The Coniston 14 2017, Coniston, Lake District, Saturday, March 25, 2017

14 miles

Pam Kirkup

This was the first ‘real’ race that I have done for 18 months – however the word ‘race’ was hardly applicable to me in the circumstances. So I decided to consider it a leisurely, weekend long run in the sunshine. No pressure then! Leisurely? You must be joking!

I arrived at the start area and met Michael Littlewood who was looking sharp and focussed.  I had a pre-race chat with Andrew and Alan … and then we were off! That was the last I saw of them that day.

By the time I reached Torver – a 3 mile uphill slog to the first watering station – I had found my level. Towards the back of the field with the joggers, fun runners and ‘power walkers’. I was feeling alright at Torver so decided I wouldn’t need to call for a taxi back (!) and continued – on a really pleasant downhill part of the course towards the half-way turning point. I must say I met some very nice people to run along with and there was some great ‘craic’!

As we turned to run down the East side of the Lake a marshal helpfully told us that we would have some lovely views of the snow-clad mountains and Lake Coniston itself. This prompted some of my fellow runners to assemble for group selfies with a mountain background and random cyclists were flagged down to take pictures.

Anyway we struggled on in the, by now, increasing heat … and exhaustion. The second half of the course is deceptively challenging with some pretty relentless climbs. My particular ‘favourites’ are the series of hills near the Thurston outdoor centre. Horrible! John Ruskin’s house, Brantwood, some 2.5 miles before the finish, is the point where ‘killer cramp’ has kicked in for me in the past. Not so this year. Luckily I had drunk 2 litres of water with those Zero electrolyte & magnesium tablets that morning which I think made a difference. Never the less I was still physically drained. I got to the Head of the Lake where Paul F was waiting with another drink and some encouragement. I can’t remember what he said!

I finally got to the finish in 03.04.16 – chip time. Just the 22 minutes slower than my last personal worst which, in itself, was 20 minutes slower than the previous one! Michael would have had time for a shower and to down 6 pints by that time. Huge congratulations to both him and Elaine for fantastic running.

And yet somehow I was strangely elated. I had finished unscathed before nightfall without falling or being pushed over so no black eye on this outing. The finishing time was dreadful but I could not have expected anything decent considering the amount of training I had been able to do since Christmas. I didn’t have the endurance or stamina to meet the challenge of such a course. But it’s certainly something to build on.

It’s still my favourite race and yes, I will be back next year.

The Start

Michael Littlewood – 10th Man Prize!

Race No First Name Family Name Gender Gender Pos Cat Cat Pos Club Gun Time Overall Pos Chip Time Chip Pos
1271 Robbie Simpson Male 1 MOPEN 1 DEESIDE RUNNERS 01:16:37 1 01:16:37 1
1124 Michael Littlewood Male 10 M40+ 2 ELVET STRIDERS 01:25:31 10 01:25:28 10
183 Elaine Bisson Female 8 F35+ 4 ELVET STRIDERS 01:37:48 86 01:37:45 86
1371 Jean Bradley Female 110 F60+ 1 ELVET STRIDERS 02:02:26 488 02:01:53 504
261 Alan Smith Male 557 M70+ 9 ELVET STRIDERS 02:18:19 785 02:16:41 775
1226 Andrew Dunlop Male 641 M40+ 119 ELVET STRIDERS 02:29:04 943 02:27:26 939
420 Pam Kirkup Female 448 F65+ 10 ELVET STRIDERS 03:05:55 1147 03:04:16 1144
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