I can catch up, something I could never do as a runner, I will gladly attend, though having a coffee at the end sounds a bit cosy to me and has more than a hint of decadence. A drink of ice-cold water after a few hours in the cold and wet amongst the hills is sufficient replenishment for the hardy fell-runner. Well, so they tell me.

Last Sunday YJ, EtU, and I, ran the Longridge7. No prizes for guessing how many miles that race was. The results are not in but I know that YJ posted a time of 59mins nn secs. On a flat course it would have been good, but on a course with so much climbing it was an absolutely tremendous time. I came in about fourteen minutes later. But I am a year older!

Every finisher received a medal of small consequence and a Christmas Pudding of even smaller consequence. On the label it said "Microscope not included". Why do they give a medal for finishing a 7 mile race? That said, some race organisers on seeing the state of me, have given me a medal just for turning up, and then told me to go away. Or words to that affect.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Saturday  Dec 19th

I will be UTUPing tomorrow. I need a long run but am struggling to recover from last Sunday's Longridge 7.

My plan is to circumnavigate Winter Hill by road, track and moor via the Pike, Two Lads, mast road, the ramp by road to Piccadilly, round the reservoirs to Abbey Village, road to Brinscal and then via White Coppice the bridle path to Yew Tree and up by the Cascade and down to Rivington Green .  This would give options for short cutting across the middle from either Belmont or Piccadilly.

On the other hand I may turn up short of energy and just tag along behind everyone else.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Anyone UTUPing this Saturday?

...if not and I don't see you before, merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Invitation –Tuesday 22nd December, 11.00am

Good to report that SN is suffering less pain and is up for joining us for coffee next Tuesday at the Bowling Green Cafe, Rivington Village at 11.00am.   The suggestion is that those capable of jogging along slowly meet in the car park adjacent to said cafe and just beyond the primary school overlooking the Reservoir at 9.00am for a sociable run, possibly over Healey Nab.  All most welcome.  Be good if you could leave a comment or email me if you plan to join us. The addition of a tipple in the coffee may be made available on the day. Be good to see long time slacker from Harwood if he’s about and any other’s not confined to wage day slavery! 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

UTUP Saturday 12th December

Just me today (albeit a few minutes late). The conditions were unpleasant and I decided that actually turning  out was bravery enough, so I just ran for an hour before returning home. But not before a chance meeting with JtE. We chatted briefly before continuing on our respective ways; John onwards and upwards, me back to my car.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Lee Mill Relay 29th November - A Day to Remember...

...or a day to forget?

Anyone brave enough to draw back their curtains last Sunday morning was left with an impression of an unusually wild day. Anyone who was anywhere near the Top of Leach (elevation 1,555 ft and the highest point reached during the Lee Mill Relay - but see later) will bear witness to the true ferocity of the winds and rain on that day.

Horwich had entered three teams:- an MV50, an MV60 and a mixed V65. Our V50 team finished first in their category. Our V60 team, along with 3 other teams, failed to finish due to one team member collapsing with hypothermia. Our mixed V65 team, of which I was a member also failed to finish, the next few paragraphs give some details about our experiences.

Mary White ran our first leg and reported being blown off her feet several times, clocking a very respectable time of 1:28:33.

John Parker (EYJ) ran the second leg and clocked 1:46:41 - I can imagine John was more in danger of being blown into the next valley rather than merely blown over.

Next was Pete Scott, the second of our septuagenarians. Now, Pete is a long time Horwich Harrier, 33 years according to my membership records, but he would be the first to admit that fast times are now far in the past. However, he managed to clock 1:04:54, but as he explained to the finish marshall, at one point he lost sight of the course markers and just headed towards a group of runners he could see, not far in the distance. It appears that he must have missed most of the course.

Leg four was scheduled for a mass start at 2:00 p.m, so as I went out on the course at 1:10 to watch EYJ come in, I thought I would have plenty of time to nip back to registration to finish my preparation for 2:00. However, due to the severity of the conditions, the RO decided to bring forward the mass start to 1:30! Mary ran out to find me, but, as ever, I didn't have enough time and missed the start and was left behind by the sweeper. The first indication that I had a serious problem (apart from nearly being blown off the quarry top) was when the CP 1 marshalls descended towards me collecting the flags! I asked them how I should find the way and they gave me directions.

The next indicator was meeting the CP 2 marshall on the same task. He said that his checkpoint (Top of Leach) had been abandoned and the MRT should have re-directed me, and I shouldn't have even been where we met. I explained that I wanted to finish the course regardless, but he said that without the 3Ms (markers, marshalls or MRT) I would be putting my life at risk and he would rather I retraced my steps with him. It was his worried face, rather than the risk to my life that decided me and I reluctantly jogged back with him, helping to collect flags as we went.

So, sorry, Team, mea culpa, but still a day to remember - or to forget.

At least we finished three runners, the 'Judas Priest (etc!)' (?) team is recorded with DNS against both their leg 3 and leg 4 runners - Mat and Martin (more Ms).

There is an evening race over the same course during the summer, I may go back and give that a try.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Saturday Dec 5th

I too will be missing the UTUP run tomorrow, choosing instead to do the Preston Parkrun, hoping for a flat fast course.

