Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Hellhole 10k

on 14 October 2015

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It’s that time of year again, the weather is cooling down nicely and we’re all dreaming of hot soups and stews, autumn colours, warm fuzzy jumpers and big coats… And plague. For the human respiratory system for some reason is fine in most temperature conditions, but heaven forbid it has to cope with any sort of change. Phlegm for you Sir, lots of it, and maybe a headache and swollen glands. A human body in full immune response doesn’t do subtle or attractive!

I skipped park run on Saturday, particularly knowing I was booked in for Hellhole on Sunday, and decided I’d play it by ear on Sunday morning before deciding whether I was going or not. At this point I was still at the sore throat level, I have since levelled up and am now a full-blown (ha-ha) snothead boss! Lucky me huh. Obviously I did decide to run it, or we wouldn’t even be here, but decided I’d take it slow, wrap up, walk if I needed to and just get round. First time since last winter I’ve had ye olde thermal top on! I had my running lights on earlier in the week too, the dark nights are fast approaching!

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Anyway, nice and snug I was – thermal for my chest, buff for my neck, soothers in belt pouch, trail shoes on, ready to go! I’ve not done Hellhole before, nor been to Stanley – only driven through it so I didn’t really know what to except for this one,  other than being slightly suspicious of anything called ‘multi-terrain’ and having resigned myself to hills.

I set off near the back at a slow and steady pace, but had to give myself a stern talking to by 3k as I really wasn’t in the mood for running! By this point, I had the route to myself – I could just see the tail end of the pack in the distance, and couldn’t hear the guys behind me. I reminded myself that I normally quite enjoy running at races without being distracted by other’s paces or puffing but was not really able to convince myself! I kept at it anyway and continued plodding along, telling myself I was not wussing out this early and walking unless there was an uphill! Downhills and flats must be jogged, however slowly!

Most of the route was on the C2C cycle route – good quality gravel and tarmac paths, until diverted to the slightly muddy tracks of the Hellhole Woods which give the race its name. A totally undeserved name as it happens as they were in fact very pretty and my favourite stretch of the course 🙂 I’d found my stride a bit more by this point so was vaguely conscious when I spotted the Hippie himself of Hippie Nixon Photography marshalling, armed with camera on a muddy stretch of path.

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The toughest stretch was actually leaving the woods and going round the outside – it had rained a lot in the days preceding the run, and the long,  wet grass,  uphill slopes and mud were not forgiving! I found out afterwards I was far from the only one who walked this stretch! The last 3-4km back to the start/finish area I managed in another non-stop jog once I’d left the slick fields and rejoined the C2C paths again. A big relief to get to the finish where I was met by a big cheer from the Bounders – I was the last of the club to cross the line, and not far off the last to cross at all! Blackhill featured prominently on the leaderboards, but I was pleased just to finish! Sweeties and crisps for all 🙂

I’m going to be very obvious on the roads this winter if I want to be – another luminous shirt to add to the collection! I think I’m going to have to have another sort out as the pile is getting quite large again!

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The course for this one wasn’t as hilly as I’d feared, quite manageable, and I think I’d have enjoyed it more had I not been quite so tired and groggy! I’ll be keeping an eye out for it next year,  hoping to get a better time and be in a better mindset!

You can download the GPX data for this race from my Dropbox account by following the link below:

GPX data on Dropbox

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