Lancaster 5K race series #2

Sat 27th June

3.1 miles
As flat as you get

A simple flat fast course. A lap of Salt Ayre Athletics track, then an out and back partly on the cycle circuit, and partly on the cycle path down the river, then a lap of the Athletics track to finish.

In summary..... Start. Look at watch (5.00 mm) too fast, slow down (5.30mm) should be ok. Field strung out in front. Too far back, breathing too heavy. Push. Overtake a young lad then a few more. Someone shouts 5.40 1st mile, they are about right. Approach Half way "runner coming" cyclist leads the front pack. Sharp turn back down the same path. Breathing hard, blurs as runners behind going to the turn. Trying hard. Breathing hard. Shut up legs. (5.45 mm). Slowing down. Push ignore the watch. Hope I can keep it going. Around the Athletics track. Trying to keep it together. Push. One last effort. Finish line. Where is it? Has someone moved it? No it's there. Utter relief. Stagger to the infield and pour myself onto the grass feeling knackered..

No idea why I do 5k and 10K races, they are definitely the most painful.

I was 21st in 17:37 out of 118. Robert Hodgson won in 15:14.

Clougha Pike fell race

Sat 20th June

5 miles
1,260 feet

A misty drizzly start to the day meant a very low turnout of 37 for what is a great, tough little race, and the one most local to me. I look at it everyday (when visible) from where I currently live. So after missing it for a few years, I felt I must do it this time.

As ever the start was fast and immediately uphill on the typically rough farm fields. The mist created a strange atmosphere and nothing looked particularly familiar. After about 600m fellow Bowland runner Sean Bolland passed me puffing like a steam train (he maintained it well finishing 4th). I held about 8th position as we climbed clear of the farm fields and onto the open access land and finally the summits rocky ridge. It was on the ridge where I felt the pace and, to my surprise, had to walk some of the steeper  little ramps. It was a poor ascent, things could only improve, they did a bit. Chris Balderson passed me here and I used him to try and force some sort of pace to the summit. I followed Chris on the tricky little, flagged descent. Still in the mist it made it awkward to keep on track. As the fields flattened out I made a move and managed to pass Chris and 1 other. I just held on to run at full pelt down into the finishing field. I finished 7th in 45:01 and Anthony Dalton won in 40:55. Bowland fell runners made up the next 7 places after the winner!

The Windmill race (Caton Moor)

Sat 13th June

9.7 miles
1,136 feet

Part of the Caton Gala, the trail race is a mix of road, trail, farm fields and some open fell. On mainly slight inclines up to the Windmills and a gradual descent back down to the gala field. Apparently a few years ago there was a race associated with the Gala, but for whatever reason it stopped. This year was to be a new race based on a fairly new wind farm. Essentially a looped up and down to the wind farm on Caton moor.

The race start was fairly steady on narrow winding paths that lead out of the residential are of Caton, we then crossed numerous farm fields and many styles (something we would have to do on the way back) before meeting the road and the start of the loop up to the Wind-farm. It was a cloudy but humid day. On the long grinding uphill road section I began to get very hot. The lead 4 had strung out ahead with fellow Bowlander Mark Chippendale building a lead at the front. But I was pushing as hard as I dare. About 2 miles up this section the eventual winner passed me, showing its about measuring your effort!

As we left the road to join the trail around the back of the Wind-farm there was a water station, I poured most of it over my head. It helped a bit. After a quick loop of one of the Windmills we defended down the open fell, before joining the road we had come out on. For me it was then just a  case of holding on. I made no impression on anyone in front. I managed to hold my position to finish 5th in 1h:07:38 out of 85. Harvey Lord won in 1h:04:32 overtaking Mark in the last 1 mile through the farm fields.

Borrowdale Trail race

Sun 7th June

13.2 miles
2,036 feet

Really enjoyed this one. Maybe I'm more of a trail runner than road or fell? There is 3 options of race distances,the Sca fell pike marathon the Buttermere trail race (half marathon) and the 13k. Registration for all 3 was at the Keswick side of Derwent water, the race starts were on the Catbells side at Nicol end marina. This meant a half hour walk, or a quick boat journey across, which is the option I took. It's a nice quirk of the event. The only problem I had was that the Sca fell pike marathon set off at 9am, our race was 11 am meaning all the car park spaces were gone, so I parked in the main Keswick CP, costing £7. Ouch.

There was also a triathlon on at the time from the same field on the shore of Derwent water. This  added to a really nice atmosphere. After a quick ferry crossing, and a short warm up we were ready. Conditions were warm but pretty much perfect. A short briefing and we were off on this extended horseshoe loop of Derwentwater. It is a rolling course on mainly good trails with a few gates to open, and a few road sections. There are 2 main climbs at 6 miles to Castle crag col and at 8 miles out of Rosthwaite up to Wattendlath.

The start was pretty swift and straight away 3 men pulled clear and extended a gap of about 200m in the first 2 miles. I was running with a guy just in front and one right on my heels. This was the case up to the first climb up to Castle crag col. One of the lead 3 had slowed a touch and we caught him on the climb, the lead pack was now a duo about 300m ahead. On the descent I pulled out a slight gap on the 2 now running with me. They the caught me on the flat section through Rosthwaite. On the longest climb up to Watendlath I pulled out a gap on them, they began chatting behind me and formed a pair to take on the climb. I knew I had a bit left and started thinking about the 2 in front.

On the rolling trail around Watendlath I sterted to get a view of the guy in 2nd. On this more technical trail I started to close in on him. As I was about to overtake the water station came into view, so I held back. I took some water he didn't and it took me a couple of miles to close back up. By this time were overtaking some of the slower 13K runners and the trail became very narrow. After a few hundred meters of feeling held up I tried to overtake. But I went through a gorse bush that had a bramble draped through it. This scraped my leg as if a lion had swiped at me. Still I had got passed. I then worked hard, too hard, to get a gap. By the time the downhill trail had flattened out I figure I was 50 meters ahead and now in 2nd. Unfortunately I felt drained, my legs felt heavy I felt like I had made my effort too early. I knew it was only a matter of time before Rob passed me to regain his 2nd place. With about a mile to go he did, I was more worried about the possibility of losing 3rd place. Luckily we had a fairly good gap and even though I felt slow, I was never really likely to lose 3rd place out of 112, and 1st V40.

I won another rucksack (identical to the one from the Buttermere trail race) and some Mountain fuel sachets and a bottle. Happy win that. My time was 1h:41:32, Rob Downs 2nd was 1h:40:47, and the winner was Russell Parrington 1h:40:19.