Tuesday 1 May 2012

Peaks and troughs

Race venue and Penyghent - first of the three peaks
     It's a couple of weeks since I last posted something in this Blog but rest assured, I haven't stopped running. Well, not quite.  With all the vile weather we've been having lately (reputedly the wettest April since records began in 1910) my mileage has slipped a little but, with 368 miles under my belt this year, I've still maintained a planned average of three miles a day. This tends to fluctuate a little due to various commitments, but I'll be quite happy if I can notch up a thousand miles for the year.
     My knees appreciate my running on softer ground - but not the ankle deep slutchiness of waterlogged fields and trails as it has been over the last two to three weeks. Lately, after each run, all my clothes, and often my shoes, have gone straight into the washing machine to get rid of mud and grime. Some people, as I noticed in the Three Peaks race last Saturday, can race through the filthiest conditions and come out with hardly a splash or a stain.  I'm not one of them. 
Winner, Joe Symonds, arrives on Ingleborough alone
     Fortuitously, the rain stopped and the sun peeped out for the annual Three peaks race, though it was bitterly cold. We walked from Horton to the top of Ingleborough to cheer runners over their third and final peak. With all our layers of clothing we were absolutely perished yet, in spite of being warned of freezing temperatures on the tops, many of the runners wore only skimpy shorts and sleeveless vests. Brrrr!  Of the 744 starters, 103 failed to make it to the finish.
     Joe Symonds, the eventual winner in 2:55:58, arrived on Ingleborough with not another runner in sight whilst the newcomer, Sarah O'Neil, won the ladies race by a good 15 minutes in 3:28:43.  Both winners are members of Hunters Bog Trotters, a club based in Edinburgh. 
Afraid I wont look like this
for much longer!
     After watching the elite men traverse over Ingleborough I ran the five miles back to Horton as fast as my little legs would carry me to escape the biting wind. Back on the race field I wallowed in nostalgia, recalling the days when I too was one of those mud be-spattered runners with cramped legs running joyously towards the Finish line amid scalp-tingling applause from an appreciative crowd of supporters. The odd tear still escapes me to see the expressions on faces of happy finishers who have obviously given it their all in this greatest race of all.  Of all the races I ever ran, none ever compared to the 'Peaks'.
     This may well be my last Blog entry as a spritely septuagenarian. Next Sunday, 6th May, I'll officially become an old man - and I can't say I'm looking forward to it.  I keep imagining my hair turning grey overnight, my skin becoming horribly wrinkled, legs bulging with varicose veins, arthritis creeping into my joints and, worst of all, not being able to run. As I jogged by the River Wharfe yesterday, where swallows hawk around the tree tops and sand martins skim the surface of the water, I spied an elderly gentleman stood motionless by the bank with a fly rod extended over the water. The thought crossed my mind - maybe that's what my undecided loved one should buy me for my birthday, a nice willowy fly rod and all the fishy accoutrements that go with it. Then again, maybe not!


  1. Have a wonderful birthday! With all the running you do, you'll never get old, and I'm looking forward to having a spritely octogenarian as a follower!

  2. Not your usual cheery self or am I mistaken?
    I know an 82 yr old lady who is still racing half marathons in 2h23m so you have a few years of wonderful running and racing ahead of you yet.Inspiring blokes like you and ladies like her keep me going,so lay off the sob stuff.

  3. Ha! You are not going to give up running for fishing then? :)

    Happy birthday this week! Enjoy the rest of 79 while you can.

  4. I can see why you would be teary eyed seeing the finishers of the Three Peaks - we won't always be able to do everything. Let's concentrate on what we can do - and by God Gordon you can do a lot more than fly fish!!!! 1000 miles this year - that is amazing.

  5. Happy Birthday to you! You are amazing and will never be old like you described. You're way too fit and healthy. I love telling all my friends about you. In fact, I think a 75 year old friend of mine has a crush on you. Don't tell your partner--tee hee. Take care!

    My Running Shortz