Last year, when we went to Heptonstall, we just enjoyed the sunshine, communed with Sylvia and drank hot chocolate.
This year, Jo and I ran.
It is a tough 15 miles of slidy black stuff, bogs, tussocks and wild pennine moors capped off with a very steep climb to the finish. A perfect fell race.
It was Jo, who was keen to do it (ignorance is bliss). Although she was chatting to the marshall at mile eleven, over a cup of water, and asking why it was so hard. He just laughed and asked her if she'd done a fell race before.
We did work out it was a proper run when we eyed up the clientele in the pub, pre start. There was a severe absence of amateur contenders. Everyone looked lean and fit, with that look that only comes from spending hours running around in the middle of no where.
I was a bit grumpy in the first mile when I remembered how soul destroying racing can be, when everyone runs away up the hill in front of you and you wonder why exactly you have chosen to put your body through it.
I soon cheered up and we had a great time, despite the agony. We were a bit pale by the end but, of course, delighted to have done it, to have survived, still to have laughed and to not be last.
It must be the best marshalled race in the calendar. Wonderfully organised, with a cup of tea and a piece of flapjack put in your hand as you finish. The many helpers are much appreciated by all the mad fell runners.
Jo said, never again but then by Tuesday she was talking about improving next years training regime, for when she does it 2014.
Hopefully there will be a few different fell races before then. : )