It’s been a busy week for me, so it will be a two post week.
Sunday rolled around quickly and after packing my gear the night before it was time to head for the hills. The Gritstone Grind is a 35mile run through the Shropshire country side, starting in Kidsgrove it winds its way to Disley. beyond marathon is the event organiser and this will be the 3rd of their events I have done.
I arrived at the Kidsgrove train station early and met another runner, we were the first there and we chatted for some time as people started to arrive, one thing I noticed is how much the temp had dropped, I donned my jacket and did a little dance as I waited.
The coach arrived and we gathered around Richard as he balanced himself precariously to speak
After the ” don’t get lost talk” we all huddled down at the start, I managed to find a spot on the canal and with 3 2 1 count we were off. The human train snaked its way along the Trent and Mersey canal before the first bottle neck, we filed up stairs onto the Macclesfield canal and the human train gathered once more into single file. 3miles down and I felt good and strong, the group joined Spring Bank road and onto the Bank, following the route through fields climbing up to Mow Cop I used my walking poles and power hiked up the hill passing a few people as I did. Mow Cop looked a bit dismal as it did on my recce, soon we hit the Old Man of Mow and hit the small woodland before hitting the main road. Luckily there were more runners today and cars slowed which made the road a nice run. I chatted with the guy I met at the train station over Congleton Edge, as we hit Biddulph Valley Way we parted and he ran on ahead. I now run on my own two ladies in front helped pace me along this flat section. I was surprised that the group was still pretty even headed off across fields to CP1 Timbersbrock, brownies and pepsi downed, I took off my jacket and headed off again. I was dying for a piddle at this point but I couldn’t find a hidden enough spot, the first big climb of the day was the Cloud, a small group stayed in close proximity as I powered up the hill poles in hand,legs burned as I neared the top before a brief photo-op. Soon we were heading down again and joined a section of road before heading over onto more woodland and part of the Staffordshire Way,
Woodland and fields passed by before another hill was hit, not steep but long. Hitting Minn-End-Lane, here the wind picked up and drove the light rain hard into my face, I donned my jacked and pulled the hood tight as I amble along its blustery edge, I could see my next climb in the distance, taking my phone out I intended to snap some shots but found the lens misted up and I was unable to dry it sufficently to tke any decent picutres.
I crossed the A54 and again power walked up towards the radio station on Sutton Common
The trail kriss crossed through fields and skirting an old quarry,another CP reached at Ryles Arms, I started to look forward to my pepsi and cake. I filled my water bladder before heading off again and up another long slow climb before we then headed down towards Bottoms Reservoir, a small flat section preceded another steep climb up onto Tegs Nose, poles out I powered up the hill, stopping once to catch my breath once on top I passed a large group of Japanese tourist and old mine workings. Tegs Nose visitors centre came and went as a slow climb ensued up onto an exposed hill
I skirted Rainow and headed along towards White Nancy, yet another slow trudge up a steep hill ensued as I came across a fellow runner, we chatted on and off for some time before she disappeared over the hill
We met up at the base of White Nancy again and chatted on and off passing through fields again, down hills before a set of steps signaled the last maned CP at Oakenbank, various drinks taken in and more cake eaten. I was also trialing a new meat bar but found as my mouth was dry it became like eating cardboard. Sponds hill passed by and to the left Park Moor looked bleaker than what I was currently traversing, the wind and rain blew in equal measure, I was glad to head down into Lyme Park and met up with the lady from before. I settled into a walk with brief stints of running before we passed through Lyme Park and keeping Bollinghurst to our left we wander through woods and country tracks ( I must mention that it was I noted a rather intriguing name Cockhead, yep you read it correct imagined explaining you lived there), some finishers were heading up the track to met friends and gave words of encouragement. Disley soon appeared and I was happy to see kerry and the kids waiting, claps and cheers were had. This was the ladies first ultra and congratulating here we walked into the community centre. Drinks, cakes and a steak slice were consumed, Kerry and the kids had secretly bought me a medal and I was very touched at this.
Sunnto time 8.57hrs
surprisingly the day after apart from being a little stiff im relatively good. To the point I could run today, but I wont. This little run puts me well on target to complete 1000miles in a year with only 250miles left and two more half marathons todo im in no doubt I will complete this challenge.
Thanks to all to all the helpers and random supports in fields giving out sweets most welcome. extra special well done to all those that comleted this as their first ultra.