25th May Helvellyn and the Dodds Fell race

15 miles  :  4,400 feet

This was my first go at this race. Which is pretty much an out and back to Helvellyn from Threlkeld cricket club. It includes the tough ascent of Clough head then great Dodd,  Raise and Helvellyn lower man before the turn back at Helvellyn summit. I think I still had some of the OCT race in my less than fit legs. I found this race super tough even though the weather was perfect after some pre race showers. But it should have been a good course for me, as it is quite runnable. I think on the way back I ran out of steam. I managed a  decent pace until the penultimate decsent of Great Dodd. I then feared I wouldn't even make the finish. I walked a lot of the last runnable climb to Clough ahead then just tried to make it to the line. Mark took a photo revealing a bit of my fatigue. But after that I collapsed to the grass verge and didn't move for about 5 minutes. I can't ever remember feeling so totally knackered after a relatively short race. Maybe too many races too close together with too little fitness.

I finished in 32nd place in 2h 52.48, Morgan Donnely won in 2h 13.36.


17th May The Old Counties Tops Fell race

37 miles : 10,000 feet

It was a beautiful day, maybe too nice as the heat would be enough to have an effect. Bill and I partnered up again, only a week after he thrashed me at Buttermere I knew as in for a tough time. We started off well enough and summited Hellvelyn about 10 minutes faster than last time. But after a good descent I realised Bill was definitely in better shape than me. I succumbed to walking part way up Wythburn Bill was still ok running but had to wait for me. In a complete contrast to last time. This continued all the way around . I was simply going as fast as I dare, so as to make it to the end. Meanwhile slightly ahead of me Bill was having an easy time enjoying the scenery and targeting Strava segments!

Still we did make the end after summiting the other 2 tops of Sca Fell Pike and the Old Man of coniston in a best time of 8h 52.09 and in 21st place out of 78 starters. The winners Spyke and J Morgan finished in 7h 10.45.


10th May Buttermere Sailbeck Fell Race

9 miles  : 4,300 feet

After a long bout of colds and sinusitis over christams and into the new year, I felt as overweight and unfit as I have for at least 5 years. So my comeback at Buttermere Sailbeck was going to be a case of giving it a go, as I was still a bit Chubby and my cardio and strength wasn't great either.

It was a mild day but with a forecast for wind and heavy rain, there was an air of tension. The last time this race was held sadly a runner died. The weather turned out to be not too bad. After Ard crags descent we then started the tough climb of Causey pike where it started to rain. On the ridge to Whitless pike the rain started to get very heavy. One of the bonuses to carrying a bit of fat (there aren't many for this in fell running) was I didnt,  have to put a jacket on, as many did. As i descended crag hill I went too far left, this didn't help matters as I was already pretty slow. Loosing two minutes or so just made my result a bit worse. But at least I was back in the game. my friend Bill Williamson had a great run and finished 27th overall and 2nd vet 50 in 1h 53.25. I finished 41st out of 104 in 2h 01.42. The winner Phil Davies finished in 1h 34.21.

Catch up on races since August 2013

After another long hiatus from this blog I have finally got around to updating some of my runs since the BOFRA race at Farleton Knott last August. The only runs of much note were the Manx mountain Ultra and the Ennerdale trail race and the Three shires and Langdale Fell races, this was mainly due to a contracted bout of the pudgy over The winter period. So nothing of note this year apart from the odd trip to the lakes to try and get fit for the Buttermere sail beck race, the Old counties tops and the Lakeland 100.

21st September 2013
The Three shires fell race
12.4 miles. 4,100 feet

The week after the cancelled Lake District mountain trial, I travelled to little Langdale with Mark and Ian Cookson to have another go at this race. It was a tricky day this year with a low cloud base making for tricky navigation. But apart from going to far down wet side edge and having to run back up the road to Three shires stone, it was a decent race for me. I finished 52 out of 211 in a time of 2h 34:33. Ian finished 164th in 3 hours 18. Ben Abdelnoor won in 2 hours 5.

28th September 2013
Manx mountain Ultra September 2013
31.1 miles   8,052 feet

I really love this race, it is like going on holiday combined with competing in  a great mountain race. It is an adventure just getting to the start line, and it is always good  to take a ferry to your destination. So that and my intent to not make mistakes on navigation this time and better my result of last year, made this a must for me.

