Oh what a beautiful morning! Dark and White Autumn Series 2017 event 1. Carsington Water.

Digested read: first time at a Dark and White series event.  It was lovely.  17km of fantastic views with brilliant organisation. Worth the horror of getting up in the dark.    You get cake!  No really, and you don’t have to navigate and it was super-friendly.  I was sad there was no teleporter as I first thought, but otherwise would recommend.

Peak distric trail run series

I can’t lie.  There were quite a few less than charitable words being exchanged in the car on the way to Carsington water yesterday morning.  The topic under debate was ‘whose fault’ it was that we’d had to all get up at stupid o’clock, when it was actually IN THE DARK to go and run round in a great big circle somewhere.   Accusations flew around the dark interior of the car where our not-so-merry quartet had gathered en route to Derbyshire. Finger pointing isn’t pretty, but it does sometimes happen during the angst-ridden journeys into the unknown. Bet it was exactly the same when people first set out to circumnavigate the world, which is basically the same thing as setting off to do a new trail run.  Accusations and counter accusations were in play, with some reference to ‘you need to take personal responsibility for your actions’ alongside alternative tactics of blaming people who weren’t even there.  I wonder if this is what it will be like when the world ends.  Bickering about how we got into this mess, rather than trying to extricate ourselves from it?  Probably. Don’t worry, we made up, and by the end it wasn’t a question of allocating blame, it was more a question of celebrating whosoever it was that inspired us to take on the challenge, but that was later.   All happy and friends again. Aren’t we lovely?

Arent we lovely and foot photobomb

I’ve only just noticed the foot photo-bomb, but I like that. Did you know that in many South-East Asian countries pointing a foot like that would be considered really offensive?  It’s OK in Derbyshire though, so no need for retaliation or retribution on this occasion even if we did know whose foot it was.

Where was I?  And more importantly, where were we going?  Oh, erm, it was the first race of the Dark and White Autumn event series.  Pre going myself, I was disproportionately confused by what these runs actually are.  Basically, it’s a series of three runs organised over the Autumn, you can enter them individually or as a series for a discount. Each of the three events offers a choice of two routes: long (14-17 km) and short (5-7 km), all in and around the Peak District National Park.  They are very well organised, well-signed and supported, with water stations mid-point and cake at the end.  Yes, you read that right. Cake.  At the end.

For reasons that had become lost in the mists of time, four of us had made a misguidedall for one and one for all‘ sort of pact to do the long route.  Which at 17km was actually further than I’d expected, because it didn’t sound too far in kilometres as I still can’t really fathom what they are, but is actually 10.5 miles, but hey ho, bit late to be backing down at this stage.  Hence we were now in a car at 6.30 in the morning, bickering and blaming one another, albeit in a good-humoured, smiley sort of way.  Fortunately, because, Smileys are all basically lovely, the squabbling died down pretty quickly, and we became distracted by the gorgeousness of the route in the early morning.

This is where we were heading. Carsington water.  I did actually steal this photo from their events  website, but it did honestly look like this.  Blooming lovely out there.

dark and white cover shot

It was a cold, but it gave way to brilliant sunshine and it was like being on a safari drive heading out of Sheffield. There was mist rising from Longshaw as we passed by, then we saw two huge fallow deer just chilling on a road somewhere. Our next sighting was of a fox, slinking across our path, a common enough sight in urban areas, but it’s years since I’ve seen one in the countryside.  And then a more disputed sighting, but I reckon was a stoat (or possibly a weasel), others thought maybe a juvenile squirrel, but it’s tale was too long and anyway it’s the wrong time of year for a young squirrel and one that small wouldn’t be crossing roads on its own anyway. Plus, deciding factor, my blog, my rules.  It was stoatally a stoat.  Because I say so.  Personally, I also got very excited at the sight of a sign for somewhere called The Pudding Room, but it would  have been shallow to have drawn too much attention to it whilst surrounded by my sporting elite buddies.  I feared they would shudder at the thought of such Dionysian access to free range carb unless it was already built into their current training plan’s gantt chart under the ‘nutrition’ column.  Then again, I should have credited them with a bit more of a capacity for reason.  17km romp or face plant into a smorgasbord of cakes and pastries?  Hmm, tough call, though to be fair it wasn’t open yet, another day, another mission perhaps…

