Very early start on the 26th for the L.D.W.A Rock and Rowel Challenge Walk. 26 miles, multi-terrain, self navigated. Sounds good, yes?
I got to Dacre near Ripon and found the village hall. These LDWA events are all about the food it would seem and there was 'help yourself' tea and toast for brekki!
It was 8am and about 15 degrees, I knew it wasn't going to stay like that though...
The runners start was 8.20am and we were into our first hill within minutes!!
I knew Dave R and Mel H from Elvet Striders and was also introduced to Rachel and Juliet and the 5 of us ran together. The navigation was a joint effort, one with a map one with the written description. The going was good on rolling farmland, it was already getting hot and there was little shade. First checkpoint down, we got our tally's clipped. Over more fields, passing farmers busy at work.
We were soon at the next check point at Bishop Thornton and I collected some crisps to munch on.
We pressed on, there was a long stretch of road now and we fell into a run walk pattern. I tagged along with the Striders. One of the ladies was nursing a niggle so fell behind.
As we approached the next check point, we realised our running numbers were sequential and it raised a giggle as the marshal's checked us in!
The table was laden with home made cakes, but I chose a couple of dry Ritz crackers, still struggling with eating on the move, but I had decided I was going to force myself to eat something at every check point.
We were now on the Ripon Rowel route, hence the name of the event. We passed through the Valley of the Seven Bridges and the deer park, part of Fountains Abbey. Stunning scenery, but it was blisteringly hot, especially in the valleys where there was no breeze at all.
On one climb through a wood, we found wild raspberries and had a mini-fruit-feast as we walked up the hill. It had been a long way between check points, but at Sawley village hall was a fine spread! Not only was there the normal cake, crisps and sweets, there was also various sandwiches and wraps but best of all, ice-cream and sauce!! Of course, we all indulged! The injured Elvet lady had caught up with us in the deer park and we enjoyed the ice-cream together.
Of course, we also suffered stitch together too...
The route takes in Eavestone Lake that was cool and shady, we were still running on and off, but I was now struggling to keep up with Dave R and MelH.
Another check point, here we were treated to refreshing chunks of water melon, delicious.
We crossed onto the access road across Eavestone Moor. Too hot and bothered to chat much any more. I decided I'd had enough of running now and said so to Dave and Mel. It was a while before they ran on again and I was alone under the unrelenting sun.
Brimham Rocks was the next objective, but there was a few more tricky zig-zags en route. I actually caught up with Dave and Mel. Turns out, Dave had cockled his ankle a few miles off the start and now his calf was bothering him, so he'd decided to walk so as not to make it worse. It's too hot for racing. MelH ran on once we got to the visitor centre at Brimham. It was weird to literally turn the corner after seeing no-body all day, and find hundreds of tourists!!
We walked through the cool rock formations and found the check point, last one before the finish! It was a good feeling, I was ready to finish now.
A nice bridlepath took us to Smelthouses, but I started to feel sick. I also noticed I'd stopped sweating, not a good sign. I didn't mention to Dave I felt sick and kept going. With my stomach reeling, we went through a farmyard and found the last self-clip point, just 1.5 mile to go. Was I going to make it without puking?? I forced down some electrolytes, sick of those too. I was desperate for something that wasn't sweet and sticky and warm. Everything was warm, even the top-ups from the check points were warm. Yuk.
With about 3/4 mile to go, I was happy to see the slick of sweat return to the backs of my hands and my tummy, although fragile had stopped churning! I felt better and chatted a bit more easily again.
On the final stretch, Juliet and Rachel passed us along with a couple of other runners, drat!
MelH met us as we walked through the village and informed us there was ice-cream and JELLY at the finish! That spurred us on for the last 100yards into the hall to have our time recorded!!
At last, I could sit down for the first time in almost 7 hours, it felt great!
First job was to get some jelly and ice-cream, it was wonderfully cold and gentle on my tummy. Once that had settled a little, we had a look at the food, there was cold meat, pasta, cous-cous, salad and hot potatoes. I had pasta and salad and some rather nice ham. As well as my milkshake I'd brought.
The Striders were off to the pub after, as much as I would have liked to join them, I felt I should get off home as I'd promised Paul a pub tea! It was amazing how hot it was and how heavy my pack was for the 5 minute walk from the hall to the car. How I'd mananged to run/walk in this heat for the last 7 hours I don't know!
I'd drunk a good 3 litres of fluid during the event and still didn't have a proper wee until Sunday!!
Time for a bit of a rest and replacing calories and fluids I think.