Sunday, 25 April 2010

The 3 Peaks

A glorious sunny day in the Yorkshire Dales was the setting for the first stage of my 'Up hill task' as me, Gav and 1,000 fell runners gathered to take on Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough - the 3 Peaks of Yorkshire.

Having been unable to recce the course due to bad weather and a dodgy knee, I didn't fully appreciate what I would be attempting but the long, rocky climb up to Pen-y-ghent made me realise that a few laps of Temple Newsam and Otley Chevin would in no way prepare me for what was to come.

After scrambling to the summit, it was straight back down again at break-neck pace until the path leveled out on to a fairly flat stage along to the next peak at Whernside. The first descent had taken it's toll on my knee and I had to apply the first blob of ibuprofen gel to numb the pain but at least I could now find some rhythm.

I made up some time and was happy to see my support team with refreshments at the spectacular Ribblehead viaduct and was feeling good until I saw what was next - the long, steep climb up the side of Whernside.

Walking gave way to climbing and by the time I scrambled to the top, I felt emotional and exhausted. The view though was absolutely stunning and almost worth the pain as I set off down the rocky path and along to Ingleborough.

Again I made up time on the flatter section between the peaks and was determined to get a decent time but on the final climb up I became really dehydrated and then started getting stomach cramps and feeling disorientated as I started the descent.

The last couple of miles felt longer than the whole of the race as I struggled to get to the finish. However, once the line was in sight and I heard the crowd cheer I mustered a sprint finish and was really pleased with my time of just under 4 hours and ten minutes.

The pleasure was soon replaced with pain as my stomach cramped up and I was sick from trying to drink too much water too quickly. After a brief sit down in the medical tent, I decided it was time to go home and was soon fast asleep in the back of the car as my Dad drove us home. It wasn't until I had a sandwich and some salty crisps at Booth's on the way back that I finally came round and started to feel human again.

I was then disappointed at feeling so ill at the finish as I didn't really get to enjoy it and missed sharing it with Gav and his family who had also come to watch. I also realised that I had taken it lightly and assumed my high fitness level would get me through which I suppose it did but at a greater cost than I anticipated.

Now a couple of days have passed and my stomach and legs have recovered, I am pleased overall and would consider giving it another go with a more focused training plan and better refueling plan.

I am also looking forward to the Leeds Half Marathon and the Yorkshireman which I know will be a lot less painful!

I must say another big thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far at - I really appreciate it!

Checkpoint Time of Day Elapsed
Registration 09:16:59 -----
Pen-y-ghent 10:40:16 00:40:16
Ribblehead 11:44:12 01:44:12
Whernside 12:21:20 02:21:20
Hill Inn 12:46:43 02:46:43
Ingleborough 13:23:17 03:23:17
Finish 14:09:58 04:09:58

Sunday, 18 April 2010

1 week to go

With one week to go until the 3 Peaks and still no recce of the course, me and Gav decided we'd better go and have a look this weekend. That was until my knee went running down a hill at Temple Newsam on Wednesday night, throwing a spanner in the works.

I feared for the worst on Thursday as it was painful and swollen and definitely not fit to run on. With some dodgy dance moves at the Drum awards on Thursday night, and a day of rest on Friday, I decided it wasn't a good idea to take on the 3 Peaks and risk making it worse so me and Jamie did a steady half-marathon on the road instead.

It was a glorious day (tops off!) and although I could feel the knee, I got through it and it feels fine today so I am much more confident it will be ready for Saturday's race.

The plan is to take it steady this week and taper down the training, just doing the odd short run before the big day. I also need to source a whistle and compass as apparently these are pre-rquisites for entry so I don't want to get disqualified before I even set off.

I also had a madcap idea of running the London marathon the next day but have found it is impossible to secure a place at such short notice, unless you run as someone else or sneak on the course with a dodgy number (so if anyone knows anyone who is looking to give up their place - let me know!)
Please check back next week for lots of 3 Peaks pictures and don't forget to sponsor me at and help raise money for MS research.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Chevin chase

With less than three weeks to go until the first stage of 'The Up Hill Task', the plan was to go up and recce the 3 Peaks over Easter to give myself an idea of what I'd gotten myself into.

Unfortunatley, with the early morning weather on Bank Holiday Monday being attrocious, I decided that three laps of Otley Chevin would be a safer option so went and clocked 20 miles in a respectable 2 hours 45 minutes, including time to take a few snaps (see right).

It does leave the question of when to get the recce in as, with Ben visiting at the weekend and a wedding on Saturday, there isn't much space or time in the calendar. It looks like I might just have to turn up on the day and give it a go!

Many thanks to everyone who sponsored me this week, the total is now nearly £300 which is fantastic.