Running 1:20:39 
FRA Relays - 2nd Leg with Garry.
Had hoped for a top 10 in this race if we performed well as a team. Karl came back in 20th so a bit down on where we wanted but plenty of teams to chase down.
Set off along a flat path for 800m or so before it ramped up into a Black Combe style first climb. Long and runnable. Kept it sensible and immediately runners came streaming passed. Think we must've lost 5 places alone on that initial run out. Told Garry they'd come back to us and we just carried on with our pace. One of them was Si Bailey and Will Neil for Mercia but apart from them I didn't recognise any one else. Started the climb and just carried on our pace. Passed Howgill straight away and just kept ticking away. Got over the first steep bit and could see a huge line of runners to be aimed at. We got stuck in and were passing teams all the time. Went passed an impatient looking Si Bailey and then saw GG up ahead with a partner who looked to be struggling a little. Carried on the pace and saw Calder and Pudsey not far ahead. Karl Gray was struggling and had been left behind by Tim so moved passed. Then passed Clayton, Edinburgh, Rossendale and a couple more as we were the only ones still running.
As it steepened near the top the weather really came in and I began to get quite cold. We got passed Pudsey and closed in on Borrowdale vets ahead. GG and partner had been running with us for a while now and as the rain came in I faffed with my coat and we lost them in the mist. Hit the top at the same time as Mark Roberts and Scoffer with visibility extremely low. I was pretty annoyed at myself to let GG go as I knew he would be perfect to follow through the mist. Anyways set about trying to navigate my way along the ridge to CP 2 and without really meaning to managed to get a gap behind. Took a straighter line to CP3 cutting across the re-entrant to the spur and had Garry sufficiently worried enough behind for him to get his map out. Told him to chill out and as I was questioning myself just a little we hit the trod down the spur. Success. Descended down to the CP and then had a 3min scramble down to CP4. Dropped out of the mist and punched 4 and had a look behind. Probably had about a minute to a bunch of 3 teams. I was more focused on who was in front though as I was still feeling good. Horwich were about 30m ahead on the climb, then Ochill about 75m and then Wharfedale and Helm another 100m above them.
As I looked up I immediately realised that the blur of contours on the map making up the route from 4 to 5 was disturbingly accurate and running was just not an option. This meant that those gaps were basically impossible to close down. Told Garry we were gaining at least one more place and let me know he was struggling just a tad. I kept him positive and said that one of the Horwich guys was struggling more so we set about grinding out the climb. Caught him about 2/3rds of the way up and has a good complain about how fucked we all were before leaving him on the slightly runnable section at the top. Hit the fence and then ran the 50m along the path to CP5 and the start of the final descent. I was really keen to push myself as hard as I could on the descent so lead it out all the way. It was soon apparent that here was no one any where near ahead so kept glancing back. Got to the bridge where there was a woman blowing a whistle to let walkers know runners were coming and so could gauge that we had a fair gap behind. Pushed hard along the flat and then handed over to Paul and Tom on 3rd.
7th fastest time on that leg and only 6 mins down on Rhys and Kris who were fastest. Moved the team up from 20th to 9th so very happy with that. Tom and Paul kept position on an extremely tough nav leg. They also handed over to Todd with Ben Mounsey which was nice of them. Thankfully Todd had a flyer too and held off Pudsey to maintain our top 10. Brilliant team performance and once again achieved our goal. Enjoyed the celebratory whiskey post-race too...