Dave Waddington (the writer) and Jacqui Jones spotted an advertised 5 mile trail race sponsored by Adidas as part of the Kendal Mountain Weekend, with our Olympic Triathlon medal winners the Brownlee brothers starting the race. The course was advertised as running round the trails around Kendal, but ominously there was mention of a hill that would have you using your hands.
Anyway we turned up on a damp November Saturday in Kendal. The Brownlee’s were there mixing with the runners and having photos taken and signing autographs, so we both went over (I was curious how big they actually are – a touch taller than me and very slim). Jacqui got Alistair to autograph her race number. On the start line the starter announced that due to a difficult farmer the race had to be slightly re-routed and would actually be 6 mile, rather than the advertised 5 mile.
The gun sounded and off we went, the first 3 or 4 miles involved flat trails heading out of town, with numerous stiles to slow you down (or to grab a quick breather). Just after mile 4 came “the hill”; it was a big one. I looked up and saw one person actually running up it, but the rest were walking. I joined the walkers and dragged myself to the top. At the top it dropped down slightly then across to another hill, which was smaller but tough at this stage. After running along a high path for a while the tricky descent started. I was racing a club runner from Sheffield and we both hurtled down out of control in the mud. I heard a yelp; he’d fallen.”Great”, I thought, “that should get rid of him”. Shortly after we joined a road and he appeared on my shoulder (covered in mud of course). I managed to shake him off on the road descent before the route went off to some fields and paths.
I raced a few other runners in, passing a runner who I’d clocked at the beginning of the race with tracksuit bottoms on “no way he’ll beat me I thought”, he nearly did! I finished 24th in 45:56. The clear winner was Louis Goffe of Tyne Bridge Harriers in 39:17
Jacqui had a good solid race, struggled up the hills and got passed each time by 1 or 2 ladies, but she quickly re-took them on the down hills. The younger lady eventually pulled away (even though she also fell on the tricky downhill), however Jacqui raced in against the other lady and pipped her in tight finish. Jacqui finished 4th lady in 50:58. The winner of the ladies (and 9th overall) was Annie Conway, who finished 2nd lady in the Lakeland 50 mile race in July in an impressive time of 8 hours 41.