pudding room delights

With only one minor detour, we arrived at Carsington Water about 7.45 a.m. ish.  I’ve never been before, but it was an impressive venue.  There was a massive car park which was basically empty, and flags were up denoting the start of race and there was a posse of marshals in hi-viz doing purposeful things.   In a run event first, we actually managed to park directly opposite the registration area.  Closer than the usual bag drop at an event.  Nice.  This would be  a great place to go for a run anytime really, as the facilities are great.  A huge visitors centre, loos, lots of parking, well-marked easy-going trails. Well, they say ‘easy-going’ I didn’t find the going altogether easy to be fair, but then I was trying to run faster than usual, you don’t have to.

You can pay for either 2 hours or all day parking.  We opted for a day at £4.70 so we knew we’d have until midnight to get round.  Well we had all gone for the long route and no point in putting ourselves under unnecessary pressure.  There are loads of pay and display machines around but – user alert – you have to  put in the last three digits of your car registration number when you get a ticket. That nearly defeated me, it not being my car, but we got there in the end.  Buying a ticket is harder than you might think these days, if you are parked a long way from a machine and getting a ticket for the driver you might want to bring a pen and paper with you to avoid purchasing mishaps yourself.

Once we’d got over marvelling at how well parked we were, we went to explore.  Outside the registration area were lots of signs clarifying kit requirements and the route.  The website also gave a pretty detailed course description of the Carsington Water Dark & White route to be fair. The blah de blah stated:

The run starts and finishes at Carsington Watersports Centre, see here for more information www.carsingtonwater.com

Both routes set off on the initially pan flat reservoir perimeter track in a southerly direction – the track is a smooth, hardcore surface making for fast, flowing trail running; after crossing the dam the routes split at the 2km point and the shorter route then completes a slightly undulating route back ‘under’ the dam before returning to the finish. The long route continues on the super smooth surface round the reservoir but the going becomes a bit more ‘rolling’ from now on so expect to start getting a bit of a sweat on!

At the 8km point the long route crosses a main road and the character of the course changes as it starts to gradually climb to a high point on the High Peak Trail. At the east of Hopton village a field path is taken and this is good, grassy running but on a steady, energy sapping incline off and on for around 2km; after crossing a lane there is a ‘dip’ in the track with a sharp little ascent to meet the High Peak Trail (which is on old railway line converted to a cycling/walking track). We’re now back on a smooth, fast, hardcore trail – flat to start with then it’s climbing again as we ascend the Hopton Incline which has a gradient of around 6% for nearly 1km. The high point of the route (330m above sea level) is reached at the 12km point – if you haven’t noticed already the views from here are amazing albeit blighted somewhat by the massive wind turbines nearby…

We now turn south for ‘home’ on an excellent field path – come over a brow and the best view of the day pops up i.e. the whole of Carsington Water in all it’s glory – now that’s got to be worth getting out of bed for! A steep grassy descent (care needed) follows into Carsington village then it’s a nip through the houses, cross the main road again and we’re back on the fast reservoir track for a 2km blast back to the finish. 17.1km/230m of climb – done and dusted – time for tea and cake!

So if you just wanted the route information you are done with this blog post now and are excused. Go do something more useful with your life and less time-vampirish than hanging out here with me.

It was extremely clear. There was also a scary kit requirement warning along the lines of ‘don’t even think of turning up at the start line without’ kind of thing.  They had relaxed the requirement for waterproof trousers and another top though, so that was good.  The kit requirements and other information are given out in detail on the information section of their website. Worth a browse.  Helpful stuff for a first timer like myself, even if I didn’t have the wit to follow all of it through.

