The 65th Annual Three peaks race – 27th April 2019
The second year I’ve entered and completed the run around one of the countries oldest and most famous fell races.
Supported by my super family, I set off for the registration tent and several trips to the toilet pre-race starting.
The most iconic looking of all the peaks and before I know it, i’m already out of puff heading up the bridleway. Slow down Craig I tell myself and true to my pre-race strategy, I am a minute slower than the previous year to summit and return to the Junction on the Pennine Way. All good , I think.
The slog from pen-y-ghent to Whernside, steady as you go Craig. Pacing myself, taking on a few salt-stiks and a bit of fluid, the pace is good and I hit Ribblehead 2 mins slower than last year. Feeling good, but an emergency toilet stop adds an unwanted delay to me setting off up the steep side of Whernside. Topped up with another 250ml of electrolytes and a cheeky gel and i’m on the way. Knowing what is ahead as I duck under the railway line, a smile come to my face. A Marshall shouts “go left” a hundred yards ahead, too late, as two runners disappear thigh high in the bog. I go left a bit more and jump across the boggy bits as best I can.
Then it’s the grind up Whernside, i’m passing more than last year. good. Keeps me motivated. I hit the top, just as it starts to hail, fingers looking a bit blue, I dib in and get a move on down.
Marshalls & the 3hr 30mins cut off at The Hill Inn.
Just as I head down the ridge to the new path area, we are guided away from what looks like a badly injured runner. Steady Craig, tired legs, steep descent and a 3hrs 30mins cut-off.
I head to the final cut off. Steady, not too quick, I have ample time (ie 35mins) At least the hail has stopped.
Just a bit slower that last year, but feeling fresh and energised, bring on Ingleborough, but watch out for the leg cramps. More Salt Stix and fluid.
Ingleborough & the end
The top of Ingleborough and I’m feeling decidedly chilly. A bit more fuel and a slight detour to pick out a cheeky route down from the summit, slightly away from the rocks. Earlier that month, I had made a trip up Ingleborough with Pete Ellwood. Searching out a less rocky route off of the summit. This helped. Thanks.
A swift descent of Ingleborough and I’m counting down the miles. I have less than 55mins to reach the finish if I want to get under 5hrs. I’m not convinced i’ll do it. But off I go.
Getting to the 2miles to go signpost, I see my sub 5hr target is still a reality and up the pace a bit. I’m finished and greeted by my boys. Thoroughly enjoyable.
I’m still happy, as I sit down for food and happen to end up talking with Brennan Townshend, the overall winner, thoroughly nice chap and he’d managed to complete the race a good 2hrs quicker than me. Still some areas to work on then for the 2020 race.