Northern Traverse: Up Hills and Down Dales
Author : Carrick Armer
PhotoCredit : Pyro
On this, the early evening of the second day of the Northern Traverse, a large number of racers are now headed into area around Keld with tracking blackspot. For reference, that means their GPS device is recording, but there's no network reception for tracker to report back to the website. Sorry dotwatchers. They'll reapper eventually.
The racers are now mainly the far side of Kirkby Stephen, and on their way into the Dales towards Keld and Richmond. Here in Kirkby Stephen, the Upper Eden Rugby Club is hosting the feed station, sleeping area and ablutions. Their requirement for everyone to take their muddy shoes off at the door is lending the place a wonderful aroma of sock, but the food is hot, the showers are communal and the cutlery is clean. The serious business of checking the cut off times and trying to work out how long you can get away without risking missing any later cutoffs is going on. Matt Hindmarch and Dave Parker are opting to sleep here until 2am, and have been seated at a private table for two for dinner, complete with a hand-drawn vase of flowers provided by Stuart Smith.
Angela White is back on the move, having been on the verge of withdrawing a knee problem when she arrived here at Kirkby Stephen. She's been suffering since Ennerdale, and has slipped to 4th in the Ladies rankings as Hisayo Kawahara passed her. Having pushed initially to try and beat her result from 2016, she is now gamely pushing to complete, one somewhat painful step at a time.
Up on Nine Standards Rigg, Alan Jackson admitted he was having an up-and-down day, physically as well as geographically. Feeling fine before Kirkby Stephen, he was suffering again by the time he reached the iconic cairns on top of the rigg. The breeze was at least behind him on the climb, but the climb to the cairns is a long one: "The last really big climb of the race" as Richard Gover put it. I'm not sure he's 100% correct.
Eoin Keith is the sole runner now beyond the A19, climbing into the North Yorks Moors, with his commanding lead maintained. At current pace he's roughly 1:20 ahead of his 2016 time, and has a buffer of roughly 25km over his chasers.
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