I didn't know how I'd get on as I'd not run more than 10 miles in one go (and then only a couple of times) since last August and hardly been out at all until after Christmas. However, I had managed to get out almost every day in February for 4-5 milers (mostly around the flat lands around Towcester where I work). This was unheard of as three times a week was normal for me. As usual I was carrying too much weight (fat) for my liking. I'd mysteriously put on half a stone (3 kg) very rapidly in February taking me over 13 stone for the first time in years. I've managed to get down to 12st 10lb but that's still a stone above racing weight.
Anyway, the weather was almost identical to the previous two years, a bit chilly but no real promise of rain and the risk of the sun coming out. There was a record attendence by our club (Goyt Valley Striders) with nearly 40 members entered. It was good to see the old faces again (and some new ones) as I'd not been out with the club for over a year. (A 350 mile round trip for a training run is a bit excessive).
After a quick warm up we were off. The usual dash for the narrow stiles was made and out onto the first hill we went. That soon brought me to a walk as usual. While strolling up, a new GVS face jogged past (this turned out to be Nick Jefferson who I'd never met before), closely followed by Peter Davis. They disappeared over the top but I managed to catch and pass Peter as we entered Eyam village. This set the pattern for the next few miles. Peter passed me on the drag over Longstone Moor and I caught him again as we entered Great Longstone (where Stuart took this picture).
A bit of mind reading had gone on on the run down into Great Longstone. Last year Peter had recommended using contact lenses. Advice which I'd taken. Along the stony track into GL I'd been thinking it was a good job I was wearing them instead of steamed up glasses when, on catching Peter he said "Bloody hell, I wish I hadn't told you about those lenses".
Peter then caught me up on the disused railway line heading towards Bakewell. I clung onto his shirt tails along the track only to see him disappear up the hill to Ballcross Farm. I didn't see him again until the finish.
The rest of the run was fairly uneventful. The cracking view down the Derwent valley from Calton Pastures. Drop down to Edensor, through Chatsworth Park to Baslow then another walk up onto Baslow Edge (where I met Sally Hunter, who forgot to take my picture). By this time the lack of long runs was showing in my weary legs as I plodded along the tops of the various edges (where, apparently, I passed Will Meredith, who forgot to take my picture).
That final drag along the top of Froggat Edge to the road felt longer than ever, followed by a weary descent into Grindleford to finish in 3:13, a minute down on last year. I thought I was 3rd in the club but Stephen Bull had somehow snuck in between me and Peter so I was 4th (7th overall in the M50 category and 68th/339 overall (still comfortably upper quartile)).
I then managed to drive home to finish a long, weary but enjoyable day.