Earlier this month was the Haworth Hobble, a 32 mile trail race through beautiful Yorkshire. I got up to Yorkshire a couple days earlier, and instantly regretted not pacing sufficient cold weather gear.
On race morning I drew the curtains open in my Airbnb and could see the registration and start line. A short walk over and I was registered and back in the warmth for a coffee and catch-up with friends who had also travelled over for the race.
Runners waiting for the start, in the cold and wet
The race started on Main Street in Haworth, a steep, cobbled road. It was a good warm-up, and as we left town we were instantly hit with strong winds and rainfall. The wind would get into the hood of my rain jacket and blow me about, and the noise from the pillowing hood amplified the sound. I quickly tucked the hood away, and focused on finding my pace in the group of 300 or so runners.
The views were spectacular: dark and broody. The reservoirs were filled to the brim, with ominous waves lapping the edges and spray soaking runners. On the tops the rain turned to hail, flying sideways and whipping my face. I felt like I was being shot in the face by an automatic Airsoft rifle. I used a hand to protect my face till the worse of it passed.
Reservoir with choppy waves
The hills were all manageable. According to my Garmin, the total ascent was closer to 1800 metres, which I hadn’t anticipated. During my training I had focused on two things: incline and endurance. I was not so concerned about endurance as I had a marathon in the bag from a few weeks before, but I worked on the ascent and incline, getting my leg muscles adapted to sustained uphills. Come race day, my training paid off.
The race wound its way into Hebden Bridge at one point. I’d visited Hebden last August, and I’m always buoyed when I recognise a place during a race, so that helped me pick up the pace, and grind out the long ascent back out of Hebden on the other side.
About 25 miles into the race I did slow down. My excuse was that I was admiring the views now that the weather had calmed down and the sun had finally shown up. A quick talking to by a friend who caught me up sorted me out and I begrudgingly picked up the pace again. When I found myself alone and had to navigate, the time passed even quicker, probably because I knew where I was and I was mentally engaged.
Once I was at Penistone Hill I knew it was (literally) all downhill from there. I let my legs lead my on the ascent, past the church, back over Main Street, dodging dozens of tourists who were out exploring Brontë Country. I had to ask for directions to the finish as I couldn’t see a finish line – it turns out the finish was in the school hall. I’m still not sure exactly when the clock stops, but given that I was in the middle of the pack I wasn’t too fussed. A bit of an anticlimax, but I was soon distracted by the free hot food.
Snow had settled by the following morning, and we drove back through heavy snow
All in all, a great run and a fun morning out. No major injuries, and another rlong run in the bag as part of my Virgin London Marathon 2019 training.
Keep plodding uphill