Borrowdale Trail 21k
Having sat out 2014’s race as a passive non-runner watching the finish after stuffing my face with cake and coffee it was now time for me to step up and enter the fray.
Our day started not so bright but definitely early as we were on the road before 8am and it rained the entire journey up to Keswick. Once there registration was located on the muddy field of Crow Park and there was very little shelter from the constant downpour as we queued. The first thing I noticed was all the other runners with running jacket on, racing vests and hydration systems. I asked Warren why we had none of those things, not even a jacket to which he replied its only a half marathon you don’t need any of that crap.
A few minutes later was giving my name in, Karen Schofield I said to which I could see the puzzled expression on the lady’s face and then she asked if I was sure I was doing the 21k. I was actually panicked because i could see the S’s on her list and as my eyes darted from Sa to Se I realised my name was not there. she checked again at my instance that I was definitely doing the 21k. she even said maybe its my eyes and I’m just not seeing it but i knew it was not on her list. The thought in my head was bloody Warren, he has not entered me, but then I realised I had received an email but of course I did not have my phone to prove this as I had left it at home. it was literal a split second moment before I turned to shout at Warren but instead I said to the lady he’s booked it so best check if he’s registered.
As she turned the pages, flipping back to the M’s, I immediately saw it, Karen Moorfield followed by Warren Moorfield. I then felt it necessary to explain why I didn’t seem to know my own surname. we had booked Borrowdale through si entries before Christmas but only last week booked Great Langdale half for September in my married name and we did not think that it would then alter all the races on si entries.
We then headed to the start which was at 11am. This time we set off 30 minutes before as back in 2014 warren had insisted the start was only 10 minutes from crow park registration and the race started without him giving everyone a good 10 minute start on him. he may be to start 10 minutes after everyone else but I certainly was not chancing it.
The start is uphill and then quickly becomes a little undulating albeit technical as you skirt around Derwent water through the woods. when I say undulating I do actual mean our type of undulating and not the cumbrian version at this point of the race.
The race heads right away from the waterside and begins to climb at around the 5 mile point. I started with a slow tiny tiny step ascent which then became a hands on knees power walk from half way up to the top. I felt comfort and relief only in the fact that I could see others walking both in front and behind, that is until some lady came running past me and everyone else in front of me.
Once at the summit there is then some running along the tops before a fast fell like descent, during which it took roughly two steps to realise the mud path was way to slippy and it was easier to run down the grass hill. it then becomes time for some road running and for all you avid readers I only run road races, the road only lasted for about 1/2 a mile before turning back to trail.
The trail now hits a massive climb at least a mile long and as I looked up I could see runners dotted all the way up. I say runners but I swear everyone of them I could see was power walking no one gaining and no one passing, in fact the only people who past me were six mountain bikers coming down.
Once at the top coming down did not give the relief I thought it would, as trail turned to steep muddy then grassy slopes that were wet and slippery but at least now the rain had stopped. I managed to stay up right and then there was further trail and back through some woods as I neared the 9 mile mark. it was now warming up and still no water station but I felt I was now navigating the path well considering all the roots poking up, that was until, splat, yet again another off road race with me lying on the floor. Thankfully no injuries this time, just a few scratches on my legs which would not show up on the wedding photos a week later. once I had picked myself up and dusted myself down just a few hundred meters further and there was the aid station, nuts, jelly babies, coke, orange, water and fruit. I have always just grabbed a drink and carried on but this time I was having a minute, I had 4 drinks, a handful of jelly babies and a chat about my forthcoming wedding with the marshals before heading for the finish.
The last three miles I would describe as undulating and if any remaining energy can be summonsed then its possible to pick the pace back up. Keeping the pace becomes difficult when then faced with little wooden bridges with extremely wet and slippery planks and this is were Warren ended up on his backside. Good to know its not just me that falls however his is the exception were mine is now fast becoming the norm on these off road races. The gravelly path soon hits the tarmac which means the home straight and with the home straight comes a lot of people, couples and families all over the place. Most moved out of the way having realise there was a race on but there is always the odd few people that you have to try to navigate around trying to maintain speed and not injure yourself or anyone else. a quick turn onto the field sees the finish line and the finishing photograph.
As for a warm down, there is only one thing for it in The Lakes and that is a trip to the Apple Pie Cafe in Ambleside for a sandwich and a strawberry milkshake and these were well earned and well deserved.