Category Archives: Windermere Marathon

Asics Windermere Marathon 2017, Brathay Hall, Ambleside, Sunday, May 21, 2017

26.2 miles

Catherine Smith

The journey to Brathay Windermere Marathon – May 23rd 2016 – May 21st 2017


Almost exactly a year ago to the day that I ran Windermere (my first solo official marathon) I was coming back from a number of ongoing niggles and injuries, I wanted to get faster but had fallen out of love with running after training for Dark Skies which I ran through the night with Gareth and storm Katie in March 2016 (my first realllly long race – 26.8 miles round kielder – I like to make things easy for myself!).  I hated the feeling of ‘having to run’ during training and hated the fact the injuries were also stopping me enjoy running.


I asked Anna Seeley (coaching co-ordinator) for a training plan and we met to discuss where I was at, what I wanted to do and what my running habits / preferences were, she designed a really flexible, simple, yet effective, plan for me to follow and I saw the benefits being realised pretty much straight away, I got my mojo back, niggles were kept at bay and the PBs were falling until one fateful shopping trip when I treated myself to a new pair of trainers because ‘they looked good’ and ‘matched better’ (DOH).  Soon after I developed heel / foot issues which was diagnosed as plantar fasciitis. I was in a lot of pain and spent a number of months and large sums of cash trying to resolve the issue.  I ‘water ran’ to nelly the elephant (thanks Katy Walton for the tip and loan of the float) and followed various stretching, PT and Pilates regimes in an attempt to fix it & not lose too much fitness but it was taking such a long time to heal I was struggling mentally and physically.


Thankfully I seemed to turn a corner in the last few months, I couldn’t say exactly what made the difference, probably a combination of everything but I was finding my fitness was coming back & I was able to chip at a couple of my PBs again without the foot flaring.  I was entering local longer runs and doing them as a run walk strategy to minimise injury flaring (Leas Marathon- did 20 miles and loved it) Locke park 20 was a fab day out running in circles with some of the purple posse and I was organising some regular Sunday long runs with a variety of folks.  Before I knew it I realised that I had sort of been doing an informal Marathon training plan without any ‘have to’ feelings, I was loving running again and had had none of the pressure of following a rigid plan!  On the back of this realisation and the high of my Blackpool half pb I floated the idea of running a low key marathon sooner rather than later and suddenly we were booked for a weekend in the lakes with a Windermere entry in!! Not a fast or flat course – in fact probably more challenging than keilder but it would be during the day, I wouldn’t have to carry ‘full kit’ and I very much hoped storm Katie or any of her mates wouldn’t make an appearance


With Anna’s input I had decided on a run the flats / downs and walk the big hills strategy to minimise injury / foot flaring.  I had never ran over 14.2 miles alone before so this was big for me but I was excited as much as I was nervous.  Gareth had decided to enter too as he had unfinished business with Windermere- his first ever marathon which totally broke him! He wanted to right that wrong of a ‘terrible’ performance (no gear and no idea) which culminated in a 3.07 first Marathon time (if only ha ha) so we both had challenging goals we wanted to achieve.


I had set my ‘if only’ at 4.45 and sub 5 as a ‘must do’ Anna said she thought I should run to feel and I might surprise myself, but I was too worried about hitting the wall and bailing into the hotel pool & spa at mile 20 (that’s where our hotel was on the route) or being over taken by a penguin (Mike Parker I blame you for this irrational fear ha ha) or having pull out because of injury so I decided to aim for approx 10.55-11.15mm and take it from there.


On the morning of the race we met other striders in a rainy field where the Parking was organised by enthusiastic marshals who played a massive part in making the day such a success


As we squelched over to get our numbers I noticed that the t shirt was purple & white, and they had a ladies fit (I am normally swapped in race tees) so I felt this was a sign! I told myself I would be achieving my first solo marathon & bought the tee as my motivation / reward!


