Neil Charlton writes:
26.1 Miles / 4000+ft (according to my watch)
I’d never been to The Howgills before which are an area north of Sedbergh in the Southern Lake District. After having dozed off in the car while driving past Skipton (not literally) I missed the turn off for the A65 and ended up down the A59 on my way to Clitheroe before I realised my mistake. Panicking as I thought I was going to miss the start, I turned around and drove assertively back and corrected my stupid mistake. It was early.
Arriving in Sedbergh the weather was glorious. Nice and sunny while not being too hot. In fact it stayed like this for most of the race, getting warmer and warmer the further we got. It wasnt until the last 2 miles that I saw any rain.
This race was difficult to plan a strategy for. Most of the tough climbing was at the start, in fact within the first 10k. Before the race I stuggled with the idea of walking most of these first climbs in order to save my legs for ”a fast finish’. What actually happened was predicable in that I charged out of the blocks way to fast and tried to keep up with someone who was running far too fast for me!
After the inital brutal 10k we had a nice decent and lots of steady bits coming down through a valley. There had been a lot of water falling up there in the previous days and more than one path had turned into a stream. Most of them in this section were under water which made it hard to run fast. There were also lots of rocks in this section which made it very uneven and slippery.
Coming up to half way was a small section on some very small roads going back up. I passed a number of people here that had flown past me going down the tracks, which isnt my strong point at all. So I was chuffed to make these places back.
At just over half way there was the best display of chocolate treats and buiscuits I have ever seen at the feed station. If I wasnt in such a hurry I would have taken a picture of them! In fact this is a problem generally when racing . Always blooming running fast – never enough time for lovely photos. I could have taken loads today the views in this part of the world were staggering,
The last half was generally undulating on tracks and paths carved into the hillside. I seem to have noticed lots of horses around on this section. Loads of ’em, just stood about doing nothing.
At about 23 miles I started to feel a little wobbly from running so hard from the start. A couple of jelly babies sort of helped but I knew I needed something more substantial (ahem – like a pint!) in my system. I managed to stuggle on to the end at a reduced speed.
To my surprise I was told I was 15th by the chip guy on the finish line but I’ll believe this when the official results come out. Saying that though – looking at last years results – with my time I would have been second. So maybe I was 15th? If so this would be my best marathon finish.
In summary a great race which was tough at times but with amazing scenery and a nice veggie burger at the end. The only negative of the day was the cold shower at the end. Brrrrrrr.
The race was won by Martin Cox of Team Scott in 3:27:14. Only one other runner came in under 4 hours. I was indeed 15th finishing in 4:19:13.