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Trollers Trot

Somewhere in the week before the Haglofs Open5 Adventure Race, which was in the Dales, I realised that there was a 25mile off road run setting off on the Saturday from the same venue.

Was this a stupid idea to set off on a run like this the day before an event. For many years it would never have been on the cards but Nicki was pretty organised and the van would be packed and ready to go. The only difference was instead of arriving at 3pm on Saturday to set up I’d have to arrive at 8am.

Packing the van on the Friday took a little longer than thought, and I mulled over if I had enough food for the run. Torn between my previous jaunts of peanut butter rolls and malt loaf and life as a road runner taking on the London Marathon with Lucozade sport aid stations and water. Could I cut down on the savory food akin to packing a wicker basket of food for a Sunday afternoon picnic to more shotblox and gels.

The other dilemma was which shoes.. terrible I know. Was keen to get out and put the Hoka one on (aka clown shoes!) but they were pretty white! and this was still 25 miles. I packed my road, fell and the Hokas to make my mind up enroute to the start.

It was a late night, the following week we were on holiday – bargain Centreparcs experience with the parents and heading straight on from the event staying in a Travelodge. I had a few emails to get out before I set off.

What was even more rude was the alarm at 5.15am – 5hrs sleep, not great prep for the day. Usual porridge for breakfast and on the road soon after 6. Costa express enroute did the job of waking me up and provided the mug I needed if I wanted a drink from the feed stations (also light and disposable!).

Arrived in Grassington just before 8 with parking for the event a good mile from registration. Walkers who were mostly definitely running where heading out on the course.. err perhaps I should have signed up as a walker?? I’ll put my road running shoes on.. yep I know its off road but ground is so dry and its a long way.

£13 for the pleasure of the day was fine with me, free tea and toast – kind of like these touches, anywhere else in the country they would not do this in fear that adults are incapable of making their own tea or toast without scalding themselves or setting fire to the building. Happy days.

Anti Clockwise

Just before the start I bumped in to Jodie and Scott. Jodie was dog sitting today and Scott was racing the trot. Roles reversed tomorrow, where Jodie would take on the Open5.

Race director did a little briefing, bit odd, I just remember him saying something random like don’t run on the grass and close the gates. We set off just after 9am. Chatting to Scott up the first hill, it was nice company for the first 40mins, although I was rethinking my strategy already my heart rate was up in the 160’s not a big hill but runnable. Could I keep this up – pre diabetes I’ve done this before on marathons and I had more gels than pork pies. Hey why not lets give it some..

Scott Smith

At the top Scott sped off, the run across the moors felt good – was keeping pace with my peers and feeling good. I went right passed the first drinks station, I was carrying 1.5ltrs of water (with a zero tab) felt like too much so thought rather than stopping just drink a bit more of what I was carrying.


I caught this couple up wearing those minimal running shoes, kind of look like a pair of carpet slippers. Bit of a rave at the mo, natural running and all that.. I then stubbed my toe on a rock and seriously winced – dispelled any thought that these are a good idea for a clumsey oaff like me.

Still they were not slow, reduced to a fast walk up Bardon Fell they asked if I was new to this (heck do I look like it??) and story of Howfast came up. Got to the top and they sped off, well they tried to, I caught the fella again later in the day. Must have got dropped by his wife, perhaps he stubbed his toe.

Run off Bardon Moor

The run off Bardon Moor went on and on.. I was seriously thinking I was wearing too much, shorts were the order of the day and not the windproof I had on. But keen not to stop until the feed station at the bottom I kept a good pace.

The drinks station was a prompt to check my sugars 5.8 OK but heading in the wrong direction. Passed Bardon Tower and an ice cream van.. how tempting. Heading up passed country used in an Open24 Adventure Race I organised some 6 years ago. Up Trollers Gill – not been here before, quirky little feature, worth a look more probably with a pint in Appletreewick (what a great name for a village).

Not quite sure what the organisers were thinking by putting a feed station on top of this hill. Bit breezy and exposed, it was OK today but on any other day in the last 6 months it would be the wrong place to pause during an event like this – body weakened by the previous 20 miles.

My weakness is apple pies, oh look here apple pies, I’ll have one of those whilst I pop in some background insulin. Darn should have known better, value pies, tea spoon of apple sauce in a dusty pastry case. Started coughing with the dry throat. Teach me. I set off checking the watch it was just after 4 hrs, 5 hours was in my reach all I had to do was run down hill and along the river to Grassington, 5 or 6 miles I should be able to do that.

Got that wrong.. legs had a different idea. All I had to do was run down a hill – heart rate had descended to 140. Just been passed by a fella in jogging bottoms and a school rucksac. Legs not working – I can run faster than this, I don’t feel tired but its not happening.

At Burnsall a waypost says Grassington 4 miles.. 40 mins till 5hrs. 10 minute mileing surely can do that. I set off mustering all the psychobabble pep talks I could give myself. I was not alone, alongside me were other runners doing the funky chicken along this easy path along the Wharfe. A spectacular walk on a day like this, feel sorry for all those walkers who had their day spoiled by gurning runners.

The reality soon dawned, that no amount of self harm was going to get me to the finish line in the 5 hours. It was put pay by a stand off between some large pensioners on the suspension bridge with no passing spaces.


Before I knew it I was walking, a sorrowful state considering the pace of the first 20 miles. Just no energy in my legs. In to the finish in 5hs 11mins 152nd out of 230, winner 2hr 50 and Scott who was with me at the start 3hr 53. Most certainly should have been under 5hrs. Still a mile shy of a marathon – just over 5hrs for an off road version is not to be sniffed at.

I sat down, daft idea, getting up to get a brew and a bite to eat was going to be tricky. Time passed quickly and as per previous events I started getting cold. I’d lugged a lightweight duvet jacket around with me, which in the scorching sun seemed bonkers – but I knew if I bailed anywhere I’d get cold quickly. It was soon on and I ceased getting any colder, the walk back to the van was a mission and more of a mission to get changed.

I was meeting Miranda Phillips, a young lady with type 1 diabetes and taking on the Open5 the following day. We chatted about tactics for the day and I was humbled by her story of having diabetes since she was 11, although I was out working when she was born she clearly knew alot more than I did.

The following days Open5 passed without incident, again I was humbled by the athletes who take on our events with 50+ age competitors vying for podium spots, Kim Collison winning having run 42 miles of the High Peak Marathon on the Friday night before and listening to a bit of Sally Ozanne’s story of winning the 10 day Patagonia race. There are some truly amazing people who compete in these sporting events.


My lessons for the weekend.

  • Somehow still have no energy in my legs after 5hrs. Charlotte seems to think that
    although blood sugars OK glycogen stores in muscles are depleted.
  • don’t eat cheap apple pies at feed stations.
  • I can keep my heart rate high (160) for short events like this.

Movescount record from the day 5500 calories?

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