As a youngster, I would get home from School, get changed and go out to play with my pals.
Now I'm older, I get home from work, get changed and go out to play with my pals, but now I call it training.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

You wouldn't give a burglar the keys to your home.....

......but if you leave a window open when you go out, you might as well do.

That was a government public information advert aired on TV some years ago.

You wouldn't run a half marathon one night after work.......

......but if you enter Blencathra fellrace you might as well do.

Well perhaps not quite as it is 5 miles shorter, but, being so damn hilly it is a very slow 8 miles. I took about 75 mins to complete it last night. I reckon a half marathon on a good flat tarmac course would take me just a minute or so longer. 

As I write this I haven't seen the official result but by my own watch I think I beat my 2007 and 2009 times of 1:16:24. Considering that in june 2007 I had already ran 2:58 in the hilly Windermere marathon, and later that year I ran my second best marathon (2:43) in Dublin, I think this latest result shows I am in great shape as 43 yr old compared to when I was 38.

The race itself was truly awful and wonderfully enjoyable. 

Awful because (like most of the field) I was reduced to a walk within 90 seconds of the gun, so steep is the first climb up onto Bowscale, and because I struggled so badly to lose height off the final climb down the ridiculously steep valley side and consequently lost at least one place in the process.

  • Enjoyable because I did occasionally glance across to the South to see the glorious Lake District stretch out in the grandest possible way on this fine summers evening. 
  • Enjoyable because of the magnificence of Blencathra herself, unseen until Bowscale was despatched then suddenly rearing up into view like a dragons back in a so so familiar scene. 
  • Enjoyable for then simply being on the climb itself, up to the summit. Again, so familiar to me. I 'm walking because it's so steep but I have ran it all in the past, so I break into a run again and again
  • Enjoyable then for the descent off, over Scales fell. I know when to stay on the path and when to cross the rough uncharted fellside, and so my arrival at the foot of the final pull up to Souther fell is perfect.
  • Enjoyable for that final minute of the race as I negotiate the bog ridden approach to the river crossing, keeping well away from the fence line and avoid going in knee deep whilst others are drawn toward the fence like magnets and falter as they get sucked into those invisible peaty depths

The lad seen here in the background beat me but luckily the lass didn't

The biggest trouble with any fellrace, for me at least, is the constantly changing speed as dictated by the terrain. If it were on road I would settle into a good solid effort and churn out mile after mile at very close to my ultimate ability. On the fell though, pace changes so often and so enormously that I think I fail to fully capitalise on my fitness/potential and sometimes run (walk) slower than I should be - especially if I am walking up a steep climb literally in the footsteps of the person ahead of me - it can be quite tricky to pass someone on singletrack through bracken but I need to ensure in future I do get past and make my own pace.

The same time as I was running up fells, nearly 200 roadrunners were completing and competing in the 10k at Carlisle. Following my defeat by young Davver at the Round the Houses in April I reckon he would have also beaten me at Moorclose 10k in May. But I would have rallied on home soil and came home 2 seconds ahead of him last night, thus giving me a time of 34:50. Hooray.

Cheers to the Penrith Cowboy for photo

Late news - Local Triathlete/coach/Olympic torchbearer/pal of mine Stu Robinson has organised THIS for any budding Traithletes to have a look at

1 comment:

  1. I've no doubt you would have beaten me at Carlisle Steve. Of course, had I been at Blencathra I'm confident I would have replicated my time from 2010...