After much negotiation and deliberating, I've finally managed to put together a team to tackle what I think is a very difficult and challenging event.
The original plan was to run 84 miles in 3 days over the Hadrian's Wall path. The logistics of organising this run / cycle ride have proved very difficult and I don't think we yet have the experience in the team to tackle such an event over 3 days. That's not to say it won't be done in the future!
This year, June 29th will see a mixed team run and cycle the PENNINE CHALLENGE route undertaken by 15 Northern Rock staff last year. All funds raised will be in aid of The Children's Foundation.
This gruelling 22 mile run claimed the running career's of 2 participants last year. It can't be overstated, just how difficult this course is! It has been carefully selected for difficulty and should, once again, prove quite a test. It's certainly worthy of sponsorship!
Starting at Castleside in County Durham, the first 10 miles are on the C2C route, ending with a difficult 17% downhill drop into Stanhope. This alone should be enough to sap the energy of any decent runner. However, the nightmare is just about to start! Once the ford in Stanhope has been navigated (let's hope the tide is out!), it's a sheer 17% climb for 1 mile. This will leave the runner gasping for air and heart rates in even the fittest runner's anaerobic zone. The gradient lessens slightly (not by much!) for the next 2 miles and eventually a nice 1 mile downhill stretch is reached.
Once into the valley, the morale of the runner should be pushed to the limits as a 3 mile climb up to 1650 ft will now be clearly visible.
This climb, at any time is difficult, however it should prove quite a test considering it runs from mile 13 - 16 on the route. Imagine doing a hilly Great North Run, then having to run 3 miles up hill to 1650 ft. I'm sure you get the idea!
Once the summit has been reached the runner will think it's Christmas when they see that the next 2.5 miles are all downhill. The valley at the end of this descent is the start of the final climb on the run. Compared to the other climbs, it's fairly easy. It's just as well as this will take the runner to an impressive mile 21 on the route and the upper outskirts of Middleton in Teesdale. The final glorious mile down into Middleton in Teesdale should be straightforward. Hopefully, the runners will have enough energy left for a decent finish and will not look too ill in front of the tourists.
So, there are 2 things you should know about the Pennine Challenge. 1 - It's in the Pennines and 2 - it almost certainly is a challenge!