The Giant’s Tooth

I was recently sent a copy of the fine paean to fell running, “Feet in the Clouds”, to review for the Caught By The River website.

Within minutes I found myself reading about the Giant’s Tooth fell race, which is not the most significant rumble in the calendar, it just happens to be where I haul my sorry 49 year old, 15 stone carcass two or three times a week in futile effort to turn the clock to back to my “proper athlete” days. Unfortunately for my poor body, which has suffered some fairly torrid abuse since the halcyon days when I would turn out to run for Birmingham University back in the early 80s, Richard Askwith’s writing on the torture, privation and sheer lunacy of fell running was perversely persuasive. I found myself resolving to get up on New Year’s Day morning 2012 and compete in this winter’s Giant’s Tooth race.

It’s not really a Giant’s Tooth you know. It’s a big lump of millstone grit, painted white and plonked at the summit of an arbitrary path at a Pennine beauty spot called Ogden Water. There’s some yarn attached to the stone, a giant called a Boggart lost his tooth whilst rampaging across the moor…or something. Whatever the tall story, it’s only marginally less plausible than the notion that I’ll be able to run this race in anything like a respectable time….by which lofty heights of ambition, I mean “mid-division”. This will mean a target of 25 minutes, when the winner will stroll home in around 16 minutes and the octogenarian plodder will manage about 35.

The good news is that I don’t weigh 17 stone, as I did about a year ago, before resolving to run a bit and cut down on the wine calories. I actually look and feel reasonably trim at just under 15 stone. However, my racing weight used to be under 11 and my target is to shift as many pounds as I can before the race, whilst improving my VO2 Max and anaerobic fitness. Carrying 15 stones up a naggingly steep incline for 5 minutes is, I promise you skinny readers, no fun at all.

As some sort of treat to myself and knowing that I have that boyish, “have new toy, will play” mentality, I bought some Inov 8 X Talon 212s (a review of those to follow separately). They have done the job in terms of motivating me to get out and run more, as has the Endomondo app on my phone.

So, you can have a peek at the route. It’s short, about 3 miles, not an especially hard climb (though it does feature some smaller slogs to kick you when you are down later in the race). I’ll relay the glorious tale of my progress over the coming weeks as the pounds evaporate, the wings on my heels emerge and the glory of an improbable top half finish beckons. Hollywood will want this story. You watch.


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