I don't think I have ever been so nervous leading up to a race. I ate very little, drank a little caffeine and went for a morning run up to Monsal Head along the Monsal Trail. I took it fairly easy and stopped to take some pics and take in the views
Later in the day it was up to the village of Sheldon. 216 starters outside the Cock and Pullet at 7.30pm. A thursday evening run in the warm Derbyshire sunshine. After a congested start in which I should have started in the top 1/3 not the last few runners (I was so nervous I thought I would finish last!) I found my footing and it was quickly off road and over a drystone wall. Another runner tripped and landed face down.....I check with him "Are you OK?" the reply came back....."you concentrate on your own fuckin' race!" So I did. It was then 700ft+ down and only later looking at the garmin stats did I dip into 4 min miling.......Jeezus. After a brain shaking descent it was along the valley floor and then a series of stepped inclines. I had passed maybe 100 runners. At just over halfway, a muddy scramble hands on rocks and mud and a heart rate that was popping out of my lungs, brain and skin. Sweat was dripping from me like never before. I passed a few more but this was getting harder and I drafted where I could into the calm evening breeze.
Onto the lazy incline that topped out.....phew. Or did it? A false flat and then up for a bit, down and then up more. Much more. I spied the car park at the finish about half a mile away. I was passed and then I passed more. The peak gave way to road and then downhill on the track to the village. So mashed were my quads that a video that Mrs UB took looks like I am running through the sea. In fact a cute cameo of sub 6s to the finish and held on to my place. Worried about being last? 46th out of 216. A smarter start would be top 30 but who cares. This was both brutal and yet phenomenal at the same time. The most running endorphins since my win earlier this year.
Amazing and so good to see the kids at the finish line. If I can find the video from WhatsApp I'll upload it.