Sunday, 7 April 2013

It's not all about biking.... The Allendale Challenge, 6th April 2013

The Development prides itself that it's not just about biking, as mentioned in earlier 'introducing' blogs the team participate in a broad cross section of outdoor sports, fell running, snowboarding, rock climbing, all sorts.  Angie, as those who read this blog regularly will know, is a very keen fell runner..... and here's the Allendale Challenge run down for you all.....

The Allendale Challenge amongst fell runners and walkers is infamous for the covering some of the finest peat bogs in the North Pennines.  2013 hosted the 24th event, of which my Dad has raced 23 of them, this year was a bit sad with the fact that he’s decided to quit racing.  As you can imagine after 27 years fell running he could do with changing the bearings!

This year I did more training than before, getting involved with adventure races and running more often during the week over the last few months so was looking forward to it.  Ellen Tipple (Chris Foster of The Development Racing’s girlfriend) was competing again this year, I was approx. 20mins behind her last year.  Jenni Campbell from Berghaus was doing it for her first time.  Helen Gaskell, Sarah Newman and her sister Amy were planning on walking it.  My brother James was also having a crack at it having not walked that far for over 14 years.  It was quite exciting having a lot of people there. Steve was team support for the day cycling around to the checkpoints and keeping us going.  My mum, Aunty and cousins were also supporting us driving around to certain checkpoints to cheer us all on!

After the amount of snow that had fallen the week before the organisers had to change the original route and divert some of the 9ft Snow drifts across the moors by Black Hill, this reduced the route somewhat from 25 miles to 23 miles.  The event was full with 860 competitors, made up with probably 70% walkers and the rest runners.  Jenni, Ellen and I set off at 10am as runners after the walkers who went off at 8am.  

The day was so hot compared to the conditions lately, it was a proper bluebird day, not a cloud to be seen in the sky.  Straight off the start line, up a steep track onto the moors to checkpoint one at the chimneys, we were doing OK at 10-minute miles.  When you’re doing a long distance run it’s hard to try and hold yourself back a little to conserve your energy, it’s easy to just run fast at the start but then suffer later on. I usually find I get my breathing into a rhythm and like you would stick to the same cadence on your bike you do a similar thing whilst running. 

Jenni and I stuck together the whole way and tried to keep Ellen in view but she’s like a whippet and kept getting ahead.  It was good to have something to aim for though.  As we approached the halfway mark onto the top of Killhope Law at 673 metres we were knee high in snow making it real hard work and at the same time trying to pass walkers in snow gully’s.  It was a shame that I couldn’t stop to just take in the view at the top but I didn’t really want to stop at all so we just cracked on.

Sunk a few gels, juice and cashew nuts that Jenni, luckily for me, had with her as I started to get cramp in my legs.  Not great when you’ve still got 9 miles to go.  Finally Steve told us there was only 3 miles left so it was like a home-run time.  Me and Jenni just pumped up the volume on the iPod and got our heads down, I looked up at one point to see Jenni waist deep in a bog trying to clamber out!  Oops! – nice to have a test dummy infront, hehe!

Towards the finish was a mile of steep, steep singletrack road which is exactly what you don’t want when you’ve just run 22 miles.  Jenni was flying down the road and overtook some bloke, I didn’t want to finish with a guy inbetween us both so I sprinted the last 400 metres overtaking him!  Yussah!  We both finished with a time of 4hrs 32mins just 7mins behind Ellen so times were close!

It was a great event and I can’t wait to do it all again next year!!

Thanks to Steve, Mam and support team!

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