Let’s get ready to stumble
(Let’s get ready to run now)
(Let’s get ready to run now)
Watch us run the route
Watch us run the route
So its Stanage Stumble time again. I really didn’t think i would be fit enough this year to endure 25 miles with over 3000ft of climb but hell I was here. Last year I did the route and really enjoyed it, albait very tough. So I was back for more dragging along fellow friend Shaun who had never done it nor the distance before.
The route takes in Limb Valley, Houndkirk Road, Fox House, part of Burbage, Higger Tor to the bottom of Hathersage. Then North Lees Estate and across and up Stanage Edge, Moscar Moors, and back to Redmires. Then up around Stanage, Burbage top, Houndkirk and down Limb valley, with breathtaking views of the largest gritstone edge in the Peaks and enough gritting of the teeth up some monsterous hills. Hell why not? 100% chance for a run then.
A single run can take you so many places – Author Unknown
So the story begins… mistake number one, I had put on my road shoes instead of my trail shoes – how was this going to disturb my mindset? We can get a bit obsessive about silly little things can us runners. It’s a bit like having your lucky pants on. I had forgot my lucky pants. Well poo to that, I was gonna have fun anyway.
This year we got escorted to the bottom of limb valley for our briefing at 9.10am. Walkers and runners set off at the same time. We were told to keep dogs on leads and watch out for the boggyness at Stanage and then got asked what we were doing all stood there – off you go then, and we did.
I jogged out up the valley, only 4 days previous had I been racing this route as part of the 5.7 mile fell race ‘Tiger’s Todger’. So the valley had become familiar to me. I found myself leading the pack up the valley, and turned round to my fellow runner Shaun and said “I am not leading the bloody pack out” but it just ended up that way. Was I going to fast? It felt comfortable not quite as snug as a bug in a rug but enough to feel protected from the hillage and milage ahead of us.
2 miles in we hit Houndkirk road, the sun beaming down, the heather and moorlands glissering in the spring sun, illuminating breathtaking views of the Peak District. It was such a beautiful day.
It’s a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away
It’s a beautiful day
Houndkirk road is an impressive old roman road and nothing could have been more enticing as I led the way all across Houndkirk bounding up and down the undulating track. I felt like an elastic band – stretchy and bouncy. High spirts had overwhelmed me as I lighth heartedly paced through, arms open wide, I don’t need wings to fly I just run. This is what it’s all about; the clean crisp fresh air just a few other runners and walkers about, check points every 4 miles with not a supermarket buzzer in sight.
First check point, ‘are you Stanage Stumblers?’ they asked us? Oh yes we are Stanage Stumblers! I was number 87 my friend Shaun 88 who made a quirky remark to the guys at the check point asking if his number was upside down I don’t think they quite got it! After a quick chat and a stamp on our checkcard we were off again.
Onwards to Fox House, nerves and shivers set in as I headed down the road for this was where I wrote off my car in the deepest depths of winter, I just focused and started chatting to a guy from Norfolk to try and distract me from things. Round Fox House, no foxes luckily and then sprightly springing across Burbage. What a stunning sight as Burbage, Stanage and Higger Tor gleamed away in the distance all waiting for us to be run. I am gonna run till I stumble.
Run with your legs to be fast, run with your mind to be faster, run with your heart to be unstoppable – Salomon
Down to the little bridge half way up Burbage and up up up Higger, a climb and a half, better to walk bits up here as its too steep to bother running. A bit of scrambling over the rocks to the top of Higger with a few stops to take some photos and then down to the self service check point 2 where we clipped in. Over the stile we went back onto grassy pathways to a welcoming downhill track towards Hathersage.
I was content so content that I just lost my head in my running as I ran down towards Hathersage. I had an advantage as I had reccied this bit of the route last week because it was where I went rather wrong last year on the route.
Running across the fields avoding the lamb jams I looked up towering above in the distance lay miiles and miles of stunning rockface views – this was Stanage Edge. Just Stanage Edge, you need nothing more out here. The only way was up and up and up and it just looked blissfully ready to run.
Hills are my friends I wish I could befriend them on facebook – Author: Me
At checkpoint 3 at the bottom of Stanage I took on a ‘nice’ biscuit from the very nice people at the checkpoints, a sip of their water and then onwards and upwards. This section was gatetastic, stiletastic and utterly rocktastic. Bryan Adams – Run To You at the ready…
I’m gonna run to you
I’m gonna run to you
‘Cause when the feelin’s right I’m gonna run all night
I’m gonna run to you
It’s always bit of a scramble to reach the top of Stanage and there I did the naff thing of punching the air glancing around thinking this place is just so amazing. It fills me with so much of the nice things in the world that it makes nice biscuits taste even nicer.
