Oh my, another early getup… and a strategic one at that. Today was the day of the new year Rudyard Run with Trentham Running Club: A bi-annual running-fest of hills, canals, mud, country folk, steam engines and more hills! Organised by one of our star runners, the lovely Debs, it was a new one to me, and didn’t know what to expect… I had a big breakfast early-doors, to give it chance to go down. I had a feeling I was going to need it. Let’s just say today’s run was a challenge!
It was a murky morning on day 6 of Janathon – the fog and mist hung in the air making the village of Rudyard appear eerie and mysterious… nestling in the foothills of the Peaks in Staffordshire Moorlands, Rudyard is home to a reservoir, is famous for giving Rudyard Kipling his name, and more recently for being the venue for a Top Gear aquatic car challenge (Youtube)! As I arrived at the lakeside Steam Railway car park, rabbits were playing in the mist and there was a strong smell of manure in the air. I knew I was in the countryside. The lack of road noise was a distinct bonus.
As soon as the group had assembled, we headed off into the mist and along the lakeside bridleway that is also home to the narrow gauge steam railway. Whilst not strictly off road, the going was tough with the uneven surface, mud and puddles. We could see boats moored in the lake, but not the other bank… like a scene from ‘Sleepy Hollow‘. At the end of the lake we paused, caught our breath and began the run back up the other side. We passed Rudyard Lake Sailing Club (where Jeremy Clarkson ‘capsized’ his Toyota Hi-Lux) and various lakeside properties with pontoons… very swish… and arrived back in the village, a stone’s throw from the car park – how tempting to go back!
With a deep breath, I turned and headed off after the others in the direction of deepest, darkest Leek… and the unknown. Now, I enjoy hills, but this one went on forever. Miles 6 and seven were a constant uphill gradient – on a road called Devils Lane: don’t need to explain that one! The redeeming feature of this hill was the Wilko’s carrier bag containing a bottle of water and styrofoam cups at roughly the half-way point. Genius organisation. The air was a chilly 6 degrees or so, but we were parched.
What goes up, must come down and we soon descended (although I am positive not nearly as far as we had climbed) towards the the Caldon Branch of the Trent & Mersey Canal. The Trent & Mersey canal has had the benefit of government grants allowing the tow-paths surfaces to be upgraded so they are suitable for bicycles. No such luxuries here in Leek… This is winter time, and the path was a quagmire… I almost lost a shoe at one point, squidging through, and I was getting seriously tired…
It was a relief to eject onto highway and some lovely firm tarmac. Did I mention the hills? There was another in store… up through a suburban housing estate and back towards the car park. At this point I elected to walk, hence I am here, upright and typing this blog. Had I run, I would probably have died. At the end of the estate was the disused railway that leads into the back end of the car park where our cars waited… This final mile and a half was tough, the mind was willing but the body was tired, but before too long we could see the cars in the distance. It was still misty, and had been out for two hours, but no sunshine for us today.
Debs had baked cakes, and the throng of 25 tired runners buzzed about her car like bees around a honey pot. The cherry cake with lemon was particularly delicious! 12.4 miles in the bag, with very tired legs, but it had been a thoroughly satisfying run with some fabulous people. Janathon 2013 is wearing me out, but I’m loving every minute of it. Thank you Debs, the TRC gang, and particularly Dan J for the support. Big Kudos…
Janathon 2013 Stats
Total Miles = 35.05
Total Calories = 4,474
Big Macs = 9.1
Pints Strongbow = 18.6
Days Worth = 2.2
Journeys to Work = 2.52