Commondale Clart-y party

Bollocks! You turn up to the race, walk up to the registration desk form in hand and notice the tupperware bowl full of £5 notes .. then you realise – you didn’t take enough money…

Actually,  I didn’t take ANY money for the race…… I took £3 to get a newspaper on the way home. Sunday priorities 🙂

I guess I need to remember that not all races are entered and paid for online in advance… especially the local ones where you know you haven’t already signed up for them beforehand.

As luck would have it, Dave – who I gave a lift to – was stood chatting in the village hall with a £5 note in his hand … I’ll help you spend that Dave, thank you very much.

Bollocks – it looks like I’ll have to run now..

This race was organised by Esk Valley Fell Club (EVFC) and it gets it’s rather befitting name simply because it starts and finishes in the tiny North Yorkshire village of Commondale andit will be muddy as fuck.

It’s the first time I’ve ran this and apparently it was ‘quite dry this year’.

Commondale sits in a bowl surrounded by the moors … a lovely little place but there isn’t much to see or do (unless you want to sit in a pub). I’ve cycled through many times, if there’s even a shop there I can’t say I’ve noticed. It’s a pretty steep road that drops you into the village and an equally draggy incline back out the other side. You know when this race starts that whichever way you go, it’ll be uphill.

There is a minimum kit requirement for the EVFC runs depending on the designated category of the race. (Impressive safety notice coming up) … The weather can change in a heartbeat on the moors so you need to be prepared. Seemingly minor situations can turn pretty desperate in a very short space of time 🙂

Since this was only a short race (5.5 miles) and the weather was bright January sunshine with a good forecast, the kit requirements were not so stringent so I elected to not carry any of the additional mandatory kit apart from the gloves I was wearing.

Despite a couple of other races and club runs going on the club turnout was impressive. I managed to get most of them together for a group photo before we started …

After a quick announcement and a few route pointers from the organisers (the route was pretty well taped) we were set off. I was a little further back than I’d have liked but after the first initial steep road climb I knew we’d be continuing to gain height for the majority of the next 3.5 miles on the moorland tracks so I was quite happy to take it a bit easier but I still found myself picking people off on the climb.

Look at that finish!

I followed a fellow NYMAC lad (Simon) up the hill, sticking behind him on the singletrack path that led towards the main road.

You can probably tell that I didn’t even notice this marshal with a camera..

Once we reached the road I nipped past Simon and pushed on along the wet, boggy track to try to make up some time and lost places from starting further back.

I didn’t realise quite how much the climbing would tire me so soon.. I lost a footing trying to avoid the boggy areas and went down onto my hands and knees.

The second time I fell I lost my grip hopping between the rutted sections and I fell onto my right knee – smashing it into a solid muddy mound. I really did think it was going to give me some grief running so I set off gingerly before realising that it actually seemed ok so I picked the pace up a little and carried on.

I could barely see for the sun in my eyes as I made my way to a trig point but the track finally started heading downwards … i followed a runner who had deviated from the main path and I (and a few who were following me) ended up wading through waist height heather and bracken. It was difficult to see where you were stepping and it cost me some time. Once at the gate for this smiley picture (I knew it was almost over!) the marshal informed us that quite a lot of runners had lost the track and taken the wrong route to the gate.

Now we were onto a relatively flat grassy section which led to the road and the downhill finish. The last quarter of a mile is pretty much the start in reverse – full pelt down the tarmac road (dodgy in trail shoes) back into the village and over the finish line.

I was shattered, feeling a little ‘vommity’ after that last effort and disappointed to see I was 2-3 minutes slower than I’d have liked but I’d struggled through the second half of it so it wasn’t a surprise.

Time – 46:41 Position 48/146

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