So, facts and figures:
|Scafell Pike Summit: 2:45:56
|Esk Hause: 3:11:26
|Watendlath Beck: 5:21:32
Race details: here
So the story behind these numbers:
The race started at 9.00am prompt. I was in the third row back from the front hoping to get to see Ricky Lightfoot speed off at the start, which he indeed did but was gone before I was really able to look up! The first part of the race went well, it was a super hot day but I was running pretty comfortably within the top 40-50 along the shores of Derwent water. Having not recce’d this part of the course I was surprised by how picturesque it was, not sure why because its a stunning part of the Lakes… My plan was to take it steady over the first climb (Castle Crag) and I stuck to that (losing a few places). After the climb there was a lovely undulating path that eventually dropped out at the bottom of Honister Pass. I made up a bit of time on the descent to the road, but as soon as I started on the road the heat really hit me and I backed off the pace again. The next section was along the road into Seathwaite (I won’t pretend I enjoyed this section!). The first aid station was at the farm in Seathwaite where I swigged some Coke and grabbed a bit of flapjack and was on my way, still feeling pretty solid.
On the way to Stockley Bridge, I met my strategically placed support team (Mum, Dad and Harriet), it was lovely to see them and after a quick hello (with Harriet trying to photo bomb some of the race pics) I was over the bridge and on the climb up to Styhead. My legs felt a bit heavier than I had hoped on the initial part of the climb, so I decided to take it steady until I reached the corridor route where I knew I could make up time on the climb and descent from Scafell Pike. After dibbing in at the first check-point at Styhead I plunged into the low cloud and found the quick line onto the corridor route . Disaster struck just before I re-joined the main route. I lost footing on a boggy patch of ground, then pulled my left thigh in the process to trying to regain balance. As soon as I felt it pull I knew it would be a long (painful) day, with most of the ascent and descent on the course still to come. Had it been a training run I would have definitely turned back. However I ploughed on and hit the corridor route. Just before the first little ‘scrambly bit’ I put weight on my left leg to climb up and it felt awful, bugger! The saving grace of the climb up to the summit was that the cloud was still down, so it gave a bit of chance to cool off. By the time I reached the summit plateau my right thigh was just about as sore as the left after taking the brunt of the climb.
After dibbing at the summit checkpoint I decided to push the descent as much as I could and not worry about the legs too much. So I just put my head down and ran to Esk Hause (not quickly but not too slowly). After dibbing in at the checkpoint I turned and headed down to Styhead, en route I met the support team where I grabbed a couple fresh drink bottles and carried on. I know the route down Scafell like the back of my hand so even in my incapacitated state I managed to regain a few places (I’d lost a lot on the climb!).
Arriving at the Seathwaite aid station I knew the quads were gone and the rest of the race would be a real struggle, but after a quick cup of Coke and a few brazil nuts I carried on. The run across the valley floor to the foot of the climb up to Watendelath was largely uneventful and was just a case of ‘head down’ and ‘crack on’. By the time I got to the top of the climb I wasn’t in the best shape, and the descent in Watendelath was possible the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been during a run. I made my way along the valley to the Watendelath beck checkpoint, on this section I began to be passed by quite a few other runners (I’d been passed pretty in-frequently up to that point). The last road section was quite disgusting on my legs (I even tried running backwards!) but I had my support team ready and waiting at the bottom of the road. Again, it was great to see them and a real moral boost. The last 5km were ridiculously slow but I suffered through. It was actually quite a nice section above and then along the lake shore. Rounding the corner to the finish line I was greeted by support from Mum, Dad and Harriet. I put in as quick a finish as my legs would muster (thanks Harriet!) and that was that.
Overall it was a very well run event by High Terrain events. The only issue I had was the lack of signage into the finish! The rest of the day was great and a big thank you to all those on the checkpoints and aid stations.
It was super nice to have the family to support me at various points on the route!
I ran the marathon for Anthony Nolan and my friend Ed who sadly passed away earlier this year. If you would like to donate anything to a really good cause click here.
I’ve recently been reading Beyond the Mountain by Steve House. It’s really inspirational and well worth a read. Steve House tweeted “Why all the focus on happiness, when it is so clearly the suffering that forms us?” on the April 8th.
A few photos (courtesy of Racing Snakes www.racingsnakes.com):