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I made an early start from Glasgow for this one, and was seriously doubting the wisdom of my choice driving down the M74 with windscreen wipers on double-speed. When I turned off the M6 at Penrith, it was still hammering down with rain, and I was wondering if anyone would turn up to the race.
The parking was at Hodge Close Quarry, which means a good 20 minutes walk across to Little Langdale, and at 11am there was still a huge queue of folk waiting to register. Just before 11.30am we were assembled in the road when Selwyn Wright suddenly shouted 'go' when nobody was really ready. The usual stampede down to the footbridge ensued. I briefly found myself leading alongside eventual race winner Carl Bell, but quickly backed off, and once across the bridge offered no resistance as dozens of runners trotted past.
Once through the fell gate at 14 minutes, the field split 3 ways. The front runners strangely stayed on the lowest path, a few folk cut up immediately on the left, and another group, including several Bowland runners, took the middle ground. I assumed the Bowland guys knew what they were doing, so elected to follow them which was probably a mistake. Next time I will cut up to the left and join the tourist path, which must be quicker.
Anyhow, I bashed on up Wetherlam, trying to keep pace with Mike Johnson and following him across to Prison Band. Gradually I kept on dropping places, until Craig Smith and Ali Welsh went by on the descent to the Three Shire Stone. I caught them on the climb to Blisco, but they both passed again on the descent to Blea Tarn. Once again I caught Ali just before the summit of Lingmoor, but I was feeling fairly weary on the run off and dropped a bunch more places to finish in 43rd place in 2:23:46, which is by far the slowest of my 6 attempts at the race.
|Joanne Anderson of Carnethy|