The Borrowdale trail half marathon : 10th July

13.1 miles
1,260 feet

My 2nd successive year at this race. Last year I came 3rd, so I had high hopes again this time. My training for the Lakeland 100 had been going well and I was feeling fit, if a little tired from high mileage.

The day was overcast and on the verge of raining all the time. But perversely, it was also warm and humid. So the rocks were slippy and it was a touch on the warm side once working hard. Never mind, as they say, it's the same for everyone.

Instead of a 25 minute walk around the eastern end of Derwent water, same as last year, I chose the boat across. I think it just adds a bit of adventure to this race. After docking I had A bit of a warm up and then we were off. Straight up a little slope. To the horror of some that had gathered at the top of the slope waiting prior to the briefing, before being moved down. I settled into what turned out to be a fast couple of miles. During the first few miles whilst opening gates and dodging some semi startled walkers, a guy went off the front and constantly pulled away. A lady runner also went off the front and slowly pulled a gap. Up to about mile 4 I had settled into the back of a pack of 4, a lady, 2 others guys, and me. Then I felt a stitch start to gather in its menace. I decided to ease off the pace a little, whilst hopefully still hanging onto the 3 runners ahead. On a  mile of road another guy past me, making me 7th place. This was not going to plan.

My mind was awash with thoughts of how strong I must have been last year, compared to how feeble I feel right now. I had to run smart, this wasn't just a case of going at a hard push all the way. I was going to have to listen to how my body reacted to the climbs to maximise this far from ideal situation.   As we left the road and started on the easy slopes of the climb around Castle cragg, I was surprised that I straight away past one guy. We then had to wait as the leader of the pack struggled to open a gate, after what felt an age, (probably actually only 40 seconds) we continued on the steeper slopes.

I had a good climb and past all but the lady. The stitch now a distant memory, as I pushed on. On the descent to Rosthwaite I overtook the lady to move into 3rd place. The flat run through Rosthwaite was awkward, as was the rest of the course from here, due to the slippery rocks. Apart from making the rocks slippy, the frequent rain showers were welcome to cool us down. At the start of the long climb up to Wattendlath, the lady and one of the guys were right behind me. By the top  she just sneaked past. But on the first small rough descent I overtook her to regain 3rd.

I then pushed on, never looking back. Thinking if I get overtaken they will have deserved it. I always thought that I would get a look at 2nd, but probably not 1st, I never got a look at either. It was made tricky anyway as we were now overtaking a fair few of the 13k runners that had joined the course after setting off 30 mins behind us on a shorter circuit. By the flat 1.5 mile run in, I felt that I was set in 3rd and eased off the pace a bit. Crossing the line I was pleased with 3rd overall and 2nd male, but not pleased at how much I had to manage my pace. Still it was a really enjoyable run out around Derwent water.

150 finished the race. Oliver Smith won in 1:40:07. I finished in 1:46:45.

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