The best things in the world can not be seen or even touched they can only be felt with the heart – Author Unknown
Down the rocky road, we went, three of us sticking together. It was more of a walk as the stones were so sharp it was impossible to run down. Over a very high stile took us onto lower stanage the pretty bit that most people miss out. It was a flattish slightish inclinish all the way to Moscar, with lots of millstones (and the one with the happy face on it) that’s me smilingly happy.
At this point the other two guys (Shaun and Luke) were struggling a bit, I guess I was still on a high, not sure what I was driven on (malt loaf and shot blocs?) but I wish I felt like this on all my runs. Maybe because it wasn’t a race it was just an event with no pressure and you just run it and have fun, that’s me at my best. Ditch the pressure ditch the pressure. Just run for fun.
Running is not just about fitness and competition; it’s about changing our lives. Most of us run because it makes us feel significant, powerful, and in control, not just because we want to compete. When people who have never had a sense of accomplishment before suddenly gain it, it transforms every aspect of their lives. They become increasingly fearless. People always realize they can do more when they first do something at all. Confidence grows, and with it, so does vision – Kathrine Switzer
Over the A57 to Moscar Moor the two guys were severly suffering and in the end stopped. I said I would see them at the next check point and gave them route instructions and on I went on my own. Another guy the guy in blue t shirt wasnt far behind and caught me up at the check point.
Now was I to wait or was I to carry on at the next check point? Such a hard decision to make. I had run with my friend for 13 miles and I didn’t want to just leave him. I asked the guys at the checkpoint in a very guilty way and they said they had been using the binoculars to see the two runners who had stopped and they were sat stretching on the wall. With this knowledge I decided then to carry on. 13 ish miles in and I was gagging for more. This was the only time I looked at my watch, I didn’t notice time just the milage. Beep 13 miles. It didn’t register that it was over half way either.
The next section was a little bit of tarmac. What the hell do I do here? Tarmac? How do I elivate the bordem? Oh look what’s in front of me to the right – more gorgeous moors, just run faster and you will soon be back on the trails of love.
Go fast enough to get there but slow enough to see – Gibsons Quotes
I found the path back down, I had left the man in blue behind so had time for a cheaky wee we in the field only onlookwers some dubious looking cows, moo to you too no I am not doing a poo.
Over the A57 again and into a lamb jam field before ploughing up back onto the moors. This section is a little technical and quite hard going, inclining gradually, rocky steps and slightly boggy in places and seems to go on and on and on, in its infinate beauty. Running is quality time with just me. At the top I saw a glance of one of my favourite places on the planet – Redmires Reservoir. The water was a blissful sight as a big grin spread across my grubby little face.
Heaven: find a beautiful place and run it – Author: Me
Onto the Redmires road and to the next checkpoint. First runner they said? Huh? Ok but not for long I replied as the man in blue almost caught me up. They walkie talkied through to HQ to say the first runner had come through CP4 I felt really weird, was this egging me on or was I really just having too much of a strong day? I am just chasing my dreams that I don’t yet remember.
I knew it was going far too well. The next section was tough. 17 miles in and a good mile plus of up hillageness to stanage pole, which is believe it not is a big pole at the top of Stanage Edge (really?). I began to suffer, legness tiredness set in and fatigue spread across my body. Not the wall no no no I will not hit the dreaded wall as I took on a square of malt loaf that I had chopped into bits. And relief! Good old Soreen! Look only 8 miles to go thats just 3 x 3 x 2 of blissful miles come on come on come on.
There were no passser by’s, no one stood on the pavements to high five me, to give me jelly babies, or oranges or cups of water or shout “Go Sheffield” but something much more powerful out here. Someone had scribbled in chalk some great little motivational quotes, they may not have been for us but they worked – first a smiley face, then a “keep going” “keep it up”, “not far to go” “nearly there” an arrow and another smiley face. Just what I needed. My legs are not giving up, my mind is not giving up, I will not give up I will push on, keep going. Just keep on going.
The real workout starts when you want to stop – Gibson’s Quotes
And finally I reached the pole where a number of people were having a picnic. I smiled as I thought what I was doing and what I have just done. 18 miles in that was taxing an uphill struggle in its most purest format. No artifical colours or flavours and just one E number: Enduance!
The sun was beating down on my head by now, I was oblivious to time, what midday ish maybe? My buff was in the back of my rucksack and I was just too damm lazy to take off my rucksack and pull it out. I would just run hot!
Over the top of Stanage I skipped across the rocks, round 100’s of day trippers some of whom nearly managed to trip me over. The elevation and distance was begining to take its toll but I focused on the beauty of my surroundings and with some encouragement from the passer bys and the rock climbers I nurtured onwards.