I will however be out on Sunday for a run out to Roddleston via White Coppice, Brinscall and Abbey Village and return by the same route (16 miles). If anyone wants to join me let me know. Early start preferred but timing can be negotiated.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Saturday 5th Dec

I shan't be UTUPing this Saturday, I will be doing the Haigh Woodland Parkrun - my last one this year.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Saturday 28th November

Quite a while since my last blog entry and indeed my last run out with the Saturday Squad.  This retirement lark is fantastic but it don’t half swallow up time enjoying yourself this much!   

Good to see folks at the start and along the way, setting off with TF, EtU, YJ and TM for a trot out through the paths to Dangerous Corner.  Not bad conditions although the light for snaps rather dull.  TF nursing a niggling knee, after a recent tumble, turned back from the fire road out to Bomber Memorial taking EtU with her and leaving TM YJ and me to take a simple path up onto Spitler’s Edge to the main flagged path out to Great Hill.  Disaster of a route through completely unrunnable ground led by yours truly.  A moment of disorientation before realising we were just below the summit shelter of Great Hill having missed Spitler’s completely.  Just glad it wasn’t misty!   Pleasant run off via Drinkwaters and down to White Coppice where I took my leave of my two companions who were heading out to Healey Nab.  My intention being to get back to the car before the forecast rain arrived.  This I did, but not before bumping into JtE and SN with whom pleasantries were exchanged and arrangement made to meet in the Lower Barn for coffee at the end.  I then hightailed it to the car park and changed into dry clothes thinking how civilised this all was.  On the arrival of YJ and TM from their sojourn over Healey Nab I was informed that coffee would not be likely as SN had taken a heavy fall.  Sad to report that after a visit to hospital SN has sustained a broken collar bone - a very painful injury and I’m sure we all wish her well and a speedy recovery without too much discomfort. Sad smile

Saturday Run-6

TF covering the ground on the fire road

Saturday Run-9

The trees showing the prevailing wind direction

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

UTUP Saturday 28th November

I shall be turning out this Saturday, as, I believe, will be others. Things are on the up.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Winter Solstice/Christmas 'Do'

I have made a provisional booking at the Black Horse, Limbrick, for the evening of Friday 11th December. Can EVERYONE please let me know whether or not they plan to come.

As soon as poss please.

Monday, November 16, 2015

UTUP Saturday 14th November

It's been a while since I had company on a Saturday morning, so my timekeeping has been (even) worse than usual. To my surprise, on this occasion, when I arrived, there was KLM. Unfortunately, he had by then done an ET to report the situation and that he planned to return home (this was also why ET had phoned home).

However, on seeing me he made another call to report that he would not be returning home for some time as he now had company and would be going for  a run - brave man that KLM.

With this belated start, we had a very pleasant meander over the Pike, Two Lads and thence to the far end of Smithills Res, with my companion frequently waiting for me to catch up.

After about three hours I returned to the Barn leaving him to grab a few more miles - very brave man that KLM.

So, in order to avoid any future prospective companion/s risking being on the receiving end of domestic violence, I will in future endeavour to be at the UP at the UT.

Thank for for your company, KLM, a good run.

I plan to UTUP next Saturday 21st Nov.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Sub 1:50 HM - Training so far

Thought I'd update you on how the training was going, or not as the case may be!

Last Saturday was XC day at Sherdley Park in St Helen's. I was on official duties so no running for me as too busy making the butties and erecting tents. The butties fared better than the tents is all I say! (Nice to see TYC out doing his bit for the club)

This left me with Sunday for a run, so I headed over to Hebden Bridge for the Wadsworth Trog. A slight change in route this year and despite thinking I had it covered, I still managed to mess up my approach to the 6th CP which nearly cost me 3rd from back. Time out on feet was 2:18, with a fair amount of running and not a lot of walking. Comparing with previous results and allowing for a course change this result meant it wasn't going to be a sub-4hr ToP for me this year. Oh well, all miles in the bank.

Roll on to Wednesday and do remember that cold I had 2 weeks before? Well this time it was back in the guise of a very annoying irritating cough. By yesterday I'd made the decision that ToP was a 'no-no' and emailed the organizer to offer my place to someone on the W/L. I still felt well enough to manage a steady road run so opted for a little bit of running/thinking doing the Night Street League that MDOC put on.

I have always maintained that my worst injuries occur when running on tarmac. Well this time I wasn't even running, I tripped over a kerb stone I hadn't seen, and landed on all fours. Anyway, true professional I dusted myself off (first having had a glance round that I hadn't been observed) and hobbled to the registration. Probably running slower made me think better and my %par (too complicated to explain how it works) improved from 111 to 123 in the series so far. Downside now is that getting up and down hurts and no-one's getting any teeth out today as I can't grip the forceps!

I'm having a weekend off from running (think it'll be safer!) and plan to be out next Saturday for a Utup and a 10-13m road run on the Sunday (venue TBC) if anyone fancies it?


