Running race 37:22  4.4 mi (8:30 / mi)
shoes: Inov8 mudclaw
Hodgson Brothers Mountain Relay, Dark Peak, 1st.
2nd on Leg1 with Capt Rob.
Setting the scene Borrowdale have won the Hodgsons for 19 consecutive years, trying to make it 20. I’ve been in a few teams that have come 2nd and so very close over the years to beating Borrowdale. They’ve always been really strong teams as well, including the likes of Lloyd, Oli, Rob B, John Rocke, but someone has always been ill/unfit/got lost.
So even though I’ve not raced since May, when the lads are a man down 10 days before I was well up for committing to help out.
The task was to stick with Rob and win leg1. It was clear this was a tall order from the get go, I’ve just not got the racing legs. So we were 4th along the flat behind Borrowdale, Calder Valley and Keswick, uh oh.
On the climb all 3 teams took the high path, I don’t think there’s any difference in the two parallel paths, but when we joined together again we’d dropped Keswick. Now just the rest of climb to go, trying to stay in touch with Calder Valley and Borrowdale. Rob was a great motivational speaker all the way up and I just got my head down and went as fast as I could, while Rob had a nice easy run alongside.
The gaps pretty much stayed the same though. After angle tarn through the wall, Rob said it was ‘time to gamble’ which made me chuckle through the grimace and we followed the wall down the left of the crags, which is different from previous years but turned out to be good route, we caught and passed Calder Valley by the control at the bottom. Borrowdale out descended us and must have pulled out another few seconds. As fast as I could go now following Rob down the track to the finish. We were 40s down on Borrowdale. Disappointing but we did a job. I could have certainly given us a lead given a few months of proper training and Rob had plenty more left in the tank, so at least improvements can be made.
Tense times now as Matt and Jonny produced the fastest time on leg 3 and Neil and Tom stayed in touch on leg 3, but still 25s down on Borrowdale. I was nervous that I’d thrown it away on leg1, but then up step Rhys and Kris who had a stormer on last leg for a big win on leg 4. We’d finally done it, 1st place Dark Peak! To top it all off we managed a course record by 3s overall, which is pretty damn special and testament to a cracking team who managed to get it all right on the day. Amazingly then the Dark Peak women and vet men’s teams both won their categories as well. A most special day for the brown vests.