Haworth Hobble 15th March 2014

This was to be my first “ultra run” (over 26 miles) although I had done a 31 mile practice from our house to Pendle Hill and back and was in the land of the living dead for the last 3 miles. Since I am running 50 miles in July whilst competing in the Lakeland 50 I really needed the long distance practice.

It was the usual set off with some people panting and puffing and running way too fast. I let them go and stuck to my sub 135bpm target. Up the cobbled street out of Haworth and then familiar territory towards Top Withens and over into Calderdale. The average was not too good at below 5.5mph here but I knew the route to the Long Causeway would bring the average up. At the long causeway halt I refilled the water and downed my new anti indigestion tool – Muller Rice. It seemed to go down well but was a little bulky to carry around with me.

Things seemed to be going well and I could see my destination of Stoodley Pike on the skyline. Most of the route down into Todmorden was mountain bike territory for me so I felt at home on the old pack horse trails. The route up to the Pike is a bit of a killer but I was still feeling OK at this point and my average had risen to 5.8mph. I was doing my usual trick of reeling in some of the fast starters as well. Down from the Pike it drops into Pennine Bridleway country in Challis Wood. This is where I started feeling a little queasy and needed a second Muller Rice as I knew the slog up to Heptonstall would be a killer. Walking was about as much as I could manage at this point.

It was the long haul up stairs that was the sting in the tail and most of us were by now running / walking. It was good to chat with others and all pretence of competition had now gone out of the window. This was about survival. You know that you are tired when even the downhills are difficult to run and how much did I wish I were on a mountain bike descending stairs! Only over Penistone Hill and I would be in Haworth. I could see a Trawden vest behind me and ran like hell, nearing the finish and still in front. Then I took a wrong turning and lost out by 11 seconds. It was irrelevant really but it is amazing how soul destroying that can be when emotions are running high.

My finish time was 05:55:28 133rd out of 509 starters so a significant improvement over my usual top 1/3rd finishing rate – see http://kcac.co.uk/haworth-hobble/. I was tired but not shattered and was hoping to do the forthcoming Calderdale Hike in sub 7 hours based on the fact that it was only around 5 miles longer.

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