Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Ben Nevis Race 2013

No update for a while. I've had quite an 'up and down' summer where running is concerned (pardon the pun). I managed to get a last minute entry to Wasdale where I ended up with my first ever DNF; it was far too warm for me and I got timed out at Pillar.

The next race for me was Borrowdale where I had a good run apart from turning my ankle on the descent to Honister, as it went over I heard a distinct crack and felt a bit nauseous but after a quick stop I managed to get going again. It went a couple more times on the final descent and had swelled up quite a lot the morning after but I was still pleased with how I felt generally during the run. It was also a novelty running down some of the corridor route following Ian Holmes, who I didn't recognise at first with his 'everyday' clothes on - he was out spectating with his kids.

Heading to Sty Head I saw Pauline who took this photo.
So I wasn't quite sure what to expect at Ben Nevis, I had had a decent month's training after Borrowdale having finally joined my local running club. We met a couple at Wasdale who just happened to park next to us and they are both coaches there! I had another good run at Blackshaw Head Fell Race the weekend before so I was hoping for a decent time lining up for the start.

Topping up at the burn.
It turned out to be sunny and warm at the start even though it had poured down most of the morning and as usual I was surprised with the pace up the road past the pub. I tripped up almost the moment the path started to rise but caught the fall on my hands, cutting my thumb. I seemed to struggle on the climb up to Red Burn, I just didn't feel that strong but after filling up with water from the burn and shoving some food down my throat I started to feel a bit better.

The climb up from there seems to go on forever but at least it was a bit cooler. At one point it went a bit dark and started hailstoning. By now the leaders were coming flying past on the their way back down and I heard one guy take a nasty fall on the rocks, he sounded like he winded himself.

I was a bit disappointed reaching the top in about 1h36m which seemed a bit slower than other years and the thought that the leaders would now have finished didn't help! Still, next came the descent which is the bit I enjoy the most. I managed to stick with a local Lochaber girl who was skipping her way down the scree and seemed to know all the best lines but on reaching the grassy bank I dropped back. This year the way down here was flagged but it didn't seem to change anyone's route down much. Sadly I turned my ankle again here the same as at Borrowdale; hearing the crack and feeling the nausea my first thought was how was I going to get down but after a bit of a rest and gingerly putting some weight back on it I managed to get moving again.
Rejoining the main path after the grassy bank. I was being careful not to turn the ankle again!

Then it was just a case of being careful where my left foot landed and getting to the finish in one piece. It's the only time I have done this race where I been almost pleased to get back on the tarmac where I would be much less likely to turn the ankle again! As it was I finished in 2h23 about 6 mins slower than my best but I can't complain, it's always a good weekend and at least I got round.

I was surprised to see you got a medal as well as a 'technical' t-shirt this year which might explain the increase in the entry fee. I made a quick trip back to the car to get changed and grab the camera to try and catch both Marks finishing:

They were both well pleased with their runs so it was a good weekend all round. Thanks as usual to all involved with organising the event and also to Richard Cowan for heading onto the hill to take photos.

Mark, Paul and Mark happy to be at the finish.