Trigger (DNF) 

I started the day with about 2 hours sleep, tossing and turning with nerves, over thinking the challenge ahead, knowing the conditions would be bad after recent snowfall and the forcast heavy rain and wind, but seriously how bad I couldn’t have ever imagined.

All my recces/long fell runs were done in fairly good conditions.

So I grabbed my Kit (which weighed a ton) and bobbled out the door at 6:25 am to meet my Lift, which after a slight logistical mistake turned up 30 minutes late, not a good start to the day as I was already cold, but very grateful all the same.

The logistics of the trigger is a tough one.

It starts in Marsden and finishes in Edale.  (About 24 miles of the harshest terrain in the Peak District)

So Laura was going to meet me in Edale when I finished.

We arrived at Marsden cricket club, to pick up our numbers and do a Kit check.

The rain pouring down outside turning the snow to slush, I couldn’t wait to get going. 

I planned to do the first 3 miles at 8:30 mm then settle into a more sensible pace before the terrain changed from trail to moors I figured the terrain would suit me up to A635 so I would take advantage.

So Andy Plummer set us off at 8:30am.

 Across Buttereley Reservoir we went Jasmine Paris flys past me over the Reservoir bridge covered in thick mud, the plan to keep feet dry as long as possible already over in the first 50 metres. 

Then onto the track and the 3 miles of climb up to the A635. 

So far so good hit the road average 8:30’s hat had come off/gloves I was feeling good. 

I was now in the clouds heading back on the PW to the first CP at black hill, I climb the stile and looks for the famous PW slabs, not to be seen just knee high snow, slush and massive pools of ice cold water and bog. 

My pace slows as my confidence over this terrain isn’t great I’m like bamby on Ice, the first Friendly face soon comes past me at about 4 miles Robin, we then hit our first obstacle a raging river formley a trickle at Dean Clough. 

(Felt like we were going on a bear hunt, we can’t go under it we can go over it, we’ve got to go through it)

A member of the mountain rescue awaits us telling us to hold hands and chain link across. 

The water was fast from the torrential rain and the obvious Snow melt, Robin had already got across but then appears Richard Mackie we then helped each other across the raging torrent.

My feet had gone numb at this point, neoprene socks ringing through my head only heard about them on Saturday, but how I wish I had them on. 

I trodded on heading towards black hill, the snow getting deeper, the clag getting thicker and my feet getting colder at every cold encounter.

I reach Black hill show my number and then the first bit of nav to be done across Sliddens down to Crowden little brook. 

I look behind and see Ian Charlsworth, this was the only bit of the route I hadn’t Recced I presumed I’d just follow someone but the clag was so thick I couldn’t see anyone insight other than Ian.

It was now a mile or so trodding over snow and trying to follow footprints, I was starting to get concerned that I couldn’t feel my feet and asked Ian if his feet were similar, he didn’t seem concerned so I just thought they would warm up on the way down to Crowden.

John Tomlinson flys past at this point looking strong 💪🏼 . 

I know Steve Frith was planning on taking photos at little brook so I was planning my pose, I look down the steep banking see Steve, but I also see little ‘massive’ brook raging at pace and again people chain linking across.

I really didn’t want to cross, I already was concerned about my feet.

Majka passes me on the way down to the brook as I slow even more in my reluctance.

Ian dragged me across the river, I say hi to Steve and he snaps another picture, my hat and compass sagging in my coat making me look like I have a excess belly bulge. (Fab pictures) 

I move forward, still no feeling in my feet and take the muddy wet trail down to Crowden to the next CP.

I reach the road and the legend that is Shaun Dimelow is acting as traffic control on the A628 woodhead pass, I cross and look up towards Lawrence edge, the clag hanging half way down, the weather was calm down here I show my number to the next CP.

I bobble on around the Reservoir chewing on my flap jack and stamping my feet to try regain feeling.

I then focus on the shear mass that is Lawrence edge my way up to bleaklow.

 The noise of shotguns from the shooting range cracking in my ears.

I hit about 10 miles as I fondle through the rocks and sheep shit my average pace 11 mm.

On schedule knowing I would lose a lot of time over the next 4-5 miles over bleaklow, but that was planned.

I hit the base of Lawrence edge the clagg/cloud lingering just above my head I could see people disappearing into the cloud base, the wind was picking up and the temperature was dropping again. My feet still cold I head up.

Half way up I had a group behind me following me, as I look back my right upper thigh cramps as my leg is stretched climbing the steep cliff face, I carry on moving focused on the summit grabbing on to rocks I climb, now my left thigh goes into spasm.

