Friday, May 8, 2015

Keswick Mountain Festival 25k recce

the boys looking pretty tired on the way over from Watendlath

The Keswick Mountain Festival has been going for a few years now.  Lovely local event with speakers, sporting events and have a go sesssions for various outdoor activities.  The trail races this year include a 5k, 25k and 50k courses.  The courses are designed by Charlie Sproson of Mountain Run.  They are great courses with an emphasis on trail running rather than open fell running.  Last Saturday a few of us got together to have a run around the 25k route.

for the Lake District, there's not an awful lot of climbing in the course.  This is near the high point, the relatively lowly Walla Crag.  The course doesn't go over Walla Crag but we were nearby so why not?

First mistake of the day was thinking that I was running a half marathon (13.2 mile) course as opposed to the 15.5 miles that a 25k equates to.  This was a week after the Highland Fling race and, although I'd had a few easy runs during the week, my legs were still tired.  We met up in the carpark near to the start of the race and made a more or less immediate wrong turn, mistake number two, adding in an extra mile or so, we eventually found our way over Castlehead Wood to the short road section before the climb up to Walla Crag.  At this point, two of the party decided that the pace and climb was a bit much and that they would circle back to the start.  Fair enough, they ended up doing about 11 miles and it was going to get a bit tougher.

From Walla Crag there are nice trails down to Ashness Bridge.  I headed off down Cat Gill and needed to climb a little way back up to pick up the nice high level trail.  On the descent to Ashness Bridge, I slipped in mud and, although I managed to keep my footing, I felt like I threw my shoulder out in the frantic windmilling I did to stay upright.  We had a walk/run up the road, picking up the trail alongside Watendlath Beck up to Watendlath.  I was expecting this section to be difficult, having run it in the opposite direction plenty of times, I thought that it would be uphill all the way in this direction.  It was actually quite easy to run.  Looking at the gradient on the map, it's quite level.  Just before we got to Watendlath, I decided the drizzling rain was too much for my pertex top and took my bag off to change into my waterproof jacket.  Mistake number three, I had left it in my car.

nice trails over from Watendlath
After an initial steep climb out of Watendlath, there is nice running all the way over to Rosthwaite.  It gets steeper towards the end and one of our group, Joanne, took a spill scraping her knees quite bad.  Down at the bridge by the Hazel Bank Hotel, I told her that her road runner legs would put her in front from there on in, the route flattening out considerably.

The route from here follows the Cumbria Way, alongside Derwentwater and back around to Keswick via Portinscale.  I ran out of steam a bit at about 14 miles, I think having done a long run the week before, I underestimated the difficulty of the course (which isn't very difficult).  It didn't help that I thought I was doing 13.2 miles rather than the 18 it turned out to be.  Of course, I was also still a bit tired from last week.  Mistake four?  With a few walk breaks thrown in, we made our way all around.

It was a very enjoyable run out and big respect to Joanne and David who both extended their long run records significantly, I think Joanne almost doubled her trail distance record.  Harry also said it was the longest he had ever run.  Well done mate.

As I predicted, Joanne's road running came into it's own and she finished strong.  Although she did say she wanted to throw up at the end and seemed to need her husband's assistance to take her shoes off.  She's entered for the event next week, I'm sure she will smash it and I'm happy we were able to show her all the wrong turns to avoid on the course.

classic Keswick view over Derwentwater.  The route goes all around the lake

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