Inside the registration are was a tight-knit team of friendly marshals on hand.  Again, I was an epic fail at this, as the first question was ‘do you have your disclaimer form with you?’ and I didn’t.  I explained about having it sat on the printer at home but that doesn’t count apparently. Fortunately the hi-viz heroes seemed a non-judgemental and patient lot. They also had a big stash of disclaimer forms for people like me to sign in a hidden room at the back of the sign up area  – the officials were extremely keen everyone did sign away as much as possible, which is fair enough. At your own risk and everything.  Then you gave your name in return for a dibber (or dabber, I still don’t know what it is really.)  There was a brief opportunity to admire the purple top of another of the race organisation team. It had a particularly appealing tactile and textured finish, and as a reward for our sighs of admiration and expressions of longing, we were allowed a little chaste stroke of the garment’s arm to express our admiration and appreciation,  before turning to the next table where we got given our numbers.  I got 22, which pleased me.  You also got a map, with the route on one side and emergency contact details and procedures on the other.  I forgot to get this and had to go back again.  Doh.

Race registration HQ

Next stop was the women’s changing rooms to attach our numbers with the aid of a mirror. Then of course the first of the precautionary pees of the morning.  There were loads of loos.  Only one in the changing room, but I rejected that, because alongside all my other neurosis is my affliction of bashful bladder, I knew I wouldn’t perform if my Smiley buddies were waiting for me directly outside the cubicle. I know how irrational that is, but it is also true.  I went in search of other loos, there are some in the visitors centre, but that doesn’t open until 10.00 a.m. but there were loads of clean and well equipped toilets in a couple of blocks alongside.  It was great venue for a race HQ.  Also, as I ambled over to these I got to appreciate the first of many amazing views across the reservoir as the sun rose, and a fine owl. I like owls.  Not a real one though.  Still nice.

This wasn’t a big event, and it starts in waves so it was all pretty relaxed.  We mootled about, admired the scenery and chatted a bit to other runners whilst faffing about with our kits.  I was taken with a Sparkhill Harriers running club vest.  Great name Sparkhill – fortunately the vest wearer was friendly, Sparkhill is a region outside Birmingham (sort of) apparently.  I think I should have known that, maybe did one time.  Still, no harm in being reminded of it.  This is a really low-pressure event. I’d already decided just to treat it as a yomp out, like a marked training run.  Of course it catered for speedy souls who wanted to bomb round, but it is also, in my view at least, inclusive in how it’s set up.  Friendly, no navigation and lots of support, generous cut off times and a nice milling and chilling start line.

The first wave, which we’d signed up for, was due to set off at 8.30.  A little bit before we gathered round the start flag for a briefing.  Straightforward, we were shown the route markers, advised to look out for each other and the CARE signs on the way.  Reminded of dibbing protocol – the beginning, the end and the mid-pointish feed station…

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and that was it.  We were on our way.  Gorgeous weather, the sunshine was almost too bright.  My new Sparkhill friend was in a different wave as I saw him jogging towards the start as we were heading out, he gave a cheery wave.  Within seconds I was distracted by the stunning views.  I was taking my time and I’ve just got my camera back from being mended so was soon on task pausing to take some shots along the way. This is not good for running times, but it is good for appreciating where you are.  This route was  rather more manicured than I expected from a trail run, but it was stunning.

Just as we set off, there was a duo on bikes heading off down the track simultaneously.  One struck up a conversation with me, first asking me about what we were thinking doing and then when I told her it was  a 17km run offered me a lift.  Which I politely declined.  It got me thinking though. Did you know that’s the third time I’ve been offered a bike ride by way of assistance whilst I’m participating in an organised race?  I’ve also previously been stopped by someone wanting directions!  That’s quite a high number of outside interventions to contend with I think. I don’t know anyone else whose fessed up to having the same offer made even once.  I can’t work out quite why this is, but I think it is a combination of one or all of the following:

  1. I must look in desperate need of outside assistance
  2. I must look highly corruptible, the sort of person who would give in to temptation and climb aboard
  3. I look friendly and approachable and up for a chat, or …
  4. (most likely) I look like I’m ambling along so half-heartedly I can’t possibly be engaged in any competitive endeavour, so free for a natter before I continue

None of these people have got the memo which states most categorically that I cannot talk and run simultaneously.  It’s very annoying.  They were nice though, these cyclists, and after a bit they got bored crawling along at my pace so they went on ahead, weaving through the runners with care, occasionally giving their bells a good old ding (not a euphemism) to let them know they were nearby.

