Petzl Rivington Night Runner

I came across this run while looking though sis events list a few month before Christmas. 
I'd planned to do a tough trail run previously, but unfortunately it wasn't thought through, planned, and subsequently it fell through ...

I was really very upset, and need to console myself somehow, another run would help :)

It was a local on the doorstep run, no worries with travel, and I knew Rivington. 
I'd been walking up there with the family in the summers since I'd moved here, and occasionally I'd ran up there since I'd started running two year back.

I tweeted Epic Events if there was a medal [the deal sealer for me] There was. 
I booked it on the 22 October 2015 
I more or less forgot about the run and my [loose] training was road runs as the weather worsened and nights drew in.

I got an email for the event to join the facebook event page and I did.

Not long after the route was tweeted. 

It was nothing I usually ran. Ever ran.
I didn't really recognise the route, except it was high, and the moors were mentioned ...

I'm not good with hills. 
In fact I'm terrible. 
They kill me.
Don't get me wrong I AM improving, most of my running is undulating, nature of where I live, and I can now 'run' what at first I had to walk ...
But these were mere lumps compared to what I'd have to run up Rivington!
I don't train hill repeats, because, well, I don't like hills!!

I carried on with my average training, IE road running locally. 
I did run a local 'trail' run a few times, nothing Rivingtonesque. and struggled. 
It was going to be a tough run!

In hindsight I shoud've trained properly. I don't think I really knew what to expect. Or was a bit in denial ...
I took on extra shifts at work and the weather was bad, cold, wet and dark, I was tired, and so my running dwindled. Then Christmas came. Food and beer and laziness followed.

Soon after Christmas, the Strava segments were mentioned

The pigeon tower ... I've walked to that. Now I've got to run up to it! :'(   

Before I knew it the event arrived. 
Well the Saturday did. It was very cold. It had froze in the night. I went for a warm up run locally. 
I'd be fine! I'd decided that I'd walk when I couldn't run :) 
All I had to do was finish :)

After my run I was sat with a cuppa and the snow started. My heart sank. Maybe it'd get cancelled. I checked the facebook event page. It was definitely happening.
The snow was wanted by the trail and fell runners!
I was going to die up there.
All I had to do was not fall over and finish.

I watched the Rivington Night Runner Briefing video that was posted and emailed.

My hub commented that surely it'd get cancelled for health and safety...?
"No", I replied, it's an endurance run, by endurance people. It's meant to be endured.
It carried on snowing.

I got ready and my taxi arrived. The driver asked where I was going.
"Rivington and Blackrod School"
... WHY!!?? 
I told him of the trail run. He chatted that I'd be fine, if a little mad. We arrived and he wished me luck.

There were plenty of other runners milling around and the kids race had started. It was a good atmosphere, and I relaxed a little. I collected my bib number from the event village, pinned it on, got my waist pack on, earphones ready [if i was going to be enduring over an hour of cold in the dark I wanted company] and dumped my fleece in a tent for after. 
The endurance cafe was there, and I bought a curly sausage :) 
It's what I'd gone for really ;)

We were called to the start line for briefing. I can't remember much. If you're hurt tell someone. If someone is hurt go to the next Marshall ...
Then we were off. I was quite excited now!

We ran up the first hill, after not very long I walked. 
I doubted my ability to finish the run. I could barely even start it! Not even a mile in and I was walking ... Perhaps I should turn round, go back, before I've gone too far
I kept going. Power walking. Some runners passed me. I passed some runners / walkers. 
I was moving forwards. 

The climb stopped, or at least eased, and I picked up my pace slightly, if carefully due to the weather. Snow, sleet, wind. Oh and it was dark. Running with the light from my head torch.
Then came the next climb. The one to the Pigeon Tower. 
Now, being a slow runner, and walking the first climb, I was very much a back of the pack runner. This meant that the way ahead was well trodden. Compacted. Iced. 
I half walked, half crawled hanging on to any growth that was available.
Others were doing the same in front and behind me. So I was OK with this.

The run after eased again. Head down watching my step I carefully continued. I remember looking up and my heart sank. The steps. I've only ever climbed these once. It was enough.
Head bowed I started the climb up. Stopped. Started. Stopped. Started... etc.
I was elated when I got to the top. Briefly.
Which way!
I couldn't see the runners in front [I was looking out for head torches, like a beacon] I couldn't see an arrow for direction.
Oddly there were two 'youths' at the Pike having a beer [in this weather...]
"Did you see which way?" I asked. They pointed.
Myself and the runners that had been behind me headed in the direction pointed. 
On our bottoms almost, descending. It was rough underfoot.
We saw a head torch coming toward us. We were off route. The youths had sent us the wrong way!
The Marshall led us to the road, I made sure to tell him about the youths and what they where doing. We carried on. 
The route now was easier. I relaxed. 

As I ran round the bend the front runners were coming towards me. It was a pretty cool sight. An array of lights bobbing toward me. A few cheered and encouraged me on. I kept going.
I saw the 3 mile mark. Only 3 mile. Only half way. It'd felt an eternity.

Then I was on the moors. It was dark. It was pitch black. The sleet was stinging my face. The wind was biting. I was disorientated. I felt alone. I wanted to be anywhere but there. What was I thinking. I cried, just for a minute. I pulled myself together. I was like Bear Grylls!
I went for a drink of my water. It was freezing [literally] I shook it, the ice slushed. 
I drank and carried on. 
Then I saw the blinking of lights. 
I ran towards them.
At this point I didn't care what they were. 
Hopefully a warm pub, a car to take me home ...

The downhill arrived. The last mile! I was almost at the end. I'd almost done it
My spirit lifted and confidence boosted. I picked up my pace. 
Then I fell. My right leg folded under me and I landed on my knee.
The pain was immense. It was over. I'd failed. So close to the end ...
I waited. I cried. It hurt. I was done.
No! I wasn't done! 
I got up slowly and tested my leg. I could weight bare. I limped off. Cautiously down the rest of the hill. A runner passed me. I didn't care. This wasn't a race I set out to win [I never do, I'm not disillusioned] This was a race I set out to finish no matter what.

I limped up to the finish.
The Marshall's cheered. It was an awesome feeling. 

One hung my medal around my neck. Another passed me water. "did you enjoy it?" a third asked me.
"uhm, I dont know yet" I laughed.

I went to the tent and got my fleece
The guy at the endurance cafe was packing up, he was kind enough to hand me his last tea for free.

I called my hub, he was already at the event waiting in the car. I said I'd be done in a hour and half. I'd taken almost 2 hours! He had drove to get me when I hadn't called in.

"I Fell over!!!" I cried
Never again I told him as I got in the car. More than once. All the way home. Most of the night.
*For the record, I'll be back next year ;) But I'll actually train!

EpicEventsLTD hardest thing I've ever done My only aim was to finish without falling ... I finished #RivingtonNightRunner cheryl

hope there were no sailor sweary words being uttered on the hills. Congratulations, we know you were worried yet you conquered it EpicEventsLTD

EpicEventsLTD lol at one point I wanted to be anywhere but exposed to sleet and wine on the Moor But I'm feeling proud cheryl

cherylsp_  EpicEventsLTD well done! I must've missed the wine, where was that?

Final thoughts
This was an excellent event and an awesome start to my year. A tough and challenging head torch trail run. At times I doubted my ability to do this run, but EpicEventsLTD were very encouraging through social media :)
The Marshalls were brilliant to stand out in such dire weather conditions for hours!
The cafĂ© was a welcome addition. 
Loved it.




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