I let all the people below me pass and try stretch my leg out, I contemplate going back down to Crowden but thought my legs  would sort themselves out when I get running again on the top and head to higher shelf.

I reach the top and look forward to what I can only describe as hell, the clagg thick and vision minimal, the snow still deep, with a moving current of ice water, which seemed to be flowing everywhere, the wind was relentless and the rain like sharp ice.

My compass bearing set I’m heading towards highershelf over bleaklow, sticking to my plan, over  the groughs (peat eroded by water causing deep holes/channels in landscape).

 I had no points of reference for navigation due to zero visibility and just stuck to my compass I try to run again and after jumping in and out of a few snow filled boggy groughs my feet still numb my calf cramps and I fall in pain pulling my toes towards me. 

I get up and decide to change tact and head towards the Pennine way up wildboar clough hoping the ground would be easier, (a group following me aimlessly behind) I was wrong the whole PW was another river of moving bog juice and slush, I try to jump across my inner left thigh cramps. 😦

I decide to walk again ankle to knee deep in Icey muddy water, atleast now with a group, I keep trying to run on and off and traverse the groughs and bogs my  right leg cramps and goes into spasm, at this point I’m starting to think my race is over. 

My pace is nothing more than a leisurely walk as I’m scared to run in fear of more cramp, I pass the mountain rescue at Bleaklow head, determined to make it to Snake pass I’m tempted to follow the PW and miss higher shelf check point and DNF at snake, don’t know why but I carried onto higher shelf, passing Hern Stones.

 SLAP!!  waist deep into a Icey Bog, both my legs go into spasm and cramp trying to get out.

As I clamber out in agony starting to feel fed up, a fellow lady runner stops to check I’m okay I tell her I’m done, but now struggling to even walk I know the next half mile to the mountain rescue and next CP will be hell. 

Every step my legs went into spasm, the lady staying close and making sure I’m okay, I kept telling her to leave as I was worried she would get cold too, I could not jump or stride over any bogs anymore so had to slowly just fall in.

I could feel my legs getting worse I couldn’t feel them shin down and anything above was in constant spasm, we found the super fortress plane wreck site, covered in snow – here’s a picture on my Recce 6 week ago.

Looked nothing like this today, she knew where she was now and started heading up towards the CP to get me help,  I felt relieved knowing I was nearly at the mountain rescue, I can see the trigg point and the the lady runner waves goodbye and disappears off down to crooked clough.

 My right leg is stuck in knee deep mud, it cramps tight again and my face slaps into a mud mound at the side of me – idiot I now have a face full of mud, the wind still epic and the Icey rain slapping into me.

The mountain rescue guy pulls me towards the trigg limping.

This is higher shelf on my Recce 6 week ago – (today it was like the summit of Everest)

We move towards the rescue tent which was rattling in the wind, the guy on his radio speaking to the mountain rescue at snake, I tell him I’m done and he radios my number 189 down to race HQ.

I know at this point I need to get warm, my feet still numb I was starting to shiver, mountain rescue helped me get my waterproof trousers on and extra layers plus anything warm in my bag.

 He handed me a cup of coffee from his flask and poured jelly babies into my peat covered gloveless hand.(was still looking for my dry gloves in bag).

I stay  for 5-10min but mountain rescue stress I needed to get moving so he radioed down to snake so they knew to expect me, he sent me off with a group who they asked to keep an eye on me, I slowly started moving back down the side of the hill my legs cramping everywhere at any opportunity.

 I decided to try to call Laura, thinking I’m high up I’ll have signal, I was right, she answered, but I wasn’t right I couldnt articulate properly, I just explained I’d be at the top of snake pass pick me up, I could hear Laura was panicked but I couldn’t reasssure her as my signal went.

I put my phone away and I was on my own.

The group had left me or me them, I’d wondered off down the hill and again no points of reference.

I actually wasn’t sure where I was or what direction I was facing, I couldn’t hear anyone just the sound of the rain spraying off my coat in the sideways wind.

I grabbed my compass out knowing if I headed SW ish I’d surely hit snake pass. I soon reached crooked clough, but I couldn’t see the other side and in my daze didn’t know if I was already at the side I needed to be at to follow trail back to PW.  I took a gamble and went left and headed down.

I had to cross another river, I could see a huge waterfall to my right caused by the snow melt flickering through the clagg, as I climbed back up the other side my legs went into full spasm, I couldn’t move, couldn’t see anyone and could only hear rushing water.

I finally got up, I was starting to shiver as the wind had picked up and was hitting my right hand side,.

I found a trail.