It was quite roady to start with, a tarmac track around the perimeter of the reservoir.  I did wonder if I might have been better in road shoes, those hard surfaces are really hard on my poor arthritic feet.  I can feel all those bones inside them shattering on impact.  According to Wikipedia there are 26 bones in the foot.  I think I have must have more than that as I swear I can feel bits breaking off inside as I run.  Oh well.  It’s a tough call.  This route was majority hard compact surfaces, and I’d have loved more cushioning in my shoes, but for those muddy and steep off road sections, short as they were, I do think trail shoes were essential.  My innov-8s were probably the right call on balance, though I did have a moment of angst I’ve not really run them in properly.  I’ve only done one parkrun and one 6.5 mile run in them previously, I was a bit worried they might be so new I’d get blisters.  I did in fact, but only one, and right at the end, so OK.  On the subject of parkrun, did you know that as Exodus are now parkrun partners you can get a free apricot tee if you quote your parkrun ID when booking one of their holidays?  Me neither until last week.

The next bit of early on excitement was the presence of Chris Meads, official race photographer, who took some shots of runners heading out with the reservoir backdrop.  Official photos were £5.50 which isn’t bad I think, although in Sheffield we are very fortunate that some races have given up charging for photos in favour of a donation.  Here is one of mine, proof I made it out on the course.  Also, I like that you can see the boats.  I am so far in the lead of all the other runners there is no-one else in sight!  I know, who’d have believed it!

Chris Meads official photo

I was soon settled into the back of my wave, gazing around.  It was pretty flat, and so I was able to get into a bit of a rhythm.  I decided to just try to run continuously for 5k, because if I can do that at a parkrun I can do it at an event.  The field was quite spread out, and I couldn’t see runners ahead or behind.  This meant I ran long sections on my own with my thoughts, but that was fine.  There were some dog walkers, a few people on bikes.  Fabulous views.  An early sign for cake!  Oh no, too soon, it actually said ‘care’ ahead of some particularly sudden turn or other hazards.

One disconcerting aspect of the signage, was signs warning cyclists to take care which were particularly graphic in nature. The first one I saw made me gasp out loud.  It showed a cyclist being flung into the air.  I presume these signs were to warn cyclists not to advertise the spectacle we’d expect to see as we cornered by way of a tourist attraction.  In all seriousness, I  imagine these signs would be pretty effective, no ambiguity about them. Towards the end of the course was one that had been ‘enhanced’ by those with local knowledge perhaps.  Naturally, I don’t normally approve of such vandalism, but then again, good to know if you end up in the reservoir there will be sharks to contend with, forewarned is forearmed and all that.

The route was scenic, lots of gorgeous views on the way round.  I surprised myself by keeping running for a fair while, but inevitably, eventually there was an uphill bit which thwarted my ‘just keep on running’ aspirations.  Some runners from the next wave started to overtake me after about mile 2.  They were all unfailingly friendly, we exchanged breathless greetings.  I trotted out clichéd words of encouragement, I was going for a supportive but non-patronising yet not too sycophantic riff.  Mostly this became ‘good job!’. Which isn’t great, but you must have something pithy or there isn’t time to complete the sentiment.  To a  few I remarked (hilariously) ‘I’m going to chase you now!’ which most understood to be a joke, but a couple fled away with such speed I can only conclude that it seemed a very real threat.  Sorry about that, wasn’t intending to deliver threats with menace on the trails.

It might sound strange, but I quite like being overtaken by the faster runners. It’s inspiring to see some of them whizz by, apparently weightless and effortless eating up the miles with grace.  It’s also encouraging as most did have a word of positivity as they passed, and it adds interest to proceedings too.  It motivated me to run a bit more, as I’d have a bit of lope when I could hear them coming up behind and then try to run on again after them for a bit more before relapsing  back into a walk at times.

It seemed to go quickly, not that I was especially fast, but I suppose the terrain was pretty easy-going and it was a lot less challenging than the 12.12 which is my most recent event, so by comparison the miles flew by.  Even so, I didn’t need all that much encouragement to STOP when I got near the first of two busy road crossings.  A cheery marshal was on had to open the gate so I had no reason to slow too much as I went through.  Photo’s not great is it, oh well you get the idea…

Stop

From there, it didn’t seem too far to get to the nearly mid-point feed station.  It was up a bit of a hill.  There were a couple of marshals, one of whom I’d swear had earlier been at the registration HQ but a few minutes before. Either they had teleported up, or I hadn’t been traveling forward quite as fast as I imagined.

