Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Dovedale Dash!

Having read about the Dovedale Dash in the summer I was intrigued to see what a fell race with over 1000 entrants would be like.  It sounded fun with a river crossing, varied terrain and fancy dress encouraged!  Little did I realise back in August that it would be 5 degrees with a windchill of about -2 on the day!  

Myself, Caz, Lucas and Louise (all fellow striders) - braved freezing cold windy conditions along with Chris T, Chris B, Paul H and Tracy, to take part in the counter in the GVS Championship.  

On arrival to the 60th Annual Dash it was very busy with cars queueing a few miles up the road just to get onto the field which was flanked by Thorpe Cloud - a very inviting hill which I thought we had to run up (but fortunately didn't!).  I would advise car sharing and getting there early as my first top tip. The start was actually delayed by 15 minutes due to people still arriving, which was a bummer because we had started to warm up and ended up bailing back into the warmth of the car!

The lady on the tannoy sounded like an energetic Caroline Aherne - she was brilliant cheering in all the juniors from the kids races! So enthusiastic!  She really added to the atmosphere of the race.

When the time came to start there was such a massive line of people we couldn't hear the starter so it just sort of happened out of nowhere - I was literally messing about with my watch and we were off!

Descending the field like a battle charge scene out of The Lord of the Rings there were men in wedding dresses, superheroes, a man in a gimp mask -kids, dogs, it was bloody crazy!  It was actually really hard to get through the first section so Caz and I ended up on a steep camber heading up and along the right hand side of the valley, whilst most people were bottle-necked into the bottom.  Top tip number 2 - go hell for leather at the start until the river crossing!

At the river, I opted to go straight through as I thought the stepping stones were a) for wimps and b) potentially slippy! and with the number of spectators with cameras, I thought falling off said stepping stones was not worth entertaining!  Poor Caz got shoved as we exited the river and ended up squished and losing about 10 places.

After the river section I went over on my ankle again in a repeat of Longshaw Trust 10k the week before.  It was less painful this time so I decided I had got away with it...

The rest of the course was actually really good, it varied from slurry bogs (a child was spotted fishing his shoes out with his hands - he must have given up as he was seen at the finish completely shoeless!), moorland and rocky paths with the odd hill thrown in for good measure - with an uphill finish.  
Dovedale Damage!

I was pleased with my progress as I was focusing on slowing down my breathing, having read an interesting article in the week.  I had left enough in the tank for the uphill finish and was just starting to crack on a bit as we came out of a rocky river side section, when out of nowhere I heard a dog whistle and was aware of lots of spectators.  A pointer dog ran straight across my path -  it had got away from its owner - I dodged it but it changed tack and totally took me out, straight onto some horrible rocks, to add insult to injury an unfortunate man then fell straight on top of me.  I had cut my leg and was really really peed off, it had ruined my finish.  I limped up the hill having shouted at the owner to get it on a lead (very assertive of me!) and had a little self pitying sniffle before I pulled myself together and cracked on as best I could with my new found infliction.  

At the finish we were funnelled into an airport style system - there were a few organiser errors here which were avoidable in my opinion - firstly we were not told to stay in order - this was important as the timing marshal took your time as you entered the funnel then you got a position number as you came out of the funnel.  It took about 10 minutes to get through and it was absolutely Baltic.  How nobody got hypothermia is a miracle - maybe they did in hindsight.  I would happily pay a few more quid to be chip timed!

A few weeks on from Dovedale and my ankle is still not right, in fact today it is really bad.  I gave the second cross country counter "Boggart Hole Clough" a miss in order to try and rest it which was really disappointing and my knee is still lumpy from the fall but my grazes have healed and gone.  I still can't kneel on my right knee which is very annoying and I have my final championship race this weekend - Cheddleton 10K Pudding race.  Fingers crossed my ankle holds out!

For anyone interested here are the Results of the Dovedale Dash.  I was 29th lady out of 424!  My time was 40 minutes 12 seconds - overall I was 350th out of 1410 runners.  There are loads of videos on YouTube if you search Dovedale Dash 2016.  

I will definitely be doing it again as although it was freezing it was fun!  Type 2 fun maybe, but still fun!

Happy Running!


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