Three peaks weekend
Always an enjoyable weekend away the Harriers this was the fourth time we’d ventured up there to tackle the Yorkshire Three Peaks. In a year which has again been blighted by injury setbacks with on-going issues in my back & sciatica symptoms I wasn’t sure how much I was going to be able to do but thought I would give it a bash having ran the peaks a couple of times in the year & also having found some comfort in running various fell races throughout the year & coming away pretty much unscathed. It’s kind of baffling that running off road triggers fair less pain & sometimes no pain than running on road, thus proved when I ran Burringham 10k & had awful sciatica, so much so I spat my dummy out & pulled out of Guy Fawkes 10 one of my fave races of the year.
I arrived at the lodges via Stockport following a ‘work meeting’ with my two bottles of vodka in hand, surely this would be enough !!! Everyone arrived at various times throughout the evening & the usual chit-chat was had about everyone’s plans for the following day. I had a couple of vodka cranbo’s just to keep my loose. A pretty restless nights sleep was had & before I knew the 6am alarm went off, forecast was fairly decent so decided against taking my leggings just a rain jacket, hat & gloves just in case. I wasn’t convinced by Kris Hoppy’s music choice for the drive down to Horton but I let it slide.
We all set off at around 8am, I set off on my todd as I just wanted to see how I was feeling for the journey ahead. First couple of miles are gradual uphill & the legs felt ok just another 22 to go…….My plan was to walk a little more on the steep uphills rather than attempting to run them. With the weather been pretty decent there were lots of walkers on route but they were all quite courteous in letting me pass. It was a touch foggy as I reached the top of Pen-y-Ghent. Rich Buckle arrived at the top the same time as me & we started our descent to the crossroads before the long slog to Ribblehead. I was happy for the company as last year I ran more than half on my own. The run from the bottom of Pen-y-Ghent to the Ribblehead viaduct seem to pass quickly & the legs were still feeling good. We stopped at Nippy’s car for some water & food whilst finding time for a picture in front of the viaduct as it was looking rather picturesque. As the incline started to ramp up on the ascent to the top of Whernside I was starting to fatigue slightly so fuelled up with some fruit pastilles & an energy gel & the all important fruit shoot. Having reached the top I was starting to think about calling it a day after two peaks but that’s not my style so made the decision to carry on whilst making the descent off Whernside.
It was nice to see Nippy at the bottom of Inglebrough & was grateful for the water. Inglebrough has always been my nemesis as that’s where I normally have my meltdown moments. This year I was hoping to change that, I took another energy gel onboard as we made our way across the farmers field, unlike previous years I made good time to the bottom of the steepest part of Inglebrough & thought this is my year. The steep section is never easy & I stopped every now & then just to get my breath back. Having had trouble getting off the top after reaching the trig point I decided to turn left at the ‘Mike Petersen’ rock named after me I missed it the other year & nearly ended going back from where I came. Rich B had gone to the top of Inglebrough but soon caught me back up on the way back in to Horton. I always find the last section quite tricky as fatigue has normally really set in by now & I’m prone to the odd fall or 2. I steadily made my way through the last 4 miles without any mishaps. Stopping my watch near the bridge at 5 hours 12, I was so chuffed with myself nearly 40 minutes quicker than my previous best. Really pleasing to make it through the route without any back issues or calf pinching problems. Very grateful to Rich for the company definitely helps to have someone to run with. This year I fuelled much better which really did help & running more sensible was a massive difference for them later miles. Having made the last checkpoint for the race in plenty of time I’m very tempted to give it a go next year having already done the qualifying races needed.