Bridget’s Story – Trigger Fell Race – Marsden to Edale, Peak District. Sunday, 13th Jan 2013

I was up at 6am and now at 9am I’m on the start line.  I calculate that the motivation that got me here was:

a) – To burn off the beans on toast and half tin of rice pudding I’d just eaten at 6.30!

b) – I’d promised Nicki I’d do an article for the PPP website.

c) – Missing out on so much in December after devoting lots time to recce the route.

d) – To make sure I’d turn up I’d bought a new top to wear!

The Trigger Fell Race starts in Marsden, ends in Edale and goes via Black Hill trig, Higher Shelf Trig on Bleaklow and Kinder trig.  The route depends on your own navigation and how well you know the terrain, and I think my route was about 22 miles mostly over rough moorland and bogs plus a killer 1450m of ascent and descent.

So 175 of us set off at 9am prompt, the first section is mostly on footpath with an agonising push uphill over slippery flagstones to Black Hill – my least favourite bit – but once past the checkpoint the moorland opened up for a tussocky jaunt downwards to Crowden and just a few tumbles on the way.  Second checkpoint in sight back down in the valley and I was happy to see Mark holding out drink and drugs to keep any developing pains at bay.

The race really gets going now and I took mostly trods between various landmarks I’d identified previously.  I just had to stick to my plan and ignore other runners when they went off in a different direction.  So, first find the fence around the clay pigeon shooting club (and duck the shells as they were firing towards us – again).  Then a lung busting stomp up Lawrence Edge.  Then find the trods to Bleaklow then Higher Shelf Trig.  Luckily the clear crisp and slightly frosty conditions were perfect for me and it was beautiful up on the tops, I was on my own for a while and briefly glimpsed a white hare running away from me.  Nearer to the checkpoint more runners came into view, but again once we left the checkpoint some went one way and one in a different direction so I stuck to my plan and it worked out. The Snake Pass quickly came into view – check point 4 – and another glorious welcome from Mark – with more drink and drugs!

And then it was off into what felt like oblivion – over the moss towards the Kinder plateau.  Everyone was stomping up the left side of the gully, but I did it my way – right of the gully to the natural cairn, jump in the gully and scramble up – it was great to use hands and feet as a bit of a change and I was delighted when I’d caught up some blokes who’d gone left as I popped out at the “boxing gloves” rocks at the top.  I bagged the last trig at the edge of Kinder and now I was excited and nervous to get the Kinder traverse done without being swallowed up by the mass bog that it is. 

My instructions saw me right, I couldn’t believe it. I could see other runners tramping across the bog like it was the World War 1 trenches – however my streambed version was much firmer under foot so when I found the next one to jump into right by the most solitary fir tree you could imagine I whooped for joy (maybe too much time alone at this point!).  The streambed took me back to a path and the Kinder Plateau Traverse was done.  I had 30 minutes to get to the finish sub 5 hours, I had to dig in and keep the pace up although still managed a sneaky look around at how gorgeous the day and the views really were.  Round the corner, through the wall and I went for the quickest bum slide I could down the banking then 1 mile to go – dig in more!  I managed to get to the finish in 4.58:15 and was ecstatic, quicker than last year’s time and all of the navigation went perfectly.  All that work paid off.

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