Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Stanbury Splash

The Dashers fell race Championship kicked off today with the good ol' Stanbury Splash, a perenial favourite. The wind howled and we duly froze our asses off in the quarry before the start. Not too bad a turnout of Dashers, maybe down on previous years. It was good to see our latest members Jonathan and Paul turning up. I looked round and did the 'what position will I be amongst Dashers' thing. I came up with 5th, potentially 6th. Hmmm. Anyway, the race started and off we splashed through the mud, through the car park, over the road and onto t'moor. I heard afterwards that the wind was blowing at 30mph. It felt pretty strong to me.
In the melee of the start I had no idea who was in front of me and who was behind. I got on with suffering. I felt surprisingly good, certainly A LOT better than I was recently. Turning off the track we took the muddy plunge down to the 'splash' which wasn't quite as high as some had predicted. What goes down... and so we then flogged our way up the slippy, muddy climb. I spotted new man Jonathan just ahead and tried to keep him in sight whilst being all too aware that he is pretty much half my age (oh. my. god.)... On and on, up and up. Then another steep slippy descent to the next stream crossing where t'other new man Paul shot by. 'Here we go' I thought to myself.
Working hard I re-passed him and again tried to get close to Jonathan. Finally we reached the top of the waterfall crossing that signalled we were on our way back. Obviously the killing headwind became a tail wind and it all went a bit 'roadrunner'. An ultra steep descent led to a bridge crossing over 't'beck'. As I neared it a photographer said 'Watch the bridge, it's really slippy. Somebody has already fallen off it' Inevitably I got onto the bridge a bit sideways and WOAH! Feet shot from under me and I came so close to plummeting off. Bloody hell, that was proper sphinctal twitch time.
Onwards and we were soon back to the muddy field before the 'splash' again. I was right next to Jonathan by now and I warned him to save a bit for the next climb. and then fell on my arse. Splash again and then uuuuppp.
A bit more foot battering track and then we were on the last bit of muddy moorland before the car park and (hooray) the finish. I got to the gate before the road crossing just ahead of Jonathan and well aware that Paul wasn't far behind. Could I hang on? I had the advantage in that I done the race many times before and knew how far we had to go. I pushed hard and my oxygen depleted brain persauded me that I could no longer hear Jonathan's footsteps behind me. I wasn't going to have a look!
Finally I reached the line and discovered that there was only Mark Walsh ahead of me. Right behind me was Jonathan and then Paul, closely followed by Russ C, Stubbsy and Gary (incognito) Taylor.
Anyroad up, it was time for a quick change and down to the Sun Inn for the presentation. This was another highlight for me - I won some biccies and a Soreen malt loaf as a spot prize BUT best of all was fell running legend Rob Jebb sitting at our table with his missus and kids. What a nice guy!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Mr Sparkle's Dark 'Un

An idle daydream became a run route became an idea for a race became reality.
I like fell running at night. I like fell races. Loads of people have decent lights these days so why not organise a night time fell race? How hard can it be??
Well, if truth be told, it's been a bit hard but not too hard. The route was no problem. Sorting out with the pub for race HQ and chip butties was no problem. I was very lucky to deal with a very helpful lady at United Utilities for the land access permission. The FRA were as heplful and efficient as you would expect from such an esteemed organisation whilst sorting out the insurance etc. I should be ok with marshals as plenty of Dashers have come forward to say that they will help. All good so far.
My main concern is getting enough people to enter it. I came up with the figure of 60 as a limit due to concerns about
a. safety
b. enviromental concerns
c. the size of the pub (and car park)
I wanted to try to get it filled by pre-entry so that I could let the pub know numbers. To achieve this I started a thread on the FRA site and emailed as many of the local running clubs as I could to let them know. I also got busy on Twitter as @darwendashers
I have been sent several postal entries but I think people are holding off to enter on the night. Hmm, not so good.
Anyway, on the positive side I must say that I have been blown away by the positive reaction I have had so far, especially from Paul Livsey, Jonathan Stubbs and Joanne Nelson from Dashers. They have been really enthusiastic and encouraging.
I've still got quite a bit to sort out but I am looking forward to it (with only mild trepidation!).

Go to and click on 'The all new Dark Un'

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Back from the dead

This blog, that is, not me. Maybe I'll post the odd nugget on here this year. Meanwhile here's a photo of Darwen Tower with it's new top on.