The Ups & Downs of Derwentwater 10 by Karen Schofield
It started off looking bleak and gloomy with all the fog, which inevitably would make it harder to breathe and so a difficult race for a PB. As we got closer to Keswick the fog lifted and there was unusually for time of year glorious sunshine, so much so Warren was considering sun -block, well needs must when your bald. It was a debut for our Harrier hoodies and we were perspiring after the short 1/2 mile jog to registration, it was clearly not a hoody day.
The course had been altered for safety reasons from previous years, cutting out the crossing and long stretch of the busy main road down to the finish line. We were reliably informed by a Marshall that this new route made the course quicker, however the now unreliable Marshall never told us about the final hill climb to the slightly downhill, more undulating finish.
We gathered at the start, same point as previous years to be told this year saw a record number of entries. To cut out the congestion of the narrow right bend at the start, it was now going to be a rolling start from the icon Moot Hall home of the Bob Graham Round.
We set off, both with our own ideas of times and neither of us having done any specific training for this race. In fact we had not done our usually 9 or 10 mile training loop since before the Lakeland 50 and so whilst Warren seemed to have little concern, I was very anxious about his certainty that I could come in, in under 1h 20mins (he did later confess that he thought I could do it in 1h 17mins).
As any runner knows it’s always an advantage to know the course and whats coming your way. The first 4 miles Warren would describe as rolling and slightly downhill until you hit the Southerly point of Derwentwater. I would describe them as undulating, up and down and I think, I may have blocked the course out of my memory as I did not recall it being this tough. I was struggling, I glanced at my watch and my timings were off, my head went with it and as I hit the only drinks station at 5 miles, I came to a standstill. Yes I stopped just long enough to drink the cup of water and even ask for a second and guzzle that down too. It was enough of a pause to glance around and get my head back to were it should be. When I stopped I was not having fun, however I was determined I would set off again, stop looking at my watch and just go for it and have fun. I knew the dreaded hill was coming up and it no longer daunted me. Warren was taking the first 5 miles in his stride and averaging 6:40 minute miles, a little slower than last year but whilst he, like everyone else would always love a PB he was not expecting one. The best part of Warren’s race was yet to come.
After crossing the bridge at the southern point of the lake, it can only be worded as steep hills and what seemed like very little but steep descents. Slowing my pace down from sub 8 minute miles to a 9:25 minute mile. Warren actually attacked the hill far harder than last year keeping a steady pace of 7:45. The hill I would describe as a beast and I’m sure Warren would agree, in fact I actually managed enough breath to vocally agree with another runner that this is definitely a beast of a course.
Towards the end there are some short steep descents to pick up a bit of time but you have to be careful this time of year with all the wet leaves on the road which makes the surface particularly slipping. I had just been going for it ever since my mini melt down at mile 5 and so hadn’t even noticed running past the 7 and 8 mile markers. As I got to the 9 mile marker I hesitantly looked at my watch and realised that if I just carried on at a similar pace I could actually finish well under 1h 20mins. From this point it was head down and all out to the finish line. Warren was constantly checking his watch and knew it would be touch and go. He had set out with the intention of running sub 1h 13mins (within 2 mins of last year). As he got closer and closer to the finish he knew that a fast last mile would see him close to last years result and even possibly, dare he think it never mind say it, a PB. Head down Warren went all out for the finish line and left his watch running to time me. I will put this mistake down to his sheer tiredness from the effort he just exerted as now he would have to wait for the official times to come out – a long, drawn out, agonising wait till about 6pm (argh – I don’t believe he will make this mistake again).
Finally the results came out and 2 PB’s in the Schofield-Moorfield household. Mine was a massive improvement on last year knocking just short of 8 minutes off and finishing in a time of 1h 16 mins 7 secs. Warren knocked 7 seconds off last years time and finished in a time of 1h 9 mins 40 secs. After all this hard work we then finished off our Sunday with our usual Sunday post race ritual of a curry.
Whilst this is a story of the ups and downs of this years Derwentwater 10, that being the ups and downs of the racers, as well as the course this is certainly an event any road runner should try. The race is all on road and even if you only try it once it will be worth it, in fact I would be amazed if you only try it once, because once you’ve tried it, you will be hooked, we certainly are. The whole of the route it has to be said is beautifully picturesque as you run along the road beside the lake and at any moment if you feel like your struggling and can’t go on all you have to do is take in your surroundings and if that doesn’t spur you on then nothing will.