Obligatory strider selfies done we followed the marching band to the start, it was rather emotional and exciting, the day was starting to brighten up and we all wished our purple club mates good luck as we lined up, Gareth and Elaine moved up to the front, Gareth was definitely feeling relaxed as the start line picture shows ha ha


The gun went, the band start playing and we were off! This was it! More emotion as the crowds clapped and called out good luck wishes…. internal pep talk with myself & I settled into my pace, glanced at my watch, going too fast! Must slow down, got 26 hilly miles to go! I had decided to run with average pace set as that way I wouldn’t panic about the walks slowing me down or start racing to bring it back in line, I had used it for Blackpool half so felt confident that would be a good plan for Windermere too. First mile ticked off going too fast! Feeling good but 25 to go! The first hill loomed and I had the dilemma of the walking this early what would people think?? then I reminded myself this was my race & I had a plan for a reason! I wanted to get round in one piece and I wanted to recover sooner afterwards injury free so I slowed to a pacy walk, I was the first but others copied, I glanced at my watch, average pace hardly changed, still too fast, another mile ticked off.  This became my routine & I was absolutely loving the run, I felt strong as I moved up the miles, pace was still faster than any of those I’d predicted / planned to aim for – I was walking the hills and making the most of the flats and downs, I took time to hydrate at all the stations and kept up fuelling with chia charge flap jack as well as gels & shot blocks.  A good couple of miles were breezed though ahead of pace as I distracted myself trying to get chia seeds out of my teeth!


The marshal support at the drink stations and throughout the race was amazing as was that from spectators in the villages – I took time to say thanks and smile (I was pretty much grinning all the way round) and high 5’d the scouts who were cheering us on next to a purple cow! Resisted the urge for a purple cow selfie (THAT TOOK GREAT WILLPOWER)


I chatted to folks on the way some joined me on the walk bits but then dropped off as I picked up the pace again on the running bits – pace still to fast! I was worried that the wall or the penguin moments would happen or that the hydration fluid might decide it didn’t like me but I still felt great  cautiously optimistic! I passed our hotel and mile 20 & was smiling rather than wanting to bail, just 10k to go, I’d got this! It was soon after that Malcolm gave me a shout out a marshal point – he had had to pull out because of his knee, that made me sad but also more determined, I thought of him, Mandy & Lesley, people who couldn’t run at this time and would give anything to swap places and dug deep!


Gareth and I had driven this last section so I knew what was coming I knew we had icecream mountain ahead (big hill with an icecream van at the top) I seemed to be getting even quicker!! I dared to think that my 4.45 dream could be a reality! I didn’t appear to be hitting the wall, I continued with the hydrating/fuelling and run/walk and before I know it I was up & over icecream mountain, picking somewhat broken folks off along the way, I checked they were ok as I ran passed giving words of encouragement – I remembered Gareth telling me that was where he’d seen lots of folks struggling in his first Windermere attempt.


Last water station ahead, something cold, pink, rather sticky & delicious as my last fluid intake & off I went, chatted to a guy who said he didn’t think he could make it – I encouraged him to come along to Mile 25 with me & he did for a while, but dropped off as we came to the last mile. Checked watch something like a 9.53 min mile?!? Oops!! Still way ahead of average pace I had planned beautiful views of the lake I was feeling good but one thing that was messing with my head was the fact my watch had lost distance so I wasn’t displaying the same as the mile markers, what ifs kicked in….  I missed the 26 mile marker somehow (there were ALOT of luminous yellow signs) so I wasn’t sure what I had left to go, the last push to the finish is not fun at all it’s twisty turny, a drag followed by proper uphill – none of us enjoyed that section! But then you round the corner and it’s the down hill of the finish funnel to cross the line, I sprinted, glanced my watch, didn’t dare to believe it! Heard Gareth and Anna shout out, I’d done it!! 4.37.19!!! I’d earned my purple tee and exceeded all of my expectations!! I was over the moon! Anna came over to say well done and tell me that Gareth and Elaine had won prizes & id made it in time to see them – our Marathon day was totally meant to be!


Thanks for reading! I would highly recommend Windermere as a challenging but low key road marathon with the joys of the enthusiast marshals and spectacular views to distract you from the hills (definitely not on the fast/flat list!)

Results available here


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Brathay Windermere Marathon 2015, Sunday, May 17, 2015

Elaine Bisson

Having spent most of my childhood holidays camping and walking in the lakes, Windermere marathon sounded like a great challenge. I’d stuck to the 12 week training plan Allan had given me to the T. I had trailed in Jon Ayres’ dust as he rallied me along on the early morning weekend runs. This was finally it, this was marathon day! I knew what I had to do “just keep running, just keep running” (thanks Katy Walton!), I actually had a marathon race plan…I was going to stick to it. 3:20…was it too ambitious? To coin Allan’s much loved phrase “butterflies flying in formation”, they weren’t, they were out of control.

