Sunday, 7 March 2010

Nuns From Chinley HPM

Well Friday night's High Peak Marathon was an epic. The weather was very kind and although conditions on Bleaklow were very alpine like with deep snow, the rest of the route wasn't too bad. Kinder had some snow near the Downfall but it was all very runnable.
Myself and my three other team mates went under the name of the Nuns From Chinley, (Ive no idea were this came from ).
We set off late on Friday night around 11.30 and 9hrs 37minutes later we dibbed in back at Edale.
Third place and a terrific run

Sadly my team mates did not look like this

Lose Hill Summit cairn

Lost Lad Cairn

Wainstones and the food and drink checkpoint at Snake Top

Ive copied the checkpoints here

High Peak Marathon RouteThere is an additional emergency camp situated at Slippery Stones (SK 169 950) for use by retiring teams.
Edale Village Hall
124 853
Hollins Cross
136 845
Lose Hill
153 853
Win Hill
187 851
Below High Neb
227 853
230 878
Cutthroat Bridge
214 874
Derwent Moor
202 880
Lost Lad
193 912
Sheepfold Clough
197 923
Cut Gate
185 960
Outer Edge
177 969
Swains Head
132 983
Bleaklow Stones
115 963
Bleaklow Wainstones
092 959
Snake Road Top
088 929
Mill Hill
061 904
East of Edale Cross
081 861
Rushup Edge
112 834
Hollins Cross
136 845
Edale Village Hall
124 853
There is an emergency camp situated at Slippery Stones (SK 169 950) for use by retiring teams.
After packing my rucksack three times after the strict kit check and registration of our team we waited for the off. No problems there then. Well yes, one of our teams rucksacks got picked up. Ian my teammate was busy looking for that 10 minutes before the off.
The starter shouted f0r the Nuns to step forward and we dibbed away and ran off into the night. Hollins Cross soon came into sight and I realised id strapped the damm dibber to my right wrist which is all wrong for me. The dibber has to be pressed in and its a technique of much precision. Time is time and I didn't want to faff at each of the many checkpoints.
Lose Hill and we are going quickly, the other three are very fast runners and we are all about the same standard. Mick a veteran of a zillion fell races, Ian = top navigator and all round long distance fell runner. Adam the youngster who just beat me at Tankies Fell race. Win Hill flashed by and we flew down Parkin Clough to the Dam and then sensibly walked up the road. By now we had passed a few teams and was in good spirits. Below High Neb checkpoint was busy with a few teams arriving at the same time and as we trotted over to Moscar it was like a fast fell race. A quick sarnie at Moscar and a tea and we head down the road to Cut Gate. From here we go over to outer edge with some good navigation from Ian. He really came into his own here with his compass work. He lead us all the way then to Swains Head and onto the checkpoint at Near Bleaklow Stones which he found with pinpoint precision. A trudge over to Wainstones saw me fall down a bog up to my waist and quick thinking from Mick as he pulled me out. It was freezing and immediately I knew my left leg wasn't right. Within 5 minutes it was agony with pains going fro my groin all the way down my leg. I started to struggle but the lads encouraged me and after a hard snowy trudge over the drifts of Bleaklow we found Wainstones. My spirits lifted a little but by the time we reached the Snake checkpoint I was in trouble. I could have pulled up there and then but no way was I stopping. Ian walked over the road, the Mick and then Adam. I followed and in a shear desperate attempt just ran up the slabs to Mill Hill. We dibbed at the checkpoint and Mick pulled me onto the plateau of Kinder. We ran round to Kinder Low and started to see the teams in front of us. The marshalls had been telling us we were 4th team which was amazing. By this time Id had 8x paracetamol tablets but the pain was yet again coming back. I couldnt have anymore as I had no more left. As we approached the near Edale Cross checkpoint my leg became serious but Mick had been telling me about a fall he had taken on a fell race a while back which resulted in him being hospitalised. I remembered the pictures of him covered in blood and it just gave me that bit of inspiration I needed. The lads pulled me to Rushup Edge and that feeling you get when you know its nearly over hit me.
The team that we had been chasing were now just in front of us and although they had set off earlier that us I decided to just have a it of a race of it. I blasted down to Hollins Cross as fast as I could and dibbed and the lads and I flew down the rocky track back to Edale. We hit the road and just as we got near the Hall I sprinted to the dibber and we recorded 9 hrs 37minutes. Id been watcing the clock since Brown Knoll and we wanted a sub 1o hour which I knew we would get from knowing how long it takes to get back from there before, but I was aware that a sub 9hr 40 was def going to be close. We made it and after the best cup of tea that Id ever had at the finish I limped back to the van and after an hour of being warmed up I was back in the land of the living. A great event and one of my most memorable runs ever. Thankyou to Ian, Mick and Adam, Maybe a sub 9hr 30 next year. We finished in third position but the team that was in third who had led us for 40 odd miles had a runner who became ill towards the summit of Brown Knoll. It was a friend of mine who Ive had some good races with and helped on the Bob Graham and It was heartbraking to see him suffer and have to pull up. A shame for him and very hard luck for his team.


  1. fantastic result! it's good to know the fast guys find it hard too ;)

  2. Very well done Darren, you worked hard for it and deserve the great result. I'm sure those close to you are very proud indeed.

  3. Great run Daz. Hard as nails!

  4. congratulations, fantastic result.....