I decided to start the race in a committed fashion like last year, but hoped not to go wrong and
maintain my pace better at the end. The weather was good , and not as windy as last year, although there was a stiff breeze when we made it to the top of the first climb, that of North Barrule. I enjoyed the run along the ridge this time , last time it was a fight against the wind, this time a pleasant ridge run with views back to Ramsay and a panoramic view of the sea and hills left to climb. It was a perfect day for running. No excuses not to beat last years time.

I followed some manx fell runners vests along the ridge ( never a bad idea) and occasionally overtook some of them, but I was more confident of the route this year, so I wasn't too hung up on following. The clear visibility also helped. The hills came and went with me just keeping a steady push pace going, mindful of the long distance to cover and the tough sting in the tail along the cliffs near the end. I overtook Mark Murphy, a quality local runner not, long after Snaefell then just concentrated on the correct route. I had no problems and passed through half way in good shape.

But I did worry about a new section that had slightly extended the route to avoid a long piece of road. But this was ok and flagged anyway. Next came the out and back to South Barrule, this was interesting as it gave me a chance to see who was in front, as I entered the field at the bottom the 2nd place runner was just leaving the field , followed further up by the 3rd,  4th, and not too far in front of me the the 5th.

After visitng south Barrule and continuingg along towards the cliffs I closed in on 4th placed Simon Halliday. We ran almost together until the penultimate decent , where he pulled away and finished 2minutes ahead of me. But I ran the end fairly stron and was pleased with 5th of 54 in 5hours 58 : 14.

12th October 2014
The Langdale Fell race
14 miles    4,600 ft

Just about recovered from the IOM race I decided to have a first attempt at this race. My photographer friend Mark accompanied me, and as usual took some great photos. He had a better day than me.

 I was having a reasonable run until near the end, on the descent off Crinkle crags. Towards the end of the decent just as I neared Pike o Blisco I tripped at high speed and was going head first towards rocks in that awful foreboding silence that comes before impact. In a desperate attempt to push myself away from the rocks, I impacted my hands very hard, particularly my right hand. I thought I had broken bones, but a trip to the hospital that night confirmed it was just badly bruised Meta carpels in my wrist. It was very sore for the next 2 months. I finished the race a bruised and battered, and at a slow pace. So wasn't too bothered that I finished 102 out of 382 in 2 hours 46 : 57. I was just glad to be getting off the hills under my own steam.

20th October 2013
The Ennerdale trail race
15.9 miles  1,456 ft

Hand still badly bruised, I decided Bills invite to stop over at his house and do this race was to good to refuse. Besides that I had already entered 3 weeks earlier. I knew this was my type of race, mainly uphill and runnable to start, with a mainly downhill fast finish.

Bill and I lined up with 117 others at the start of the 25K race. First we saw the start of the 10K, then the 50K. That built the tension, then we were off. Bill set off very fast around the southern shore of Ennerdale water. After about a mile I caught and past him. I then worked hard on the rolling wide
trails down the side of the water. The trail then heads up from the lake to the head of the valley just Beyond the Black Sail hut. A quick drink at the hut then it was a fast decent back to the opposite shore of Ennerdale, I overtook a few faster runners and a lot of slower ones, they were clearly on the 2 lap 50K race. Along the shore of the lake again and Bill had warned me that it is rough, he wasn't kidding. After 12 miles of nice running terrain this was very tricky on very slippery wet rocks. There was also a few inclines. Which when tired were tough. But by this time I knew I couldn't catch the guy ahead and the last guy I had passed was a long way behind. So I eased off slightly to finish in a pleasing, and surprising 4th place in 1 hour 54:17.

Bill finished 11th in 2 hours 10, and got a V40 prize , which was a rather nice Salomon rucksack. If only I was a year older. Never wished for that before. Chris Steele won the 25K race in 1 hour 39, and Ricky lightfoot set a new record time for the 50K, and amazing 3 hours 24.

Not to forget the cancelled 60th Lake District Mountain Trial in Borrowdale. A 140 mile round trip to find it had been cancelled due to severe wind and rain. My only trip to the lakes where Ihave not even had a walk. Ah well roll on next years.