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Your path was blocked by a hi-viz hero in possession of a dibber, so no danger of going through unrecorded.  The feed station had water and some energy gels I think and some cups of squash.  I went for the squash as I suddenly realised it might be a good idea to have a top of sugar and I didn’t fancy my naked bar and can’t tolerate gels.  I gulped it down, but it tasted funny.  Like cold lemsip. I gulped down some water afterwards, and then fretted as I felt all that liquid sloshing around that I’d maybe had an electrolyte drink by accident and what if that made me sick?  At the end I found out it was just sugar-free squash I think.  Lesson learned though, I’m not drinking anything at a drink station ever again without knowing what it is.   I walked for a bit to let things settle, and then after a short road section (very short) it was a sharp right over a slightly concealed wall style and continuing up a steep hill.

This was way too distracting for me.  I paused to breathe in the view and stood aside to let some faster runners past as I lined up what I hoped was a nice shot.  It’s hard to capture on film, especially when you have zero aptitude behind the lens at the best of times and have injected a still further element of surprise into the proceedings by not wearing your glasses whilst you snap away either.  I think you’ll get the idea though.  I noticed hardly any of the later waves of runners were carrying kit.  There weren’t any kit inspections that I was aware of today, but the inside word is they may be relaxed on a lovely sunny day like this, but in inclement weather the kit police will be crawling all over you, so be prepared!  This did seem a benign environment, but once you get high, weather can change quickly.  Gear is carried for a reason.  It isn’t just to make all your race photos deeply unflattering it seems.  You don’t want to end up like that pants man on Snowdon now do you?  Superman knickers were insufficient protection against the elements for him it seems.

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As I still had a lot of water sloshing, and there was still quite a bit of upwardness, I walked a fair distance from here.  I really do need to crack my ‘hydration and fueling’ strategies if I’m serious about doing longer distances.  I think I get away with things up to half marathon, but I’m sure I could save a lot of time and faffing if I worked out a more efficient way of doing things.

Onwards and upwards.  The next ‘excitement’ was more excitement than I’d have ideally liked.  I found myself running ‘on my own’ i.e. no runners in sight ahead or behind.  I crossed a minor road and there was a sign pointing straight ahead as you went over a stone wall. Thing is, as I ran ahead, the terrain got rougher and there were no more arrows.  I felt sure I’d gone wrong.  I looked back, and another two runners were following me.  I called out to them, but one said confidently ‘no, the arrow is definitely straight on’ so we continued, until we saw a sort of collapsed stone building and barbed wire and there was no doubt this was wrong.  Behind us, cresting over the hill, and gloriously back-lit by bright early morning sunshine was a veritable stampede of other runners, each following the one in front and all wrong, all because of me (sort of).  We frantically gestured at them back down the field and people variously romped round the wet grass in all directions.  At this point I felt the comedic value of the situation far outweighed the couple of hundred metres added to our course.  I decided to take some runners in action shots, as most of the field sped by, leaving me literally, as well as metaphorically standing.  It was a hoot though, and where’s the fun in a run if you don’t have a mini-adventure on the way round.  Plus, for clarity, this was a real anomaly on the course, the route was fantastically well signed, so well signed, that as soon as the arrows disappeared I knew I must have gone wrong. You didn’t need to navigate, though we did have our A4 maps in case of need.

I like my photos at this point, especially the one of the colourful snake of runners heading onwards and upwards up that hill.  Unstoppable, fearless, and still fresh as daisies they were, all the way to the top!  Well probably, possibly then.  I never got to see the state of them at that point to be fair.

