In sickness and in health... Long Tour of Bradwell

Yesterday was the Long Tour of Bradwell, my third counter in the Vasque Ultra Series this year (the others being Wuthering Hike, Lakeland 100 and High Peak 40). Being the week after the 100 my legs were still feeling a bit battered by thursday and I wasn't sure whether I was going to run or not, but it was a good excuse to go see people in Sheffeld on friday night.

So, with predictable slight hangovers Lorna and I arrived at Bradwell Sports Pavillion. After a cup of coffee, registering and all that malarkey it was soon 9 o'clock and I was standing with everyone else ready to go. We set off straight up a slight hill, first on the road then up through the cement works. Everyone set off at a fair pace, but perhaps not as stupidly fast as last year. Four of us were running together as the climb levelled off, then steepened. Unfortunately I had started with my waterproof on which turned out to be a bad plan and I was soon boiling, so had to stop to take it off. Luckily I caught the guys again when they stopped to dib at the second CP.

After a while we were descending down Cavedale, but I was feeling rubbish. I had been trying to drink some water with energy powder in it, but it had foamed up and seemed to be giving me stomach cramps. Towards the bottom I was in pain and going really slowly. I dropped off the back of the group and was passed by David Jelley at the CP in the village. Along the road section from here to the bottom of the next big climb I found that if I ran bend double it was less painful, so I tried to do that and keep moving as fast as possible (not very fast).
Cavedale on a sunnier day than yesterday
After a while (and some stuff I've forgotten) we climbed up to Stanage Edge. On the way up we dibbed at the CP, as I did so I looked back and saw a few people getting closer to me, so I decided to try to run hard along the edge. Despite the on and off rain there were quite a lot of people climbing, which took my mind off my stomach a bit. On the way down to the next checkpoint I was passed by Simon White, who was running well. I stayed with him for a bit down past Higger Tor but after a while he escaped.

It was getting close to the end now and the 100 was starting to catch up with me. Luckily my stomach had settled a bit by just drinking plain water, although I have never eaten less in a race of this distance. At CP 15 there were three of us together in 5/6/7th, one of whom was Kevin Perry who I had run with for a while last weekend. I got away from the CP just before them so had a small gap. It wasn't far to the quick dib at CP16, it was now just Kevin and I. The run down from the last checkpoint was quite enjoyable... A few tracks to start with, then over fields and down a couple of nice steep descents into the south end of the village. Just a run up through the village and out the other side now, about one km to go. I had maybe 20m on Kevin as we entered the village, but I lost these looking for a set of steps through the village, and it looked like we might be sprinting for 5th.

As we passed through the top end of the village (the Sports Pavillion is just outside) Kevin picked up the pace and ran past me. I ran as hard as I could, as you could tell from the looks of horror on the faces of pedestrians I ran towards, but could not catch him. In the end, he beat me by 23 seconds. We had run a good last couple of legs though, and I was pleased that he seemed as knackered as me.

In the end I was pleased with 6th in 5:47:49. Mark Anderson won a great race to win by over 20 mins in 5:22.

Now I have a week to get ready for a busy month... Fastnet followed swiftly by Raid in France! Time to pack...


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