It was a pleasant September day in the Lake District. There are few better places in the world to run on a sunny day. I had done this race every year since I started running and so was starting to lose count, after the use of my fingers, managed to calculate it was the fifth year. Flipping heck I’m getting old I thought!
After parking up in Keswick, it wasn’t long before I found Graham fresh from a spot of marshaling. We were both doing the 2pm Trail Race. A gentle warm up around Fitz Park and we were ready for the off! Millington and Harris both with our respective fan clubs ready to cheer us on!
The course had been tweaked adding a little extra distance by everyone doing a loop of the park before heading out onto the disused railway line. This avoided some of the bottle necking of previous years and was a little like a victory parade running through the start area again in front of the spectators and band.
This spread the field out so very quickly I was running with very few people around me. The rest of the course was as previous years – flat, steep climb, steep descent on a good mix of bridleways, bog and rocky paths.
I was keen to match my 14th place from last year but right from the off it was a struggle to run hard. A few glances at my Garmin confirmed I was going slower than I hoped. The hills soon arrived and used this opportunity to pick off a few more runners. By the time I reached Glendereterra Bogs I was fairly isolated. It was halfway through the boggy area that I noticed that someone had closed up on me but I kept going hoping they might tire. Once clear of the bogs there was open path and the runner shot past me. Imagine how shocked I was to see this go past me!
Meanwhile Graham was charging along desperate to catch number 37 up and find out where he got his running gear from!
Whilst recovering from the shock I was overtaken by another runner on the final climb and started to get slightly annoyed that I was going back in the field. From there on in I pushed as hard as I could to stay in touch, stopping the gap from extending beyond 20 metres. At a path junction my fellow runner took a wrong turn and I was able to close up. On approaching the final steep descent (Climbed by fellow Harriers on the Cumbria Way Ultra leg 4) he commented it was really steep so I sensed he didn’t like downhills so really went for it and pulled away.
It was really great running into Fitz Park and seeing both fan clubs watching on, managing to open up a 100m gap on my fellow runner. I didn’t quite match the year before but was pleased with 16th place and 3rd Vet in 1:09:35. Graham bounded home in 56th place in 1:17:48. A great performance by the Harriers.
Time for a drink and a photo with my chief supporters!