It’s a pretty low key marathon, registration is open from friday until 15 minutes before the race begins. There are about 700 runners, including those amazing 10in10 runners who run Windermere marathon for 10 consecutive days…their final, our one and only. There’s ample parking in the field, plenty of portaloos portable toilets [You’ll have Dick emailing us again, I kid ye not. – Ed], changing facilities and even an ice plunge pool if you’re brave enough to yelp in public!

At 10:10 all runners are called to assemble on the lawn in front of Brathay Hall and we are taken down to the start line following the drum band. I took my place, inching near the front and looked around at my competitors.

10:30, the gun fires and we are off. I try really hard to reign myself in, after tapering I get a little too excited that I can actually run again and usually set off far too fast. The course climbs steadily for the first 3 miles, it plays around a bit then there is a hill to rival Redhills on the 8th mile. I took my time up it and got to the top with the help of two bag pipers, their music drifting through the trees.

Its quite a pretty run, passing through Hawkshead, along Esthwaite water, and on to Newby Bridge. I was running well and got a lift at Newby bridge where the street was lined with 20/30 spectators clapping and shouting encouragement. For most of the course you get the odd hiker or cyclist..thats it. Oh and trying to avoid the odd bus and car as it hurtles down the country lanes is also a must!

A lovely lady is waiting in a lay-by with a table heavily laden with kendal mint cake, flapjack, cupcakes, jelly babies…I resisted temptation, stopping for a picnic was not on the plan and Jon Ayres had warned me off taking any mint cake from strangers! Then on to the second half back up the side of Windermere. This is where it starts getting tough, just looking up the Lake seems immense! Again no rest for weary legs, undulating as always, a pretty hefty climb again at mile 15, by mile 18 I’d really wished I’d considered a flat course, this was relentless.

On to “icecream mountain”, nicknamed by regular Brathay marathoners, a hill with an icecream van at the top and a few cheering spectators. By this stage it did feel like a mountain and I’m afraid to say I walked up that mountain. However in walking I actually overtook the man in front of me who was still trying to run. Encouraged I set off again, eager to make up my lost seconds. My final gel guzzled down, in the 22nd mile I felt like I was flying, autopilot, strong and buzzing from the sugar rush. Great encouragement from Allan had me waving manically, I felt great, I was nearly there surely…then the dip and I still had 3 miles to go, I could see the finish now and it didn’t seem to be getting any closer. I’d caught up 10 runners, at the next water station I passed 3 women, this urged me on, I felt strong but my watch told me I was slowing…

1 mile to go on from Ambleside, just round the tip of the lake, over a little bridge, through the bottom of the drive. I catch a glimpse of my eldest Lucy waiting at the gateway. Allan shouts on encouragement to get up the hill as fast as I can (I later find he had thought I’d get 3:19:56…oh dear must have been the walk up the hill!). I push on up the hill. Harry and Sophie are waiting, John is at the top. It feels like forever and my legs are really tightening up, I really want to stop, I let out an involuntary ow!ow!ow! , then relief as it levels to the finish. A small runway lined with clapping and cheering spectators, the commentator is saying my name over the loud speaker, I finally get over the line. A lady puts a medal round my neck and I drop at her feet absolutely finished, 3:20:28! Bang on target! Water, banana, jelly babies await. After a quick change, Lucy helping as my legs keep cramping up, I hit the tea stall…lots of tea later and onto the ice lollies, then gin and tonic sorbet…a little elated and maybe a little drunk they announce the prizes are to be awarded. I somehow bagged 3rd lady and first in my f35 age category…a cup, a tin of Grasmere gingerbread and £50 of asics vouchers…but that is not the icing on the cake, the fact that Joss Naylor is the man to present it to me pretty much makes this day “A Great Day!”

My long suffering husband has spent most of the weekend entertaining our 3 kids and puppy as I have been in a world of my own in the pre marathon void. The best thing for him about this race is that I got the time I set out to get…relief for him I might actually be in a good mood until I start contemplating my next target. The next best thing for him is that the kids were in heaven. They feasted from the lovely food stalls…hot dogs, burgers, chips, candyfloss, crepes, waffles, ice cream. They ate them all. They also went on high ropes, low ropes, climbing wall, zip wire and a fun run…and Elsa and Olaf were drifting around throughout the day.