Sunday, November 08, 2015

Trying to turn the clock back

Firstly, in case I have not mentioned it before, thank you to all those who came to my 60th party.
On reaching 60, I decided to return to the race which I have only run once before, back in 1990 in my first year as a member of Horwich. I'd been to the race before, in fact every year, as I was highly involved in the oranisation of the Abbey Dash, marshalling its most major road crossing at Kirkstall each year.
From its humble beginnings in 1985, the race has grown out of all proportion. Last year there were just short of 10,000 finishers, this year the limit of 12,000 has been reached. My daughter Diane and neice Debb have also entered.
I optimistically set my expected time as sub 45 minutes with thoughts of even getting close to my previous time of 40:25 from 1990. There's no chance of that, a time which might get me into the top three V60 on the day. 
Having put on about 10lbs in the past few months, I am quite surprised at the times I'm doing. Before my little encounter on The Knoll, I had reduced my parkrun 5k time to 22:01. Last Saturday I did my second parkrun as a V60 and managed 22:14, taking my second category victory, although this time there were two V65s ahead of me (Tony Hesketh was one), but still 12th out 245 on age performance times will do for me.
This weekend has been a dead loss as I have caught the cold virus that is doing the rounds at work. At least better now than next weekend. Hopefully, I will be recovered for the race.

Don't Do a Parkrun...

...if you have any tendency to addiction.

When I first considered a Parkrun it was with the intent of working on my speed and having a fairly absolute monthly measure of how it was going. So I decided just to do one per month, usually on the first Saturday and to stay on the fells for other the other three or four Saturdays of each month.

I did my first one at Leverhulme Park in September and left with two lasting impressions:- first, just how great the mood was and how everybody seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves, and second, just how slow I was - over 30 minutes for 5k!

October saw me back at Leverhulme Park to run almost a full minute slower!

Knowing how interested YJ would be in the statistics that the weekly results include - especially the one that compares your run time with the world 5k record for your age - I persuaded him to try a Parkrun with the result that we chose the Cuerden Valley course as being approximately midway between our homes and met there yesterday morning. The rain came down like it was going out of fashion, but it failed to dampen spirits.

YJ finished 54th out of 126 finishers - BUT on the basis of the world record for his age as a percentage of his time, he was 5th overall! I didn't do so well, but I did read later that this course is 'officially' recognized by Parkrun as being the toughest in the area, with an average finish time almost two minutes slower than that for Leverhulme Park.

Back to the addiction issue - There is a new course at Haigh Hall which is quite runnable from Grimeford Grange, so I might need to slip one in there before my December return to Bolton. YJ was wondering if he could try one at Brighton on the day before his long planned 10k there on the 15th Nov but perhaps most disturbing of all, at Cuerden we met two CleM runners, who I have never seen anywhere but at a fell race who have clocked up 143 Parkruns between them at twenty-odd different venues! Could this be the death knoll for fell running?

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Peak postscript

It was indeed a great day out in the Yorkshire Dales.  Many  thanks to TLoB and his Chief of Staff for their hospitality.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

The Third Peak

Last year, EtU, YJ, TF and TM came up to the Dales and ran Whernside and Ingleborough, so they needed to do Pen y Ghent to complete the set. So EtU, YJ and TM came to Settle to do just that. We have had a lot of very misty days here recently and today was no better but it was not at all cold, and at times the visibility was excellent.

We started our day by taking the train to Horton in Ribblesdale and then ascended Pen y Ghent from the north using the Pennine Way. On our way up we met JtE's brother Edwin and his friend on their way down - any excuse to stop and chat! We couldn't see much from the top but never mind; everyone was happy. The way down was tricky because the rocks were damp and slippery but we avoided the second tricky section by taking a narrow grassy trod.

We then had a long, but wet in places, descent into Stainforth, followed by the climb up to hills east of Settle. Finally home to tea, cakes and biscuits. A great day out in superb scenery, My thanks to the gang for coming up to the Dales. It was really good to see you all.
WFDBWGUA on the Road

Following on from my performance at Stevenage, I've decided to try and challenge myself to improving my Half Marathon PB. This currently stands at 1:55:44 (Haweswater 2013).

So I've entered Wilmslow on the 3rd April 2016. Renown PB course. Well I achieved one in 2005 (1:58:27) until it was improved in 2007 then 2013. So I'm hoping the omens are good.

I'm setting myself some targets and these are as follows

Gold + Standard  = Sub 1:50 (Gun Time)
Gold Standard = Sub 1:50 (Chip Time)

Silver + Standard = Sub 1:55:44 (Gun Time)
Silver Standard = Sub 1:55:44 (Chip Time)

Bronze + Standard = Sub 1:58:27 (Gun Time)
Bronze Standard = Sub 1:58:27 (Chip Time)

To achieve Gold + Standard I'll need to up my min/m pace from 9min/m to 8min/m. I achieved this in 2011 but only over 10K.

So major catastrophe aside, I'm hoping that I'll achieve something on the list of targets.

Training-wise, my only concession may be to try and throw in a road race once every 6-8 weeks. The first one I've spotted is the Guys 10 on 6th Dec near Preston. Info reports it being flat, and given that it's my flat speed that needs improving, it could be just what I'm after.


