The Gravy Pud race, run from the Bulls Head over in Tintwistle by local legend Andi Jones, is a fast paced trail race. Not quite gnarly enough to be a fell race, but certainly not a road race, so it attracts a fair amount of attention from all quarters of the running community.
Today was no exception, and there were a decent selection of fast runners out and about from Dark Peak, Sale and other well known speedier places. Perhaps it was a little misguided to do a Trigger recce with a fair amount of ascent yesterday? Nevermind.
The start/finish road is cobbled, and was really very slippy in x-talons. It looked slippy no matter what shoes you were wearing, so a bit of care was needed on the warm up, and the comings and goings around the area. A good number of runners turned out- nigh on 220 all told, I think, with a good contingent from Glossopdale- this being the final counter in the Fell champs.
This year had a fast start, with me tagging along quite a way behind the leaders, just about managing to keep pace with Chris - who also raced yesterday. He pulled away from me on the first climb, I made it back on the first (and only slightly gnarly descent), got over a stile in slightly less than slick style- picking up a bruise for my troubles, and then proceeded to get passed by as many people as I had just overtaken on the way down. I was reduced to walking on terrain where most people were still quite happily running.
Nothing in my legs, nothing at all. And that was pretty much the story for the rest of the run. Up a hill, lose another place, along a path, the guys in front of me just became smaller and smaller in front of me. No pace, no strength, and no steep downhills to slow other people down to let me catch them up.
I eventually trawled in 28th in just under 41 mins - Chris coming in about a minute and a half faster.
What a beast of a race. No let up - especially if you're already knackered.
As a final race of the year, its good to get completely trounced by a load of other people. It has certainly focussed my mind on what needs to be looked at, what can be improved, and where I need to think about getting faster.
For the moment, though, rest and recovery, something that I should have been doing yesterday!