So they say, “mummy, can you do this again next year?”…now that is a question worth considering!


position name club cat cat pos gun time chip time
1 Grant Johnson MOPEN 1 02:40:47 02:40:46
25 Katherine Cousins Lancaster & Morecambe AC FOPEN 1 03:07:27 03:07:23
53 Elaine Bisson FV35 1 03:20:32 03:20:28
259 Lucy Cowton FOPEN 14 04:01:24 04:00:35
299 Andrew Thompson MOPEN 113 04:07:34 04:06:42
318 Eric Green MV45 43 04:10:25 04:09:36
374 Ian Spencer MV50 46 04:22:46 04:21:42
397 Melanie Hudson FV35 24 04:27:10 04:26:19
400 Dave Robson MV60 3 04:27:42 04:26:50
498 Alister Robson MV40 64 04:45:17 04:44:25
608 Jacquie Robson FV35 38 05:16:17 05:15:25

699 finishers.

(Visited 58 times, 1 visits today)

The Brathay Windermere Marathon, Ambleside, Sunday, May 18, 2014

Melanie Hudson

Taped up, ready to go again ...When we had planned to do two marathons in two days we had totally underestimated how tough the first one was going to be. It had left Dave suffering with muscle cramps all evening and my IT Band was causing me knee pain. We woke for day two and Dave was feeling much better, however my knee still felt sore, even when just walking. However, I had my mind set on doing today so I thought I would at least start and see how things went. I spent yesterday evening and this morning stretching and rolling. Dave also stuck me back together with K-Tape. I have never used tape before and I was dubious as to whether it would make any difference, however I was willing to try anything at this point.

We arrived at Brathay Hall and registered. As we walked to the start we spotted Sue. The three of us assembled on the road and towards the back of the field and then we were off. It was chip timed so there was rush to get over the start line.

It was a pretty hot day and after yesterdays heat it was something we could have done without.

Dave and I decided to run separately, I felt that because we were very tired we needed to go at the pace that suited us the best. The first mile my knee niggled on and off but then I suffered very little with it after that. Dave caught up with me, when I was doing some preventative stretching, at mile 6 and we ran together for the next five miles before I pulled on ahead. For the first 13 miles I ran most of the undulations and I was averaging 10.5 minute miles, which is far better than I had imagined I would do, however I was not convinced that I could maintain that pace. At mile 14 I started to feel sickly and not great, the heat was really starting to take its toll. From then on I walked some of the hills and started to pour water over my head to cool myself down. This seemed to help, I had no appetite but forced bits of flapjack down as I knew I probably did not have many energy reserves after yesterday. Miles 14 to 20 just seemed to go on forever, relentless undulations, hot weather conditions, it was such a relief to reach mile 20. The course also gets a bit easier at this point until near the end. The final part takes you up a steep hill to Brathay hall. I would normally run this regardless of how tired I was, with it being so close to the finish, however today I just looked at it and thought ‘no way’. It then flattens out and I ran into the finish.

I felt very emotional, I don’t know if it was because I had put my body through so much or I felt overwhelmed at managing two tough marathons in two days. I was also very happy with my time of 4 hours 38, since my aim was to just finish.

Dave came in at 5 hours 1 minute finishing in a much better condition than the previous day.

I realised today just how much of running is about the mind as it is about body. When I got very tired today I just kept reminding myself that I know I can do a marathon and that I trusted my body to know how to get me around.

They did it!

This is the second time I have done Brathay Marathon and this year they have really improved traffic management. In previous years about a third of the course was on open roads with cars getting pretty close. However now they have extended the road closures and it felt much safer.

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Brathay Marathon, Sunday, May 19, 2013

Gareth Pritchard

As a relatively new member to the striders, I am still finding my feet in the world of running and this race was my very first marathon (baptism by fire). Not sure if this was the best choice for my first, but the chance to run such a beautiful course won me over.

The race Starts/finishes at Brathay Hall, a very nice large hotel in extensive grounds overlooking Lake Windermere itself. With heavy rain the day before, I was happy to see the weather change for the better on race day. With almost perfect running conditions I got the chance to wear my new Striders running vest for the very first time. I joined up with some fellow Striders before the race and got some last min race tips from Dave.

