Last year it was sunny. This year it wasn’t. It was squally, windy and cold and I didn’t like it. I like soft gentle snow or calm but cold. I don’t like rain, especially rain that goes more sideways than downways and has passed through a refrigeration process on its travels. Still, I’d driven from Durham to Brough Law. I was here now. I might as well run around a big hill for a few miles.
You know the weather’s a bit wild when Will uses the word ‘mandatory’ and ‘kit’ in the same sentence, in the same race briefing. I had three layers on, which for me, is the equivalent of a 15 Tog duvet, and I was still cold. We started and the mortals at the back crossed the road, hit the hill, and started walking. Then as we climbed and followed the shoulder of Brough Law round to the south a lovely thing happened. It all became surrealy calm. I’d expected it to get wilder as we got higher, not nicer. I was pleased to latch on to an Otley runner who paced me nicely round the the whole course observing all the corners and paths that some were choosing not to, until we returned to Brough Law and there is a surprisingly confusing fork in the tracks that can easily fool the runner even so close to home. She waited for me and with my years (1) of experience of the course I pointed along the right fork. She said this was her first race and she had certainly chose a baptism of sleet. There follows a joyous slightly mad grassy descent all the way to the finish, which is just the other side of the road. During a soggy presentation ceremony I spotted Louise McGolpin who I recognised from yesterday’s Harrier League. The race was won by Phil Sanderson.
I’ve just read Will’s report about how the course was marked out last night with help from the scouts under a meteor sky. That must have been a very special thing to see in a very special place.
A few striders aka Camilla, Alan Smith, Peter and Lyndsay enjoyed a drive over the snowy A68 to a brisk Bampton for the start of this Lakeland road race. I hadn’t prepared for it to be so cold so treated myself to a New Balance top from a discount stall in the village hall. I do like these smaller races where you can get a decent cup of hot tea right before the race. The start was a short walk out of Bampton, approx 600 runners gathered. The route was expecting to be undulating and on a last night update of the run website expected a couple of miles climb, eight miles flat and then down at the end with lots of mini undulations between.
After a couple of miles out of Bampton we were treated to the majestic sight of the snow-capped Lakeland fells – it was beautiful. Passed the Haweswater dam and then following the lake, very pretty and took the mind off any aches and pains. As this was an out-and-back race after 5 miles at my 10 min mile pace the front runners were coming back (lucky for them). At 6 miles there was an unexpected downhill to the half way point then back up the drag. This perplexed me but after a while it dawned on me the map I had taken in last night was only half the race, doh! We swapped encouragement with the fellow Striders who were all ahead of me, including Denise who had made her own way there. About 8 miles I caught up to Alan, but then he got a second wind and I couldn’t catch him again. The sun came out a bit towards the end and overall the weather was clement if not a bit windy running back up the hill at the halfway point!
I was pleased to finish under 2:20. The race memento was a nice mug which was filled with hot tea promptly. We declined to the pub where we met Barry and Christine who did shorter versions of the race each. Overall a good day out, nice race, nice company.
||City of Hull AC
||Hunters Bog Trotters