Monday, November 02, 2015

A Village too far

Since my injuries started three years ago I've only run one race(The Pike, earlier this year ) and the farthest I've run is six-and-a-half miles. A couple of weeks ago I noticed "Through the Villages" road race  was advertised for Sunday November 1st, so thought I'd up my distances with a view to running the 8.45 mile race. Naturally, straightaway I got a bad throat and cold which dashed my plans(well dash doesn't really come into it where I'm concerned) but last Thursday night I managed to do a longer run, a bit too long I fear.

Anyway I turned  up on the day, started at the back of the field and for the sake of consistency finished at the back of the field as well. I recall doing this race a few years ago with EtU and whilst it was quite hilly it wasn't too bad. However they've altered the course so that now, somehow, there's a great deal more uphill than downhill, and on the flat. Now I've been going downhill ever since I was born so I'm not really inclined to go uphill. Back doesn't want to know, legs don't want to know, lungs don't want to know, heart doesn't want to know, head doesn't want to know. You could say that when it comes to running uphill, I'm on the slippery slope. Halfway through the race I realised I'd run my course if not theirs, and started to regret Thursday's long run. I can see the look of disapproval on YJ's face as I admit to walking some of the uphill stretches in the second half of the race. Somebody said that in some publication  the race had been referred to as a "race in hell", or some such phraseology, and it was for me if nobody else.

This is YJ's type of race. This course is right up is street, or road. He is a rare bird, not in the ornithological sense but in the running sense, because he derives an almost masochistic pleasure from running uphill. What's that all about YJ? Forget winning the  M75 category he'd have won the M45!(That's not a motorway).

Anyway I came in 265th out of 304 in a time of 1-25.45. There were two of us M75's and the other one somehow contrived to come in 9 minutes after me which is a considerable feat and deserves a prize in itself. I can only think that when the race started he was in The Dressers Arms ordering his fourth pint of Theakstons Old Peculiar.

Despite a most uncomfortable run the occasion has whetted my appetite for more races, so EtU's email outlining his race plans was immaculately timed. Back, knees, calves and colds permitting I look forward to joining you on the Longridge Pudding 7, where I'll have no problem entering into the spirit of the occasion, by running like a pudding.

Before that, someone at the race mentioned the "Stockport 10 mile" at the beginning of December which aroused my interest, having a daughter who lives in the area. Then they said it's a hilly course which soon disaroused, inaroused, unaroused(take your pick or make up your own) me. What is it with these course designers that they're so obsessed with going uphill?  What about us wimps?  Why can't they have a "Wimps 10 mile"? Sounds hugely attractive to me.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Stevenage Half Marathon Sunday 1st Nov 13.1m/ negligible ft  (66ft off one GPS trace!)

Why Stevenage you ask? Well in 2004 it was my first half marathon, so I have a bit of affinity for it. I repeated it in 2007 (new course) as a V35 and knocked nearly 15 mins off my time. So roll on a further 8yrs and what could I do this time?

Well I'd not had the best of build ups with an injury and then 2 colds in October, the last the week before threatening a no show, or at the very worse a repeat of 2004 when I'd run with a chesty cough and packet of cough sweets to keep me going. Older and wiser, yeah right, a non-refundable Hotel bill meant I was going!

Weather-wise couldn't have asked for a better day, brilliant sunshine and about 12/13 degrees with very little breeze. A little bit of foreboding whilst sat on the Transfer Coach when Daniel Powter song 'Bad Day' came on the radio, .

Where is the moment we needed the most
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost
They tell me your blue skies fade to grey
They tell me your passion's gone away
And I don't need no carryin' on

You stand in the line just to hit a new low
You're faking a smile with the coffee to go
You tell me your life's been way off line
You're falling to pieces every time
And I don't need no carryin' on

Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don't lie
You're coming back down and you really don't mind
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

It's a catchy enough tune, but could there be worse songs to set you on your way?

The one thing I like about this Half Marathon is how well organized it is, a very smooth operation. No worries this year of how to attach the timing chip as it was stuck on the back of the number. It does amaze me though (with my race organizer hat on) how some runners seem to think the number is worn on their back. When there's 500+ runners milling about at the start and you're one of a small handful of 'odd ones out' you'd start to wonder. Wouldn't you? (Instructions stated to wear on the front).

We set off on time and I soon settled in to a steady pace. I had thought about running watch-less, but couldn't quite bring myself to do that, so opted to do as I did for Haweswater and just clock my time for the first mile and then again at 10m. Nearly to plan until I got to the 6th mile and could hear Church Bells ringing. Thinking I could be nearer the hour mark, I had a sneaky look. 54mins, phew! I was still maintaining about 9min/m pace. At 10m I was spot on 90mins. So far, so good.

I tried to push a bit in the last 3m, but try as I might I couldn't squeeze anything less than 9min/m pace, so ended up with a Gun Time of 1:58:05 and a Chip Time of 1:57:01.

So a slower time than 2007, but the devil's in the detail

Here are the comparable Stats
   2015                                       2007
Gun Time            1:58:05                                  1:55:52
Chip Time           1:57:01
Overall                 286/507                              376/588
Females               51/146                                 59/165

Vet                      10/35 (V45)                         24/56 (V35)

In all other aspects I improved, or is it just that everyone else has got worse? Quite telling that the winning time today of 1:14:27 was just shy of 7mins slower than 2007.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Snowdonia Marathon 24th October 2015

A couple of pictures supplied by TM:-

YJ at about the 15 mile point on the back straight; he finished in the top 50% of the field.

