Monday, 30 May 2011

the Leaden Boot Challenge 26.2m

situated in the Lovely Village of Alstonfield deep in the White Peak, the Leaden Boot was a marathon length challenge event that took in the rolling countryside of the surrounding area and an associated 5300'+ of climb.
Alstonefield's Best Kept Village awards 1980 - present!
the concept of challenge events is that route instructions are given beforehand and competitors should navigate round using these on the day. with this being primarily a walking event, the numerous checkpoints on the way round were well stocked with biscuits, cake and water to keep us going.

with the walkers starting at 9am, us runners were afforded a later start at 10 which gave me plenty of time to collect my number and get ready for the race. milling around the start, it was clear that most people didn't have a clue where they were heading! after a quick briefing from the race organiser - along the lines of "be careful, respect the country code... you might as well get going now...!" we were on our way.

conditions underfoot, the weather (intermittent driving rain, sleet and gusting winds combined with baking sunshine) and the course itself made this feel more like a marathon-and-a-half - this was seriously tough and closer to what i'd imagine an ultramarathon to be like.

however, the views and scenery were amazing, with rolling hills as far as the eye could see:

view from Baley Hill - the first spike on the graph below!

elevation profile

 it was striking to note the difference in terrain in this fell race/challenge event/marathon in the White Peak as opposed to the Dark Peak of home - after discussing this with my old man it is definately true the difference between the surrouding area once you travel south of Buxton - the peat bogs and heather of New Mills/Hayfield are replaced with rolling turf hillsides and meandering streams.

this event will hopefully become a firm fixture in the fell running/LDWA calendar in years to come - there was a real sense of occasion on this first running, whose name came about after the lead was stolen from the village church and the locals were forced to come up with an idea to raise money to replace it.

i think the course took many people by surprise - the amount of climb coupled with the rough terrain and length of the course combined to make this a really tough event - in hindsight i could have travelled lighter and ploughed on through the driving sleet/rain as opposed to messing around with changes of clothes, but it was really nice to get out into the countryside and enjoy some wonderful views:

Narrowdale - the last climb before Alstonfield and home

there was a real sense of cameraderie amonst the runners and it was great fun navigating round the course - the route was really well marked though.

the winning runner was Steve Temple of Hayfield Races website fame in c.4h30 - an indication of how tough the course was.

once i'd finally made it back to the village hall i was greeted with a choice of pie or veggie bake-type thing... I opted for the veggie but the pie looked belting!

it is food like this that made this country great.

i just picked at my food - a small helping of veggie bake and a sliver of cake

the Leaden Boot Challenge - make it a part of your life in 2012!!!!!

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