Want a running challenge for 2013? Running Physio, Melanie, challenges you to a Steeplechase.

Beautiful views kept me running

I am planning Brighton and London and have been looking for new challenges to prepare me for these. For this week’s blog I thought I’d entertain you with my recent trail run challenge……

Do you like beautiful views…..like running/hiking….. Like a challenge…..then the peak districts steeplechase race might be for you!

I was looking for a sporting challenge and found this epic race. The red bull steeplechase race, a knockout trail race over 21 miles of grueling Peak District terrain with 3 cut off points at 8,12, and 18 miles….. if you are not fast enough, you’re out!

Uuuggghhhh….that hill

It starts in the beautiful town of Castleton and takes you up and down the steep gradients of the peaks from village to village via a few hills!  The first 1/2 a mile was quite possibly the most challenging, a steep mossy incline that had me climbing on my hands and knees and my calf muscles screaming for mercy! At the top there is no rest as you need to be in the top 2/3rds to get through the first cut off stage and I was not going to get stopped at the first hurdle!

I am placed 20th at the 4 mile point….not bad…..at the top of the next thigh screaming hill I run into a problem.  A group of 15 of us have missed a turning and missed the vital first knockout point….if we go on we will be disqualified… If we turn back we run an extra mile and have to come back up the hill we just conquered! 5-10 minutes of marshal deliberation and we decide to turn back and retrace our steps.

This is an ‘every man for themselves’ race and we tear back down the hill to ensure we get through the next cut off. I pass some friends at the first knock out who I know are ahead of me..grrr..I quickly remedy this by bolting ahead only to have to walk the next steep hill section due to my legs refusing to move faster. I have slipped down to 30th.

I manage to crawl my way back up the ranks from 30th to 17th passing the 2nd check point and telling myself I am fit, I love running and I love hills. The pep talk works and I was actually having fun.

Miles 12-18 really caused the field to spread and I find myself alone in the Peak District no one in view ahead. Sounds peaceful but this plays havoc with your mind, I think I might be lost and start to wander towards a dark place by mile 16. (Having run marathons before mile 16 of the peaks is like mile 21 of a road marathon!).

A female runner catches up and we motivate each other with idle chit chat. At this point I realise I will not make the final top 10 cut! My body is so exhausted I don’t know if I would last the final 3 mile section anyway.

I’ve finished!!

After what feels like eternity we reach the 3rd check point finishing in 17th position.  I am happy to have finished but am already wondered what I could achieve next year…..

Race summary:

  • Great race
  • Don’t start if you have not trained
  • Expect your thighs to scream with every step you take down stairs for the following week!
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