Crikey that was a tough one.
The only reason I did this one is because I knew there would be a good Red Rose turnout and that always makes it fun. This was no exception. Don’t get me wrong, this is a tough course with no real flat bits that I noticed. The writing was on the wall as we walked down a hill to the start, only to realise that this wasn’t the back. Turning around to start running back up the hill, I realised that despite it being Darwen, it probably wasn’t going to rain or snow and in fact it was going to be a warm one.
The first half was great once we got off the main roads and out into the countryside. Very scenic and for once I found the time to actually have a look round. This feeling of calm and control lasted until the second water stop, which I believe was in Turton Bottoms. I guess the clue is in the name but immediately after the water, was the start of a hill. “I’ll wait until I get to the top before I drink it” I thought but Turton’s bottom is a lot deeper than I expected. Apparently looking at the profile, there was another downhill section after that but I don’t remember it. At every corner, I thought this must be the top, only to find I was wrong again when I reached it.
Eventually the marshals started saying it was all downhill to the finish “I’ll be back up here to have a word if you’re having me on” but thankfully they weren’t.
The support all round the course was very good and the fact that some Red Rosers had come along just to cheer us on is beyond any kind of expectation. What a great group of people.
The last 200 metres made it all worthwhile. I could hear the Red Rose motley crew half a mile away. What a fantastic welcome. It’s amazing how hearing “Come on Ian” makes a difference. No one was going to pass me in that last stretch.
So all in all a great day with a great group of people. The medal and T-shirt were a bonus.
Well done everyone.
By the way. I’ve figured out how to make the 3D routes below interactive. Drag it around and you can change the view. Give it a go.
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Brilliant blog capturing the hilliest road race I’ve EVER done! You forgot to mention the beer…always worth doing a hilly half for a beer!