Daily Archives: 16th July 2019

Viking Chase, Lord Stones Country Park, Carlton Bank, Cleveland, Sunday, July 14, 2019

BM/12km/572m

Nick Latham

Courtesy of Clive Thornton

When is a race not a race?  When it isn’t on Strava?  That’s one opinion…

Jan Young asked on the Striders Facebook group if anyone wanted a lift in the week before, otherwise I would have missed it.  After convincing the family to come down and have a walk while the race was on, I rejigged my weekend’s runs to fit in.

I wasn’t planning to race earlier in the week and as I stood in the starting bunch of 91 runners, I came to the decision I wasn’t going to run it as one.  I’d been working on building some consistent aerobic mileage and didn’t want to ruin that with either an injury from an enthusiastic descent or just over-exertion.  I would take it relatively easy on the ascents and not over-egg it on the level and downhill.

I set off gently from the back half of the pack and was really chuffed to reach the trig point at the end of the first climb (stone track all the way) without having walked but not pushed into the red either.  There’s a first time for everything.  The descent back to the start was steeper and paved, which made it tougher, having to keep my eyes on my footing at all times, but at least this is where I’m at my most comfortable.  The paving was a theme on a lot of the path along the ridge to the turn at the far end.

That was only the first climb and I knew there were three more to come before the turn.  I ended up leap-frogging several other runners, them either being stronger than me on the ascent or descent (or me being stronger on the descent or ascent, whichever you prefer).  The views from the top of the ridge were spectacular, when I could lift my eyes off the path to take them in.  I decided to pause to take a snap on my phone, that’s how hard I wasn’t racing.

After a “scramble” through the Wainstones and the final ridge section, I came down to the third checkpoint at Clay Bank and turned for home…only to be faced with a fifth steep climb.  Minor planning fail, I hadn’t spotted this one on the elevation profile.  Once up this shorter climb, the forest track turned more undulating, without any more serious ascents and a net descent of about 50m.  An extra bonus was being back on earth rather than rock.  I still wasn’t pushing to the max and it was a good job I’d held back on the first half.  I was tiring but it seemed most of the other people I’d been swapping places with were struggling more as they fell back.

I say most because as I passed through the final gate off the fell I could hear footsteps behind me and one runner, from NYMAC, was close behind.  Rather than slam it in his face, I decided to hold it open and as he passed through I fell in behind him.  We turned onto the finishing field (unwelcomely slight uphill) and I already knew I wasn’t going to push him; if I was racing I would have dug in and given it some beans to the line, as it was I was content to follow him home.

Looking over the results, I was astounded to have come in around mid-table.  Nina Mason finished second lady and Camilla Lauren-Maatta was Striders’ other finisher, with Jan acting as sweeper for the day.

So when is a race not a race?  When you decide it isn’t.

Click here for the results

 

Skiddaw Fell Race, Sunday, July 7, 2019

AM/9.6m/3150ft

Nina Mason

Courtesy of Lucy Burnett

This one has been on my list for a few months, and it didn’t disappoint. I stayed over in the Lakes the night before (in my new van J and had a relaxing morning wandering round Keswick and down to the lake. The weather was fabulous, if a little warm for running.

After a proper warm up and mandatory kit check, I bumped into Graeme seconds before the start, and then we were off. The race starts and finishes in Fitz Park, and is as simple as it gets….get up Skiddaw as quick as you can (you must stick to the tourist path), one checkpoint at the summit, then back to the park as fast as possible.

Courtesy of Lucy Burnett

It was run, jog, or trudge on the way up, depending on the incline, and I felt pretty good, catching and passing people most of the way. I’ve started to enjoy these ‘out and backs’ – it’s inspiring and exciting seeing the front runners come hurtling past. The eventual winner had a clear lead as he passed me on the flatter section round Little Man, and a few minutes and runners later Graeme got a massive shout from me – he looked strong on his descent.

Courtesy of Lucy Burnett

After my run across the flat summit to the trig, and a breathless ‘thank you’ to the marshals, I set off on the fantastic descent. I absolutely loved this, trying to hold nothing back even on the steeper sections, running as hard as I could all the way. I got a ‘5th lady well done’ from one of the marshals about half way down, so when I saw the 4th female in front, not going as quick as me on the steep descent, I went for it – running past hard, and then trying to keep it going past the car park near Latrigg and down the final section, determined not to show weakness and look behind.

I was convinced she was right there behind me all the way, as I crossed the A66 over the bridge, and raced toward the park. A sneaky peek back as I entered the park showed me I was well clear (thank goodness, my legs had very little left in them), and then all that was needed was an attempt to sprint finish on the grass.

I really enjoyed this race – well organised, brilliant supportive marshals all the way up (and of course down), and on the day we were thoroughly spoiled by glorious weather and views (though not much time to enjoy them). 

Well done to Graeme who had a great race, and seemed to retain healthy feet…see below. I was very pleased with both my time and position, with the added bonus of getting the 3rd women’s prize, as one of the faster women declined her prize as she works for the sponsors.

The only downside…I trashed my feet. I don’t think different shoes would have helped, it must just have been the heat, terrain and my running style. I’ve taken all the skin off the soles of my heels. I even have photos if anyone is interestedJ. I’ve been hobbling around, cross because I can’t run despite feeling great otherwise, walking on tip-toe until they healed (heeled!) enough to weight-bear. I’ll be strapping them up the next time I do this race (which is a strong possibility!).

 

Click here for results