20 July 2014 – 12.3 miles / 3300 ft – English Championship Race
A race of two halves, plus extra time.
A bright start in Leeds and a straight forward journey to the Lakes (Alex was a little bit late – naturally!) Meet up with my mate at the Hawkshead Brewery in Staveley and agreed a cheeky pint afterwards was in order, after all they do make cracking beer and it was their summer beer festival.
A gentle meander up the tree covered single track road to Kentmere revealed a village basking in the hot English sun, the river babbling in the background and the murmur of sticky rubber on tarmac as people runners collected their numbers from the church.
The First Half
In two words it was Hot and Up! As we trundled off it was well into the high twenties, when the ground reared up for the ascent past Buck Crag there was no wind and the sun was beating down on our backs. Lovely. There was much huffing and puffing until the top was crested then a short jog up to first checkpoint on Ill Bell. Already we’d seen quite a few drop out, presumably due to the heat as the seemed to be coming back down at race pace. The lure of halftime orange slices drew us along the steady pull up to checkpoint 2 at High Street.
The Second Half
Almost as soon as the dipper had been dipped I felt a few drops of rain. “No, it can’t be” I thought “it must be low cloud”. But sure enough within minutes we were romping down to the Nan Beild Pass amongst boulders and fat rain drops. To be honest it was quite pleasant after the punishing heat of the first half. Visibility was down to around 20 metres as we approached the last checkpoint on Kentmere Pike, the marshals were head to toe in waterproofs underneath a golfing brolly, and they had hot tea on the go. The clouds cleared and the rain stopped to reveal a lovely long run in to the finish. Off we set, bounding after the vests in front. After the short rocky bracken covered section was safely negotiated the heavens really opened! It was almost monsoon conditions, rain poured into our eyes and the tracks were instantly awash with water. As we crossed the finish line there was Alex with a very welcome cup of water, head to toe in waterproofs and looking like he’d finished an hour ago – which he had!
After a quick change under the cover of Alex’s boot we decided to head back. Easier said than done. The rain had rendered the field to a quagmire. We watched a few cars attempt each of the gate exits, then pushed a couple of cars and joined the huge queue for the one usable gate. All the time it was still hammering it down. Eventually we chanced the other gate and with deft car handling skills and an imaginative line managed to get out of the other gate.
All in all a good day. Up front Rob got a good 2nd behind a flying Tom Addison and Darren was 13th. Alex had a storming run for 73rd (after doing Wasdale the week before and a gentle 20 miler on Friday evening!). Newcomer Martin Hurst came in 177th with me and my mate arriving home in a steady 342nd. He really enjoyed his first fell race and will be back for more ‘fun’.
Rob Hope 2nd (1st MV40) 1:30:38.
Darren Kay 13th (4th MV40) 1:36:05.
Alex Jones 73rd 1:51:44.
Martin Hurst 177th 2:06:24.
Adam Speed 342nd 2:56:26.