The Cumberland Fell Runners Christmas Pudding Run was held on the 15th December 2013. I’m finally getting round to blogging about it as it was a good little event. Better late than never, as they say.
The day before this run, the weather was truly awful. High winds and heavy rain. I was seriously beginning to doubt whether I’d actually make it to the event. As it happened, race day was perfect running weather. It was sunny, cool but, most importantly, the wind had abated considerably from the previous day.
After dropping the older two girls off at mum’s, Tristan and Thea came down to support me during the run. Amazingly, we found the place easily enough and there was already a long line of cars parked along the roadside. We had a little time to kill so, after registration, we wandered up and down the road in an effort to get warmed up and ready to tackle the fearsome hill.
The hill in question appears in Derwent AC’s Isel Cross run and so I’ve tackled it 3 times already over the years. It keeps drawing me back, though, as I’m determined to tame this beast! During the Isel Cross run, this hill appears at about mile 4. The CFR pudding run began at the foot of the hill and so I thought it’d be good to be able to run up on (relatively) fresh legs. The 5.5k route followed a path up the monstrous hill and then a loop round Setmurphy Woods with a total ascent/descent of 460ft.
At 11am, a total of 87 runners set off. At precisely that moment, an impatient farmer on a quad bike also set off up the narrow track worming his way past the runners, narrowly missing some! To begin with, the ascent is gentle and I was able to maintain an even pace despite the rather wet underfoot conditions.
It wasn’t long before we started the tough climb up and my pace slowed considerably. It would probably have been quicker to walk but I was determined to run all the way up. As I neared what I thought was the top, I breathed a sigh of relief. I’d made it! However, what is the top in the Isel Cross run, isn’t the top of the climb on this route! A marshal was directing us round to the left and another climb. This part was very muddy and, once at the top and out of the trees, we were exposed to a bitter headwind. It wasn’t long before the descent began, although there were still some sneaky climbs to contend with. My legs were beginning to protest at this point – it was day 15 of my Advent runstreak afterall!
I kept plugging away, my legs seeming to keep turning although they no longer felt like they belonged to me. Finally, I could see the finish and attempted to pick up the pace for the last few yards. It felt like I was running faster but in reality I was probably just running imperceptibly faster than before!
I was handed my Christmas Pudding and I was delighted to find I’d gone sub-30. Still suffering from a lingering cold, I wasn’t expecting much of myself. My Garmin read 27:31, giving an average pace of 8’41min/mile.
Overall, this was a well organised and well attended event. Definitely one I will do again, despite that evil hill. I know it’ll never get easier as, hopefully, I’ll just keep trying to go faster up it!