Gareth, with a well-earned medal.

The facilities were ideal, with ample toilets (very important), changing facilities and various stalls set up for the fun day held at the same time. Parking was well organised despite the boggy ground and the race organiser were all very friendly. The race begins with a slow procession led by a brass band down the main road where the race starts, a very good idea and adds to the build up and excitement. The 10 in 10 runners had already set off before the main race, this being their 10th and last marathon in 10 consecutive days. Yep, you read that right; they run this marathon every day for ten days in a row round one of the hardest courses in the UK. These people are truly outstanding athletes; I passed a few of the 10 in 10 runners on the way round and gave as much support as possible. This really adds something to the race experience and helps keep you going.

My build up for the race had been good, with same fast half marathon results and injury free being the main one. Being new to marathon running I got great advice from Striders during the last few months. I also found the weekly pod cast; marathon talk, to be of great help. I gave myself a 4/5 month training build up and aimed to do 60+ miles a week. In the end I found this impossible to do, I just found it too hard finding the time to fit 4/5 runs in a week and only hit 50 miles a few times. I still hit the start line feeling good and was ready for my first marathon.

The bang went and the race began, I was a good way off the start line but still had lots of room at the start to get up to race pace with ease. I had a rough aim of 7 min miles for the first half and decided to check my watch at each mile marker. The first 4/5 miles is on closed off traffic free roads towards Hawkshead where I was stopping over the weekend with my better half. I felt very good over these first few miles with my mile times hitting 6:45 min miles. I knew this was too fast and should slow down, but on I went. I charged down a large hill towards Hawkshead to see Kathleen and our pet dog cheering me on as I waved like a mad man. Felt great and pushed on past the lead female runner and settled on the back of a group for the next few miles.

The hills kept coming till mile 7 when the daddy hill hit, Dave already warned me so was ready and dug in. Soon I was picking off running and chasing the next one down. At mile 10 I knew I should slow down but found myself locked in a good battle with the lead group, yes the lead group. I knew I was in trouble at this point but the excitement of the race kept me going. I think at mile 13 I was in the top 3 and still felt strong passing half way in 1h26 ish I think. This is when the Windermere’s relentless undulations started to hit me hard. There are almost no flat bits on this course and I knew the wall was on its way to meet me.

At mile 17 I was not enjoying the race anymore, with the lead runner leaving me behind and the first signs of cramp in my right leg. Dont panic Gareth, don’t panic was all that was running through my head. The next big hill was mile 20 and this well and truly finished off my legs, I ran to the top but knew my race was over. I was over heating badly and it felt like forever between water stations, thankfully some kind person had an orange on offer at the top of the hill to keep me going. Cramp hit me hard at this point and I have no idea how I kept going, I have never felt such pain and was getting funny looks from the spectators as I grunted my way past mile 21. Over the next 5 mile I was passed by a lot of runners and could do nothing about it but try to keep going. With 3 miles to go I found my 10th wind, with the idea that it’s only a parkrun to do I dug in and raised my pace again.

Home straight and was faced with…… yes another hill. Dig in time and even managed a small sprint finish crossing the line in 3h07mins 08 sec. I have never been so worn out in my life as I felt then; all I could do was hang over the railing pouring water over my head and spent the next 10 mins trying to breathe and not to just roll over and collapse.

Over all I am happy with the time and have a new found respect for anyone who puts themselves through this massive challenge of running a marathon. One amazing marathon course but you have to respect the hills and distance or suffer as I did. Will I run a marathon again? One a year maybe but Windermere is too hard on my knees; I still want to be running in my 60’s if possible. Well worth doing just for the experience, my first marathon but probably not my last.


Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Marcus Scotney Howgill Harriers M 1 2:38:50
17 Gareth Pritchard M 8 3:07:08
19 Nicola Shaw Unattached F 1 3:08:58
397 Jane Ives FV40 13 4:18:59
415 Melanie Hudson FV35 17 4:20:49
495 Angela Proctor FV35 25 4:36:28
508 Dave Robson MV60 8 4:39:23
567 Claire Readey FV35 29 4:51:16
682 Sue Jennings FV45 23 5:34:48
DNF John Greathead M DNF

721 finishers.

