Saturday, September 19, 2015

Cumbria Way Ultra relay

Howard and I receiving our prizes for being the first pair

So my little pretend running club, Hardly AC, which stands for Hardly Any Climbing, put forward a few teams for the Cumbria Way Ultra.  The whole route is about 73 miles.  We put in a team for the five person relay, Kelly, Paul, Ryan, Bobby and Joanne which was roughly 15 miles each.  They came in third out of nine teams.  Howard and I did the two person relay with Howard doing the first 43 miles and me doing the last 30.  We came first out of two teams.

I had said to Howard that I would have preferred to do the first bit, even though it was significantly longer, I thought I would rather do this than run in the dark.  Howard convinced me that we would finish in daylight so I went with his original plan.  After meeting during the week to work out the, not insignificant, logistics of getting all our kit to kit check on Friday night or Saturday morning and then back to the runners in time to start, it seemed like it was going to be a pretty relaxed day.  It was certainly a bit strange not having to get up particularly early.  I think I ended up setting off at about 2.30pm from Keswick after an hour or so waiting nervously.  Howard got a bit behind schedule after experiencing some stomach issues but, as he got close, I got text updates and was ready to go when he came down the street.

waiting nervously with Paul from Derwent AC
I set off quickly, running through the Saturday afternoon Keswick crowds.  At Spooney Green Lane, I walked the steep parts and then made my way steadily up to the car park at Latrigg.  By this stage, I knew I was going to find it difficult.  Not that great as I was about two miles into the thirty odd miles I had to run.

As I headed around the back of Lonscale Fell and reached Skiddaw House, Paul, a runner on the five man team from Derwent AC, came thundering past me.  I turned off to take the North East branch of The Cumbria Way, all the time thinking of the horrible track up along the beck on the way up to High Pike.  I got to the beck and turned left up the track.  I was happy to see it was well marked, I've spent plenty of time here previously, thinking I had found a better route through only to get very wet feet.  I was finding it very hard going and sat down for a bit to have a bit of flapjack for some energy.  As I sat, the eventual second place solo runner, Pete passed me.  I caught up with him towards Lingy Hut and ran into Caldbeck and then about half of the last section with him.  Once he had established that I was not in the solo race, and so not competing with him, we had a really nice chat.

At Caldbeck I drank coke, ate cake and sweets, refilled my water and tried to cool down.  Running with Pete had pushed me on a bit.  He asked if he could run the last bit with me and we set off together but he was going faster than me and I was relieved when he eventually pressed on.

The last bit of the route from Caldbeck is nice enough but it doesn't compare with the fells and trails of the Lake District.  The track traces the outlines of fields and I was relieved to get to Dalston before needing a headtorch.  At Dalston, I changed into a warmer top and then, even though it was flat ground along the cycle track, it really was a slog to the end.

Joanne and Bobby, Hardly AC five person relay team members, were waiting at the end.  This was lucky as Joanne was giving me a lift home.  I had a few drinks, felt a bit sick and then fell asleep in the back of Joanne's car.

I found this event a lot harder than it was.  Maybe I was tired from the St Bega's Ultra a few weeks before or maybe the afternoon start messed up my running.  It was nice to get Hardly AC on the podium and a good group effort.  Well done team.

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