Petzl Night Runner Rivington

The Moorfield/Schofield double act are back…..With December being a complete wash out, first Guy’s 10 then Ribble 10K casualties of the flooding, no racing at all done that month. New Year, new start, hit the ground running and what better way to get back to racing than the Petzl Night Run. We could of eased back in, but that’s not us, thats just not our style, we chose a 10K trail race, up Rivington and back down, in the pitch black during a snow blizzard. The race has a 250 entrant limit and 230 of us were crazy enough to brave the snow and ice to compete and complete what is a very well organised and marked out course.

I had been nervous and anxious about my first ever night run all day. Warren has done this race before and lets not forget he has run in the dark at the end of the Lakeland 50 with 40-45 miles in his legs so he could not get his head around my apprehension.

It was amazing lined up on the start line with everyone, wrapped up in more layers than I had expected, with all their head torches lit on full beam. The countdown and we were off along the road for a few seconds before turning and staring the first climb. By the time I reached that first corner Warren was gone, off and out of sight.

The climb seemed to last forever, for anyone who has been up Rivington it does at times feel relentless. I am not the best climber, I know this is an area that I want to improve and this is the first of hopefully many races to help with this. I hate looking up when I’m running up hill and I personally feel it helps to look down at the ground, that way I can pretend its not that steep and don’t get suckered in by false summits. The conditions however snow and ice on the ground and snow battering my face meant I had no choice but to look down.

The ground was very rough under foot all the way round the course. As I initially climbed people started overtaking me almost immediately, but not all of these people would finish before me. The climb from the car park above the barn up to the pigeon tower was brutal, I did power walk a section of that but then again so did the 10 people in front of me that I could see and I’m sure those behind as it appeared no one was overtaking anyone until after the pigeon tower when it flattened out.

Relief to be running on flat ground for a short section past the bottom of the pike before turning near the dog kennels to head up towards the mast. Flat but bumpy and I definitely recall going over on my ankle during this section and there were lots of times in front of me.

Almost at the mast the the course went off the road and across the fells. Full on concentration needed, my eyes drarting across the white snow to try and find sticks coming out of the ground with little reflective bits of tape on the top. The briefest flashes of panic as I realised I was off course, but relief quickly followed as I was soon back on track and hey its all part of the greatness of this type of race.

Soon I was heading down again, down all the way for the last part of this race. I enjoy running down hill and now it was my turn to pass people and it felt good as I headed on open fell back down to the flat road that runs past the pigeon tower. On this flat part I was running side by side with a guy, we had a bit a of chat as we ran along the flat and turned off to head back down to the start. it was a different path, it was cobbley and so uneven to run on, this bit now slowed me down and the guy pulled away from me. it was extremey hard going under foot with my ankles twisting and turning in every direction. every step taking me closer to the end and soon i could hear and see the finish to my right. I knew I had done it and all I had to do was run down and around the school grounds to the finish gantry.

It took a nervous wait for the final results to come out and I knew I had done better than I had expected at the start line. 4th female in a time of 68:23 and Warren had a fabulous race too 19th overall in a time of 59:13.

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The apprehension and nerves I had felt all day and even on the start line were gone the moment I began that first climb. This is an amazing and exhilarating event, for people of different abilities. I love trying new things and If your like that too, then you have try this one.

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