Three is a charm/Two is not the same/I don’t see the harm/So are you game? – Britney Spears.

PEN-Y-GHENT

I don’t know Britney, the hills look nice, but seriously far apart? Still, it’s a nice day and I’m in the area for the weekend so why not? Staying in a cottage in Horton has its advantages; chiefly sitting on the sofa until 15 minutes before the race.

A big start, but I took it easy well to the middle of the pack. A gentle jog up a narrow track working my way up the field. Props to the lads walking the 3 Peaks in their mankinis, hope they stick to it. Some slushy snow on the top, the leaders already well in front. Took a tumble on the way down, a nasty gash on my left leg and a bruised thigh which shook me up for a couple of minutes. Only one down, two to go.

Shake it baby, shake it baby yeah/1 2 3 baby oooh oooh – Jackson 5

WHERNSIDE

Jeez-o that was a long way. A strange fell race that has more road mileage than most 10ks. Passed the Ribbledale viaduct and enjoyed a shout-out on the tannoy. It had been raining on and off for the last 30 mins and the hill ahead was covered in snow and a freezing mist.

Off the tarmac, on to the leg-sapping bog and then the steep, then seriously steep, climb up. Starting slowly began to pay off – lots of people looking done in and I made good haul of places. A quick turn and the next hill looks so far away that it just can’t be Ingleborough, there must be some mistake and Peak 3 will reveal itself any minute now. Nope, definitely Ingleborough. The descent is a hateful mix of slush, slippy slabs and scared walkers, it’s a relief to get down to the flat along to Chapel le Dale.

1 2 3! Baby what you do to me/Sending shivers up & down my spine – Vivien Vee

INGLEBOROUGH

I hate Ingleborough. The run in & the climb up was a straight-up grind and the descent was a long drag – did I mention the finish is miles away from the top? It’s cold and wet all round, sack being out in this. Still I was moving faster than most people around me so I must be doing something right and a kiss from Christine and shouts from her family gave a welcome boost just before the top. 

Passing through a fence on the descent someone shouted ‘2 and half to go!’, a quick glance at my watch was enough to confirm that my goal time wasn’t going to happen today; that took the wind out my sails a bit and I just plodded along for the remainder with a half-hearted sprint for the finish line for 03:46. Not exactly fresh as a daisy but not quite as destroyed as I thought I would be – maybe I should’ve run faster? Probably, maybe, who knows? Still the race is over, not to worry, there’s always next year, first a look in at the first-aid tent to get my leg seen to and then there’s a hot shower not far away.

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