Swaledale Runners have unfinished business with the Ingleborough Marathon. A few years ago a group had to DNF due to foul weather and navigation problems. No such issues with the weather this year, it was a beautiful summers day. Vickie Howe, Neil Bowmer and myself represented Swaledale Runners, with friends Sarah Hackett and Scott Tranter also racing. Robbie Kelly and Rich Gale came along to stretch their legs, take photos and give moral support to the racers.
The race is organised by the Cave Rescue Organisation, although they don’t actually call it a race, it’s a ‘challenge’ for walkers and runners, meaning that it is meant to be something that you plot on the map from the checkpoints grid references and find your way around as fast or as slow as you like. The route is fantastic, it starts from Clapham and goes up to the summit of Ingleborough, then drops down towards the Hill Inn. It then circles around the mountain, crossing the Nature Reserve then on down to Selside in the Ribble Valley. It crosses the river then picks up the Ribble Way and then the Pennine Way down to Horton in Ribblesdale. The route then climbs back up the side of Ingleborough before dropping down to Austwick and finally back to Clapham. The route is well marshalled by CRO and is pretty well marked for something that is meant to be self-navigated, but it still managed to catch a few people out. Although the route follows footpaths, it is often on private land without public rights of way, so it was a good opportunity to run in new territory.
It was such a pleasure running this marathon in such beautiful surroundings with friends that I forgot that it was a race most of the time. Until the last few miles when I could see another female catching me up, then it was all systems go! The finish line was not where I expected it to be, which was at the tunnel entrance where we started. It was instead upstairs in the CRO headquarters where Phil Nuttal the organiser was sat behind a desk! Plenty of tea and cakes were on offer and the opportunity to chill out beside the stream following the race was great. A flexible, chilled approach is required for this event, the organisation is a bit quirky but the route is definitely worth it.
Neil Bowmer 5.24 (6th overall); Ros Blackmore 5.46 (7th overall, 2nd Female); Vickie Howe 5.50 (9th overall, 4th Female). Sarah Hackett and Scott Tranter came in at 5.09 (joint 4th overall with Sarah as 1st female)
Thanks to Richard Gale for these photos. For more, see galleries.