“If the hill has its own name, then it’s probably a pretty tough hill.” – Marty Stern
This race certainly has plenty of ‘named’ hills.
After entering in May and after the debacle of Aprils Blackpool marathon this became my no. 1 A race. Training had been good & I’d just got fitter, faster and stronger.
So, here it was….. the mighty Redbull Steeplechase. Billed as the toughest thing you’ll ever do! The weather was sunny but a little cool and with quite a thick mist in the valleys.
Arriving early to collect my number and use one of the copious amounts of portaloos, #1 not 2, before they became pits of insidious odour it seemed a while before it was time to toe the line fuelled up on chia charge flapjack and a can of redbull.
The dashing redbull fella in all his tweed and smoking his pipe gave us a little pep talk then discharged his pistol. It was a sprint along the undulating road which was a little strange what with the next bit being a scramble on hands and knees up the steep side of mam tor grabbing bramble and at times people in fronts feet. Eventually we made the top and began the descent down then up to back tor before sprinting for what seemed like ages down thru ankle high, slippery grass into the valley. It was then all the way back up to the near peak of winn hill before again descending back slowly past a rotting sheep corpse (nice!!!) into the valley at the side of ladybower. I consumed my first powershot and hit the first Water station for a 50/50 redbull/water combo.
After this we were soon into bamford and CP1/elimination. 37th/375. 8miles in with another 10miles approximately till I needed to be top 30 I was very comfortable.
So back up to winn hill passing, and quite confusingly, loads of people who had took a wrong turn. At the top of winn hill it was time for, usually, my favourite descent down to Hope but my quads were cramping all the way down so not as nice. CP2 was in Hope and on passing through I was 31st/250. 12.8miles in, I knew I was still comfortable and some people had started way too quick. I passed Will beauchamp who was supporting leaving hope and he said youre 26th which confused me a little. I decided to assume I was 31st to be safe.
I passed a couple of runners going up the hill along the side of winn hill and on passing the midpoint counter I was in fact 29th. we were now undulating along Edale valley and I was quite rapidly catching up to a group of 4 or infront. I Caught and passed a couple then my right quad cramped and I was passed as I was stretching it out. Back in 30th and another coming quite quick smelling blood. I restarted and began drawing in the people in front. By the youth hostel I was back in 29th and was soon in a group of 4 with half a mile to go to the final elimination CP. There was no one behind so I knew barring cramping incidents I was going to get thru and have to do the full distance. On entering the village of edale I took 25th and stayed there till the CP. 25th/125, I could see 20th-24th were literally a minute in front. Unfortunately something strange happened, Chris Ireland said last Tuesday that last year people started walking the last 3miles and at the time I thought this was crazy, well crazy hit me and I just had the feeling of job done. I took my time and had a drink from the table. I knew 1st lady Sally Fawcett wouldn’t be far behind and she was just coming in when I started to walk away. She tried to gee me on but I just couldn’t be bothered.
Walking cost me, cooling down, my quads really started to cramp and I had the whole of hollins cross hill to climb. I was now 30th. This took me 20min and once at the top I jogged down loose hill catching the guy in front but I had lost all competitive spirit so we jogged together back into Castleton and crossed together. 30th in 3hr 35.
The race was won by GB runner Andi Jones in an impressive 2hr 38min.
This was the hardest race ive ever done but it is now my favourite by a long way and will definitely be signing up next year. Will race it all and aim for that top 20.
Endless supply of redbull and the best goody bag ever. 2 x salomon hoodies, towel, magazine, medal, cloth shopping bag & a cloth drawstring bag. Plus free burgers, hogg roast, hot dog and FREE LOCAL BEER!!!!!!! all for £25.
“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” -Sir Edmund Hillary