It’s my soul that keeps me running. My body told me to quit a couple of miles ago… – Gibsons Quotes
Almost touching the trig point at the top of Stanage the rest I knew now was flatish / dowhillish as I picked up speed to Burbage Bridge and to the next and final proper check point. I stopped for a brief chat (Garmin still running but not away from me) grabbed a small drink and finally got my Buff out stuck it on my head, relief from the sun. Buff I love you! I may have looked a Buffering prat but I tell you again and again I don’t care!
This path I had only been on once before the same time last year and I knew Mr Blue t shirt guy wasnt far behind me which was very reassuring. I also knew he would catch me up. Alas I went slightly wrong by about 20 metres and had to cut through a little rabbit track to meet Peter Rabbit and Mr blue t shirt man. This wasn’t a race so the company was refreshing and we chatted for abit as we hit Houndkirk road again. I could see he was much stronger than me so told him I was loosing it a bit and I would see him at the finish that was his cue to go go go and leave me for dust. I kept Mr Blue T shirt in sight throughout the length of Houndkirk road but could see myself fading, but maybe only in my head.
I utilize self-talk and positive thinking. Self-talk is all about encouraging yourself, especially when things are starting to get tough. If I am hurting during a race, I tell myself that the other runners are probably hurting just as bad, if not more. When it comes to positive thinking, I think it is a good technique to use in running and in life. Even when things are not going well, there is a better day tomorrow. But you have to work for a better day, not just hope for one – Meb Keflezighi
The final stile was in sight but alas I got held up via a party of ‘mature ladies’ who were taking half an hour each to get over the stile. I was patient as I knew one day at their age I would be hoping to be walking in the Peak District just like them.
Eventually I passed through the stile but alas I had lost Mr Blue Tshirt as he had already taken off down Limb Valley. I was trying to let gravity take me naturally but my body was hitting that “you have just put me through 24 miles of 3000ft of climb I have had enough”.
My head suddenly went dizzy and I felt like I was going to faint. I reached for my water bottle which had an electrolite drink in it – I hadn’t taken much of this maybe that was the issue? Salt losses. I had been chewing on malt loaf and Shot Blocs for most of the run, and my head had just had enough plus the weaving in and out of trees with the sun rays jumping about confused my little brain. Low sugar levels, low blood pressure, dextro tablets in the rucksack, oh dear and it was going oh so well.
I suddenly saw mr blue t shirt, he had slowed down confused to which way to go. I shouted straight ahead and pointed. Two passer bys told me to catch him up, I replied ‘no chance i am a girl!’ and waved my arms doing an impression of Chirp my favourite (Timbooktoo) bird once again. This had however helped me come out of my bad patch and I began to fly down Limb valley keeping mr blue t shirt in sight once again.
Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame
Someone’s bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
You’ve gotta get up and try try try
Gotta get up and try try try
You gotta get up and try try try
At the bottom of the valley I had just the road left. Just under half a mile to the finish, half a mile or less, a quarter of a mile or less and then even less. There were no big crowds here, no chearing, just me, my legs and my rucksack powering through these last yards and inches of 25 miles. To finish my Garmin went beep; I turned into the driveway of the grounds and up a nasty little incline to a welcome sight of 3 or 4 people clapping me in. Blissfully Happy at 25.1 miles. 4 hrs 06 minutes earlier I had left the same place. Mr blue t shirt was infront of me by about 30 seconds. I was buzzing.
Don’t follow your dreams, chase them
– Richard Numb
And to finish off as part of the event; a big fat Yorkshire Pudding and stew oh yum oh my oh yum. A badge, a certificate, 25 miles of extremely amazing scenary, very friendly organisers and fantastic weather all for £12 EOD or £10 in advance. A bargain if I must say so myself. Stanage Stumble – and why not? I would have run around 20 miles anyway in a similar area, I may as well give my well earned cash to something like this and have a fantastic day out.
I must shout out to my friend Shaun who I left behind around 13 miles in. Was it selfish and rude of me? I don’t know. It played on my mind throughout the run. Yet the most distance he had done suffering from acute cramp still made it in under the five hours with a fanastic 4 mile finish which would have left me for dust.
And I leave you with his rather powerful Facebook status:
May not be fast or the greatest runner out there but so close to becoming an ultra runner, could not imagine this a year ago and stepping out side the perception box, so much learning to do and self awareness, its like meeting a new person, the new person I am meeting is myself for the first time. – Shaun Jackson
Time: 4.06 hrs (but its not about time)
Overall position: 2nd (but its not about position)