My head was telling me I need to come off the trail SEast and I would meet the PW so I moved off over the snow.

I couldn’t see the trail or PW or the the edge of the clough, I was feeling confused and doubting myself, my heart was racing, what if I’m not where I think I am.

I suddenly here a voice, I shout I’m here? Not sure why, no response I could see the shadow of two trigger runners in the clag I shuffled as fast as I could towards them, shouting for them to wait, although I felt like rose in the titanic they just didn’t respond. 

I finally catch them, I ask feeling confused are you heading towards the road, neither talk to me, so I just follow them, they are following the trail again down the side of the clough. 

I explain I’m not feeling right, again no response, are we going to the road? No ones talking WTF I START GETTING PARANOID, I ask the guy you are not walkers are you ? No response? FFS.

I carried on walking Noticed one had a trigger number so I presumed they were okay to follow, I didn’t want to be on my own.

All my head was thinking is why the hell are they not talking, maybe they are? I was losing the plot.

We meet Drs Gate, these 2 guys start heading down towards Glossop, I shouted your going the wrong way, I know I’m acting strange but listen to me I’m good with maps, now they must think I’m even stranger.

But I was going to follow them, I felt safer with these two guys than on my own.

But they listen to me, we walk for 2 minutes and I hear traffic, the most amazing sound.

I’m shivering, I can’t feel my feet, my whole legs have spasms, I’m wet to the bone, and I can see the Mountain rescue tents.

What a relief…..

It had taken me over 2 hours to move less than 4 miles, over the worst underfoot I have ever experienced.

Massive well done to all that finished & all DNF.

15.2 miles in total 3000ft of climb and a dose of hypothermia.

Massive thank you to Woodhead Mountain rescue for thawing me out and looking after me at higher shelf and Snake.

Never again ????? Or unfinished business???


Trigger Recce 2 (Kinder)

Quick Recce blog.

Set off early Sunday morning to Recce three more CP’s of the dreaded Trigger race. 

We covered possibly miles 14-22 on race day.

The main purpose of this recce was to find a good line down to CP5 a old plane crash site on the base of Kinder, and get some needed time on my feet (hopefully four hours).

I met with a few experienced club Fell runners at the top of snake pass, on a fairly pleasant but cold December morning.

The other guys all more experienced than me had plans to try find different routes down to the CP having previously done a Recce the Weekend before. (In Clag)

I decided I wanted to do my own thing to the first CP, so after about half a mile we split up and I took my own line to the crash site. 

Crossing a couple of cloughs and rivers, following a bit of trod I hit the wreck bang on 2 miles from the main road, to my surprise I couldn’t see the other lads, started to think they had headed on to the next CP.

After 2-3 minutes I could see them making their way towards me from the clough, not sure what they had been doing but was feeling a bit pleased with myself getting to the CP a good 5 minutes before them.

 IC commented “bloody road runners” when they arrived looking a little sheepish. 

Anyhow I put that down to begginers luck, we headed on some trod to CP6 fence corner, the ground runnable but starting to get steep as we headed to the top of Kinder.

We had a bit of a chat about which corner then fence corner actually was?  took some tourist photos and plodded on to the PW.

My confidence over rocks totally gone since my falls in the summer.

 The PW over Kinder is very runnable but feeling unconfident it’s a maze of sharp and slippery rocks which seem to never end.

The weather was kind, and so were the views amazing 👍

We moved on to Kinder Downfall, at this point stripping off our windproofs, the winter sun was low on the horizon and we was all feeling a little warm.

 The sun causing another hazard for me as I couldn’t see much without using my hand as a shade.

We made it to Kinder Low CP7, Took another tourist snap.

The other guys looked very strong over Kinder bouncing about like mountain goats, I felt I couldn’t go much faster because I was petrified of falling, weirdly in the summer before my falls I did a race over this route and at a fair pace so I’m hoping I have that confidence back by race day.

We moved on towards Grindslow knoll, at this point I had no idea where I was going other than a vague idea of direction. (The wind started to bite and on popped our windproofs) 

 SS & IC lead the way down a slight decline of peat and bogs towards Crowden Tower this stuff I enjoyed running down it’s like soft fluffy dirt coulds, I managed to bounce along with SS.

 IC took a different line going further out, I was loving this until we suddenly reached a sheer drop of rocks and a river flowing steeply down to Edale, breaks on and I turn back into Danger mode, I see IC, RM at the other side of this drop, I’d obviously taken a crap line, somehow SS had already bounced across and was disappearing with the other lads JT a little less apprehensive than me climbed down the rocks, crossed the river and got to the other side, I slowly fumbled over.

