30 miles for 30 years

In my previous post I wrote that I was doing 30 miles in a day in aid of Kirkwood Hospice – my mad idea of a 30th party celebration. I promised more details nearer the time – well we’re nearer the time, so here it is –

The event takes place on Saturday 15th July, setting off from Huddersfield Kirkwood Hospice charity shop at 09:00 – all the other details are below……

Here’s the rules –

  • this is a totally unofficial, informal, unmarshalled, unregulated event. I would absolutely love it if lots of people ran bits of it, as much or as little as you like, with me – to encourage me, keep me company etc. That will be fantastic – some people have already let me know that they’ll be joining me – if you want to, then you can just turn up, or send me a message either here, or on Facebook (type Kirkwood 5000) or on twitter @andy5000miles to let me know where you fancy running – however, I can’t be responsible for anything as far as transport back to where you started, or any other logistical issues – I have a support vehicle which will be going ahead from stop to stop, and the shops know that we’ll be there and are happy to provide “facilities”, some may even be doing some refreshments, but there are no official marshalls, or water stations or anything like that.
  • my speed for running marathon type distances on the flat is around 8:45 pace – on the one hand this run could be perceived as easier because it’s in short stages, but on the other hand it’s a bit further than marathon distance, there are some significant climbs, it’s the height of summer, and it is absolutely not a race. Finishing is the goal. So – my best case scenario, if I was running alone, would be looking at doing around 9 minute mile pace on the flat, slower on the bigger climbs, and slightly faster on the descents. However, I don’t want to put people off who may be thinking that they would like to run a leg but will be too slow, within reason. So what I’m saying is that if there are a few people on any given leg, I’m going as slow as the slowest in the group, as far as 10 minute mile pace – any slower than that (apart from on the big climbs) and it will become difficult to stay as a group – I don’t really want to leave anyone behind, but as a rule of thumb, I’d say that you need to be able to run 10 minute miles, and whichever leg you choose, need to be able to run that distance without stopping or walking – some of the legs are very short (they are all listed and rated below) so if in doubt pick one of the shorter, easier legs (the last two are the easiest in my view). However, this is assuming that I make a super human effort myself and don’t blow up on the day, in which case it’ll be survival pace, and I’ll just do the best that I can. If it’s a particularly hot day, then the times I’ve listed below may also go out of the window and just getting around will be the aim.
  • publicity – there are no medals or tee shirts for finishers (unless someone has got me a medal!) but what I’m trying to do, even more than making money, is raising the profile of the Hospice, whether that’s social media or the Press – so I’ll be looking at taking loads of pictures on the day and leading up to the day, and hoping that lots of people will share information about this as widely as possible – it all helps to bring the Hospice and the fact that  it’s the 30th anniversary to the attention of the local population. So, please take pictures, put stuff on Facebook, and tweet – I’m using the cumbersome but accurate #30milesfor30years hashtag, as well as my regular #Kirkwood5000

This is the itinerary for the day, with the approximate times of each leg, the distance in miles (approximate, but to the nearest 10th of a mile), and I’ve also rated each leg for difficulty, based on both distance and hilliness (out of 10, 1 being easier, 10 being harder) – hopefully the description of each leg will give you an idea of what to expect, if you want to join in. Please note that the times are likely to be accurate earlier on, but may get out the further we venture into the unknown i.e. towards the end – the times may also be dependent on the heat as well, the hotter it is, the slower I’ll be…….

All the venues are Kirkwood Hospice shops. Meet at the Huddersfield town centre shop at around 8:45…..setting off at 09:00
Leg 1 – Huddersfield to Marsh – 1.2 miles (rated 4/10) start time 09:00

The first leg, out of Huddersfield town centre, under the subway and then a steady climb – only a short leg but almost entirely uphill – a good alternative to Huddersfield parkrun, which is cancelled on the 15th July – you could park wherever you normally park, jog down the hill for the start, then run this leg and then cruise back to your car! Your bar-code won’t get scanned but you’ll have had an excellent and rewarding alternative to the Greenhead park experience!

Leg 2 – Marsh to Lindley – 0.7 miles (rated 2/10) start time 09:20

One of the shortest legs at less than a mile, but still going uphill – if you’ve run the first leg, you may as well do this one too!

Leg 3 – Lindley to Slaithwaite (via Milnsbridge) – 4.5 miles (rated 6/10) start time 09:30

After a quick stop at Lindley, it’s the second longest leg – the first part of this one doubles back down the hill, then levels off followed by a steep drop down into Milnsbridge – wave at the Kirkwood pound shop on the way past, and then the rest of the run is relatively flat, along the canal, with occasional short climbs where there are locks, into the village of Slaithwaite.

