Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

December 20, 2012

Dark/White Mini-MM, 16 Dec 2012

My second visit to the Peak District in less than a week.  Luckily no rain this time, although the clouds were laying low over the tops.   As I was munching an ever-present apple while walking over to the start hall, I ran into teammate Jon and a carload of his mates, all of which I had met at varying events over the years.   Of course they have a friendly rivalry going between them, so the race was on immediately. 

This Dark/White Event was a 4 hour mini orienteering event.  Although 4 hours of running can only be considered "mini" when you consider their flagship event of the year is a two-day overnight with 11-13 hours of running! Collect as many controls worth high points as you can and get back within the time limit.   I always prefer these orienteering-style events to the straight-line distance because thinking and route planning can trump pure speed. Yay for me 'cuz I'm pretty slow.   Now the challenge was to see if my calculating route could beat the hares.  More specifically, Jon and his mates Tim, Mike and Paul! 

Jon and I agreed to start out together, but after a couple of controls it was clear that I was hyperventilating and he was running away from me.   He took off and I was navigating on my own through the fabled bog district that is the top of Kinder Scout.  (I wore a bright orange shirt just in case I got stuck in one and needed to be rescued! )

Navigation was pretty tricky, especially for a few moments when the fog covered the plateau and I could see nothing but lumpy bogs.  There was a lot of elevation involved, including some sliding descents down gullies and heart-pounding slogs back up again.  It was tough going even downhill, as the heather and dead ferns threatened to catch my shoes with every step and give me a wind-milling excuse for a faceplant.  There was even a few snowdrifts left along the trail at the top.   The tough terrain meant that I used my compass more in this race than I have in all my other races combined...my sense of direction was gone today.   Luckily the compass doesn't have off days, even when your own senses make you think it's broken!

As in most races, the navigation went pretty well until the last hour, when I started calculating how long I needed to get back to the hall before I ran out of time.  Then it seemed the hills got higher and the terrain got tougher, until I doubted I would be back in 4 hours or even 5!.  Luckily, with the finish down in the valley, it was a downhill run to the end, and I was only 5 minutes late, not a big deal in this series.  

Jon was already at the finish, looking well rested from coming in 20 minutes early.  My grin got pretty big when I realized I had tied him in points...I still don't know how that is possible.  Tim and Mike were there too, having taken some eccentric route choices, to say the least.   Since Tim hates being beat by women, it was quite fun to, well...beat him.   By a pretty good margin, I must say!  Paul was nowhere to be seen, and since he had started with us, we knew his late penaties were racking up.  He finally showed up 25 minutes late...needless to say, his final points were only marginally above 0.   Paul's adventures had included running 90 degrees off his intended heading for quite a long time, and then suddenly finding a control that was not at all what he was looking for.   Much less being a long ways from the finish without much time left! 

It was all in good fun, though, and a nice day out with even the sun making an appearance.  Although as one of the shortest days of the year, it appears to hover on the horizon and constantly get in your eyes when you're trying to run, as though it is a sunset which never sets.  Am I really complaining about the sun being out?  Surely not?!? 

It was great to see the guys again....I am acutely aware now that I only have 2 months or so left to live in the UK and see the friends I've made around the country.  Although I'm really excited to move to Utah and start a new career and explore desert terrain, I'll be sad to leave the beautiful country and the friendly people here.

Overall Results

Split Times by Class

No photos from me but check out some good ones by Steve!

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