I followed in their wake.  It was lovely.  The next unexpected bit of enrichment on the course was a tunnel!  It wasn’t a particularly long stretch, but I wasn’t expecting it, and I found out something about myself.  I found out that running through a tunnel all on your own is ridiculously fun!  You can hear the echoes of your own feet reverberating off the walls, and because of the contrast between the bright sunshine outside and the unlit tunnel interior, there is a brief section in the middle when you can’t see your feet or your body really even, so it feels like you are levitating. It was amazing.  Granted, I probably need to get out more given that I have found myself raving so much about what basically took a few seconds, but I would really recommend it as a running aspiration if you have not yet done so.  Find a long dark stretch of tunnel somewhere and run down it. Maybe not a London underpass in the small hours, choose wisely. You’ll work it out.  I might get you to sign a disclaimer form first though, because you have to own your choices if you are going for subterranean options I know not yet of, and haven’t had an opportunity to risk assess for myself.  My sample survey is of just the one tunnel.  it could be not all tunnel running is quite so much fun.  Or quite so safe.  Was it Indiana Jones who had some boulder issues when he was tunnel running?  Just use your common sense, that’s all I’m saying.

By now we were nearing the high point of the run. The extraordinary wind turbines came into startling view. I know some people hate them, but I’ve always rather liked them. They seem sort of sculptural to me.  So yes, I stopped to take some photos of these too, as correctly speculated on by one of my Smiley buddies, who was guessing my photo stops at the end of the route.  Seems my movements are entirely transparent.  It was around this point that my Sparkhill friend romped past.  I waved him on.

Around the wind turbines there was an enormous temptation to take a short cut across a road, but I was very good and followed the trail correctly.  A couple of fairly fiendish walls to clamber over. There were steepish stone steps sticking out of the walls to aid ascent and descent, but they were slippery and my legs were more tired than I realised and not impressed by having to shift into clambering mode.  There was another hill to traipse up, and my enthusiasm temporarily waned.  I let some other runners pass.  I told them I was there to supervise and they were doing well and should keep on moving through.  I don’t expect they believed me though.  At the top, more amazing views, right back across the reservoir.  It was gorgeous.

That was lovely.  But, what goes up, must come down, and my, this certainly knew how to come down steeply. The downhill bit that followed was practically like stepping off the end of the earth.  I was very glad of the grip on my shoes and I gingerly wended my way down.  The views were fabulous, but even what looked like naturally speedy runners seemed to stop and pick their way down quite hesitantly.  There was a big CAKE no, not cake, that was just me hallucinating, CARE sign, and it was very much needed. It wasn’t a long section at all, but I think it must have been the most hazardous section of the course.

After this alarming plummet from the summit, there were two further marshaling points.  The first one, greeted me with a cheery smile ‘did you enjoy that’ he said. Which I had, up until this point, but I had a brief moment of confusion as it sort of implied I was near the end, which I wasn’t really. I explained that I was having a lovely time and taking photos along the way, so he obliged by posing for one for me too, before waving me on my way. Thank you marshal!

cheery marshal

Then it was down some windy, tree-lined paths a bit more and down to another road crossing.  Just as a I approached a motorbike screamed past at extraordinary speed.  I would not have wanted to be trying to cross when that came by, it was insane.  Me and the marshal blinked at each other in shock.  ‘Has it been like that all morning?’ I enquired.  Apparently not, that was the first one.  Terrifying.  Knobhead.  (he motorcyclist, not the marshal).  I assiduously followed my green cross code and Tufty club directives several times before stepping out on the tarmac myself to venture to the other side.   Phew, made it across unsquashed.

scary road crossing marshal

From here it really was nearly at the end. Just a gentle yomp.  As we were back near the visitors centre there were more walkers and families pushing buggies, most of whom gave a smile or word of encouragement.  One couple shouted after me ‘what are you all running for?‘  ‘I have no idea‘ I replied, truthfully.  This satisfied them greatly, I was happy to oblige.  At this point I was feeling a lot fresher than I’d expected, my stop / start approach taking photos along the way clearly works for me, but I was aware of a blister developing on my little toe.  I know why.  I’ve had a mysterious foot pain on the top of my foot for a while now which I’ve been ignoring.  It affects how I land and I suppose after 10 miles of weird gait it was bound to take it’s toil on me.

I think it might be time for me to share my Strava map of the route – here we go:

Carsington route Dark and White Autumn series 2017

Maybe not an actual circle shape to be fair, but you do basically run round the reservoir and an extra hilly bit for good measure.

