Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Darren Holloway Memorial Buttermere Horseshoe Race 2013

Saturday 29 June saw us heading up to Loweswater again, this time for the race. The weather wasn't sure what to do first thing and was forecast to get worse but I was feeling better than I had for the past few weeks of Lakeland trips.

Daz's family were there at the start and I found it quite moving listening to his cousin before the off. I took it easy for the first hour or so and was close to the back after the first climb but that didn't matter I just wanted to get round without suffering as much as I did at Ennerdale a couple of weeks before.

On reaching Grasmoor in the clouds I noticed the marshal showing concern for the lady in front. I caught up to her on the descent to Whiteless and noticed she was struggling - it was Karen Nash and she had fell badly on the ridge after the first climb banging her ribs as well as cutting her face and knee.

That set the pattern for most of the rest of the race, I would pass Karen on the descents and she would then come sailing past on the next climb. After Newlands I got the route round the side of Robinson almost spot on. I had overheard Scoffer chatting to some of the other top runners at the start saying how he was going straight over the top and didn't see the point of trying to find the good ground to contour round since you still had to climb up on to Littledale Edge but I wasn't so sure. I had a bad patch onto Dalehead but got some more food and water down me before the descent to Honister.

It was hard to judge pace on the downhills I didn't want to trash my legs with having so much further to go but I enjoyed the run down to Honister my dibber time for that stretch was about 9 1/2 mins. It was here I got a good look at Karen's face and it looked painful but she was determined to carry on. I had plenty of water and a few jelly babies here and that made me feel much better all the way to the next checkpoint.

The weather brightened up and I even managed to find a good route around Seat that I've never used before which I stored up for next time. Up Gamelin End Karen and Ed passed me again and I struggled over the rocky terrain all the way to the contour around Red Pike. I went right over on my ankle coming down off there but there was no damage done.

I filled up with water from the stream and also managed to find the contour route to the start of the last climb saving me dropping down too far into the valley. Drank the water and got some more food down for the final push, where Karen passed me again!

The only part of the route I hadn't looked at properly was the last descent so inevitably I went wrong but not too badly - just catching Karen before we reached the stony track round the back of Melbreak back to the village. It was a really good feeling running down here even though I was shattered but the last little kick up the road to the finish was torture. It was nice to get a round of applause from everyone sat outside the pub too!

It was spotting with rain at the start where Darren's cousin said a few words. 

Down the lane from the start. That cap and windproof was on and off all day.

The ridge to Whiteless Pike; Mark was sat up here enjoying himself taking photos.
Climbing up from Newlands Pass. It was good to see Paul Dobson here taking photos.
The track leading down to the finish in the village.

Comparing results at the finish.

Nice to finally take the weight off my feet.
I had a really good day out even though I took over 6 1/2 hours and I was really impressed with how Karen coped with her injuries. Quite a poignant day in some respects; I only knew Daz from speaking to him at races particularly Ben Nevis but he always came across as a nice bloke and I was shocked to learn of his death last year. He seemed to live for running on the fells and loved all aspects of the sport; obviously loved by those close to him and the fact that this classic race has been resurrected in memory of him proves how well thought of he was.

Thanks to his family and everyone else involved with organising the event.