Whitestones… hmmm. That video clip on the Helm Hill Runners website was the first thing that put me off. And then I had heard runners get lost up there, and that it’s single file. and then you print the map off and the map key actually has the words MAN EATING bog in it! What else might put you off? Ah yes, the weather! So we were all winners weren’t we? Just for getting to the start line.
The seniors start was a furious pounding and rustling as runners ploughed through the bracken to gain a good position on the path before the flat-ish path narrowed into an ever steepening, muddy and rocky incline. Jan shouted, “come on - get that waterproof off and get running!” (I was finding I could walk as fast as the runners on this steep section - the terrain controlled the pace here, so I took advice and got my coat off while I could). As we started topping out, I managed to gain a few places by running over the brow. Now for the flat bit - this is better… or is it? Ankle deep bog, then knee deep, then you see runners stumbling right in! Oh, and this wasn’t the man-eating bit yet. There were some interesting little craggy bits to negotiate and some streams, gullies and wider bits of bog to leap over - the terrain was hard work even though it was flat. Fog, driving rain, first in one earhole, then the other, the intense pace never really let up as we followed the well flagged single NOT track, but muddy little line through the heathery bog, until finally you had that steep descent to the finish line ahead of you. It was an exhilarating way to finish, with a slight uphill sprint to the finish funnel if you had it left in you! Trays of chocolate cake being offered round in the rain was a bizarre sight, but I declined and said a quick good bye to all the Harriers - well done everyone! Brian Kennedy was top of the Settle Harrier charts this time, with Steve Proctor, Andy Evans and Steve Moore to follow. Judy Marshall was first Harrier lady home, then Sally Handforth - (Richard also ran a good race), and myself and Sabrina had our own little race going on to come in 3rd and 4th Harrier lady respectively. Well done any juniors who ran - see you at Birkrigg next week - I am looking forward to that, as I grew up in Ulverston! I hope the weather will be as nice as it looks in that race’s video clip!