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Man vs Barge

The weekend before the big Peak District Challenge, randomly, Michelle and I entered a race called (Wo)Man vs Barge. At the risk of spoiling the whole story, Michelle won and I sort of won.

The race was a random Facebook find which looked like a bit of fun during the last bit of tapering. It was a five mile jaunt over a hill racing against a canal barge travelling through Standedge tunnel, which I now know is the longest canal tunnel in the country. Whilst its great to know these things, coming from the Black Country I can’t help feeling a bit sorry for the Netherton tunnel which is legendary in its own right!

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The barge in all its glory

I’m not delusional about my running ability, I’ve worked hard over the last couple of years and can just about get a parkrun under 20 mins, but generally in races there are loads of quick people zipping off way ahead of me so I was pleasantly surprised to find myself running with the top five and being able to keep up! We were soon doing some serious incline when someone behind shouted we were all going the wrong way! I turned around to see a stream of runners going along a separate path! No!!!! This had seemed to be a chance to actually do well in a race! I bounded down the hill and soon met up with Michelle who’d also made the same mistake. By that point we were single file and walking with the main group and queuing to get over stiles, disaster!

As soon as I could, I made a break for it, knowing it was going to take some serious effort to get anywhere near the new front of the pack. Things started thinning out and I could see a couple of guys far up ahead and it took a big grit of the teeth to eventually catch up with them around about the highest point on the race. Like life, it was all downhill from here 🙂 Being in a team race next weekend any injury would be an absolute disaster, so I completely disregarded this and I flew down the hill as fast as I could knowing there were a couple of guys hot on my heels.

Suddenly I was at the end and was told I had come first.  This was slightly confusing as there was a bloke in front of me! It turns out he was doing two laps so I’d “won” the one lap race! Given my mess up at the start I was grateful to accept and got presented with a Standage tunnel plaque! Mere minutes after I crossed the line Michelle came bounding over the line first female by loads and received her plaque! It was Cheshire cat grins all round – the Peak-District-Pork-Pie-Eating had clearly been working and what a way to taper before our 50km run next weekend with a team win!! A beer on the canal path followed by chip butty at the local pub made for a great morning!

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Winners!

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Its longer than the Netherton tunnel 😦

Peak District Challenge next weekend!!

A bit of final gear chat, I really am liking my Columbia Montrail trail shoes. So much so I’m going to use them for the Peak District Challenge to give them a proper long run out!