The Holly Hustle 22k

This week, well, I’ve been running! As well as my usual work and gym regime. I’ve also started my Barnsley Boundary headtorch runs, that have been very interesting to say the least! 

Barnsley Boundary Headtorch Runs

This week I have started my headtorch runs on a Monday and Thursday, finding great satisfaction in these two adventures out, also mixing up my running during the week for the winter months! 

Monday was Leg 1; Cannon Hall to Bretton Park. I set off from where I parked in Cawthorne to meet anyone at the Cannon Hall Car Park; no one showed so I set off on my own, knowing this route the best out of the 10, I am fairly confident when it comes to navigation here. Headtorch on and out of Cannon hall I headed, up towards High Hoyland. Reaching the first of the fields at the foot of the hill, looking up and seeing a pair of eyes staring back. Too big to be a sheep. It was a cow, only the one so I ran slowly past; him more scared than me, running away eventually. Thinking that was that I plodded on up through the first bit of wood the next field and next. I had got away with it, zero cows in the fields I’ve usually seen them. Oh how wrong was I! Like some sort of horror film I glanced up the field and saw a pair of shining eyes staring at me, glancing away and looking again, a thousand eyes staring back. Too far away from the bottom field and limited choices my gate was the other side of these beasts. Only way is through; approaching slowly and remembering to make myself big I spooked them and they moved away; managing to get my back to the gate, I could easily turn and run. But you are never supposed to show your back, keep facing them. They followed or you could say chased me up to the gate, panicking and dancing with me. Approaching the Bretton downhill seeing the eyes of more demons the other side of the stile. I soldiered on, opting to take the loop on the road to Emley, Kexbrough and back to Cawthorne. Then I was back at the car, seeing that Mark had arrived but I set off before I had noticed. 

Thursday was Leg 10, the fast downhill with Damien and Mark. This one has Cows and Dogs, so beware. The miles down were passing easy, steady and things were going swimmingly. Passing the cow field and them being tucked up in the barn. Seeing one dog at the farm, putting Mark up for the victim if needs be. He survived. We carried on. Then half a mile away from the finish our run cut short by 2 dogs barking, looking really quite vicious we opted to come back and run through the sheeps field onto the road. 10 mile later we were home, safe and sound. It really is quite the drag coming back up Leg 10!

This week brings Leg 2 on Monday with Bryan, Adrian and Mark. Thursday is down as Leg 1, depending on whether or not there are cows in the field, I will find out from my previous run that day. But I will let you know. 

Parkrun

Off of the back of last weeks Parkrun surprise and not really feeling in PB shape or having PB conditions, I knew a stronger PB was still to come out of me yet. So I rocked up with that in mind, all supported by the fact that I saw a familiar face in Scott before the run. I clocked the first lap in 5:49, stronger than last week and still feeling stronger for the second. Going through in 11:51, on for a tight PB again. 

I didn’t want another tight PB, it was either smash it or bust and blow. Choosing to wake up and kick on, I went through in 17:39. Another PB week at the wonderful Barnsley Parkrun. 

The Holly Hustle 22k

I wish I had seen this sooner, but if you want to see what the course looks like, have a look: https://youtu.be/Jpc4eqsWB_w

Tasty!

Looking around for a race this weekend was a real struggle, nothing on and real bare timetable for running up north. Either everything had sold out or just wasn’t present. Choices between the Cheshire 10k on a Saturday or a trail run on the Sunday in Leeds. I couldn’t get the Saturday off of work and didn’t really want to ask, so it had to be the trail run in Leeds. Opting for the 22k over the 11k option at the Holly Hustle. Organised as an inaugural event. 

I’ve worn my x-talon’s a few times this week in training, so they should be comfortable to my feet again. First time of wearing them since the Snowdonia trail Marathon in July! That’s my only prep for this adventure.

The race started at 11, with it being Remembrance Sunday also. Making for the silence before we go. So I woke in a relaxed mood around 8, plodded around the house and getting ready, leaving around 9. Destination the Myrtle Tavern in Meanwood, Leeds. Arriving just after 9.40, off I rolled to get my number. Seeing a guy crack the same joke about wearing his bright white shoes to 4 different people. 

