The Scafell Pike Race

27th Sept 2008
4.5 miles 3,000 ft

What a great race. I along with others – before and after the race - tried to figure out why it is not as popular as its Welsh and Scottish equivalents. I came up with the conclusion that it is because 1) it is hard to get to. 2) It has no large population nearby 3) and probably partly due to 1 and 2, it isn’t fashionable. But I think a lot of people are missing out on one of the best races in the UK. It is a really great up and down, and the route is far superior to the likes of Snowdon and Skiddaw.

I decided that due to the length of drive needed to get there (4 hour round trip) I would double it up as a camping trip. So I decided to go up on the Friday and stay until Sunday.

As we massed for the race at the back of the NT campsite, the organiser announced that the race would not go the usual route up Lingmell, but instead take a detour a long way around by the stream and up the side of Lingmell to the style. This was so as to miss out the newly mown land owner’s field. I am told this added about 10 minutes for my sort of pace.

The start was the usual scramble, followed by a queue at the first style. Then it was a steep lung busting ascent to the large style part way up Lingmell. I had to slow down here as I started to feel tired already. So I eased off and kept a more measured pace to the flatter part. My legs felt heavy but I managed to raise a jog along the flatter section up to the start of the crags. I ascended these in a random fashion, which left me wondering if the path would have been just as fast. I reached the top in 54 minutes and turned for the rocky descent down the path. Not long into this, unseen by me, the runner just in front of me took a heavy fall. I stopped to inspect weather his head was cut. He seamed shaken but generally o.k. so we ran down together for a while. He then overtook me when I got a stitch on the flat shoulder of Lingmell. I then got a second wind on the steeper final decent and overtook him. It showed he was o.k. anyway.

I raced past Bill at the last style as he took a few photos and ran well into the finish to place 20th in 1 hour 19. It was my first top 20 finish. It was one of my best runs, in terms of my performance and my overall enjoyment.

The next day I had a good run around Wastwater in perfect weather. I got up early and decided that it was so cold the best way to warm up would be to run. So I did a circuit of Wastwater, going over Ill Gill head and Whin Rigg, and then joining the road down the side of Waswater back to the campsite.

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