Monday 3 September 2012

Bullock smithy 56mile, Peak District

Bullock Smithy a 56mile loop starting from Hazel Grove nr Stockport with 14 checkpoints. Basically route choice is up to you provided you visit CP's in order and get your timing card stamped. Local knowledge can play a big part in this race knowing just the right routes to take to avoid wading through a boggy field and up a hill when there is a far easier route on a track to take instead. This year I stayed on course much more than last year. Partly because I could remember quite a bit, partly because a lot of the route crossed other runs I had done in the area and partly because I ran with a chap called Toby for much of the 2nd half. I ran at a comfortable pace throughout and took my time through cps never really planning to burn round the course as fast as possible. There are a few hills here and there with elevation for the route coming in at 2300m on my watch, and 59miles distance.

 The start is interesting. Basically everybody is gathered in a park with a hammer used to start the race and everybody shoots off in different directions picking their own route to the first checkpoint, I led the group that took 'my road' and then there was maybe 30 runners piling onto the track in front having come over a golf course. This happens a lot, people will pass you and then you will pass them, I wonder what the optimum route actually is?

 The route loosely goes in a clockwise direction with Buxton being the centre of the loop, heading towards Furness Vale, Edale, Castleton, Cave Dale, Peak forest, Taddington, Earl Sterndale, Macc forest, Bollington and back to the start. It amused Toby the fact I could remember sections of the course and cps by the food that they had there and what I had eaten the year before. He was perhaps slightly less conditioned but had a great idea of the best routes to take so together we made a good team and I was glad of the company!
The day as a whole was warm with some nice weather and the route underfoot quite dry considering. I ran in road shoes (as I nearly always do) and had no problems.

 We rolled in around 11 hours 40 something inside the top 20 finishers with many continuing until the following morning to get round I believe there was 280 on the start line.

Overall my time was slightly slower than last year although I was by no means 'pushing it' and enjoyed the day! Getting in to a cooked breakfast at 11pm is a strange concept but I would probably eat anything at that point. I drove back home and was probably around 3 by the time I got to sleep on the Sunday morning before packing my bag and heading to the train station for Conwy - I had secured myself as a marshal for the Dragons Back Race and had to arrive in Conwy for the briefings on Sunday afternoon. I had a nice jog around Conwy and along the castle walls and around the harbour in the sunshine on Sunday too. More about that on the next blog!