As I crossed I saw there was actually a path/ steps heading across the river at the side I had left, so the scramble across to IC wasn’t needed, I think a wider line on race day could be a good  idea to dodge the ascent.

We then reached slabs and bobbled along to Grindslow Knoll, the lads gave me some advice on the trod to take down to Edale, noticing a can of heneiken under a rock (all I could think is how/why would someone be up here with beer, and why leave their rubbish behind). 😦 

 We headed back the way we had come to Snake, back over Kinder following the PW. Tried to retrace my steps from the Plane Wreck.

3 hours 50 min, incudling stoppages, 15.3 miles 1950ft of ascent and a great day out.

Bring on race day.

Wilmslow 10km (39:57)

Frosty Morning Wilmslow 4th December 2016
Alarm was set for 6am. 

I woke up and got myself dressed and ready to go to south Manchester my butt cheeks hurt from doing hills over the last week so I get the roller on them before I go.

Laura & Nirvana decided to stop at home as Nirvana wasn’t feeling great.

Good Job really as the journey wasn’t great – got to the Flouch roundabout to head over woodhead, incident response team there blocking road, ask guy if I can get back on at Windle Edge (Dunford) he says yeah should be fine. (Liar)

 I detour to find emergency lights flashing, a lorry stuck in a ditch and being told to turn around again, by this time I’m thinking shall I just go home and call it a day, I like to get to races early to give plenty of time to warm up etc so feeling a little stressed with situation not great race prep.

I detour this time towards Holmfirth and over Holme moss. No issues this time and I get a clear run to Wilmslow.

-2C on the car as I’m guided into a car park by a Marshall, still 35 min to race start so all the panic was for nothing, my only issue now is picking up my number, finding a toilet and keeping warm. 

271 – my number says Damien Marc above it as the lady passes me it and calls me Damien Marc as if it’s all my first name, now I have thoughts of what if my results don’t show on run Britain as they have me registered as Damien Marc instead of Damien. 

Thought disappears quickly as I strip down to my vest and jog about Wilmslow in freezing conditions. 

I look for Jonathan (PFRAC) as we said we would run together to help with pacing.

 JB was after his first Sub 40 (more than capable).  I said to him last week if you beat me you’ll get sub 40, he wasn’t feeling confident but I know from looking at his recent races it was in the bag. 

I also told JB that this will be the last time he ever beats me so to enjoy it :). (My over confidence usually comes back to bite me).

I spot Keith of BAC as I am doing strides down from the start, we exchange well wishes and discuss the elite athletes and that there will be some fast times today, I tell him I’ve been a bit slack with training last 2 months and I’ll be happy with 40:00 min.

To the start, I stand with JB – we are possibly a bit too far back and discuss we might have a bit of traffic to get through. 

We were right the first mile we run together – mounting pavements and grass to get around people. (Wasting energy) the plan in my head was to keep my AVG pace around 6:27pm and try to get progressive as we move through each mile.

Myself & JB are overtaking and pace increasing as planned we reach the 5km timing mats I cross it look at my watch 19:36 I’m feeling comfortable (on for a unexpected PB).

Another mile passes mile 4, average pace now 6:24 still on for PB, still running together as team PENISTONE. 

The route seems to be all uphill now, maybe I’m seeing things as the profile only had 84ft of climb, JB starts to pull away from me very slowly. 

I start thinking about my breathing, which isn’t a good thing, I have recently had issues with Anxiety and I get this horrible drowning feeling that I can’t get a full lung of air (it’s in my head but in the moment it’s hard to go back to normal breathing)… it’s started can’t think about anything else now and JB is pulling away (happy for him) as I know he’s going to get Sub 40 unless he totally bonks.

6:36 mile 5, average pace still on for PB, but my heads gone 😦 JB is a good 20 seconds in front now and I still see this mirage of uphill. 

So I do my maths and settle for 40:00 min as I planned.

I turn a bend see 200 metres to go I can see the finish it’s still ticking in the 39’s I see JB cross the line, I can still go Sub 40:00, at this point I’m pissed with myself for giving in I do one last push.

39:57 – pretty happy with that.

I congratulate JB & KL. 

Run back the 1.2 mile to the car.

A great event, cheap, flat (although felt hilly today) and excellent chip timing. Must be the run up Trooper Lane Friday.

Now it’s back to Marcothon – serious training and the Trigger. 

