Many of you will know that this years Champs consisted of nine races in total, three doubling as both British and English. My hope was to complete them all, which meant travelling distances which I hadn’t attempted before. In black and white nine races over six months doesn’t seem a big deal, until I tried it. We started off at Black Combe in the mist and wind, then off to the Mourne Mountains for the Irish. The tour operator (S.J) was superb, organising the flights, car hire, and accommodation overlooking the Mournes. We had home cooking; good weather on the day with mist and snow either side of it and a chance to share a bedroom with someone else after 40 years! All I had to do was run which was nearly impossible on that terrain.
The 3 Peaks was a full house with around 600 runners, many from overseas, perfect weather, goodie bag, four feeding stations evenly spaced and plenty of red vests. The Welsh (Moel Elio) and Scottish (Durisdeer) were set in lovely locations, the first descent at Durisdeer was tough (very steep) and took a lot of running out of your legs for the remainder of the race. The post race food and drink provided by the village and club ladies was very generous.
On to Blackstone Edge and Kentmere where we performed well as a team, 2nd and 3rd with Graham Schofield leading the way. This moved us into 3rd overall. I’ve nothing to say about Borrowdale except the best part was the finish.
Dufton Pike 5m/1500′ was the last of the championship races. Well worth the drive up, beautiful setting, looked good underfoot and just one scree free hill, plus the race was part of the Dufton Country Fair. The Vets 50 team were 3rd in the championship one point in front of Clayton , so a good incentive to do well. We had to beat Clayton as they had the better aggregate score. Unfortunately we didn’t, Brian Walton had another strong run finishing 8th 0/50, an improving Steve Jackson regained some ground on runners who have but would not normally beat him, and I tried my best. Good to see Tony Varley there and John Nixon, strong as ever on the ups, another brilliant day. Clayton beat us in the team race so we finished 4th Vet 50 team, I experienced enough adrenalin to last until the following Thursday. Thank you to the people that I travelled with, it made it that much easier to get to the outposts.