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A day out in Dentdale – the Dentdale Run

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I went to Dent on Saturday – a lovely little village about half an hour’s drive from Kendal and the birthplace of Adam Sedgwick who many regard as a founder of modern geology.  But the purpose of the visit wasn’t a gentle amble in the Dales or simply sampling Dent Brewery’s offerings in one of the village’s three pubs; instead, I was there to take part in the Dentdale Run, a gruelling 14.3 mile figure-of-eight run in what is surely one of the most picturesque locations for such an event to take place.

You would have thought that I’d have learnt my lesson, having done this twice before, but I was back for more punishment!  After a while, your memory fades and you look back on the run as ‘undulating’ rather than ‘hilly’.  So, before I knew it, a siren was sounding and we were off… all 300-and-something of us.

Although I’d been in regular training, the longest distance I’d run this year was just 8 miles so I really wasn’t as prepared as I should be.  So, I took the first loop steadily and found myself averaging close to 9 minutes per mile.  My plan for the second loop was to just grit my teeth and hang in for as long as I could.  I set myself the goal of overtaking more people than overtook me.  And slowly but surely I found myself gaining one or two places… I would see someone ahead in the distance and notice that I was – albeit very, very slowly – closing the gap on them.  And psychologically this seemed to spur me on.  Instead of thinking ‘ouch – my legs hurt’, I was pre-occupied with ‘right – that’s 8 people I’ve overtaken now – who’s next?!’.

By the finish line, I’d manage to keep going – running all the way – and I’d overtaken 25 people on the second loop and not been overtaken by one.  Sure enough, I was well back – 211th out of 345 finishers, and with a time of 2 hours 03 minutes and 24 seconds (that’s an average pace of 8m 38s per mile if you’re interested in these things) – but left pleased with the afternoon’s exertions.

And will I attempt the Dentdale Run again?  Most probably, yes… agonising though it can be, it’s still one of my favourites and blessed with beautiful scenery.

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