Wilmslow – Trigger

Higher Shelf Trig – 27th November 2016
I entered the Wilmslow 10km (4th Dec) after I smashed my 10km PB at Cusworth by 4 minutes. 39:50

I was feeling great, and thought maybe I can break 39 minutes , well why not? I did try to enter Percy Pud but after 3 hours of trying and it’s systems crashing, I just really couldn’t be arsed with the over hyped Xmas Pud.

Since entering my mojo & training has gone a little backwards for various reasons, so now it’s all for the goody bag.

Over the last three months I have developed as a runner (with help from running friends)  I now feel I know how to race in a more intelligent way, and this has been one of the main reasons for my recent PB’s.

The plan for Wilmslow is to race….and smart, let’s see what happens, expectations for a PB are non excistant, but I’ll turn up and try beat as many people as I can.

So I’ll see you Sunday morning in South Manchester.

My new focus is the TRIGGER……

About 22-25 miles depending on your Navigation. Its a route that takes you from Marsden to Edale, touching three Trig points at Black Hill, Higher Shelf and Kinder Low and in the middle of January.

Well it all sounds a bit Crazy, and I have heard / know the weather can be even worse, the race is over some of the wildest terrain in Yorkshire & Derbyshire, arguably the U.K..

My longest fell race was the Kinder Trog, this year at only 16 miles, so this really is a next step up the endurance ladder for me.

I need to be prepared. 

Which involves partial recces of the route over winter, to have a feel of where I’m going as this will really help me mentally and time wise on the day.

I also need to increase my training and build my endurance, I have 6 weeks , I’m hoping my 1700 miles banked for 2016 will hold me in good stead.

It’s likely I will be 5 hours plus on my feet on race day in freezing conditions, how do I get myself ready for this?

27th November – Sunday just gone.

I did my first recce of part of the route from Crowden to Snake pass. About 5 miles, but 12 miles out and back on the route I had planned.

This was the first time ever I wasn’t following an experienced fell runner from the club. So I really needed my map & compass and a bit of forward planning.

Wow well most of the route was straight forward. Myself and JT set off from crowden car park, knowing we had to go up something called Lawrence edge, then head over bleaklow and head for Higher Shelf Trig.

Lawrence edge – well I forgot my rock climbing gear, it was definitely an EDGE. No running involved,  Just climbing……

You hit the top and BANG Mother Nature arrives, the air drops, the bogs appear and there’s still great piles of snow.

So out popped my compass I made a line nothing really to aim at just a South bearing towards Higher shelf, I kept Holm Moss Mast on my back and just kept running in and out of holes, bogs, troughs (not sure what there called) and we made it to wainstones, took some standard fell running travels pics and took a good line to higher shelf. 

It was good fun, we even had a pit stop at the old overexposed crash site, haunting place but worth a visit.

Trotted all the way back on the PW.

Passed Woodhead Mountain rescue doing an exercise down torside said hello to Brent, discussed how conditions were good today and he warned me how bad it can get on race day.

Got to the TPT. We had been 3 hours on our feet by this time so ready for home, happily jogging back to the car when I see two chavs walking a staffy and a Rottweiler off their leads.

I walk so they don’t see me as a threat./ treat.


Got nibbled by the staffy. Great!!! Ripped my tights. Fuming….

Had a Tetanus jab. All is okay 🙂

And now I sit and wait for Wilmslow 🙂

About Me –

So the purpose of this I’m not really sure yet, maybe I’ll know by the bottom?

 I plan this to be my running diary and something I can look back at and anyone else who might be interested.

Let’s do a super fast catch up.

 I’m now 33, I started running 3 years ago when my daughter was born as I was determined not be a fat dad. 

Three years ago I smoked 10-20 cigarettes a day, I weighed in at over 15 stone (and I was getting bigger)  I new something  had to change. Currently weight 12stone 4lbs.

I started to jog, after a year of running 10-20km a month I decided to enter my first Marathon, the Edinburgh marathon in May 2015, what a bloody idiot.

I finished it and hated every second (4hrs 17).

Joined PFRAC – Penistone, in July 2015, (made some good friends).

Entered another Marathon, London in April 2016, hated every second (3hrs 44).

Proudest moment of 2016 – finishing the International Snowdon Mountain Race, Epic !!!

Biggest achievements in running so far 5km 19min 21sec, 10km 39:50, Half Marathon 89:13. All within the last two months.

I’m obsessed, and other than Marathons I love this sport from the endorphins to the great friends you make. 

I’m going to blog my future adventures, from training runs to races, share my daily struggles of fitting in a full time job, a loving family and running as much as I can. (Violins out)

Let’s see where this goes…..

So what next?
Wilmslow 10km – Sunday

Trigger 2017…….