Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Kinder Downfall 9.6m c. 2200'

i don't think a novice runner such as myself can add much value to a route description of this race, and if you want a laugh then have a read of this write up from yesteryear on the Pennine website.

Kinder Downfall from Lantern Pike
having said that, i was really looking forward to this one - it's funny how your body tricks you into feeling non-existant niggles in the days before a race, and i was a bit worried to get a touch of the DOMS on Friday after Herod Farm, but after walking the dog, a decent bowl of porridge and some positive energy by way of the BBC1 London Marathon coverage, i was on my way to the scout hut in Hayfield and race HQ.

Kinder was shrouded in mist as i approached from New Mills, but i didn't mind this - if anything it would give me an incentive to stay in touch with other runners instead of bimbling round the edge of the plateau when we got up there.

with this being a Category M race, there were certain kit requirements in force, unfortunately Nick Ham was missing a couple of bits of essential kit as i bumped into him at registration. there wasn't any other option than to nip home and get him the map and compass that would enable him to pass the spot kit checks carried out at the start.

all runners i know are totally accepting of the rules under which we run, this was just a technical oversight on Nick's part - even though he had enough kit and equipment to set up a small holiday camp on the Kinder plateau, the contents of his kit bag as they stood at 10:55 a.m. meant a quick jaunt back to Optimistic Towers in New Mills to resolve the issue for him.

well that was one way to get the metabolism going! i got back to Hayfield with a few minutes to spare, we assembled on the bridge for starter's orders and were soon off up the Snake Path.
up towards Twenty Trees and the shooting cabin
i'd run the first part of the route in reverse the week previous and had resolved to take a high line up through the grassy field, avoiding the rocks and boulders along the path past Twenty Trees and up to the shooting cabin.

coming up to the shooting cabin with the Downfall in the distance -
taken on a clearer day!

I covered the first part of the climb in decent order and tucked along a pack of runners along White Brow, keeping up a steady pace as we made our way towards the foot of William Clough. this is a key part of the route as it involves the worst of the climbing and route choice is vital.

still being a novice round these parts, i spotted a Pennine vest who later turned out to be Graham Parker, who took some great lines up and spurred me on to keep running where i would normally have stopped to walk. i introduced myself at the top, just before the final climb onto the plateau, where he eventually took off into the mist.

the run along the top was its usual rocky, bouldery self, a clearer day and some reccying of the route might have led me a different way, but i was happy to get my head down and get behind a pack of 5 other runners as we made our way round the edge.

visibility was down to about 30 feet as we ran along, and there were plenty of walkers out and about. everything was hurting by this point, a swig of water grabbed whilst waiting for the stile above Sandy Heys helped things, but i still lost a few places and was struggling to keep the Penistone runner ahead of me in sight.

the flagged section round the side of Swine's Back eventually loomed into view, and i was glad of a stretch of downhill running, even though it was over treacherous flagstones. we hit Edale Cross where the path becomes quite bouldery, this really takes it out of the legs at this point of the race and i slowed down quite a bit.

once we'd dropped out of the clouds however, a clear day was revealed and it was a great run down the grassy fields through Tunstead Clough and the campsite, onto Valley Road.

another runner had a nibble at me over my left shoulder as we came through the campsite, a bit far to go to be giving it full throttle yet so i lengthened my stride to put some distance between us. there's still a good few hundred yards to go at this point, and the road rises slightly uphill to give a bit of a twist in the tail.

i had just enough left to nick a couple of places before coming to the finish field and bumping back into Nick Ham - it turns out i came in around 20 seconds after Nick - if i'd had chance to warm up properly, i would have had him :-)

pretty happy with my time of 1h45 but the bigger picture is that i ran 90% of the race, i would have expected William Clough to destroy me before the race but once that was in the bag the rest was relatively straighforward. 

makes you fell guilty that this much fun only costs £4!


  1. Great write up OR, it is funny that this much fun is so cheap. That last slight uphill 'twist in the tail' was certainly on my mind as I dropped down the road and through the campsite!!

  2. Nice report on a great race. Not sure about warm-ups though. Why waste effort unnecessarily? Save it all for the race I reckon. ;-) ;-)