Durham Dales Challenge (30 Miles)
[Sat 26th Jun 2010] Warm and sultry as I stand on the start line in Wolsingham at 10 a.m. with my fellow runners and all those attempting the 16 mile walk. After the ‘errors of direction’ at Nidderdale, I have set myself 2 targets – 1) don’t get lost and 2) get back before Mrs B and a couple of our neighbours who were walking the 16 mile version. Within ¼ mile of the start it’s straight into the ‘Hill from Hell’ – all those cocky ones that sprinted from the start line were soon doubled up trying to get to the top! Once there it was out onto the lonely moors before losing all the height painfully gained as we went crashing down through the bracken to the valley bottom, followed by a long drag back up through Hamsterley forest. After about 7 miles, started to overtake the 30 miler stragglers who had set off at 9 a.m. – at least I knew I was going the right way. Then it was back down again to a lovely stretch along the Teesdale way into Middleton in Teesdale and half way.
A quick sarnie and drink before the difficult bit – going through the town centre past all the pubs and cafes with sensible people sitting outside in the sun drinking! Climbing again, past old lime kilns, disused mine workings and grouse shooting butts before working our way back out onto the moors. Soon (seemed like forever) it was the last manned checkpoint at Allotment House (no allotments, no houses, no nothing) before a long run down through the fields to the River Wear and the last 4 mile stretch back to the start. Objective 1 achieved – no chance of getting lost now as it’s alongside the river from here in. Ten minutes later and, hallelujah, there’s Mrs B in front of me. Deep breath and a turn of speed to sweep past them looking casual – objective 2 achieved.
Over the finishing line in 6hrs 25min and 8th place out of the 85 finishers attempting the 30 miler. Just time to get changed, have a meal and be outside to welcome Mrs B and friends back with a congratulatory shout of ‘glad you got back before it gets dark’ – not a good idea as I nearly had to walk home!