Yours truly at about the 26 mile point; I finished in the bottom 10% of the field.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Snowdonia marathon

The long summer of hilly endurance runs paid off with a10 minute improvement on my Langdale time, which put me second (out of two)  in the over 75 category.  The weather at the start was atrocious but the rain eased off, as predicted by the weathermen, after  two and a half hours.

The final descent, a rocky and muddy track - not my idea of road racing - needed respect and would be reflected in a slow  pace for the last couple of miles.

I finished in 4hrs 22mins,  9mins behind the over 75 winner but inside the top half of the field.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Day trip

Assuming I survive  Saturday's  Snowdonia marathon in one piece I will be very interested in a day trip.  I shall probably be resting for most of next week. After that a midweek run would suit me better as I expect to be busy on the following two Saturdays.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Day Trip Anyone?

Ey up!  After my failure at the Bremen Marathon and just getting back to being foot pain free, I fancy a day out on the fells in the next couple of weeks. Lakes or Pendle, maybe do a race recce. Anyone fancy accompanying me and have any suggestions?  I can do a weekday as well as weekends.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sparrowhawk v Greenfinch

Nothing to write about so far as running is concerned so, to keep in touch, here is a “bird” picture.



Sunday, October 11, 2015

Windgather Fell Race Sunday 11th Oct 2015

It's been a while since I did this, 2007 to be exact. I had a trawl back through the blog but alas no report from then.

I'd penciled this in for for half marathon training, and now realised I must have been thinking along the same lines in 2007, as I'm booked in to the same Half Marathon 8 years on, 1st Nov! Distance today was 13.5m and 2500ft of climbing

A lovely day for it. It's a very pretty route early on, running along the the banks of the two reservoirs in the Goyt Valley - Erwood & Fernilee. Bit of a slog up to Shinnig Tor but the views were worth it. I'm pleased to say I ran nearly all of the route, with a couple of 'walkie' bits due to underfoot terain.

Well in 2007 I managed 2:45 as a V35, in 2015 I managed (approx) 2:48 as a V45. So overall not too bad a drift for the extra 8 years. Interesting to see what I can do at Stevenage on 1st Nov. Now, there is a report for that so you can all have a read. I don't intend to do the XC relays the day before unless they are seriously desperate. I'm hoping to get a bit of speed work in before then so see if I can beat my time.


Thursday, October 08, 2015

This Week's UTUPs

Thursday 8th October - To catch a little more light, Steve and I are departing from the Stocks at the earlier time of 6:00 p.m, rather than the usual 6:30. Also, we will be having a couple of beers afterwards - all welcome.

Saturday 10th October - I will be at the Lower Barn at 8:30 a.m, looking for company. Must have GSOH.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Rucksack Club Navigational Challenge – Saturday 3rd October

A few pics here from a glorious weekend in the Duddon Valley, Wasdale bound next weekend  : )


Dam Wall – Seathwaite Tarn

Monday, October 05, 2015

Sunday 4th October

Anything known about how EYJ's protege fared in her big event? I have info on our other two long distance ladies.

Saturday 3rd October 2015 - Outcome

I was over a minute outside my target time for the 5k, but a pleasing 3 minutes 51 seconds inside my target for my run to Winter Hill trig point.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

79 Miles!

No, not one of YJ's routine training runs, but the total distance that will be completed by three of 'our' ladies today, if their separate plans come to fruition - watch this space.

Well, almost - 78.6 actually - do the maths.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Saturday 3rd October

Just for info., I will not be UTUPing this Saturday; I'll be doing my monthly Park Run, followed by a run up to the trig point from Horrocks Fold car park. Target time for the 5k is sub 30 and for the return trip to the trig point is sub 90 minutes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Winter Hill - Tuesday 15th September

In the absence of SN, EtU and Nic’O JtE and I had an early doors run over Winter Hill this afternoon and very pleasant it was in the sunshine – not many pics taken but here if you wish : )

Here’s a couple from the Downhill Race last week for the record

Downhill Race-43Downhill Race-99

Monday, September 14, 2015

Three Loiter in Langdale

Well, if you knew what time I did, you'd say I was loitering!

TF and the Bros travelled up to the New Dungeon Ghyll on Saturday, YJ to do the Marathon, me to do the Half and TF just to roam the fells until we reappeared.

The races were scheduled to start at 11:00 but both were delayed until 11:30. To some extent this was because folk were still queueing to collect numbers, but also, possibly to let the worst of the rain clouds blow over. This latter aspect worked quite well, but it was still raining when to gun went and many of us found ourselves over-dressed when the rain did clear about 30 minutes later.

The full distance involved two laps of the Half Marathon course and as I plodded my way round to an all time PW I began to worry that I would be lapped by the front end of the 'big' race. However, despite my concern I managed to finish a full 30 minutes ahead of the first marathoner, Shaun Livesey of Blackburn Harriers who clocked 3:09. First lady was the unattached Janet Dickson, 9th overall in a time of 3:36.

