Monday, 29 June 2015

A Very Purple Weekend

A glorious and bitter-sweet end to June for the Plodders with an action-packed weekend in two counties.


On Saturday morning at 0100 (yes, that’s 0100 in the morning) Rob, Martyn and John began their attempt at the Bob Graham Round.  This 66 mile circuit of 42 Lakeland peaks (total ascent over 27,000 feet) is a classic fellrunner’s test-piece.  The trio had been training hard for months, overcoming injury and running ever-more convoluted routes in the Peak District to try and get their minds and bodies ready for the challenge.  Assembling outside Moot Hall in Keswick they faced their first leg – the ascents of Skiddaw, Great Calva, Blencathra and Threlkeld – in pitch darkness.

Martyn, Rob and John in Keswick before their BGR attempt

Our intrepid trio had been on the hoof for seven hours by the time us plodders back in Sheffield awoke to glorious sunshine.  It was a perfect morning to descend en mass on the Hallam Parkrun and help Claire celebrate her 100th run!  A fantastic achievement, Claire – lots of lung-busting Saturday mornings!

Claire sprints for her 100th finish

Afterwards we gathered for a mass picnic in Endcliffe Park and re-established a positive calorific balance with hundreds of muffins, croissants, brownies and Cal’s dangerously good blueberry strudel cake. 

Plodder picnic in Endcliffe Park...

Despite all the good vibes we were sending to our men in the Lakes, they were suffering!  After 38 miles John had to call it a day, having been unable to hold down any solid food for the last 7 hours.  In an ironic twist, this was just about the time we were all merrily scoffing down the last of our picnic.

Rob & Martyn pressed on, but Rob’s feet had taken a beating.  He made it to the final hill, Robinson, on schedule; however he was unable to descend fast enough to meet the 24 hour target and decided to retire upon reaching the road. 

The tough descents had taken a toll on Rob's feet


Just after midnight on Sunday morning Martyn managed to complete the whole round in 23 hours and 5 minutes.  A huge thank you to Anna J, Anna L, Tom, Graham and Rob’s parents for all the support they gave our runners on the day.

How many calories?!

You can experience the whole round for yourselves in only four minutes by checking out Martyn's video:

Presumably at 8am Martyn was still deep in a running coma when six plodders returned to Endcliffe Park for the start of the Round Sheffield Run (RSR).  This multi-stage trail race follows a 15-mile route around the south-west suburbs of Sheffield, taking in the Porter Valley, the Limb Valley and Ecclesall Wood, as well as the parks in Norton, Meersbrook and Brincliffe. 

BGR aside, Plodders aren't known for taking running too seriously.

The way the run is organised is a big part of its attraction.  Because it’s split up into stages, with the opportunity to rest a bit in between, it is a lot less intimidating than a flat-out 15 mile race.  The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, and at the end you get a medal with a bottle opener function. 

Medal/bottle opener.  'Nuff said.

So to finish: well done to all you Plodders who strode out to achieve your goals this weekend.  Whether you managed it or not, you all pushed the boundaries of Plodding further than ever before!

Plodder hugs for all!