Leg 4 – Slaithwaite to Marsden – 2.8 miles (rated 4/10) start time 10:20

This is the ideal leg for the more casual runner, as it is relatively flat, most of it is along the canal towpath, and it’s slightly shorter than parkrun distance. If you can run a sub 30 parkrun, then this the ideal leg for you to come join in, and we’re guaranteed a warm welcome at the Marsden shop.

Leg 5 – Marsden to Meltham – 3.8 miles (rated 8/10) start time 10:50

Now the going starts to get tough – the climb out of Marsden is the first of three long climbs, pretty constant for the best part of a mile, some of it very steep. I’ll be trying to keep going without stopping or walking up this first one but I envisage the pace being slow towards the top, then back to normal once it levels off – the views are spectacular but worth noting that there are sections with no pavement so extra care will be needed – once you get to the descent into Meltham it’s a lovely long downhill stretch then into the shop for a well earned drink.

Leg 6 – Meltham to Holmfirth – 3.8 miles (rated 9/10) start time 11:45

The climb out of Meltham is in some ways more difficult than the previous one because it is in several sections and more varied in gradient, plus it doesn’t level out for long before you are descending down into Holmfirth – we’re taking the route via Upperthong, that’s the one I did when I did the rekky so I’m sticking with that route. The climb is steep, but so is the descent, so hoping to conserve some energy on the downhill bit. I have some jelly babies saved in the fridge at the Holmfirth shop from my previous visit, so I can promise one of those to anyone running that leg!

Leg 7 – Holmfirth to Honley – 2.9 miles (rated 5/10) start time 12:40

I’ve built a bit of possible rest time in before this leg, depending on how I’m going for time – this is the only leg I haven’t yet run at the time of writing, but I’m told it’s pretty straight forward with pavements on the A6024, then up Far End lane and Southgate into Honley. Another good chance to get a parkrun length run in.

Leg 8 – Honley to Kirkburton – 5.2 miles (rated 10/10) start time 13:20

This is the one that’s keeping me awake at night – the leg that is making me pray for a cool day – this is easily the biggest climb, I ran this with my friend Catherine as a first leg of that day, and it was really tough – on 15th July, by this point, all being well I’ll have done 20 miles. This one is going to hurt – I can’t guarantee running all the way up the hill – it’s a two mile climb, I suspect I’ll be taking it steady by this point, but if you fancy a real challenge and the chance to shout at me (“come on Andy, you’ve got this” – “I thought this was a run, not a walk” – “is that all you’ve got?” – or whatever your friendly banter insult of choice may be) then this might be the leg for you – not for the faint hearted, even the descent has bits of slight incline, and there is a climb back out of the valley into the village at the end too.

Leg 9 – Kirkburton to Almondbury – 3.1 miles (rated 6/10) start time 14:20

We’ve done a marathon now, more or less, this is just the bit tagged onto the end – it’s fairly steady away, until you get to Fenay Bridge where there’s a climb up around the golf club, then it levels off and you have a shortish, steep climb into the village, where the shop awaits on the main High street. If you want to join in on one of the later legs like this one, it’s probably worth checking with the shop to see whether they have information about times, as I’m hoping to keep to this timetable but it’s hard to predict what will happen on the day, for all sorts of reasons.

Leg 10 – Almondbury to Waterloo – 1.3 miles (rated 2/10) start time 14:55

The last two legs are the easiest two of the whole route, this one is almost entirely downhill, should be a breeze if I hadn’t already done 28 miles at this point. This is a good one for non runners or fun runners to join in with, help me get over the line……..

Leg 11 – Waterloo to The Hospice – approx 0.7 miles (rated 1/10) start time 15:10

We’ll get the calculators out at Waterloo and work out exactly how far I have run so far based on the phone app I’ll have been using for the whole run – if I need to do a tad more than 0.7 then I’ll add it by running a different way or going around the block, but otherwise it’ll just be across the main road and back to the Hospice for a long rest, a final photograph with whoever has accompanied me to the finish.

I want the total distance to be not less than 30 miles. This will be the furthest I’ve ever run, I’ve done three marathons but never ventured further – this will be different because it’ll be stop start, and running at different paces too, so it’s a real challenge.

So please tell anyone you know about this challenge, if people want to sponsor me there is a just giving page (type Andy 5000 miles), but I’m more interested in doing this challenge to raise awareness of the work that the Hospice does.


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