YJ beat the first M65 by two minutes. There was no M70 finisher and our man picked up the M75 prize, clocking a time of 4:33, placing 48th out of a field of 85, on what is reckoned to be the toughest road marathon in the UK.

An interesting feature of the Jon Schofield results is the inclusion of a comparison of each completer's time with the world record for their age. With the results sorted into that order YJ ranked 8th overall with a score of 65.61% - that's the world record, divided by the individual's time, expressed as a percentage. Seems like somewhere there's a 75 year old who's run a sub 3:00! You'll have to do more miles, John!

TF also seemed to have enjoyed her day, and despite snoring all the way home, insisted she was just resting her eyes.

Holiday Pictures

Here are a few holiday pictures taken with my new toy as Pauline calls it. As you will see, I am still learning.




Little Owl


York Minster


Some people up there


This one’s showing off


Harvest time

Monday, September 07, 2015

Bolton Parkrun 5th September

Found this a fun experience, in fact the mood was so good that I think everyone should have a Parkrun on their bucket list.

However, despite this, Parkruns won't replace my Saturday UTUPs more than once a month.

Wyatt Earp is missing

It might not have actually been Wyatt Earp but one of the marshals at the Bradley fell race was missing at a critical moment and so my comeback race ended in pure farce. I hadn't raced since April for a variety of reasons and so yesterday's race just the other side of Skipton seemed ideal, 4 miles and 1000ft of climbing. All was going well until the last half mile when coming down a hill facing into the sun, I came to a junction. There was no-one in sight just in front of me and the marshal wasn't there, and so I missed the turning. After about 400m I realised I was wrong and after asking directions managed to find my way back to the finish.

There was no point in getting annoyed about it. Marshals are volunteers and without them there would be no races. it was just my bad luck that he/she chose that particular moment to answer a call of nature/ talk on a mobile phone/ pop out for a beer or whatever. SWINW is not too pleased either. The beard I promised I would shave off when I had completed a fell race is still there.

Monday, August 31, 2015

SBU35 - Saturday 29th August

Although its title suggests this event is 35 miles, folk with fancy electronics all seem to agree that it's in excess of 36.

The route starts near the osprey viewing point above Bassenthwaite Lake and moves generally south, down Borrowdale to the first checkpoint at Rosthwaite. Then it's up the old drovers' road alongside the Honister motor road to the slate mine, then left to the Loft Beck crossing at an altitude of 1,900ft and down into Ennerdale, past the Black Sail hut to CP2 at Low Gillerthwaite. Then along to Ennerdale Bridge to pick up Nannycatch Beck, thence to, and over, Dent Fell and into Cleator for CP3. then another 4.5 miles to the finish at St Bees.

On the day the weather was generally fair, although we suffered two severe squalls before Ennerdale.

I escaped all the cut-offs and managed to finish 106th out of 109 finishers (with 8 dnfs) and appear to be the oldest finisher, but I was disappointed with my time of 11:45, which was almost half an hour slower than 2014. First man home was Howard Seal in 5:41, first ladies were Susan Clapham and Kirsty-Jane Birch (=22nd overall) in 7:03.

This was taken from the Loft Beck crossing, the peak, centre distance, is probably High Stile, with Buttermere and then Crummock Water in the far distance.

Just been prescribed an antibiotic for an infected and badly eroded blister on my right heel - on finishing I realised why several people during the event had asked me if I knew I was oozing blood over the top of my Inov8. I'll spare you the photo.

Saturday UTUPs

Saturday sessions have been a little 'lean' of late and will be short of the Bros for at least the next two weeks as follows:-

5th September - YJ will be on the road in preparation for two forthcoming marathons and I will be doing the Bolton Park Run - good preparation for the 12th?

12th September - YJ will be doing the Langdale Marathon and I will be doing the Half.

19th September - I'm planning to UTUP.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Borrowdale Weekend 14/16 August

Belated pics from an atmospheric Birkett-bagging, Borrowdale shindig – details here : )


Looking down to Watendlath


at the tea shop – Watendlath


Gateway to Borrowdale from Kings Howe

Friday, August 21, 2015

Saturday 22nd August

I will be UTUPing, as, I believe, may be a few others. For newer readers, UTUP stands for 'usual time usual place', which on a Saturday is 8:30 a.m at the lower Rivington barn - that's the one near 'Go Ape'.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


