Writing this up for my own journal whilst I can still remember as much as anything, it’s a race I did way back in October.. I intend to do more posts as I am really loving my running again and race season is upon us… Shelley my long suffering wife of many years was desperate for a trip back to the UK to see her parents and family providing an Ideal opportunity to get a sneaky race in. Scouring the web, the only real option was one of three races around the lake at Ennerdale. This is one of the lessor known lakes but one of the most beautiful settings in the whole Lake district.
From our base in Stainforth, North Yorkshire we faced a drive of two plus hours to reach Ennerdale, and we had only arrived at the in-laws at 02:00 on race day. Our saving grace was the later than usual race start time of 10:30, leaving room for a few hours sleep.
There were three races taking place with staggered start times, 10k, 25k and 50k. A running friend of old who paced me through the latter stages of the NDW100 was originally going to show me a clean pair of heels in the 25k race. Sadly injury forced him to pull out, it would have been good to run with Scott, but I knew he would have beaten me on race day, every cloud and all that!
We drove through absolutely horrific weather to reach this most Westerly part of the lake District, the wipers on our hire car struggled to provide sufficient visibility to navigate a safe passage. The outlook for the race was not looking too good, but a few miles from our final destination, the rain mercifully stopped leaving the North wind alone in his quest to slay the fools daft enough to battle it’s might.
The 25k route basically followed the lake, departing it’s shore at the far end to climb steadily to the highest point to the infamous scout hut before returning t’other side of a stream to take the far shore of the lake back to the finish. My early pace was acceptable, around 9 min miles, today I was not after setting the heather alight, clocking the first 10k near bang on the hour having encountered the first hills which slowed me slightly. My initial hopes for a time around 2:30 was looking ok, the course was very enjoyable and would be out of this world on a lovely sunny day. After a very brief stop at the very windy scout hut I had a rush of blood and clocked a mile or two near 8 minutes apiece leading to cheeky thoughts of sub 2:30.
What happened next was most unexpected, the terrain changed to something like a scene from HURT100 where the track was over bare tree routes and along stream beds. There was no choice but to go steady or risk serious injury and this was in no way a AAA+ race. There was absolutely no choice but to wade through and along the streams, shoes filled with water and pebbles providing a unique underfoot feel. Progress was slow but pleasingly I was passing runners for the first time in my racing career, it was only after I made a slight gaff did I realise why. Passing one guy I cheerily said “Not long until we are sat with a nice pint in that village pub.”. he replied “You bugger, I have another circuit to go!”. The majority of runners I had passed were doing the 50k which was two laps of the 25k route..The final rabbit out of the hat came by way of Anglers Crag, a steep hands and knees job with a kindly marshal ensuring no one ended up in the lake. A nice hot cup of coffee greeted everyone 50k and 25k runners alike and I was glad to be only doing one circuit.
The race is highly recommended to encounter unusual terrain and to enjoy the beauty of this remote part of the English Lakes, it’s definitely one of those races where the weather could change ones race from being memorable to out of this world memorable.