Rowbotham’s Rotherham Round
[Sat 15th Oct]
Things to do the day before you go on holiday:-
· Check the tickets etc – DONE
· Pack the suitcases – DONE
· Cancel the milk and papers – DONE
Oh well, in that case I’ll go and do a 50 mile trail run round Rotherham (best thing you can do with Rotherham – run round it!). Having second thoughts at 3:15 when the alarm went off but too late to change my mind now. Arrived at the start just as the 6 o’clockers (walkers) were setting off – a quick encouraging toot of the horn and it was into the hall for registration and a last cup of tea. 7 o’clock found me lining up with my fellow nutters on a cold, frosty but promising start to the day.
One last look at the nice warm leisure centre and off we go into the dark. Soon start to tick off the landmarks: Elsecar, Wentworth (lovely quiet village – well, it is at 8 in the morning), Kepper’s Column (photographers here so try to look like a pro), to reach the first checkpoint and a jam sandwich. 9 o’clock and approaching Meadowhall Shopping centre with the sun just starting to warm up. Onwards we go:- Tinsley, Catcliffe, Treeton (what do you mean – never heard of them!), Rother Valley Country Park (what a boring place) and soon the 25 mile checkpoint is reached.
The plan (yes, I did have one) was to try and knock 43 mins off my previous time and get round in 10 hours (i.e. 12 min/mile). At 25 miles I was somewhat surprised to find that I was nearly 45 minutes ahead of this rather optimistic plan. Yes – I’d started far too fast (now that’s unusual for me!). Still – too late to worry now so onwards it is, reaching the official half way point at 30 miles (50 / 2 = 30?). Quick change of clothes, cup of soup and out.
By the time I reached Roche Abbey (35 miles) the folly of my fast start kicked in – I felt ‘as one’ with the Abbey (totally wrecked!!). The pace fell off dramatically now and all my hopes went out of the window and it was just a case of surviving the last stretch. The pain got worse and all the pretty little villages the route went through began to look like visions of hell. Still, all bad things come to an end eventually and I finally crawled over the line in 10 hrs 38 mins. Next time I’ll start slower – honestly.
Reflecting back, it’s difficult to decide what is hardest thing about this event. Is it (a) the early start, (b) the overall distance, (c) the 1 ¼ mile long climb at the 45 mile mark or (d) passing numerous country pubs without popping in?
Think I’ll vote for (d)!