The hills are alive with the sound of m…oaning!!!

Pauline Taylor’s tale of dodgy pre race carb loading….oh and some hills…

Back in 2012 before I joined Harriers I was looking to enter my first 10K as prior to that I had only ever ran 5K. I found the Blacksticks Blue 10K and I emailed the organisers to ask if it was a flat course! At this point I had only ever run on the flat. They told me it was undulating so I decided it wasn’t for me and I entered Tatton Park 10K instead which, by the way, also wasn’t flat despite the Race For Life organisers telling me it was !!!!! I then joined Harriers in Summer 2012 and hills became a regular part of my weekly training.

Recently I realised the Blacksticks Blue was coming around again and I mentioned it to Alan who has also recently started coming to Harriers and Downhill runners (Paul Carter reckons all their runs are flat by the way)!!!! Quite soon after I had mentioned it an email popped into my inbox and I decided fate meant I should enter it and lay my demons to rest! Alan confirmed that we were free that weekend so the entries were duly completed.

The next morning I realised we were actually at a wedding on the Saturday and we were staying overnight up towards Preston. We discussed pulling out and even not attending the wedding but realised that where we were staying was actually quite near to where the race was being held so we decided to go ahead and do the run. After the wedding in church we arrived at the Samelsbury Hotel and had lunch. I had my meatballs and pasta and Alan had a massive fish & chips . At the evening reception I was very excited when the chocolate fountain and sweet trolley opened. Strawberries, marshmallows, waffle and fudge dipped in chocolate isn’t probably the best pre-race meal followed by chilli rice tacos and fajitas (quite a strange choice for an evening wedding buffet but a change from Pork Pies and Sausage rolls I thought)! It was probably nearly 12.30am when we got to bed . We got up at 7am and went down to breakfast expecting it to be quite quiet at 8am on a Sunday morning. But Oh noooo – there was a coach party of OAPs all stood outside the breakfast room chomping at the bit to get in. They were like flies round Cow Sh.. Excuse me! When the doors opened they ran with their walking sticks and zimmers to grab a table and then to fill their plates with cooked breakfast! My stomach was churning at the thought or maybe from too much chocolate fountain ! Alan and me ordered our porridge and quickly departed.

It was a 25 min drive to Whitechapel Village Hall along very scenic country lanes. We were shown where to park and went to the Village Hall to collect our numbers. It was extremely well organised and not too busy with the added bonus of flushing toilets. We warmed up and then stood at the start. There was no chip timing or start mat, just the starter and we are off ! Within a few minutes there was a bit of a downhill and then a hill, followed by another, then another and guess what – then another!! In fact, the first three quarters was all uphill along Beacon Fell Road in a beautiful country Park. Not that I took in much of the scenery. It was also very hot. I grabbed a drink at the half way mark and plodded on panicking because I was fast walking the hills. I hadn’t realised at this point that a lot of people in front of me where Alan was were also walking the hills. I came across a lady called Paula walking up one of the hills and she filled me with confidence when she told me this race was the last 6 miles of her last 20 mile long run before the Edinburgh Marathon!!!! No wonder she was struggling . It didn’t make me feel very great! After a while the decent started but that’s not really easy for me with my knee. I rounded the last bend where there was a small crowd of supporters and I could see Alan waiting for me. I did a little spurt through the finish and I can honestly say I have never been so glad for a race to end.

In my opinion these race organisers need to redefine the word Undulating! This was a fell race but on Tarmac paths, if you see what I mean. I have to say though for those of you who love hills – and I mean one massive big one – this race was extremely well organised, not too big an entry and the refreshments, bacon barms and home made cakes for sale in the village hall afterwards would have been a delight if only my stomach had been up to it. The goody bag was a block of Blacksticks Blue cheese which made a nice change.

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Alan did a respectable 55mins but did find it really hard and I came in at 1hr 9 mins 31secs – not a brilliant time but considering the heat and elevation I am OK with it. There were about 23 people finished behind me so that always makes me feel better.

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I wonder what surprises the Crazy Cow will bring in a few weeks.

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