Two cars, 8 runners left Penrith on Saturday morning for the Borrowdale fell race, the second time I have done it, the first I got hopelessly lost on.........Ill Crag.....don't ask.
This year I was more nervous, probably due to not racing much since my BG and not recceing the course at all since last year.
Due to this nervousness I started further back then I normally do and as a result ended up in the bottleneck at the start and having to walk, run, walk for a while until the course thinned out a bit.
The climb up Bessyboot went well and I was soon running with a couple of runners into the clag, which would stay with us all day until the descent of Dalehead. Luckily for me Gavin Blend joined us so I quickly got onto his heels and followed him up to Esk Hause, which in hindsight proved to be one of my better decisions after hearing how many got lost on this section.Following Gavin over this section showed me how important it is to know the course as he seemed to know every stone. I did tell him tho that I had no shame and his reply was "don't worry, no one as". So I thought the least I could do was share my water with him and the other runner!!!
On reaching Esk Hause I was met by Dave Owen, who had kindly offered to meet us with water, and then the climb up Scafel Pike beckoned.
I would guess at this point I was well up in the field, but the wet rocks over to Scafell slowed me down dramaticly and I soon found myself alone, at the very place I got lost last year. I was very relieved to find the col up to Scafel Pike to know I was still on track.
On reaching the summit I had to find the scree run down to the corridor route and at first I went far to far left and after a couple of minutes of scrabbling about I heard some voices above me, so I quickly climbed back up where I met 3 other runners also looking for it. Eventually we found it and we were soon sliding down the scree. I ended up staying within eyesight off the corridor path (didnt dare lose sight of it) up until Styhead where again David had met me again with water, but this time I declined, I hadn't touched my other bottle yet.
The climb up Gable felt awful for me, and I knew from here on in I was in survival mode. I managed to keep going and I took an age to descend down to Windy Gap, but at least I was back in with a group of other runners, who all went too far left from Green Gable before I realised we were wrong and had to climbed back up.
The run down to Honister felt good but as soon as I hit the climb of Dalehead my legs had gone again and I had no water left.
I managed to hold my postilion tho and crossed the line 3 hours and 55 minutes after starting.
Just about everyone I spoke to at the end had some tale to tell about getting lost or taking the wrong line so my mishaps maybe weren't that bad after all.
Next year im going to recce the course a bit more so im sure of the route and try and get under 3.45. (dream on!)