It’s been a while since my last blog post for a number of minor reasons. The main one being that I had a 3 week ‘rest’ to try to sort out a niggle in my hamstring. Long story short, the physio reckons that it’s nothing to do with the hamstring and the pain is referred pain caused by my lower back tying itself into a knot. As it does.
Still after a pretty intense sport massage where lots of body parts were extracted from neighbouring body parts I decided to get back to parkrun in a running capacity. The leg still isn’t right but it’s no worse, so it’s one to monitor. However I took the precaution of deferring my entry to the Buxton Half Marathon last weekend as I thought that 13.1 road miles was probably a step too far at this stage, although with the first ultra exactly 2 months away I’m conflicted with the training in terms of what I can and what I should be doing.
Wincle Trout Run
This weekend however had a different fish to fry. I’d entered the Wincle Trout Run eagerly when it opened back in February (it sold out in 24 hours as it’s a small and very popular event). And given that I’d not had any adverse reaction to parkrun in the morning, I figured I’d like to go out and have another go this year. So I did.
I may have explained in last year’s write up, but the Trout Run is a bit different to a lot of races in that, due to the village fete rotating between 3 neighbouring farms, the race route is different each year. In theory after 3 years the route should be the same as it was, but in practice route changes are made and new bits added to the core of the race. It’s about 5.5 miles long and about 1000ft of ascent. But as and where the hills fall depends on the year and the RD.
I seem to remember someone suggesting last year’s route was the easiest of the three. And as I was driving over yesterday I was recalling some of the route, which wasn’t particularly easy!
Getting to Wincle was easily done. There’s one road in from the north and no real chance to go wrong. After what felt like an age I joined a small queue of cars trying to get into the field being used as a car park. And then I joined a queue on foot to get out of the field and head down into the valley where the fete was taking place.
I spent most of the pre-race time catching up with people rather than looking at the fete itself. Which was a bit of a shame looking at the photos that some of the others posted of baby llamas and sheepdog pups. But either way it wasn’t long before we were assembled on the road above the fete ready to go. And we were off.
Immediately in front of the start it was up a steep embankment before a loop around last year’s start area and along the bank of the river Dane which we’d be crossing a mile and a half into the run:
It wasn’t very deep, but I think my socks absorbed the maximum amount of water they possibly could have done judging by the amount of squelching I managed as I climbed the bank on the other side.
The next section of the race is across open land before descending onto woodland paths. These paths undulated throughout, almost as if taunting the runners with the climbs yet to come. This section seemed to continue longer than I remember, as it was the same section we ran last year.
However things changed when we started the climb. Last year it was one long clamber from the base of the river to the top of Hanging Edge. But this year was better. Instead we zigzagged our way to the southern side of the Edge, which meant clambering through ‘Lud’s Church‘. This is not a religious building, but instead a chasm through the rocks of the White Peak. It was a huge contrast to the woodland and noticably colder and wetter than the humid woodland we’d climbed out of.
It was more woodland initially as we left Lud’s Church before continuing our climb up onto the Edge itself, offering spectacular views across the valley.
And after all this climbing (the earlier descents never seemed to make up for climbs) it was time to drop down from the Edge and back to the fete below.
Here’s some downhill (slightly) action:
From the open land it was back into the woods along a broken stone trail which was a little treacherous under foot and certainly not a surface I run well on. I was aware of other runners catching me and it was a balance between trying to keep moving as quickly as I could but without landing on my face!
It was then out onto an open track:
Before turning sharply onto the road for about 100m during which I pushed as hard as I could to keep ahead of those following me. It was then a final sharp turn into the finish straight in a grassy area next to the road. Where they were serving pints of water to lots of very warm runners (some still with soggy feet!).
Final position – 89th out of 309 in 58:07 – distance 5.6m 1200ft of ascent (according to Garmin, RD stated about 950ft!). So not an amazing result, but given the lack of recent running and that I’m not as quick relatively off-road as I am on tarmac, I was happy to get around in one piece. It was then back to registration to collect my trout which made for a nice meal once I got home!
What a great race, and all supporting the village too! Hope to be back again for another instalment next year!