Yorkshire 3 Peaks – hitting them hard

Luckily on the weekend following the change in COVID rules, allowing us to mix inside, we had a holiday let booked with a friend.

We were off to Yorkshire to give the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge one last bash, this time going for the fastest time we could do.

Both Ash and I have done the Y3P several times with friends, but we’ve never really pushed ourselves.

So off we set… with the agreement that we wouldn’t stay together if we were on different paces.

I don’t think Laura, our friend who hasn’t done the Y3P before, quite realised what was in store for her 🤣, but she was up for the challenge.

I was pretty certain that I wouldn’t keep up with Ash on the uphills, but my plan was to run/walk the downs and the flats to hopefully catch them up.

We got to Horton in Ribblesdale for 6.30am and were amazed at how busy it was already. We’re used to these challenges being very popular now but it’s still a weird feeling when you’re in such a remote, beautiful area surrounded by crowds of people.

As we set off up the first climb, Pen-y-ghent, I knew I wasn’t staying with Ash and Laura for long and the gradually moved away from me.

I pushed as hard as I could, struggling with stitch at times, and got to the top in the clag about 15 minutes behind them.

Now was the fun part, a long steady downhill. Mostly runnable with some jagged, rocky sections that were a little too technical for me.

It took me far longer to catch up to Ash and Laura but I eventually reached them just before the road. I decided to walk with them and we stayed together until we started climbing up Whernside.

Again, I hadn’t got their pace uphill and they slowly crept away.

On the downhill from Pen-y-ghent the crowds had thinned out as we found our pace so it was much quieter as we climbed up Whernside.

I was passed by a few groups of runners who I enjoyed having brief conversations with.

As I neared the top I was surprised to find Ash and Laura sat down having a quick bite to eat. I’d been eating something every hour as I moved, in true ultrarunner style, so we continued on to the trig point together then stayed with each other down Whernside and along until the last climb.

Upwards. Ingleborough ahead. Ash powered off and even Laura had a tough time keeping with him.

I was running out of juice at this point but you have to keep going. The scramble up Ingleborough is fun but tough work, and the trig point always feels too far away when you reach the flat summit.

Time to get down and get home. We were hoping to do it in under 8 hours but now it was looking like we could get close to 7 or 7 and a half.

I pushed for the down, running when I could, although there was more jagged rocky chunks which were just too tricky for me.

I’ve only ever done this section in the dark before so I didn’t have much reference as to where I was or how far was left, but as I was getting closer to the village I caught up to Laura.

Nearly there now, last final push, through the village, done!

7 hours 37 minutes. Phew. So much quicker than expected.

I was done! I put everything in to that. My legs were done. I started coughing. I had that completely empty, spent feeling when you’ve really pushed yourself. But I was happy.

Ash was waiting in the car for us, he’d finished in 7 hours!! Amazing.

We can finally put the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge to bed. Job done.

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