Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Lakeland Trails Cartmel 2013

I continued to enjoy my trail running around Delamere Forest, Helsby Hill and the Sandstone Trail and whilst running I thought I needed to push myself more, could I do that on my own or would I need to join a club? There was one local running club but I was after trail and not Tarmac. I found one club that ran in Delamere Forest called the Delamere Spartans but I was unsure whether to join or go it alone, I continued to run on my own.

I needed another race but something more trail rather than running through bogs and water even if I did enjoy it. After looking around the internet I came across the Lakeland Trails series and there was a race coming up in Cartmel, I booked into the 18k Challenge and Suzanne wanted to give it a go too, so she decided on the 10k. So over the winter months I trained on the local trails.

On race day Suzanne and I set off up the M6 to Cartmel in the Lake District, it was a cold damp morning. Suzanne’s 10k race started first so once we registered, Suzanne got ready. I watched her start the race and then I headed to find a good spot to watch, it wasn't long before she came along to the finish with a big grin on her face.

Once Suzanne had got her finishers bag it was my turn to get ready, I headed over to the start area and decided to hang around in the middle of the pack, after a quick debrief we were off. It was a muddy field at the start so I took the outside of the route and started moving my way through the runners. It then narrowed off once we were out of the field onto a single track, after the heavy rain the night before there was lots of water and puddles on the track, some competitors were even avoiding them, not me.

After a few miles we got onto the open fells, I was really enjoying it, the climb up was zapping my legs but I managed to keep running. A few miles further along and the field was thinning out, I got to a stile and made my way over it and at that point the marshal said I was currently in 5th position, really I thought, surprised. The route was really good with some good up and down sections and a nice run around a small tarn, nearing the last few miles the ground was getting really muddy, I lost a couple more places at this point and the mud was zapping my legs but I worked out I was still just in the top ten.

I could now hear the tannoy from the finish and I knew it couldn't be much further, I checked behind me once more and I had a runner just behind me, I thought that's it I've got nothing left. One more sting in the tail up a nice muddy hill into the wood and god it was muddy, I was just waiting for the other runner to pass me, but he didn't, the greasy muddy hill took it out of him. I entered the racecourse and I could see the finish, I crossed the line in 1.33 and was exhausted, someone came over to me and said I had finished 8th I couldn't believe it, my first race in the lakes and I managed a top ten finish.

My first taste of the Lakeland Trails was really good it was such a relaxed event and very well organised, would I return? Definitely.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Hell Up North 2012

So after completing all the wainwrights, what next? a few local people told me about a race they had done the previous year called HellRunner (Hell Up North), so I looked it up and decided to hit the enter button. That was it my first race since my school years, 11 miles around the forest with a bog or two thrown in, can’t be that hard could it?

Race day came and boy it was chilly, just above freezing, the forest was full of harden runners and me not so hardened. I made my way over to the start once wave 1 had gone and 30 minutes later we were off. Straight into it the route took us up the old pale, I’m not too bad on hills, I think all my walking helps with that, so I was sitting just behind the lead group thinking to my self, it’s not too bad this.

After a couple of miles in we hit the forest down small muddy tracks, wave 1 had churned it up nicely by then and the first bog came. I saw a nice big log which sort of lay over the bog and I thought that’s my way across, one or two steps across the log and then straight in I went, I could hardly move, but managing to pull myself out, I scrambled up the bank and onwards . The next few miles were not to bad more muddy hills, streams and then what no one was expecting a LAKE. Lake Lucifa oh joy, I could hear everybody shouting so I decided on the tactic of just run in and hope for the best! it was freezing and it came straight upto my waist. Everyone was trying to stick to a ledge which was the shallow part, mistake 1 gridlock, nobody moved and I was getting colder and colder so I had no choice but to head for deeper water and swin for it! I’m so glad I did otherwise I would of been there another 20 minutes at least, I then made my way out and pressed on. I couldn’t feel my toes and I just wanted to finish now, I then came to the last bog, this was easy compared to the lake and then onwards for the finish line attempting a small sprint finish. I finished in 2hr.11min.17sec, finishing 328 out of 2500.

Obsession with trails

So how did my obsession with trail running begin ?

2 years ago I got invited by some friends from work to go up to the lakes to walk yes walk up some fells . I’ve always been into being outdoors Me and Suzanne had been up a few peaks in snowdonia and a few smaller walks in the Peak District . So off to the lakes I went this was my first hike up the lakeland fells and what can I say I just loved the place it just felt completely different to other places I’ve been very solitude and tranquil . So after a long day in the fells hiking up scafell pike and a few other sorrouding fells my obsession with peaks began one of my friends said he was ticking off all the Wainwrights Fells he said there’s only 214 I thought that’s a bit of a life time challenge . that’s where I was wrong 2 years later I was hiking up my final one all done 214 completed .