There’s nothing quite like standing in a village hall surrounded by hardy fell runner types who are geared up to the eyeballs to make you feel totally under-prepared for what you are about to undertake, so we had a cup of tea and eyed up the post-race cake options to take our minds off things. All too soon we were being piped down to Sedburgh main street; first off were those doing the full marathon, 10 minutes later it was our turn.
This was a tough event, the first third being pretty much sustained steep uphill, quickly taking us up off the tarmac onto the fellside and up over Winder, past Arant Haw, over Calders to the high point of the day of The Calf. A stiff wind kept the cloud off and we had amazing views across to the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the rest of the Howgills.
A speedy and, at times, technical descent took us straight down by Cautley Spout to the checkpoint at the Fox and Hounds pub where full fat coke and a good selection of calorie laden snacks awaited. The final 6 or so miles followed a selection of undulating tracks and grass paths along the valley and riverbanks through numerous kissing gates which nicely broke the running rhythm up just when you needed to try and maintain forward momentum.
The route was really clearly marked, over a wide variety of terrain, with amazing views. We achieved our goal of finishing in one piece and were a fair way of the dreaded ‘L word’. As an extra treat a range of freshly baked pork pies, sausage rolls, scotch eggs and soup were available to purchase along with the aforementioned cake.
The whole event had a really friendly feel to it, and seemed really well organised and marshalled (our only gripe was failing to find the event car park but managed to park on a side street with no problem.) We were chip timed and got a decent technical t shirt in the goody bag – we would definitely recommend this event.