Monday 9 July 2018

Kilian and me......

Three runs last week were all over-shadowed or upstaged by greater sporting events.   My 4 mile pre-breakfast gallop through Mollicar Wood and back through mown fields to escape the impending heat paled to insignificance by England's routing of Columbia in the football World Cup later in the day.
On Tuesday's pre-breakfast gallop    (Click to enlarge)
I'd been feeling rather proud of myself when Strava told me I'd achieved my second fastest ½ mile, one mile and one km times even though I'd set off feeling a bit groggy through lack of sleep.  Then along come Gareth Southgates boys to win an incredible penalty shoot-out for the first time since 1996.
Bedtime,  except it wasn't
After full time, extra time, then penalties, it was way past my bedtime when the match finally finished.  After further sleepless nights (damn heat) it was Saturday before I ran again.
What's that climbing over the wall?
Then, it was another short one.  "Where do you want to go?" my wonderful partner had asked over a quick cup of coffee after our commute back to Hebden.
Heading for Grassington
"Through the fields to Grassington and a quick run back along the river" I'd replied, not sure whether I could even manage that after a glance at my phone said the temperature was already 75ºF, and climbing.
Reaching the Wharfe 
Ah well, mad dogs and English (people) go out in the mid-day sun, so off we went - wearing shades and smothered in Factor 30.  I'll swear I'm getting dafter in my dotage....
Stepping stones and Linton Church
We hadn't gone more than 250 metres before our first distraction and photo stop.  "What the heck's that?" I asked when a large, strange shaped balloon wafted around in the breeze by Longthorne's garage. It transpired some enterprising young lady in the village has begun selling Ice cream at that very spot.
She wasn't there.
C'mon, let's head for home
Water in the river was low and stepping stones were high out of the water making it an easy passage to Linton Church.  There was a wedding there and one of our neighbours was on his way to play the organ.  He was so smartly dressed I didn't recognize him!
Siesta time for sheep
Sheep were moving into the shadow of trees to escape the heat.  Two runners passed without a word, either too hot or too full of their own importance. I hate that.
Pleasant running alongside the river.
Chestnuts by the river offered a small amount of shade for us, but many of them have been stricken by some strange disease that is killing them off.  Their skeletons lie all along the river bank.
Tree insect!
We met very few people and surmised most were staying at home well stocked up with beer and barbecue fodder ready for the 3 pm kick-off between England and Sweden in the World Cup.
Not far now to a shower and a few cool drinks
Leaving the river we stepped briefly onto the road before turning up the ghyll path for the steep climb back into Hebden, and home.  On hot days like these I sometimes wish I wasn't so much of a gentleman and could barge into the shower first!
With no television set to watch I deserted the garden at 5 o'clock to Google the World Cup score, 2 - 0 to England. 
They'll do for me.
Not much sunshine up the ghyll on Sunday
My wonderful partner was out of the house at 9.15 Sunday morning on National Park Ranger duty.  I was off on my own shortly afterwards on a 10 mile run I haven't attempted for many months.  Mossdale.  If my friend Antonio should think I'm training for the Burnsall 10, then rest assured, I'm not.
Happy, but a bit sweaty in Mossdale
  This was indeed an ideal training run for Burnsall in years gone by with its 1,000ft of ascent to strengthen the legs and mainly downhill finish to develop a bit of speed. I last ran Burnsall when I was 80 and (again) took the prize for 1st local runner!
Agitated lapwing
On Sunday I was lucky.  The forecast got it a little wrong.  It was mainly cloudy when I set off up the ghyll and as I rose higher there was a gentle breeze to cool the sweat on my forehead.  Both lapwings and curlews got very agitated as I ran past their breeding grounds in the jaws of Mossdale, so obviously still had fledglings.
Stile in new rabbit-proof fence 
Everywhere was tinder dry making for very pleasant running, down the length of new fencing (erected overnight) into Yarnbury, then back down the ghyll to a village heaving with weekend walkers.  I'd no appetite for food but probably drank 2 litres of fluid to replace all I'd lost.
Bare House, track to Mossdale and that new fence
Unusually, I'd been carrying my phone and heard several strange bleeps as I ran along.  I'd ignored them but on a later check it was my old running friend Doug Tilley informing me of Kilian Jornet's attempt to break Billy Bland's 36 year old record of 13 hours 53 minutes for the Bob Graham round in the English Lake District.
Kilian Jornet  (Picture from internet)
 Kilian is the amazing Catalan runner who has run up the highest mountains of each continent including two ascents of Everest last year without oxygen.  I wasn't surprised to learn he smashed Billy Bland's record by just over an hour to finish in 12 hours 52 minutes.  His run of 66 miles over 42 Lakeland summits with roughly 28,500ft of ascent somewhat snuffed out my little 10 mile jaunt round Mossdale!
Ah well, maybe next week...


  1. Beautiful pictures. Wow that is some sunset. Looks as if the sky is on fire.

    1. That sunset picture was taken from my window. They've been really spectacular in the long spell of good weather.

  2. Spectacular sunset - so fiery!

    All the best Jan

  3. About the two runners passed by without a word , I hate it as well when you say hello to another runner coming towards you and he does not answer back ,a few weeks ago in a glorious and fantastic day ,in a field on a footpath I met a walker and I said hello to him several time in case he did not hear the first time , to my frustration he did not answer back at all . A bout Kilian I think he is superhuman , it took me three hours just to do the first summit of the 44 ,at the Skiddaw fell race , never mind 44 summits . To be honest with you Old Runningfox I think you could still be a strong racer , on road and on the fells and you would still win prizes and trophy , we need old people at races , like I won the V65 title in the West Yorkshire Cross Country because I was the only one in all 4 races . This week your post is super like Kilian , well done . Antonio.

    1. Cheers Antonio, but there's no way I'm ever going to race again. I'm quite happy now to just be a runner. Racing involves training. Training puts stress on the body and at 86 stress would do me more harm than good. Now, I'm happy to just poddle around, taking it easy, enjoying the great outdoors, walking a bit if I want to, sprinting a bit when I feel the urge, stopping to take photographs. There's no pressure any more. And I can stay in bed if its raining! You'll come to it another 20 years.

  4. Wow beautiful sunset.
    Sounds scary meeting up with that dog!! I've come across a few unfriendly dogs during my morning walks too. I've started carrying pepper spray.