By Paul Terrett
A silly o’clock start last Sunday saw me heading back up the M1 to the Peak District for the final event in the Peak Raid 4-race series. Usual format—choose your own route to visit as many scoring checkpoints as possible, in three hours, and get back to the finish on time. The penalties for finishing late become quite draconian (more on that later).
We managed to miss Storm Arwen, the week before, and Storm Barra, a couple of days later, and the weather was almost kind to us. A bit blowy on the tops and -1oC with wind-chill, but positively warm at 6oC in the valleys, making it really hard to get the layering right.
The organisers had obviously had some fun with the course, placing the two 50-point scores at the opposite extremes of the map. The event area was a mix of footpaths through farmland and patches of Access Land, with plenty of contours to keep it interesting, and some seriously rocky paths in places. There were even a few small patches of snow remaining, to remind us that it would be Christmas in just three weeks.
We were treated to a beautiful rainbow a few minutes after I started, which had me thinking that this could be a really pleasant run. That was until a couple of minutes later, when I ran into the freezing cold rain that had formed the rainbow.
The time passed surprisingly quickly, with runners appearing at regular intervals and then disappearing off in all manner of directions. There was clearly no ‘obvious’ route for a maximum score. Indeed, the descent from my final 50-point summit could either follow a long dog-leg or take a shorter straight line down to the gate, descending through straggly hawthorn bushes, which shredded legs and leggings alike. Given the time elapsed and distance from the finish, I opted for the shredding.
Finally, with time rapidly running-out, I decided to go for a final 30-point checkpoint on the way back, which I hoped would give me a buffer to counteract my inevitable loss of points for being late. This included a brutal (and long) climb, slowing me down even more, and around the 3-hour mark my body decided that enough was enough. Cramp in both legs saw me hobbling the last kilometre and finishing 7 minutes late, for a loss of 25 points, so the ‘tactical lateness’ had paid off. Just !
I honestly didn’t think that I’d be writing a race report for an event in which Rick was running, but my slightly crazy route had me finishing just ahead of him on points. However, he had the last laugh by beating me overall in the series (where you take your best three scores from four events) and also coming third in his age-group. Well done, Rick.
1st Mark Anderson 1,694 points
21st Rick Ansell 1,110 points
26th Paul Terrett 1,080 points
110th Simon Barnett 470 points (just one event)
256 took part.