The Howgills Trail 26 : 15th May

26.3 miles
3,672 feet

This was my first try at this race. The route is an up and over the high points of the Howgills out of Sedburgh, dropping into Ravenstondale, before a less steep and easier up and over back to Sedbergh. The first part is on familiar training ground, and  It was a nice day for it, not too hot, but sunny. Prior to registering I bumped into Michael (curly) Irving, for the first time since the Grand Tour Of Skiddaw race. It was good to catch up, and note his unusual warm up technique of having a cigarrette prior to the race. Still, it seams to work for him.

After nearly missing the start due to queuing with the Howgills 13 runners (set off 10 mins later) for the toilet, we were off. The first 2 miles are a steep climb unto Arrant Haw. I climbed ok, probably in the top 7 or 8, but felt I was working a bit too hard. I eased back after the summit and continued at a steady pace. Unlike a lot of fell races this had a lot of swing gates that had to be opened and shut yourself. It really does slow down the momentum, I would guess in total that there were about 30 in total. Apart form this slight frustration I felt my race was going ok. Just before half way I caught and chatted to last years winner for a while. after the halfway CP I pushed on and left him. On the long climb I was struggling a touch but managed to keep running up most of the road. Then kept a decent pace on the trail down to Cautley, and the 2nd CP.

Not long after this I felt the fatigue. My lack of appetite was beginning to bite. In the last 2 miles I really slowed to a point where 2 passed me and I just couldn't respond. I trudged to the finish, feeling a bit disappointed. At one point, 5 miles earlier,  I was running in 3rd, and with the guy that came 3rd. Still it was a good day for a nice race. Not sure I enjoyed the sheer amount of gates to open on the  route though.

I finished 6th in 3.55:06. Allen Smalls won in 3.39:13.

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