Thursday, 6 August 2009


Last Saturday saw this years Borrowdale Fell race take place. The morning was a little overcast but the forecast hadn't been too bad. It had been mentioned on the FRA website that parking may be an issue with the amount of rain that had fallen and the ground being very wet.

I met up with a couple of the runners before the off as I had made an offer to carry up any food or fluids to Styhead. There were only a few Horwich RMI runners, Tony, Ian, Albert and Rachel. I thought there might have been more up for this race but it seems the number of Horwich runners has started to dwindle unless it's a champs race. I had also told Emma that I would take stuff up for her and when I found her she had started to get so hyped up for the race that she had forgot about my offer. She seemed a little giddy.

Chris had decided today to try and get near the front at the start of the race as normally within a minute or two the race gets held up to pass through a gate and causes a big bottle neck. The race was set off not tot he sound of an air horn or screams of "GGOO!!!" but an almost silent "go!" that people near the back would have only realised had been said when everyone started to run. Never the less they were off and I needed to head up to Styhead Tarn.

I drove down to Seathwaite and headed for the path through the farm and the track that runs up the valley. Looking around the hills looked alive with water streaming down coming together at different points that looked like the veins of the hills. I approached the first stream which was flowing quite fast and wonder which would be the best route across to avoid getting my feet wet. It didn't matter really as I got my feet wet anyway and on reflection, the thought that I could avoid getting my feet wet with the water running so fast down the hills was ridiculous anyway. There was plenty of opportunity on the way up to keep them wet. I plodded on getting to the bridge over the stream and started my ascent off the path to Scafell and up to Styhead. During this climb up I did however feel less tired that I had on previous walks up. Maybe all the running I have been doing really is working.

There were a few people heading up this way, but their was a couple I couldn't forget passing as I had crossed the wooden bridge just before you get to the tarn and been jogging along the path when I came up behind a man and a lady. This lady was just negotiating a few steps on rocks as I passed right next to her and at the same time she slipped. She flung her arms out to balance herself and Whacked me in the face. The timing was almost perfect, one step closer and I think I would have had a busted nose.After an embarrassed apology from her I smiled and carried on.

At the stretcher box, the mountain rescue were all setup and a few spectators had already setup. With the wind blowing slightly I headed to the start of the climb up to Great Gable and sat down just near two older gents one of which was Joss Naylor. As it was a little breezy up there I put on an extra jacket I had brought up and my waterproof pants so I could sit on the grass. So by now, because I hate to get cold and worry about not having enough layers I had 3 sets of leggins/pants and 4 upper layers on. I could still feel the cold but it was bearable.

The runners started to stream through and I watched for faces I knew. I'd taken up my Horwich vest so that the could spot me to collect their drinks. Chris came through and I swapped out his water and a little food and he headed of, looking quite well really other than a cut on his hand. Anthony Alexander followed shortly after, the last time I had seen him he'd had a BAD run at The Great Lakes race and now he looked much better but was still only about 1/2 way. I expected to see Albert come through as the first RMI runner but it was Ian Charters. A short while later I spotted Albert and noticed he was talking to the Mountain rescue, he was retiring. He spotted me and came and sat alongside me to watch the other runners through. He'd had a migraine before the off and it hadn't cleared. He must be mad, if I have a migraine I go to bed, NOT to an AL category race in the Lakes!!

Just Rachel, Tony and Emma to see through now. Rachel arrived first and seemed in good spirits. Emma followed next and she looked like she was suffering slightly, I even joked that I might have a pair of GHD's in my bag if she needed them. Concerned that Tony might catch her up she headed off and very soon after Tony arrived, stopping for a drink and a brief chat with Joss.

Now all the runners I waited for had passed Albert and I headed for a nice gentle jog back down. By now the cloud had lifted slightly and it was a little warmer particularly as I still had all of my layers on. Back at the car Albert laughed as I stripped each layer off hinting I had far too many on. As I drove back I asked Albert if he wanted to head to Honister to see Emma and Tony through but he didn't fancy that so I drove back to the start and Albert headed back to the car to get some sleep.

Joanne and Lisa joined me not long after arriving having met Chris at Honister slate mine and we now hung around waiting for him to finish.Although the field was wet, some people hung around clapping the runners in. Just under 4 1/2 hours Chris came in and was happy with a PB for this course. After claiming his free Tea and sandwich we all headed back to the car and a well earned Indian take away.

I don't think next year will be the year I take on Borrowdale but I suspect, assuming no injuries, that I'll be aiming for the following year despite saying there was NO WAY I would ever do it.

Well done to all that did it

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