‘Suddenly’ there was a sign just 1km to go, and then I saw a familiar – well I was going to say ‘face’ but actually it was ‘back’ just a few metres ahead.  A smiley buddy and fellow Dig Deep graduate to boot!  We must have been really closely paced the whole way round.  I slowly closed, but as we got to the finish she sprinted ahead.  Who can blame her. I’m not competitive particularly, but if I’d been her and led all the way round I’d have felt mightily aggrieved if someone like me popped up apparently from nowhere and zipped in front.

Very pleasingly, our lovely smiley buddies were there to cheer us in. We had a dib in finish, and were reunited with fleeces before going back into race HQ.  Here your dibber was carefully removed (and I lurve this attention to detail) with a pair of surgical scissors which have one side blunted to avoid cutting accidentally.  This was put in the magic computer, and then you got an instantaneous print out of your time (because some people care about these apparently)  and a certificate too no less!

My final memory of the actual running part of the event is in the last 100 metres where in response to someone cheering me on as I mustered up the energy for my version of a sprint finish I shouted back ‘they’ve promised me coffee at the end’ and I heard behind me him calling out ‘there is!  Cake too!’  And you know what? There really was!  There was a table with a selection of biscuits, some bought lemon drizzle cakes, an urn with water for tea and coffee and lots of squash.  Best of all, a savoury fix.  A platter of mini cheese thins and crisps.  Brilliant.

cake definitely cake

It was lovely in the sun, so we drank coffee and had a mutual Smiley debrief about best bits of the run.  We’d all had a good time.  Two of our number had made new best friends, one more convincingly than the other.  It seems both had found similarly matched individuals to yomp round with and bonded not so much in adversity as in running, as so often happens.  One had hung on to her friend and was able to parade her to the rest of us by way of evidence. The other had only tales to relate about her new best friend, but she was nowhere to be seen.  We must all believe what we choose to believe I suppose…

Just time for photo posing, and lingering farewells.  As we supped our coffee and shared our tales, the hi-viz super marshal who had been at registration and then the mid-point feed station was now in evidence clearing up.  How was that possible.  ‘Is it a teleportation device?’ I queried.  Apparently not, the secret of such rapid transportation is in fact a big white van.  I was gutted.  To be fair, that was the only disappointment of the day, so not a bad satisfaction score overall…

and that was it.  Job done.

Wasn’t that great?  Whose idea was it?  That person should henceforth be feted. This series is wonderful.  I bet the sun always shines at these events.

Conclusion.  A great way to enjoy some stunning scenery at a really well run event. The organisers have set out to create  ‘events that are sociable and relaxed … which you can make as easy or as tough as you like – they are suitable for most ages and abilities’.  Based on my experience I’d say they have succeeded.  Yay. Check out their Peak District Trail Running website for more, but I’d definitely go again, they have a ‘doable’ feel to them.  Super friendly.  Thank you nice people who worked hard to put on a great day out.

On the way home there was one moment of nervous laughter at disaster evaded.  We found another event was also taking place, also very well signed. Our lovely morning yomping could have gone horribly wrong!  Phew, we were lucky to live to run another day!  You know when people say ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ Well, for me, frankly, with my navigational skills it would be inadvertantly going off piste and being faced with this. Accidentally having to run a 160k route just because I can’t find my way out of a paper bag. I mean those arrows look awfully familiar don’t you think…  Still, all’s well that ends well eh?

the worst that can happen

Oh you want to know the results?  How very obsessive, there you go, for those that care the results of the Autumn Series 2017 are all here but really, ask yourself, are you missing the point.  Mind you, respect to the speed merchants who clearly went for it.  Different choices.

I’d recommend, for what that’s worth. See you at the next ones?  Online entry here

Round 2 | Calver | Sunday 22nd October  2017 – car share advised limited parking

Round 3 | Monyash | Sunday 26th November 2017

Happy yomping out and about til then!

 

 

 

Categories: off road, race, running | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Oh what a beautiful morning! Dark and White Autumn Series 2017 event 1. Carsington Water.

  1. Pingback: New beginnings, in search of my running mojo and running in the dark | Running Scared

  2. Pingback: The power of ten – TenTenTen 2017 | Running Scared

  3. Pingback: Making my explosive Cross Country debut with TNT. XCSYCAA Go me. :) | Running Scared

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