The Ennerdale trail race 25K : 18th October

On the day the results were. I finished 3rd out of 118, in 1 hour 56. 56. Jeremy Fellick won in 1 hour 52. 56 and Andrew Baxter in 2nd, 40 seconds behind Jeremy. I say on the day, because as I type these race updates 7 months (I really should keep on top of them) later in May, I now know that I actually won the race. My first win, not that anyone knew it on the day,

So to that race. My 3rd effort at it, 4th and 3rd being my previous results. I felt like I had finally got over the stomach bug that benighted me for about 4 weeks. Finally I felt that I had a race in me. I started steady feeling  that building into this race was the best way due to the course being mainly ascending on the way out, and descending on the way back. The back section however has a few technical sections which require a bit more energy and effort.

My race went well, and to plan. I set off in about 6th place then by the turn back at Black Sail hut after 7.5 miles, I was up to 4th. Not long after the turn back I moved into 3rd. Whilst descending to the first technical single track I noticed a distant runner crossing a bridge over the river Liza to my right. He was off course and moving fast going down the very fast track that we had come up on. At the time I assumed he was a local lad spectating, or just having a run, albeit a fast one. This point in the race normally has a marshal, this year there was just an arrow pointing the way. You approach on a wide access track which dips and bends slightly left, anther track branches right, the direction is straight on down onto a small single track path thats rough and technical and lasts about 1.7 miles. It is a good 4 minutes slower than either of the other 2 options.

I continued pushing to the finish, but saw no one in my race that I could catch. Still I was happy with 3rd again. A few days later I looked at the photos and noticed that the front 2 are not on the set taken near the top end of Ennerdale water. Suspicious as to why, I e-mailed the photographer as he seamed to have a very complete set of photos. He said he hadn't missed anyone. So I contacted the RO and we surmised that they must have followed each other on a track that goes behind where the Photographer was stood.

nearing then end on anglers crag

Fast forward to the Old Counties Tops race last weekend, and a discussion with my running partner Bill, about Strava Flybys (a way to look at any members GPS trace in a  race) led to him saying that he thought that I was 2nd in this race. He said that one of the guys ahead of me went down the wrong side of the River Liza before cutting back over around Ennerdale water. So on returning home I checked it out. It turned out that it was the race winner that went the wrong way. I had no trace for 2nd. I contacted the recognised winner on the day Jeremy Fellick, and he said that on looking again he now realises that he had indeed gone the wrong way, but knew nothing about it on the day, and innocently claimed first place. He also added that the 2nd placed guy had been close to him, and had followed him the on the wrong route. So both should be disqualified. As I was the first person to complete the course, I should be confirmed as the winner. I have e-mailed the RO, and am waiting for their response.

the trophy i should, but don't have

I feel happy, and a bit gutted about it. I think if they had gone the correct way, it would have been a close exciting race between us. We will never know. What I do know is that I have won a race at last. Or should I say 7 months ago, at last.

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