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Windermere Marathon, Brathay, Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dave Robson

I joined the Striders in August 2005 with the mindset that at the ripe old age of 54, it was far too late to start running marathons. This resistance lasted just over a year until the Autumn of 2006 when someone sent round an email about a new marathon round Windermere. I was very tempted, so I thought that if I was going to do one marathon, what could be more scenic than running round Windermere. Anyway May seemed a very long way away…

So I entered, did some training and in May 2007 turned up at the lovely Brathay Hall next to the lake. It was a lovely location, the organisation was great and there was a great atmosphere. My children came and watched their Dad do his one marathon. Everything went fine until 21m, I was enjoying it, but soon after I was hit by cramp and my training was shown to be inadequate. The last few miles were tough. Still it had been a lovely day and I had completed a marathon and there was no way I was going to do another one. My daughter reminds me of this frequently.

Six months later the pain had receded in my memory and I entered Windermere again and more marathons and ultras after that. In 2011 I went slightly mad and completed thirty marathons or ultras in my sixtieth year. This year I am going to take it easier, but running the Windermere marathon has always been on my list, so I was back for my sixth time round the lake and my sixty fourth marathon/ultra.

Dave enjoys a well-earned beerThe event is always preceded by truly amazing people who run the course ten times in ten days with the final day on the day of the marathon. As usual I went over early on day 9 to see the runners on the route, a few of whom I know. One of them was doing the event for the fourth time, that is forty times round the lake ! Melanie came with me and we found it pretty cold on the Saturday. There were eighteen runners doing the ten in ten this year and they all finished, but it was very hard work for some of them. Some of them were out there for eight hours on some days, which does not leave much time to recover before the next day. I have been tempted by this event especially before they set off for the final day, but once I am out there on the course, my enthusiasm evaporates. It is a very scenic but it is a hilly course and the thought of doing that route every day, well not for me.

The weather on the day of the marathon was much warmer, sunny and no wind. I saw the ten in ten runners off, they start an hour before the main event, and chatted to other marathon runners who I have met at other events around the country. There was a rolling start which was new for this year. The runners were led down to the start and as soon as the first ones got there, the gun was fired. It was chip timed so that was fine

The first half down to Newby Bridge went fine, though it was a little warm. Fortunately, the clouds came over at that point and that made it easier. The third quarter of the race I always find hard. There is a 4m stretch of tough undulations on the way to Bowness. These took a toll on me and it slowed my pace. I got back in 4hr 39min, my slowest time there, but I know I am not in the best shape at the moment, probably too many races. I had a bottle of specially brewed ten in ten beer at the end, the nearest I will come to doing that event !

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Windermere Marathon, Brathay, Sunday, May 22, 2011

Jane Ives

Jane and Dave at the finish.So, another long run involving lakes and hills – you’d think I’d have learnt by now! The weather was not kind at the start (it wasn’t very kind for camping the night before either!) The runners sheltered from heavy rain and a hail storm before being walked to the start accompanied by a drumming band. Dave and I set off well but it wasn’t long before we hit the ‘undulations’. We ran at a great pace though and wondered if we could keep it up! After a few more miles into the strong head-wind we hit half-way at a little over 2 hours. The weather warmed up and as we turned for home at Newby Bridge it was good to get the wind behind us. More hills followed and I soon realised I was over-heating – a quick change of kit followed (apologies again to Dave and passers-by for the sudden exposure!). The hills of the second half (especially the big one at 21 miles) took their toll a little and we were both suffering a little.

On Dave’s insistence we parted company at about 23 miles and I put my head down hoping to come in at under 4.30. The last 2 miles were flat (except the hill on the Brathay Estate!) and finished feeling good with a PB of 4.21, with Dave close behind at 4.26. Lovely course, very well marshalled and excellent organisation – I’d highly recommend it. Think I might choose a flat sort of race next!!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Stephen Littler Wesham Road Runners M 1 2:32:08
40 Nicola Shaw Unattached FV40 1 3:11:53
417 Jane Ives FV40 17 4:21:22
449 Dave Robson MV55 19 4:26:59

677 finishers.

