Graham Lake reports: A friend of mine suggested we do this season finale to the Lakeland Trails series of races. It’s an interesting race as you start off on the Ullswater steamer which drops you at Howtown and you then run back along the undulating coast of Ullswater to Glenridding.
Obviously there’s limited space on each boat, so there were four sailings with 128 in each boat, essentially four different races.
We were booked on the 11 o’clock one, which is 14km race. The weather the previous day had been horrific, so I was glad to see a bit of sun and only the odd squall of sleet as we headed out.
The race started pretty quickly once off the boat, and everyone headed out up a steepish hill before turning back towards the lake.
I was in second place after the hill, and, though not feeling 100 per cent thought I’d kick on and get in the lead down a long descent.
The path along the coast was pretty rocky and slippy; and there were three mountain rescue call-outs during the race for runners who’d injured themselves. I managed to twist my ankle, then a little further on go flying on a descent, scraping my side along some rather sharp geology.
Man-made paths are often worse than open fell, so I took it easy from then on.
I’d checked the map and profile out beforehand and thought we dropped low to the lake, so when I was still high up nearing Glenridding I panicked and thought I’d gone wrong. I stopped and waited to see if anyone appeared on the lower path, but spotted someone on my high path a few hundred yards behind, so cracked on, hoping for a sign (you know, like an arrow).
A set of arrows eventually pointed my down to the valley bottom, and a nice flat run into the finish. Finally daring to look behind me I realised I had a decent lead, so could enjoy the final lap of the field and the high-fives from the waiting family (although they didn’t realise I’d won, as the earlier race were still finishing which confused matters). I finished in 1:04:23 about a minute ahead of second place.
This show me with seventh fastest time of the day if you look at the other boats, so chuffed with that. A very enjoyable run, in a stunning location. A good entry race into the world of trail running with very friendly competitors and marshals.
Full details are here.