Me and the wife are always looking for something different, so when I saw an advert for a night run up to Rivington Pike we decided to enter. A few months ago my job moved to Horwich, which is the town at the bottom of Rivington Pike, so I had run up there a couple of times before work.
We didn’t know what to expect when we arrived, but what we didn’t expect was over 400 entrants. The race HQ was buzzing with people. We said ‘hi’ to Charlie, who was on a running streak of over 100 days, and his daughter, who was also running.
I was wearing my Enduroman woolly hat, and one of the race marshalls came up to me, also with the same hat. We chatted about which race he’d done and what year, although it turned out that we’d never been to the event in the same year. As an aside, at the swimming pool this morning I saw a man wearing a Brutal events swimming cap. Ultra-triathlon competitors from both of the UK based races in the same week, small world indeed.
Back to the race, and I had agreed to run with my beautiful wife, just in case she got lost, although with so many people there this was highly unlikely. I was happy to run a little slower as I had done a 7km swim the previous day and was still feeling a bit tired. Not the best preparation for what was going to be a fairly tough run for everyone.
With so many people running, we set off near the back, which in hindsight was a mistake as the first hill (which seemed to go on forever) had a couple of pinch points, so as soon as a few people started walking, everyone behind had to. The climb was also full of gnarly old cobbles, making it tough going under foot. Eventually the hill flattened allowing us to run for a while, before the next climb up round the back of the Pike.
As soon as the track started to descend my wife was off. She is naturally a very good off-road runner, and I always struggle to keep up with her on the descents. The downhill bit didn’t last for too long as we soon headed off up Winter’s Hill, although not all the way to the top where the large mast is. The track off the top was again very tricky and muddy, and I was overtaking by quite a few people. The view was also spectacular, not through the mist, but with all of the head torches disappearing into the distance.
Back onto the wide track before the final descent back to the race HQ, with large grins on our faces. Both of us loved the event, very well organised, plenty of marshalls and generally lots of very happy runners. The whole event had been given an ‘alien’ theme, hence the unusual medal and race number.
The race numbers also had a small timing chip on the back, so the results were online within a couple of hours of crossing the finish line. My amazing wife even managed to finish 5th in her age group. Another nice feature was that the official race photos were uploaded onto Facebook so that you could download any you wanted for free.
A big thank you to Epic Events for putting on a great race, and to all of the volunteers, supporters and marshalls who turned out on a cold and windy night in January. Definitely a race that we will be doing again.