Monday, 23 July 2012

Kentmere Horseshoe

Results | Garmin Track

This was my first attempt at running or racing for just over 6 weeks, what with various things like hiking across the Alps and helping to look after Benjamin.

The route follows a clockwise loop of Kentmere, and has 3 checkpoints: Ill Bell, High Street and Kentmere Pike.
Kentmere Horseshoe Route
I'd only run this race once before, and that was way back in 2003 when I managed 1:45:02 for 10th place.

I didn't have much idea what to expect this time, so set off pretty slowly and steadily.

Kentmere start
Once up on the ridge towards Ill Bell it was pretty windy and grey, and just before Thornwaite Crag we were into the mist and I lost sight of the runners ahead, or at least I thought I saw them disappearing off in the wrong direction.  I hesitated for a moment which was enough for Ross Litherland to catch me, who I'd last see in Nepal nearly 3 years ago on the hike out to Jiri.  Anyhow, Ross seemed confident of the route so we ran more or less together to High Street.

Once descending to Nan Bield Pass it started getting ridiculously windy, making it really difficult to balance and remain upright. Somehow Ross and Richard Snowden of Totley suddenly seemed to have made a gap on me, and I was struggling to keep them in my sights. I tried to track them along to Kentmere Pike, but once I reached the final summit they were long gone, and I had nobody to chase.

I had no recollection of the final descent, but had a vague idea you needed to branch off rightwards, however I branched far too soon when I should have been running down the obvious path alongside the wall. However I still reached the stile at the fell wall before anyone caught me, despite faffing around and looking over my shoulder.  Shortly afterwards the track became horribly rocky, and groups of runners came swarming past, including Dave Armstrong and Chris Reade who must have got lost in the mist, since they had been in front earlier.

Anyhow, I somehow seemed to entirely run out of strength and coordination on the final bit of descent, and managed to lose 10 places in the space of about a minute which was slightly annoying, but I couldn't make my feet move any faster.  The only place I regained was by passing Chris Reade again in the final few metres just before dropping back into the finishing field.

My time was 1:53:18 for 25th place.

Mark Roberts of Borrowdale, now a V50, won the race in 1:39:00 which was pretty impressive given that it was quite possibly the windiest race I've ever done.

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