In hindsight, a gruelling run up Grisedale Pike and the surrounding fells was probably not the best preparation for the Lakeland Trails run on the Saturday! Nevertheless, I was excited about this run as the route is challenging and the terrain is testing.
Travelling down with the support crew, my other half, Tristan, and our girls, we arrived in plenty of time to get a convenient parking place a stone’s throw from the event location. Tristan bemoaned the fact that we were 3 hours early but, as I say every time, better early than 1 minute too late…
We arrived in time to see those doing the 10k set off and it was good to see some familiar faces. I then registered for my race and we headed into Keswick for a wander and to kill some time, of which we had plenty!
Back at the park, we watched the finish of the 10k. Seeing all the smiling faces as people neared the end of the run made me feel excited about getting out there and enjoying my run.
Time crept on and it wasn’t long before the trail run challengers were called to the start. I said goodbye to the family and headed over to the starting area. The sun was shining and it was a lovely day for the girls to play in the park while I was out on the course. The incredible Batala Samba Band drummed us over the start and we headed off for a lap around the park. It was nice to see Tristan and the girls once more before we headed out on to the old railway, the band keeping up the beat on our way out of the park.
The first part of the route seems to drag as I find it the most dull. Enclosed by trees, the views are minimal and it’s just so straight! At just under 3 miles, the route diverts off the old railway and hits the first climb. I was keeping a steady pace but I was struggling with the heat! However, this is were the route gets interesting and I was just enjoying the moment. Winding our way through some trees and over a quaint bridge, we began climbing again. This time, the climb seemed to go on forever! It wasn’t long before we hit the infamous Glenderaterra Bogs, also known as the bogs of doom! The pace really slowed here as it was mainly single file and it was difficult to pass. It was a good excuse to grab a breather and take it a bit easier through the energy sapping bogs.
It seemed to take a long time before we hit the harder ground. My legs felt heavy after being dragged through the mire and it took a bit of time before my legs felt like they belonged to me again! There was a nice downhill section before we crossed a bridge and headed up the trail towards the side of Lonscale Fell. As we turned, we were rewarded with incredible views! The valley stretched before us and we could see other runners as small as ants on the other side of the valley where we’d been moments before. This is my favourite part of the course. The narrow trail hugs the shoulder of Lonscale with a dramatic drop down to the valley floor. Here, the terrain becomes more technical and you need to keep alert to its challenges. Still, I managed to afford brief glimpses of the breathtaking scenery. It would be a travesty to come to an area like this and not take the time to reflect in its beauty! As we headed towards Gale Road car park, I was surprised to find my legs were feeling quite strong still, despite all those hills!
As I passed the car park, and the drinks station, I was now in more familiar territory. We run round Latrigg a lot and so I knew it was all downhill from here. I just let my legs go and managed to pass a few other runners. Towards the end of Spooney Green Lane, there’s a little incline as you hit the bridge over the motorway. Although the incline is small, my legs felt trashed and it was a real battle to keep moving! I just kept moving forward mindful of the fact that I was nearly home! The final rise up into the park nearly finished me off! Indeed, this final bit seemed to go on forever!!
It was nice to see Tristan and the girls cheering me on with about 600m left to go. This gave me the impetus to increase the pace and finish strongly. Hearing the drums heralding the finish was the most incredible feeling and I was feeling so inspired as I crossed the finish line. I was delighted to find that the technical T-Shirts were bright pink! A brilliant match for my pink compression socks!
Reunited with the family, we watched more runners coming into the finish. It’s good for the soul to see so many people finishing with beaming smiles. Running is awesome!
Once again, the Lakeland Trails team have delivered another amazing event. The organisation is incredible and the marshals are brilliant; so encouraging and friendly.
Overall, I was pleased with how the run went and, looking at my results from 2011 and 2012, I was 10 seconds per mile quicker! Small progress maybe but progress nonetheless 🙂