The Old Counties Tops race : 21st May

35.2 miles
10,171 feet

This was the fourth time out of the last 5 for Bill and I. This really is a brilliant race. As Bill said "the T-shirt was earned this year". This is one of those rare races where you have to complete the race to get the t-shirt; I like that Ideology.

The day was to start with periods of showers, and was fairly cool and cloudy for the 8 am start. Bill and I progressed well to Helvellyn, on the descent I noticed Bill was a bit more tentative. I waited for him a couple of times, but we both rallied on the next climb up to Greenup edge. As we approached the col the weather turned ugly, and light rain became heavy severely wind blown rain. Straight in the face it felt extremely uncomfortable and cold. I said to Bill that it was the first time I'd considered dropping down stake pass into Langdale, for the quick, no t-shirt,  way back. We toughed it out and ascended to Sca fell pike well. On the decent Bill got cramp in the same precarious craggy spot as last year. At least the weather had improved.

From now on it was just a case of getting to the finish. We had a long refuel on the lovely sandwiches at Cockley beck, plus on departing a slice of Wynnes chocolate brownie was a fantastic desert! It was  a bit of a trudge up to Coniston old man. This is a tough climb, and I felt for Bill, as I took it easy, then waited enjoying the views whilst taking some photos.

We descended the Old man fairly well, and made up a few positions on the run in down to Langdale. That weather earlier on certainly meant that everyone that finished earned their T-shirt. Well done to good friends and fellow Bowland fell runners, Steve Cliff, and Yiannis Tridimas on winning the Vet 100 category.

Bill and I finished 38th out of 93 in 9.37:56. Paul Tierney and Matt Reedy won in 6.53:51.

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