A good turn-out assembled for this week's cornerstone of the BFR training schedule, this time in sunny Embsay, a new one to me and what turned out to be an excellent training route, good climbing with lots of runnable ground to make it quite a varied challenge of just over 10K.
Plenty of regulars and some rarer attendees rocking up made for plenty of catching up prior to departure. I wasn't feeling too battered after the Tuesday night track pummeling and armed with my state-of-the-art Hope Technology R4 head-torch I was going to be unstoppable and have a 'break-out' run from my usual calamitous efforts.
This seemed to be quite attainable until about four minutes in when the light on the head-torch began flickering before going kaput. After a quick inspection from several fellow runners it was confirmed it was not working, we had come too far to go back and get a replacement and I was condemned to running using the other lights around me. Turns out the cables weren't connected and I hadn't charged it up, so instead of it being a roaring success my 'memorable-for-all-the-right-reasons' Embsay pub run was set to end up as an hour or so of stumbling about in bracken and maybe down a bottomless ravine.
Fortunately the BFR spirit is strong and several of my co-runners took it in turns guiding me with their lights. Pete, Jen and Rachel were reeling off their 'to-do' lists of races ahead in the next twelve months with lots of big numbers relating to distance and ascent being casually tossed around. I confirmed if I made it back alive from the run we currently were on I would be very happy and would have fulfilled all my fell running ambitions.
Things seemed to be ticking over nicely until we caught up with the sprinters up front who confirmed Mr Halliday could not continue and would have to either be accompanied back or left to spend the night on Embsay Moor. Usual speed demon Andy Collins must have decided he'd set off too quickly and with no Sellors to battle with anyway was already bored of the run and offered to walk back with Dave to an early pint. The great Craig Child also headed back with them in case Andy decided to put on a burst of speed and leave injured Dave in his dust.
The rest of us soldiered on round the route, through raging torrents and impenetrable neck-deep foliage that would halt lesser, softer running clubs. Apart from Jock who was whinging he's done too much walking recently and not enough running, until he was back in his comfort zone on the descent back down to Embsay which is also worth a mention, like the emerald green carpet Steady was reminiscing about coming off Blencathra, it was a quick zoom back to the Elm Tree with all accounted for.
It had been a tough run but worth the effort, though possibly not if you ask Nick K who had come off worse in a collision with a rock somewhere on the route and urgently required medicinal chips and Guinness to stop gangrene setting in.
After last week's pub confusion (well, just me being impossibly slow getting changed) and no beer-fussy road runners out on this excursion we all settled into a quiet corner with Screw magically appearing after expertly dodging the evening's run and with no Chew present it was civilized, pleasant and even magnanimous with hardly any jokes at anybody's expense... Which defeats the object of having a pub run at all, really. Swell and Jen were off into the night without even a half being partaken, popular opinion is that Jen was looking forward to a well-earned drink but Swell needed to catch up with the evening's installment of Eastenders, and Rachel's early exit also means I've still got the club presentation twenty quid screaming out to be squandered irresponsibly.
Luckily we had the recent DNF's to laugh at and my head-torch balls-up to ridicule, before I was spared any further ribbing when the weekend's navigation leg at the relays was brought up. As I got lost finding checkpoint one of the Tour Of Pendle on Sunday and completely failed miserably to recce the first half I am in no position to comment on the difficulty of tackling a navigation leg in race conditions.
We supped up, sodded off and I wandered out in my usual absent-minded state thinking of food and bed, leaving my coat on the seat, which I still need to get back...
See you all next week at the Hare & Hounds in Lothersdale for a cheerful and friendly welcome from everybody's favourite landlord.