2nd August 2008
17 miles 6,500 ft
Well it felt like déjà vu, apart from on this trip up to Borrowdale we had an extra Bowland Runner in the shape of Declan. We were off to do the Fell race this time, a week after feeling that the hills and the weather had beat Will, Ian and I into submission. This was going to be interesting. The weather seamed to be on our side this time. So we had a chance of revenge on the same tough hills.
On arrival we got a bit of a soaking, in one of the many showers we experienced during the day. Never mind we did all the usual things and milled about for a while meeting some fellow Bowland runners. The tension was rising, but for me not as much as it would normally. I did not have high expectations of a finishing time. I wanted to beat my time of 4.28 set 3 years ago, and if possible go under 4 hours. But I was not going to kill myself trying to do either, as I wanted to be able to continue my training straight after the race, in preparation for the Tour of Mont Blanc at the end of the month.
Soon enough a quick briefing from the race organiser Andrew Schofield, and we were off down the narrow track and into queuing mode. As we stop started our way through the narrow passages I made a mental note to myself, next time start nearer the front. I felt good as we started the steep climb up to Bessy boot. A long string of runners stretched out up the hill, making navigation simple. Just follow the set of heels in front. From Bessy Boot to the next checkpoint is runable and for me this is good as I tend to cover the ground better when it is like this. I made places up all the way to Scafell pike. We tentatively found the rout off Scafell down the scree shoot that leads to the Corridor route. After a few miner errors I soon arrived at sty head. I filled my water bottle up and took some banana off Andy Farmer and made my up the long drag to the summit of Great Gable. I remember 3 years ago suffering on this climb. I think every time I climb this hill I suffer a bit, and this was no exception half way up I was feeling it, and eased off a bit so as not to go into the red zone for too long. This worked and I reached the top in good shape. A small error on the descent in cloud meant 2 minutes were lost. But I quickly corrected, the guy I was following carried on that way down some steep crags to god knows where. The rest of the runners following me backed up and we tracked back the correct descent line.
I ran the next bit well all the way to Honister; this is probably the nicest running on the route with great views of Ennerdale and Buttermere to the left. Straight through Honister and I had 42 minutes to get up Dale head and descend down to the finish. I thought it might be possible to break 4 hours, so gave a bit of an effort, but not too much. I judged the effort well to the top, and had plenty left for the descent. With only 18 minutes left to get back in less than 4 hours I knew it was not going to be possible due to the length of flat running in the valley floor. I still made a push and finished in 4 hours 7 minute 38. I will get under 4 hours next time.