Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Top 5 things on today's DIY East Cheshire Mountain Marathon

Right now I'm going through one of those rare and frustrating periods - I'm in Macclesfield without any work; if I've no work I'd rather be in France, and frankly if my usual source of work doesn't get its act together a bit sharpish I'll be back off there next week.

Anyway, I saw the weather forecast last night and it looked great for today, and without anything round the house to do that couldn't wait another 24 hours, I decided to follow up the two quarter marathons and two half marathons I've done in the last four days, and go for a full marathon, in the hills, in the sunshine. Oh man, it was glorious too. I'm knackered now, as you would be after 28 miles and more than 4,000 feet of climbing, but it was so worth it.

Instead of describing it (there are some photographs on Facebook of me at various high points on the route, and anyone who's interested in the route can follow me on Strava), I shall limit myself to the five best things about the run, other than, of course, the wonderful weather and amazing countryside we're blessed with round these parts.

#5: the number of old geezers out walking the Gritstone Way and other footpaths. There were dozens of them, some alone, but most in groups of perhaps seven or eight. Life doesn't end when you're 65.

#4: Cat & Fiddle pub - despite its proximity and the fact it's officially the 2nd highest pub in England, I'd never been in it before today, and it was the one bit of external help I allowed myself (a pint of Pepsi for a very reasonable, given the location, £2.50). What a nice surprise - it's really pleasant in there. I'd always thought it was a bikers' pub predominantly, and it might be at the weekends, but they serve all sorts of stuff.

#3: re-creating the moment in Wayne's World when they're lying on the bonnet of their car, talking, and they're drowned out by a plane above them. As I ran down from Shutlingsloe on the Forest side the daily Emirates service into Manchester - the gargantuan Airbus A380 - flew right over me; I could nearly read the pilot's name badge

#2: the smell of the gorse blossom at this time of year - it's a sweet, vanilla-like smell that was being  wafted over the moors and hills by the gentle breeze. Gorgeous

#1: coming face-to-face (well, perhaps 20 yards away) from a male, female and baby deer in Macclesfield Forest. First, perhaps I'm a bit dim, but I didn't know we had deer in the Forest, and second, they mustn't have thought I was much of a threat, because the three of them stopped and stared at me from just off the path I was running up. It was first thing this morning, with the sun just beginning to shimmer through the trees, and it was just magical

So for the price of a Pepsi, a couple of energy bars and possibly one lost toenail I've had a brilliant day.

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