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Windermere Marathon, Brathay, Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dave Robson

Dave happy to have finished another marathon. I left home early on Saturday morning to support the 10 marathons in 10 days runners. They do the Windermere marathon route every day and the final day is the day of the race itself. I got to Brathay and registered and spoke to some of the runners and other friends from Fetch who had arrived to see them start. The 10 in 10 runners are an amazing group of people, I am very impressed and in awe of them all. Both the fastest male and female records were beaten this year.

I then drove down to the Swan at Newby Bridge and watched most of them through there and then onto the hill at 21m to see most of them through that bit. Lots of people from Fetch and friends and relatives of the runners at both points to chat to, so time flew by. The day had started pretty cloudy but it was pretty warm by the end.

Then off to Wilf’s in Staveley to meet up with my daughter and partner and later my son and his partner. Lovely meal later and then I had an early night whilst the youngsters had a few drinks in the village.

Up early this morning for a light breakfast for me (but not for them, I just looked on enviously) and then drove to Brathay. Lots of chat, saw the 10 in 10 runners off again and then prepared for my own race. I had no idea how I might do. 4.30 – 5.00 would be fine. 4.15 would be great, sub 4 no chance.

I started off steadily and after a few miles I was just over 9 min/mile pace, which was nice. How long would that last ? Got to halfway in dead on 2hr and I started to dream a little. Then I remembered the third quarter is the hardest part, lots of ups and downs in that section so I said to myself ‘get through that and see where you are at 20m’. Well I was 3hr 5min at 20m and starting to tire, so sub-4 had gone. I kept going to some Fetch supporters at the top of the steep 21m hill and got lots of cheers and encouragement (‘get running’, ‘we’ll be watching to see if you walk any more’ !), but then as three years ago, I just seemed to lose everything in my legs just when I could have put my foot down. I resorted to telling myself just to grind it out. Managed to reach 25m in 3h 55min so realised I had an excellent chance of a course pb. The last mile and bit was tough and I had to walk up the steep drive, but I got home in 4hr 10min 53sec a course pb and my third fastest marathon ever, so I was very pleased.

I was very tired after the finish, I just had to lie down for a while. Its been some time since I have so tired after a marathon. I think last weekend’s races were the reason, but overall I was very happy.

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Windermere Marathon, Brathay, Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dave Robson

Spot the Strider.

This was my first marathon two years ago and although I struggled from mile 22 onwards, I enjoyed it. Last year I was doing it after the White Peak the day before and I surprised myself how well it went.

This year it didn’t start well, I slept poorly the night before, so I was still tired when I woke up. The day before had been fun watching and encouraging the Ten marathons in Ten Days runners at various points round the Lake (they do the marathon course every day !). Met many people I knew, including Phil Owen who came over to watch and support them.

Go to the start in plenty of time and and saw the Ten in Ten runners off on their final lap (they start an hour earlier), more chat and then off to our start. The plan was to be disciplined and do 10 min/miles and help others to new pbs. My hamstring hasn’t been good this week and I have Edinburgh in two weeks, so it was always going to be gentle, enjoy the scenery, run.

The course is very undulating and it wasn’t easy to keep a consistent pace. My plan as it evolved through the race was to stick as close as I could to 10 min/miles and not to speed up to catch others who were speeding up, but to slow down if people were struggling to keep up. We were a minute or two ahead of schedule at 13m and then the hardest undulating quarter kicked in and we started to slip behind the schedule. Andrew had always been slightly ahead and he disappeared soon after half way. Kev went ahead at 15m, followed by Tracy at about 18m, leaving me and Mel.

Then at 19m I fell ! I had moved off the road to look at my watch and caught my foot on a driveway kerbstone. It was like being in slow motion, I thought I had recovered, but I hadn’t and I smacked down on the driveway. Ouch. Everybody around me stopped to ask if I was okay and I knew from previous experience of falling that I had to give myself a minute to assess the damage. Initial assessment was good so I told Mel on go on and said I would try and catch her up. I was up at this stage and walked for a bit. The inside of my left hand was a but bloody and grazed and I had slight pain in my side at chest height, but no damage to my legs.

Caught Mel up before we got to Bowness and we went along the flat part and walked the 21m hill to be greeted by a couple of friends at the top, it was great to see them. I was becoming conscious of the soreness in my side and my hamstring was starting to protest, left calf was tightening and it was starting to become harder work.

