Many people lost a lot during this time but none more than the family of PC Bill Barker who was trying to redirect traffic from a bridge as it collapsed, sweeping him away in the river. His body was eventually found on the beach at Allonby, about 10 miles up the coast.
The towns of Workington and Cockermouth are still recovering from the devastation of the floods. Temporary bridges are up in Workington and the shops on the Main St in Cockermouth are slowly getting refitted and reopened.
One of the ways in which the memory of Bill Barker is being honoured is by the creation of a new road race, The West Cumbrian Run.
This was to be a ten mile road race from Cockermouth to Workington following the north side of the river Derwent, the main river through Workington.
About 500 people took part. The start in Cockermouth was preceded by an emotional speech by Bill's wife. It was a fittingly wet day and I decided to wear a beanie. There was a pretty big queue by the time I got to sign up. I wasn't greatly impressed with the organisation. £2 of the entry fee went to the Air Ambulance so it was quite an expensive race for what it was. The organisers wanted everyone to wear their T-shirts which was ok except that they were standard cotton T-shirts, not the best for running in, particularly in the rain. When I got to the T-shirt table, there was a choice of small or xl. So I wore a small t-shirt and a beanie:
Here is the course and elevation - oh yeah, check that elevation
The route was really hilly. Seems to be a bit of a theme in Cumbria. I seem to find hills a bit easier than a lot of people and so was able to power up most of them but there was one hill, coming out of the village of Camerton, when I really struggled to keep going. I did run all the way up, many people didn't. I did feel a bit wobbly at the top but I made it. I slowed down for a bit and then recovered.
For the last third of the race I was in between two big groups of runners and it was a bit funny to know that the people who turned out to watch were clapping and shouting for me as I went past (as opposed to a group of runners).
I've ridden the course a few times on my bike since the race and I'm really glad that I didn't check it out beforehand because I would have been dreading that hill.
After the massive hill it was gently rolling before a nice descent into Workington and along to the new road bridge. It was at this stage that I realised that the race wasn't going to last 10 miles. I think the actual distance was 9.5 miles.
The finish in the cricket ground was nice. I think it was the mayor who put a medal around my neck.
I really enjoyed the race. There was a good mix of serious club runners mixed in with fun runners (I'm somewhere in between). I have a few grumbles about the organisation, sign up wasn't well organised, they ran out of T-shirts even though they were expecting 1000 people to take part and only about 500 did the race. I didn't think it was good value for money, the medal is cheap and the bag at the end had a cereal bar, bottle of water and a packet of crisps in it along with the usual leaflets. This didn't stop my enjoyment and the atmosphere on the day was great with lots of people turning out to watch and cheer in the rain.
The first man and first woman, along with the first male and female police officers – Nick Brown (1hr 9m 0s) and Yvie Johnson (1hr 14m 43s) – both of North Wales Police, each won a double bed donated by Sealy, one of the race sponsors.
I came in 74th place with a chip time of 1hr 15mins & 19 seconds. I was really happy with that.
Here are a few more pictures which I don't own. If you own any of these pictures and object to me putting them up here, please let me know and I will remove them:
and some links:
News & Star (local paper)