Well, here we are again, with another Sunday morning tale to tell. I travelled to this one with Mrs Gill D-S-D and Sally, and what a sad carload of negativity I had to contend with. Just when you want the positive energy flow to enhance your mind state what did I get?
You guessed, the serial underachievers started off with 'I'm not in the right state of mind for a run, so I'll just go and walk up something to watch them do it', followed by ' I've brought my gear, but I don't think I'll be using it', and 'my head hurts just below the lug area where it's swollen', and 'I've been kneading dough all week and I've nothing left for running, and I don't feel 100% anyway, I think I'll just walk with you'
Buoyed by this wave of enthusiasm for the run ahead, I fell out of the car at Cautley Spout and saw the first of the Junior races running up a reasonable slope to the east of the Spout and thinking 'Ah well. not too steep, gentle rise to the top, gentle run back down...not that bad.'
Paid the very reasonable £2.50 entry fee, and met Rhiannon and Stu, at which point Stu gave me the most realistic pre-race description yet - first off, the seniors went west of the Spout, crossed a river twice, then straight uphill ( horrrendous), across the crest then straight down (horrendous again), back across the river and home. ( Rhiannon would probably have said ' It's just a run out, up a bit, down a bit and then back home'). Then Stu set off on his bike to Sedburgh for a cake and coffee, and a gentle peddle back................
Meanwhile, off we went, after a false start, up another even longer than last week uphill trudge, at one point I suffered a snowball onslaught from Rhiannon (she's meant to be a team mate!), and had to struggle not to laugh at a guy from Keighley who on a really steep bit, was crawling, like a baby, on arms and knees (sorrry mate if you happen to read this!).
At last the summit turn for home - within 50 metres I'd gone over on my ankle and started to be over cautious on the descent!
Next thing I knew Rhiannon had gone past me ( I have a deep seated dread of being beaten by certain Eden Runners over distances of less than 10 miles (You all know who you are!), so I was very very anxious at this point, given my general pride about the speed with which I can usually go down.
Eventually the slope eased, and, across some easier, wetter ground, I was almost upon Rhiannon when she suddenly stopped......... to tie her shoelace! Oh Joy! Do I shove her over as I go past? Remove her shoe and scop it across the fell? NO! I just shoot past, thinking 'thats the get out of jail card played again!'
Finished, and, for the first time in a race I had nothing, absolutely NOTHING in the locker for a fast finish should it be needed. It was the hardest race I've been in, the tank was on empty.....but, at the end, the bloke who finished behind me shook hands, Rhiannon shook hands and Duncan, a fella we've got to know over this series of races also shook hands, a mate of Duncans shook hands and, somehow, although I was disappointed with my performance ( I guess I always will be!), those hand shakes made it all worth while.
We went to a pub in Ravenstonedale after, and, althought there were no chips, we had some marvellous crisps and bits of cake, and a good crack! Oh and one of the fell runners had offered to make us a cup of coffee after the race, after I'd asked him if he could knock us up a veggie burger on the stove in his camper van!
The Fell Fella