Then at 22m, the heavens opened and rain came down in buckets. Before this it had been a mixture of cloudy and sunny with a slight head wind in the first half. Mel was starting to struggle a bit, but it was clear we were going to get her a new pb and it seemed to be possible to get her under 4hr 30m. In the end we missed that by 23 seconds, but got her a new pb by about 6min, so that was great!

Afterwards I was amazed how tired I was. Not sure whether it was because of poor sleep or the fall, but it seemed worse that it had been the last two years.

A lovely weekend!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Ian Fisher Otley AC 02:35:32
614 Dave Robson M55 334 4:30:21

836 finishers.

(Visited 30 times, 1 visits today)

Windermere Marathon, Brathay, Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dave Robson

We stayed in Staveley near Kendal, but not at my usual place, this time we were outside the village in a house with fantastic views, but I did miss my usual place.

We got to Brathay in plenty of time and we were encouraged to park the cars near the lake so that my support team would not have far to carry their windsurfers and canoes ! They had a great time again. We met up with loads of Fetchies and it was great to feel part of a group, there were about ten of them doing the District Double.

I had no idea how the race was going to go. My legs had cramped the day before and I felt very tired after White Peak, so the signs didn’t look good. However, a night in compression socks seemed to have helped quite a bit. I decided just to see how it went and slow down if the cramp came back. I took it very easy at first but soon settled into the pace of 10 min/miles that I had got into the day before. Ran for a while with a 100 marathon club runner and chatted away about marathons, it was great. I was taking sports drink and kendal mint at every station and also a gel every 4.5m. Never done sports dring and gels together before but it didn’t seem to be doing me any harm. Walked the 7m hill and lost a couple of minutes, but then plodded on at the same pace.

As yesterday from about 5m I was catching and overtaking people and this seemed to help me along. As we turned at the bottom of the lake, the sun had gone behind clouds and it remained that way until the end. The next 5m after halfway were tough with lots of climbs and descents.

I remember reading a fellow fetchie’s blog of Windermere last year as she described her district double. As I recall she found a second wind somewhere round the last quarter and much to my amazement I found something similar (just a lot less speedy !). Another Doubler seems to have had something similar this year. At about 18m after the tough undulations, I suddenly felt strong and started to speed up. I walked only some of the 21m hill but didn’t lose too much. I speeded up a bit more in the last two miles.

In the last mile I passed one of the 10 marathons in 10 days runners (they do the same course every day, just amazing !) and I congratulated him on what he had done and then as I ran on he noticed that I had done White Peak (I had the white peak race number on my back) and he gave me some lovely loud cheers which encouraged me a bit more. Got a few comments about my sanity on the way round because of that number !

I drove up the hill to the Hall, round the bend to hear the loud whoops and claps of the assembled Fetchies – a lovely sound. 4hr 26m 29sec, my slowest marathon but I enjoyed it much more than Windermere last year which was 13m faster. It feels so much better not to blow up at 21 miles and have to walk most of the rest. I had originally set out to do both under 5hr so I’m over the moon to have done both in less than 4h 30m :-):-):-). Maybe next year I should aim to try and get both under 4h 15m *How did that happen ??? Can’t believe I actually typed that just one day after*


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Mohammed Manir-Jolley Wigan Phoenix 02:44:29
420 Dave Robson M55 334 04:26:28

631 finishers.

(Visited 35 times, 1 visits today)

Brathay Windermere Marathon, Sunday, May 20, 2007

Dave Robson

This was billed as an undulating course which it certainly was, I can only recall two or three flat stretches. A lovely sunny day with lots of shade on the route and a slight breeze which helped us stay cool. There was also lots of supporters out on the route giving encouragement, which helped.

My plan for this my first marathon was to do 10 minute miles and then see how I felt towards the end. The first mile went according to plan, but from then on I found myself going faster than that. I was going great until 21m when the second big hill appeared (the first one was at 7m). I started to get cramps in both calves so thought I should slow down, not a hard decision as I was running out of energy in spite of regular gels and isotonic drinks. The last five miles were very slow, but overall I was over the moon with my time of 4h 13min 59sec. A well organised race in beautiful surroundings.

All runners received history of Brathay and coaster.

I found the stairs very challenging when I got home !


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Julian Mawson Otley Athletic Club 2:47:30
498 Dave Robson MV55 27 4:13:59

912 finishers

(Visited 28 times, 1 visits today)