Distance - 50 miles
Ascent - 5,390 feet
Time - 10hrs 30min
Map of the route
After 3 months of training really hard I needed to know if my training plan was working so I decided to set myself a 50 mile challenge in the Peak District just before Christmas. Which would allow me to some well-earned time off through Christmas and the New Year, if I was to really struggle on this run there would be enough time to change the training plan as required.
It took a few weeks to organise but the route was soon planned and a friend agreed to meet me at 3 check point supplying me with some food and water which allowed me to go as light as possible just like I will be doing on the main event.
On the morning of Saturday 22nd December my alarm started to ring at 3.30 am to allow me enough time to get to the lay bay just up from the Ladybower Inn near the start of Stanage Edge, on arriving the rain was coming down really heavy and there looked to be heavy fog on the tops. It was looking like the weather forecast of heavy rain and think hill fog all day was going to be correct the only time I was hoping for it to be wrong.
All geared up I was ready to start my run towards High Neb at 5am already the ground was well and truly sodden and it seemed like I would be running in a stream all day. As I got to the trig point the fog was really bad and all my head touch could do was light up the fog and rain making it no use what so ever as the well marked path turned into sludge I found myself heading off the track without realising it so out came the compass to give me a bearing and get me back heading in the correct direction towards Stanage Pole, my pace seemed to be good and I was hoping to be able to maintain this for as long as possible. Navigating to white stones was really hard as I couldn’t see anything and the running came to a holt and a steady walk along a bearing helped me reach the Roman Road as wide and well defined this path is I was unable to see it for more than a meter in front of me.
My first check point was in the car park near Toads Mouth where I had stashed some food for me to pick up on my way past. The sun started to rise as I got onto Bamford Edge but I had lost quite a lot of time through the dark and mist and dogs seemed to be getting fed up been out in the heavy rain but it wouldn't be long before I would be reaching the 20mile mark and my second check point of the day where there would be a welcomed hot drink and food waiting for me. The rain at this point had broken my phone and walkie talkie we had been using to keep in contact and I was 40 minutes behind the time I was hoping to arrive.
After a warm drink and some hot food in me I decided the dogs would be best to have a rest, dry out and get warm and I would pick them up at the next check point. I set of alone in the worsening weather from Cut Throat Bridge towards Back Tor I was still feeling good at this point and with only myself to worry about I picked up the pace on the flat sections and walked the big climbs witch seemed to be a good way of moving quickly. I was really enjoying myself managed to forget about the weather I think I just accepted the fact that I would be wet all day but at the end I would be able to get warm and dry. The worst bit about this section was Howden Edge as the bogs were zapping all my energy and taking its toll on my calf’s. Dropping down Cut Gate was like running in a stream but the cold water and downhill rested some tired muscles.
Slippery Stones was my next check point where my dogs were waiting to carry on I didn't feel hungry so I just put some energy bars in my pocket, over 30 miles ran and still putting in ten min miles when the terrain would allow. This made me feel really good my feet were sodden but I decided not to put on my dry socks until the next check point where I would be running on better paths and thought there would be more to benefit from this, but that would be at 40 miles this was I easy section running alongside of the Ladybower but there was a nasty sting in the tail the climb up Alport Castles was so difficult, it’s hard enough on a normal walk but 35 miles into a run was a whole new think. I just had to dig really deep and climb as fast as I could knowing the check point was not far the top.
At the check point I took of my wet socks my toes were black with my big toe nail hanging off and a few big blood blisters they did not look in great shape luckily I wasn't feeling any pain, the dry socks felt really good and a hot coffee to warm me up as the rain was still coming down. This was it I was on the home straight and nothing was going to stop me from finishing this challenge. On leaving the final check point I felt stiff and sore from the rest so I set of steadily to make sure I didn't pull anything and I was soon moving freely again. The dog’s still full of energy seemed to spur me on. Waiting at the finish point was my wife and friend witch was a great feeling to still be able to find the energy for a sprint finish.
An amazing challenge that I completed in 10hrs 30mins giving me confidence in my training plan that it is working and I will be able to complete my 100 mile run in the Lake District. I had three days of rest over Christmas than I would have a week of easy training before starting back on my training plan.
My 50 Mile Training Plan
My 50 Mile Training Plan