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.