Arrived at Marsden 08:15 feeling very relaxed, jogged around town to warm up, graffiti at the loo worse than ever. Does anybody live in Marsden? Cannot recollect having seen anyone over the years. Rubbed oil on legs and poured some in shoes. Had a chat with old friends, listened to Tanky giving final instructions. 9am, away up the valley, soon to be dropped off. Too relaxed I said to myself, maybe the runners go much faster these days or I go much slower.
Approaching the road I still had not decided whether to go over the old route via Black Hill, down Crowden Little Brook then up to the checkpoint, or miss out Black Hill (shame really) and take a bee-line to Laddow rocks which everybody seemed to be doing; so I followed. Picked up a few places to the checkpoint. Had a waft of C02 crossing the dam (Fire service on exercise). Dave Aucott handed me a drink and I ate my mint cake on the steep bit en-route for Bleaklow. Very lonely up there, never saw a soul. Where had all the runners gone?
Found the Kissing Stones and down to Hern Clough. From this point I have been known, in very misty conditions, to take a route into Glossop (very careless) and then the Sheffield bus to Snake Inn! Unfortunately I was spotted by a checkpoint marshal 1 who severely reprimanded me; so I told him that next year I would get off the bus up the road. One thing I have learned over the years is to have a compass in your pocket and look at it now and again. Good run down to North Grain and Snake Road, friendly helpers gave me coffee and tea; feeling comfortable. Snake Inn checkpoint, caught by two Buxton runners. So I thought that the only way to drop 'em was to use tactics: remove my bright blue top, put on the brown bob hat, up to Seal Stones as fast as possible, mingle with the peat and take my short cut! Success - two minutes up! Passed a lad on top of Blackden Brook splayed out - bonk. I reassured him that he would be alright and not far to go. We always tell them that even if they have a broken leg and twenty miles to go. Down to Edale feeling comfortable, makes you wonder sometimes whether I take this fell running seriously. I do really, can't live without it. Vote of thanks for Tanky and his helpers; 18 years on - some record for all the pleasures and suffering they have given us.
P.S. In the old days we used to call it the Chicken Run. All prize winners received a chicken. Don't know where Tanky got them from, poor things.
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