It is few years since I last ran Sedbergh Hills. As it was in this year's club championship, I thought I would give it a go. Not a big field, and could only see Rudolf and Lawrence from the club at the start. Also had a  nice chat with James Logue. Eventually we were away and the long climb to Arant Haw was underway. I ran much of that with Lawrence close by and reached CP1 with a few behind me. The descent to the stream crossing brought my usual lack of expertise and by then I think was solid last. I overtook a couple on the climb to CP2 but one took a better line han me on the way to CP3 as I followed the next runner in the distance. 
By the time I reached CP3 I was 22 minutes over the cutoff but the marshals used their discretion to let me continue as I was feeling fine, had full body cover as well as the route on my phone, which was also tracking me. CP3 to CP4 was horrendous as I was so far adrift that I had to constantly check the route. The GPX track was particularly useful as that stretch is generally devoid of paths but it did add a fair bit of time. I reached CP4 in 3 hrs 24 having run 9 miles : in my younger days I would have been on my final descent after that time.
At last I could put my phone away as the route was now straightforward to CP5 and CP6. It is just a long  gradual climb to CP5 but although you can see a long way up the route, I could see nobody ahead. It was just case of head down and keep going. I reached CP5 and asked how far ahead the next runners were, expecting a response of 10 or 20 minutes. I was a bit gobsmacked to get the answer that my clubmate was about 100 yards ahead. Within a few seconds I could see Lawrence so I obviously increased my effort. On the next climb I caught him and he was obviously struggling a little. I was now enjoying my running and powered onto Winder but aware that anyone could catch me on the descent. Although I didn't take the best route which meant that Lawrence could have overtaken me without my knowledge, I managed to get to the finish for a PW (ignoring one retirement) of 4hrs 54. At lease i had done the last 6 miles in 90 minutes for which I was quite happy. Lawrence had not finished. I waited for him and he arrived some 8 minutes later after which we were plied with tea and cakes. Results not yet published but I know we were the last two, although I believe a couple behind me were still due at CP3 assumedly retired.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Tri Winter Hill 2015

As awareness of this challenge grows within the local athletic community, so does its entry list, unfortunately, in inverse proportion. In 2014 6 of us started and finished - the corresponding figure yesterday was was four - where are all you brave people?

This was the 2015 line-up:-

From the left:- Paul, yours truly, Margaret and Mary.

We set off just five minutes before the scheduled start time, apologies to anyone who turned up late - Josie?

As the athletes disappeared over the horizon before we left Walker Fold Road and I hadn't a clue what was happening, most of the following account was provided by Paul. Paul reached the water first, but the ladies, more experienced in slipping into their wetsuits, were afloat before him.

Caption contest:-

The ladies were out of the water and away and Paul didn't make contact again until he passed Margaret on the bike near Holy Trinity on COR.

He pushed hard to catch Mary on the run, but she finished just about one minute ahead in a total time of 2:51. Margaret followed him in in 3:02. I was much (much) later.

I think a good time was had by all. Best wishes to Mary in Poland next week when she defends her age group world quadrathlon title.

I may save up to buy a wetsuit for 2016.

Thank you to Liz (Mrs Paul) for the photos and for supervising the swim.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Two Go Running in the Duddon Valley

As planned, YJ and I travelled up to Seathwaite on Saturday.

YJ was scheduled to run what we have dubbed the Harter Triangle, and set off for this soon after we arrived. This is a road run, heading north to Cockley Beck, then west over Hardknott to the King George IV at Eskdale Green, then south over the Birker Fell road to Ulpha, thence north up the Duddon Valley and back to Seathwaite - wow! Just a few yards short of 20 miles, a training run in preparation for his two hilly autumn marathons.

I targetted the Turner Landscape and found a collection of old friends either preparing to run, or supporting this well organised race. I spoke to the RO and explained that I may not beat the cut-offs and asked what the marshalls would be expecting me to do in this eventuality. Mike said that as the day was fine, and providing I didn't keep folk out on the fells too long past their scheduled time, I was welcome to trundle round the course, although I should consider bypassing Coniston Old Man if I was well off the pace.

I made Grey Friar spot on the cut-off and accompanied by a friendly marshall reached Swirl How with a few minutes to spare. With only about 20 minutes before I was due on the Old Man, I took Mike's advice and gave it a miss, and headed straight for Dow where I was pleased to see Ian and Pauline. I think that they were also pleased to see me, in that as the last 'runner' on the course, they had been kind enough to wait for me. Ian ran most of the way to White Pike with me,  just leaving me behind when two of his clubmates, Emma and Yannis, the COM marshalls, caught us up. I was chided by said pair for not visiting their summit and then we all made our way back from the last summit. Some confusion on the run in when I tried to follow the final flagged section, as the flags had by then been gathered in. Undeterred, I zig-zagged down to the finish to be met by a round of applause and to record yet another DNF. Some mickey taking from the Bowland ladies, who seemed keen to inspect my nether regions (this was not allowed), but a very good natured end to a great day out.

YJ had been back for some time, and reported that although he had found the Harter Triangle hard, he had completed it comfortably under four hours and thus put another useful collection of miles under his belt.

Another good day out - I plan to compete again next next year, and this time to appear in the results.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Three Go Walking in the Langdales

Seeing that it’s summer SN, Nic’O and myself took ourselves off to Langdale for a spot of fun in the sun, well fun we had, but only fleeting glimpses of the sun!  Nevertheless a good time was had by all and I’m sure it won’t be too long before a further adventure is planned :-)  A few more pics here


crossing Stickle Ghyll


Fleeting glimpses of sunshine at Stickle Tarn




Descending Pike o’Stickle

Turner Landscape-209

Back up to Duddon at the weekend to marshall on the Turner Landscale fell race.  Whilst on Dow Crag this splendid view was enjoyed.  I’m sure you all know that skyline. left to right – Scafell, with the little bump of Symond’s Knott, Mickledore, Scafell Pike, Little Narrow Cove, Broad Crag and Ill Crag followed by Great End, Esk Hause, Esk Pike in th shadow, then Ore Gap which we traversed on Wednesday and the pointy summit of Bow Fell.   Very pleasing to see it from here so soon : )

