Should I, shouldn't I.
That's what was going through my mind all day on Wednesday. Legs were still feeling battered from the Helvellyn fell race on Sunday, 5x 800m reps on Monday and a steady 6 mile road run on Tuesday, but this was no ordinary fell race, this was Blencathra fell race, organised by my club, and all for a quid..... in the end it was a no brainer.
Picked Steve Bennett up at 5.30 and headed out to Mungrisdale village, where fellrunners were already parking up. We made our way to the start area to register and passed over my pound coin, no going back now.
Noticed some fast runners knocking about and as always felt intimidated and very unfit, maybe I could ask for my pound back!
I had a small warm up with Sam Ware, who has got himself really fit again and is now well out of my reach, but maybe with him racing Ennerdale at the weekend he will take it easy, fingers crossed. We had a quick chat with Phil Davies and asked him which way up he was going, his reply "straight up". None of this fannying about for Phil.
We jogged back to the start and along with 110 others we were off.
Straight away, not even 5 yards had gone and theres a route choice to make, follow Carl Bell, who had kept to the path, or follow Steve Birkinshaw, who had made a more direct line through the bog, I chose the bog.... first mistake.
|The start. click on image to enlarge.|
Eventually we all meet up again and make the climb up towards Bowscale, where again I was caught in 2 minds. Follow Phil Davies up the more Direct route or choose the more traditional route, which Phil Winskill had made. I chose Phil Davies way.... second mistake.
The direct line is maybe shorter, but its a lot, lot steeper and by the time we had met the other group (who were jogging along)my legs were shot and it took some time to get them moving again.
Before the final climb of Bowscale there's another route choice to make, either run to the top or skirt around it. Steve Bennett, who was just behind me always insists on going up high where as I stopped slightly lower (cheers dave o) and has easier running to get back on the main path.
Now its all good running to Blencathra and Im soon joined by Steve Bennett, where we make good time and route to Blencathra. On the climb the cloud is low and Steve, who is a stronger climber, takes 20-30 yards out of me to the summit.
The run to Souther Fell felt easy (I maybe took it too easy) and when I came out of the cloud I could see Steve again, who had stretched ahead of me further, maybe about 200 yards, and in front of him was a NFR runner. I felt strong on the run up Souther Fell and thought I would catch Steve up, but he too upped his pace and had got in front of the NFR fella . I managed to over haul NFR man on the last descent (ok, he tripped) but Steve was too far ahead and was casually chatting to Sam when I crossed the line in 14th place.
The ground was wet under foot and breezy on top.
As with every fell race I do, there's always a part of the race that I wonder "why", usually at the first steep climb, but there is also a section that makes me think " there is nothing I would rather be doing". Fantastic.
Sam obviously has one eye on this weekends racing and finished 6 minutes ahead of me!
Phil Davies was first man and Sarah Ridgeway first women.
It a shame that this fell race will never make a championship venue. There was talk last year of it, but parking is a problem. It would also have to move to weekend, which would take some of its charm away.