When I got to Coniston it was yet another dull and raining day but guess the way the summer is going it was no surprise. I knew once I got started I would be okay, it’s just the hanging around for the race to start that’s no fun.
There was the option of doing a half or full marathon, I was doing the half. Dave wasn’t with me for this as he was doing the Hamsterley Forest Marathon.
The race started and it was still raining very heavily. It was funny watching people trying to dodge around all the puddles. I knew well enough from the other trail races that I was going to get wet feet at some point and decided to just plough through them as it uses much less energy.
The first couple of miles were fairly flat but there was a bit of a climb at mile three before dropping back down a little. From about mile four we started to climb again until we reached Tarn Hows at about mile seven. Tarn Hows is just beautiful, even in the rain it looked stunning. We had to do a loop and a bit, it was undulating but lovely scenery is such a good distraction. At mile ten as we left Tarn Hows there was a very steep decent. Sadly this lasted for only about half a mile. I did enjoy the last section though, running along the path on the edge of Coniston lake before returning to the beginning, a lap of the field then finish. The course was a little short, my watched measured 12.7 miles but I’m not really bothered, its not like its a PB kind of course.
David Catterick picked me up from the Duke at 8:15, then Kathryn from Meadowfield. Looked like it was going to be just nice conditions for running – cool and a bit cloudy. Arrived at Hamsterley Forest and met up with Dave Robson. Also met my old friend Liz who ran the Kielder Marathon, but this time she was marshalling. Then met Yvonne Jones who was also marshalling – nice to see her again after so long. Then a lady caught sight of our Striders tops and came over and introduced herself as Claire Readey’s aunty.
So at 9:30 we set off, me with David Catterick and Kathryn with Dave Robson. Flat along the road to the Grove then it started to climb. David and I takled the first long hill at a jog and passed another chap walking up, but by the time we reached the top he came sailing past us. Said this was his tactic for the hills, so we made a mental note of that for the second lap. After that a nice level bit then the slow descent back down to the Grove. Second lap we needed to walk the hill a bit and it certainly did seem to be working. By the third lap I had to walk even more of the hill and David pressed on ahead. By the top I was all done and even the final descent I couldn’t manage to pick up speed. Back and feet hurting and barely walking the last bit of road back from the Grove to the finish at the visitor centre. Finally limped home in 4hrs 23 mins. Never saw Claire’s aunty after the first lap, but there she was at the finish with Claire ( and Gem), having done it in 3hrs 58. Kathryn was next Strider back, then Dave Robson.
Then it was off home – thanks for driving David, there was no way I could have managed! I’ll leave the others to give their version of events. I think they actually enjoyed it!