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Sunday 5th May – Keswick Half Marathon


Report from Mick Jeffrey:

Howard and I set off up the A1 at 8.00am allowing a two hour drive, 30 minutes for a coffee en-route and arriving at 10.30 to warm up for the 11.30 start of the Keswick Half Marathon. Unfortunately we were chatting and laughing so much we missed the A66 turnoff and ended up at Newton Aycliife 20 miles too far. We backtracked down to Scotch Corner and took the A66 to Penrith.

The coffee break had to be abandoned but a stop in the Londis on the outskirts of Keswick enabled last minute ‘preparations’ away from the potentially busy Rugby Club facilities. We arrived at 10.45, the temperature gauge reading 12 degrees and the sky wonderfully overcast. We hadn’t reckoned on the strong wind immediately apparent when we opened the car doors. We picked up our numbers and began our warm up. Erica Johnson appeared and we all had a short chat. There is a very long walk to the start of a much revised course, almost in Portinscale.

At 11.30 the race hooter sounded and we were off. Straight up the first of many hills. I slowly edged away from Howard and Erica. At around 2 miles I felt a strong twinge in my right hamstring (which forced me to walk back on Thursday nights training session). Fortunately it did not seem to hamper me much. It began to drizzle, which with the overcast sky and the cool air temperature were almost perfect conditions for me. At 4.5 miles I looked behind at a sharp left hand bend and gadzooks there were H and E barely 50 yards behind.

After another long uphill stretch and another sharp left hander up a very steep section, I had to walk. They both passed me but I soon reached the summit and began to chase them down. Within half a mile I had not only caught them but passed them too. The course was downhill for a few miles and I really manged to stretch out and felt pretty good. But at around the 9 mile mark I began to flag and they both passed me again. Try as I might I couldn’t quite hang on and they slowly edged away.

I reached the finish line in 104th position and second MV60 in 101.20. I was utterly spent. Howard had let Erica finish by just one second in front of him (the opposite of last week’s Fountains 10k) and conceded she had done most of the hard work. Howard finished 96th in 100.29.

Howard and I didn’t hang around and drove in our wet clothes to Ambleside in search of a coffee. We both got changed and he realised his calf had seized and I realised my hamstring had seized. We hobbled almost comically stiff legged to the Costa and obtained the sweetness we both craved.

I am now on the lookout for a flatter half marathon course where the weather can be guarenteed to be Lake District poor. It did look beautiful though and I now have my sights set on Great Langdale in September and Coniston in October. Ok I know they’re both hellish hilly but one has got to do it.

Bad points;

Howard beat me, and the hills were tough but then I never do enough hill traing. Hugh where are you? Howard told me later it was only a traing run for Leeds next week

Good points;

I was quicker than in Vienna and I got more ROY points than H.

The race was won by Chris Illman (Cirencester) in 72.14 and the first lady in 23rd position overall was Rebecca Sheffield (Unattached) in 88.09.

Results from here.

  1. #1 by Rob of Wetherby on May 6, 2013 - 6:17 pm

    Its a great event – we’ve enjoyed it as a camping weekend away a number of times. One year after a sharp downpour during the race we returned to find the camp site a mess and a dishevelment of an awning. Fickle weather to match the running sometimes. Still – a lovely part of the country.

  2. #2 by Antonio Cardinale on May 6, 2013 - 8:36 pm

    I enjoyed your report from Keswick, as well made me remember that I did a similar turn error near the Scotch Corner, some years back when we used to run the Harrogate races in a village north of Richmond and i got to start line with only few minutes to spare. About the race , I would say that Mick although he was not at his best ,and struggling during the competition with his rival Howard ,he had the strengh and the will to go until he passed the finish line. Well done indeed you two.

  3. #3 by Richard Hamer on May 7, 2013 - 7:16 am

    And the winner of this month’s un-runner of the month goes jointly to the Jeffrey brothers for their collective performance on the A1 scooting past Scotch Corner.

  4. #4 by Howard on May 7, 2013 - 6:44 pm

    Every run is now like ‘Logans Run’ where evil forces try and get you because you are getting older. The results rejuvenated me to V45 though! The secret used to be stretching and strength training but now it is ice and ibuprofen. Still too stiff to make the HDSRL without blowing it for Leeds half on Sunday

  5. #5 by Hannah Mallinson on May 7, 2013 - 9:08 pm

    I wish I was as bad at running as you two “old” guys. I’m younger, slower and also have to resort to ice and ibuprofen on a regular basis so there’s no hope for me as I get older! Good job I enjoy battering my poor body.

  6. #6 by Julian on May 7, 2013 - 9:57 pm

    Richard’s photo always reminds me of Morecambe and Wise. Bring me sunshine…

  7. #7 by Howard on May 8, 2013 - 10:27 am

    Julian, didn’t Ernie have ‘short fat hairy legs’?

  8. #8 by Mick Jeffrey on May 8, 2013 - 3:56 pm

    Bizarrely the fugitives from Logans Run were called runners.

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