Friday, August 07, 2015

Tri Winter Hill 2015 - Saturday 15th August

Date now confirmed - start 09:00 on Horrocks Fold car park - further details from 

Julie's little expedition

As some of you may know, my better half has been building up to her own little challenge, a Macchu Picchu trek. The distances are not massive but becuse of the altitude (around 14,000ft above sea level) it was very demanding. I am glad to say that she has completed it and returned safely. Over the past few days, she has completed an equally demanding challenge - that of getting all the photos uploaded. She has now uploaded a day by day account on facebook which includes a few hundred photos - those of of you on fb may wish to see them. I'm not sure of how widely visible they are, so you may need to send a friend request to Julie.
Best of luck with the Lakes trip tomorrow - we are delivering furniture to my daughter's new house. On Sunday, I am leading an LDWA walk, so if you are still looking for more exercise, the walk starts at 9am from the road up to the top barn. It will be about 17 miles.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

A bit of rambling on the GR36

I arrived home on Tuesday from a bit of walking in Normandy.
The first day was a bit horrendous as I'd not are fully analysed the exact distance the GR36 takes to my first night's stopover. First 15km from the ferry to Caen were fine then the heavens opened. By mid afternoon, after seeing a sign showing 22.5km still to go, I decided to hitch a lift. I had walked 31km.
Ouistreham - the walk begins
At 4km, Pegasus Bridge - the subject of the film, The Longest Day 

Two night's camping in the wet at Thury-Harcourt with gradually improving weather, I retraced the GR36 back north on the second day, returning by bus.
 Near Thury-Harcourt, an alternative to the GR36 is the Voie Verte, a wide cycleway on a disused railway track
Day 2 - mostly a dry day
On Tuesday I followed the GRP de Suisse Normandie to arrive in Clecy, staying at a lovely hotel in the picturesque village, staying two nights and using Wednesday to take the GR36 back to Thury, nicely timed for 40 minutes in a bar before the bus arrived to return to the hotel.
Day 3 - The River Orne flanked by challenging climbs

With nothing booked for Thursday, I followed the GR36 to Pont d'Ouilly for lunch and then continued with no idea of what accommodation there would be. I eventually found a gite de ferme which gave me a wonderful night with the family, making new friends.
As it was the first weekend of August, I thought it prudent to book the hotel at Putanges for Friday night (they even have wifi in the middle of nowhere!). Amazingly I was the only person staying in the hotel although the restaurant, not full but at least had around ten people in it. I also planned my route for the remaining days, booking hotels in Écouché and Argentan.
Saturday was an easy day, just 24.4km to Écouché, although it was now starting to get quite warm.
Again I was the only person staying in the hotel on the first Saturday in August.
My final day's walking on the GR36 was to be Sunday - it was just a case of deciding where to turn off and head for Argentan, where I could get the train back to Caen. My plan was a village called Francheville. As I got near it, I realised it was not on the GR36, just slightly off, but I still headed there - it may have had a bar serving food. No bar a but a nice village and bench with a view to eat my backup lunch.
Future bacon sandwiches 
A very shiny plaque at Francheville showing that it was liberated only 6 days after D-Day
The view attracted me to return to the GR36 and continue. I decided on a turn round point at 2.30 p.m. but I could also see a hill so I continued to reach the summit. However there was no view as it was more of a plateau in a forest. I had completed 21Km at a fair pace so needed to work out my route to Argentan. Luckily viewranger on my phone showed plenty of paths to head in the right direction once I had left the GR36. However, not all the paths were completely navigable : one in particular was more like a jungle with fallen trees blocking the path at one point. Luckily, previous walkers had made a cut into an adjacent cornfield which  did return to wider path. The last 6km into Argentan was a challenge, being along a busy road. I eventually arrived at Argentan at 7pm, having walked 41km with a pack of over 16Kg. A thermometer was showing 27°C (at 7pm). I was somewhat exhausted and quite dehydrated.
 A couple of examples of architecture in Argentan - the second is the very smart railway station
The final day was spent with a leisurely stroll around the few shops that were open in Argentan before catching the train to Caen, lunch in a nice bar (Café Newport) and back to Ouistreham.

If anyone tells you Normandy is not hilly, thery are wrong. In eight days of walking I covered 197Km which included 3600 metres of climb (12,000 feet in old money)

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Winter Hill etc

A few pics from a trot out over Winter Hill, Pike, Two Lads etc – lovely colours appearing on the moors a few more here : )






Squad Outing - Saturday 8th August 2015

YJ and I are travelling up to the Dunnerdale Seathwaite next Saturday morning. One of us plans to compete in the Turner Landscape, whilst the other (guess who) is planning a near 20 mile road run, to include the ascent of Hardnott Pass. There are two spare places in my car. First come, first served.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Coope’s Dozen Support Item

On emptying the boot of my car after the event I found a drink container, silver in colour, with a blue top and with the word “northern” printed on it. If the owner will contact me I will arrange to hand it over.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tuesday Run

A few snaps from last night’s run – amazingly we avoided the torrential showers apart from a slight spattering right at the end.  Wonderfully atmospheric evening light









Tues Winter Hill-40