The race briefing to this event stresses two unwritten rules. First, never refer to the race as “just the 50” (as many will know there is a 100 mile event as well)-it’s a tough event and an arduous route. Second, if you have a time in your mind –forget it. You never know what is going to happen out there so do not be disappointed.
Tom: I missed most of the briefing due to the overcrowding in the school haal and the heat which was already apparent even at this early part of the day.
The ability to follow instructions is something I struggle with-as my family will testify as I wrestled with building an IKEA desk for my son on the afternoon of my return from the race-so…
Usual milling around at the start, posse of Sunderland Strollers and a quick good luck to Tom. As we set off it soon became apparent that this was going to be a sweltering day and suffice to say that although the first 20 miles cover some beautiful Lakeland scenes-it felt like running in a desert (or doing the Coastal Run the previous week). By the time I hit Mardale Head and checkpoint two I was nervous that the next 30 miles were going to be a very unpleasant slog. Severe cramps (despite a ready supply of nuts, crisps and water) did not really help the negative mind set. Coming out of Kentmere –Checkpoint 3 –I met up with Tim. It was at this stage that rule 1 was broken. Tim was doing the 100 and had wanted to finish in 24 hours. It was not going to happen for him today but he was fighting on. Tom in previous reports has outlined the emotional rollercoaster of the 100 so there is no need to repeat it. Suffice to state-compared to the 100 –it is just the 50. Rule 1 broken.
Tom: bumped into Dawn Metcalfe a DFR runner and chatted to her at the start line. She is a very good ultra runner as i would soon discover. The run to the first checkpoint was warm but manageble. The wheels satrted to come off for me big time on the trudge up Fusedale and then along the shore of Haweswater. By the time I reached Mardale Head i was finished interms of my hopes to break the 11 hr barrier. From now on it was going to be a long grind to the finish and finsihing was all i wanted to do. Dawn raced off after Mardale head never to be seen till the end when I eventually crawled in.
Into Ambleside and I started picking up the pace and felt fresh helped on by some kind words of encouragement from Joan and the lads. Lovely round of applause at The Wainwright pub and then a trot across the fells after the steps at Tilberthwaite. A jog to the finish and checked the watch – 1-2 minutes outside my intended goal. Rule 2 broken.
Tom: It was a long old run to Ambleside and it was nice to see the boys and Joan they gave me words of encouragemnt and told me Gibbo was only 10 minutes ahead of me. I hooked up with a couple of runners, one from Germany and one from Manchester and we finsihed the run together in the rain and the cold. Yes I’d gone from mild heatstroke to being chilled to the bones in the space of 10 hours. running in the mountains is not to be underestimated!
A quick debrief with Tom the following morning. In agreement that the conditions were tough and that perhaps we should stick to cross country. As I walked away I remembered I’d signed up for another 50 in October and no doubt Tom has similar, challenging plans in mind. Will we ever learn? Hopefully not …
Tom: That is it for me with the 50 and the 100. I feel I’ve done this enough times and it will be races anew next year. watch this space 🙂