Ultimate Trails 55k by Colin Mcevoy.
When the message went out asking if anyone fancied doing the Lakeland Trails 50 miler, it sounded like a ‘really good idea’ and definitely something I’m stupid enough to have a go at… Unfortunately, despite warnings off a quick sellout, I missed out by half a day and that was the end of it, or so I thought…
Not long after the close another message started doing the rounds ‘anyone fancy the Ultimate Trails 55k trail race?’ Well I wasn’t going to miss out on this one as well and signed up immediately.
In the end I think 6 of us had signed up to the challenge and I started planning how the hell I was going to do this having signed up for London (9 weeks before) and Edinburgh( 4 weeks before), eventually I opted for minimal training for any of them and see how it goes…
After a few days of miserable weather predictions, on the morning of the race the weather was lovely and I was quite looking forward to seeing everyone and getting started. After finding Howard it became apparent that it was just going to be us after the various injuries and illnesses that had befallen our fellow Harriers (including severe bouts of love sickness).
After the safety brief and a last minute dash for the loo we headed for the start line and waited for the winner of the 110k to cross the line. We didn’t have to wait long as Kim Collison finished in 10:48:57 and once he’d crossed and made his way through all of us doing the ‘easy’ option, we were off.
I thought I’d started easy up the first hill and at the first checkpoint I was feeling good. I was eyeing up the food but wasn’t that hungry, after saying as much I got my first bit of advice “get food down early or you’ll be suffering later”, probably the best bit of advice I was given all day and I’ll definitely be eating more next time. By the second checkpoint I was starting to realise just how wrong the weather reports had been and after asking a marshal, she ran inside and came out with a bottle of factor 50 in hand, I think she may have saved me from some serious sunburn and ridiculous tan lines.
The further I went the less interested I became in the amazing views, chatting to people, being overtaken or occasionally overtaking people. ‘One foot in front of the other’ became my passing comment to everyone and that mentality was probably the only thing that kept me going.
Getting to the finish was everything, walking the ups, jogging the flats and running any downs that weren’t too rocky. I rounded a corner about ½ a mile out and there was Emma waiting for me, she jogged the last half with me and after 8:14:24 I finally crossed the line 55th out of 312 finishers. Happy with that for a first attempt and I’ll be back next year to see if I can (with some improvements to my ‘training’) get a better time.
I had left Howard nearer the front of the lineup and , after a final good luck and hand shake, that was the last I saw of him. Emma caught a glimpse of him at the finish and was quick enough to take a picture and return his bag that she’d been looking after for him before he disappeared again. He did resurface eventually and had a cracking result coming in 25th with a time of 7:37:45 and another one entering again next year.
So if anyone else fancies it, entries open on 1st September, we’ll see you there!