‘I’ll be alright in these won’t I?’ 

Off I went for my warm up. Seeing the finish hill that we climb up and thinking oh shit. A short sharp climb, knowing that will not be welcomed in 6 and 13 miles time. 

The start coming at 11.02 and it was great to see all the runners stand in pure silence for the 2 minutes on Rememberance Sunday! Off we went for the sharp descent into the woods.


This sort of surface would be pleasant and nice in comparison to the rest of the route. Scattered with rocks, boggy patches and tree roots. It is definitely going to take a few victims today, I was adamant that I wouldn’t be one of them, choosing to take it steady on the downs; these notoriously being my worst enemy. 

It became clear very early that this was going to be a struggle in terms of navigation; choosing to tuck in with a group to have a better chance of navigation. Going through the woods, and a few surprisingly technical sections had popped up. Following others footsteps wouldn’t be personal preference but it was either that or risk getting lost! Up until a point I was comfortably in 5th place however a downhill approached and I lagged behind massively about 200 metres, but onto an uphill, I had to claw back some time because I wasn’t risking being on my own in these woods. Turn after turn they were disappearing, however a sharp left and onto an incline I caught 3rd and 4th. Checking behind my shoulder; no one to be seen. Still sat in 5th place but no need to worry about navigation I followed the others. Seeing 2nd in the distance and us stopping to figure out direction, proceeding to call him back cause he had gone wrong, the group of 4 now approached the car park with the water station. 

Dropping down to the river, choices time, no tape, left or right. We chose wrong, ending in a farm deciding to turn back. Seeing Mark Yates follow us and go wrong in the process now finding us previously in 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th being in 8th position and so on. Some work to do and the previously 1st placed guy, Alec Francis, being in the group now. Going back on ourselves finding some tape finally we soldiered on resorting our positions finally; after about a mile. 

After we went wrong massively, still sorting out positions.
Running back through the finish area dropping one of the 5 and becoming 4. I found myself in what is the most friendliest battle for 2nd place I’ve ever been in. 1st place was 400 metres in front, so with that out of our sights. 4th dropped and we became 2. Navigating ourselves through the wood and technical sections, joking about where we had previously got lost on our first lap. I lost plenty of time again hitting the same downhill but felt more comfortable with less runners around me. Seeing Mark Yates as well somewhere on his way back; meaning he had seriously gone wrong at some point! He was previously at the side of me when I went wrong on my first lap, I was now on my second. Gradually loosing the sight of 4th in my rear view I had to keep up so I was not on my own. 

Dropping down to the place we previously got lost. Going the right way this time. I came stuck in 3rd, with the guy saying don’t worry you’ll be past soon enough. He kicked on leaving a fair gap of about 10 metres. Going through the woods with a mile to go, not even feeling the fact that we’ve gone through 1100ft of climbing so far! On the home stretch and hitting the cattle grid again, nearly loosing my ankle I passed him into second with a mile left in the race. Thinking my battle was here and I was not going to loose it. I pushed and squeezed everything out in such a weird race. Seeing 1st now in the distance, slowing these 2 guys ran for the same club, Hyde Park Harriers. 3rd shouting ‘Alec Push’ in order to let him know we were there. Coming up to the ‘oh shit’ hill. I was catching, just about to pass and he had nothing left stopping to a walk. A real punisher half a mile from the end. I carried on. 

Pulling away to finish

Finishing in 1:36:08 on my watch. 

1600ft of ascent

1st place. 

Today I was the ‘Vinner’

In a race where all you had to do was keep moving and have the perseverance even after getting lost, something that all the finishers surely had. In hindsight had I known my direction to run, I probably would’ve gone off quicker to begin with, but it was a great adventure out. One to tick off and a great challenge. It would have been a tasty race and brought some interesting competition along from the Leeds area. 

James Thompson also finished 1st in the 11k event that they held. A one lapped instead of the 2. 
The course did take some real victims in terms of busted ankles and blisters, those of our own in Si Warsop and Mark Yates. 

5.5 mile cool down for me, in another high mileage week. 

Strava Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/774337226/shareable_images/map_based?hl=en-GB&v=1479047619

Results Link: https://racebest.com/results/the-holly-hustle

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