13 September 2015 – La Sportiva Lake District Mountain Trial
– Classic (Approx 18 miles / 7500 ft) & Medium (Approx 13 miles / 5000 ft)
As ever an early start from Leeds to get over to the Lakes. Once safely there I made my way to the Borrowdale YHA and found Charlie in the bar! Before our allotted start times we mooched around chatting, ‘warming up’ and offering words of encouragement to Matt H as he entered the start tent, no sign of Dave A who had been at a Leeds Uni Orienteering do over in Duddon the night before – would he make it? After looking at last year’s lengthy completion times and my current level of fitness I had opted to tackle the ‘Medium’ course, weighing in with a mere 13 miles & 5000ft. So at 0959 precisely I was lined up with previous Classic winner Brendan Bolland (2002) ready for the off. We dibbed and charged off down the road to map collection.
From this point my day took in three fairly distinct sections.
1) Almost to CP3, 8 miles, bad navigation, poor weather – low cloud, drizzle & humid. Felt great physically and did manage to find a couple of decent lines.
2) An error on approach to CP3 cost me about 15 mins and added a good 880ft. After this the sun came out and the long slog around the back of Great Gable, over horrible rocky terrain to CP4 began. Nav was fine but my head was all over the place, mostly down! Every step was met with resistance. “What are you doing here?”, “You can’t run this bit”, “It’s too hot”, “Never doing this again”, “Give up at the next CP”, “Give up now”, “Too tired, too hungry”. The hits kept on coming! I managed to plod on to Blackbeck Tarn from which the view was spectacular and it lifted me, then up to Innominate Tran (Wainwrights favourite spot) and a little rest for water & pork pie.
3) After passing through some old slate mine workings my mood lifted as I saw a long stretch of ‘runnable’ terrain and the last proper CP! I started to enjoy the run as much as my aching body would let me. After the last CP there was a tortuous descent (500ft in 1/4 mile!) then a gentle downhill 2 mile run in. Even that seemed pretty tough. As the YHA came into view a huge smile broke across my face and I enjoyed the applause of already finished runners and supporters.
Big thanks to Fred Smith (Saltwell Harriers), Outi Kamarainen (Ilkley), Scoffer, Michelle Foxwell (Ambleside), Fiona Fullwood (DPFR), Dave Wolfendale (Bowland) and Steve Burt who all helped me along the way – mostly without knowing – with a word or two, a pointy finger or just for being there!
Awesome run by Dave A, who made it from Duddon in time, to finish 7th. With two fastest split times and but for one nav error, who knows. A podium? Charlie had a great run too despite getting lost (in true P&B style) before he even had a map! Unfortuanltey Matt H succumbed to what is probably the hardest event of the year but still managed over 17 milles and 6000ft!
Classic: David Alcock 7th 05:21:29. Charlie McIntosh 27th 06:25:03.
Medium: Adam Speed 34th 05:48:20.