My fell shoes were barely dry from High Peak Marathon when Dan in Marketing asked if anyone wanted to enter a race at the weekend. It didn’t sound like a bad idea; a nice short fell to kick-start training again after a recovery week. Awkwardly, I hadn’t realised it was Grindleford Gallop, and that it was 21 miles and 3000 ft of ascent, not a 5 mile jolly around Froggatt and Curbar. Too late! I felt I was committed now and I couldn't let the Customer Support team down, especially with Nick from the factory running too.
We rocked up at the start in Grindleford on Saturday morning pretty over-prepared. Nick and I had missed the memo that said full FRA kit wasn't going to be enforced. The first couple of miles is part of one of my regular training routes so I knew it was going to be a melee through the gates, stiles and rivers. I went a little too hard to get at the top of the field early on and paid for it on the first hill to Eyam, but then settled down for the long haul. I still wasn't 100% on the route, I knew there was a long section on the Monsal Trail and I would pass Chatsworth at some point, great race prep!
I needed to keep around 8 min/miles to finish within 3 hours, that's all I really needed to know.
Everyone was super friendly on the way around; it was great chatting to other runners and seeing all the walkers out on the course too. It's a faster route than I'm used to- lots of good trails and runnable hills. Trying to keep moving uphill through the golf course after Bakewell was torture, but I was then rewarded with a few miles of fast downhill into Chatsworth. I missed the first food checkpoint on the Monsal trail, but assume it was as well stocked as the Baslow one. There was so much cake! Enough to fuel Customer Support for at least a morning! A slab of rocky road fuelled me up the final hill to Curbar and I dragged myself through a bonk above Froggatt ready to sprint/fall down the final hill. I crossed the finish line in 2:54 and 25th place, much higher than I expected given my overhanging tiredness from the previous week. A change of socks and more cake later, Nick trotted over the finish line too, looking pretty fresh considering it was his first run in quite a while.